Orgone Energy, Animal Magnetism & Hypnosis

Orgone energy is an idea which was proposed and promoted in the 1930s by psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, who originated the term to describe a universal life force. The idea was quickly discredited and dismissed.

The current consensus of the scientific community is that orgone theory is pseudoscience.

Authors Note *

*It’s perfectly acceptable for the consensus scientific community to allow unobserved (stuff which doesn’t measure against the scientific method) entities such as black holes, dark energy, gravitational singularities, god particles, neutron stars, multiple dimensions etc but Orgone energy, which is most likely another term for the aether or what science now refers to as dark matter is strictly taboo.

Reich, originally part of Sigmund Freud’s Vienna circle, believed that Freud’s concept of libido had an actual biological basis, and developed a therapeutic practice that was ostensibly designed to open up this bodily energy in the belief – following Freud – that healthy psychological state derived from uninhibited libidinal flow. This biophysical theory eventually developed into the concept of orgone (a word coined from the same root as “organism” and “orgasm”) which Reich saw as a massless, omnipresent substance, similar to luminiferous aether, but more closely associated with vital, living energy than inert matter. Orgone would coalesce and create organization on all scales, from the smallest microscopic units called bions in orgone theory to macroscopic structures like organisms, clouds, or even galaxies. Reich’s follower Charles R. Kelley went so far as to claim that orgone was the creative substratum in all of nature, comparable to Mesmer’s animal magnetism, the Odic force of Carl Reichenbach and Henri Bergson’s élan vital. Reich believed that many diseases, and particularly cancer, were caused by deficits or constrictions in the flow of orgone in the body, and developed specially designed “orgone accumulators” which supposedly charged the body with orgone collected from the atmosphere. These devices were distributed as devices to improve general health and increase sexual potency, and later were adopted into tools such as cloudbusters, devices intended to stimulate rainfall.

Reich created the Orgone Institute after immigrating to the US and pursued research into orgone energy for more than a decade, publishing his own work through the institute and producing orgone accumulators and related devices for distribution. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) eventually obtained a federal injunction barring the interstate distribution of orgone-related materials, on the charge that Reich and his associates were making false and misleading claims. When Reich violated the injunction he was jailed, and all orgone-related equipment and literature owned by Reich and his associates were destroyed.

Doesn’t the above paragraph speak volumes about the importance of Reich’s research. A federal injunction and jail – not to mention all orgone-related equipment and literature destroyed. Wow.

In the late 19th century, luminiferous aether or ether, meaning light-bearing aether, was the term used to describe a medium for the propagation of light. The word aether stems via Latin from the Greek αιθήρ, from a root meaning to kindle, burn, or shine. It signifies the substance which was thought in ancient times to contain the manipulative forces beyond control. (Underlined highlights content which has been deleted by Wikipedia since I posted this article).

See the correlation between the Solar Cycles and human behaviour throughout history in my previous post.

The Odic force (also called Od [õd], Odyle, Önd, Odes, Odylic, Odyllic, or Odems) is the name given in the mid-19th century to a hypothetical vital energy or life force by Baron Carl von Reichenbach. Von Reichenbach coined the name from that of the Norse god Odin in 1845.

Animal magnetism (French: magnétisme animal; Latin: magnetismus animalis), in modern usage, refers to a person’s sexual attractiveness or raw charisma. Originally the term referred to a supposed magnetic fluid or ethereal medium that resided in the bodies of animate beings (i.e., those who breathe), as postulated by Franz Mesmer. The term translates Mesmer’s magnétisme animal. Mesmer chose the word “animal” to distinguish his supposed vital magnetic force from those referred to at that time as mineral magnetism, cosmic magnetism and planetary magnetism.

A tendency emerged amongst British magnetizers to call their clinical techniques mesmerism in order to distance themselves from the magnetic-fluid-centered theoretical orientation of animal magnetism. Some mesmerists attempted to channel what they thought was a magnetic “fluid”; and, sometimes, they attempted this with the laying of hands. Reported effects included various feelings: intense heat, trembling, trances, and seizures.

However, many scientific practitioners—such as French physician, anatomist, gynecologist, and pupil of Joseph Philippe François Deleuze (1753–1835), Théodore Léger (1799–1853), who had moved to Texas around 1836 – found the label “mesmerism” to be “most improper”.

Noting that, by 1846, the term Galvanism had been replaced by electricity, Léger argued that:

MESMERISM, of all the names proposed [to replace the term animal magnetism], is decidedly the most improper; for, in the first place, no true science has ever been designated by the name of a man, whatever be the claims he could urge in his favor; and secondly, what are the claims of Mesmer for such an honor? He is not the inventor of the practical part of the science, since we can trace the practice of it through the most remote ages; and in that respect, the part which he introduced has been completely abandoned. He proposed for it a theory which is now [viz., 1846] exploded, and which, on account of his errors, has been fatal to our progress. He never spoke of the phenomena which have rehabilitated our cause among scientific men; and since nothing remains to be attributed to Mesmer, either in the practice and theory, or the discoveries that constitute our science, why should it be called MESMERISM?

Royal Commission

The existence of Mesmer’s magnetic fluid was examined by a French Royal Commission set up by Louis XVI in 1784. The Commission included Majault, Benjamin Franklin, Jean Sylvain Bailly, J. B. Le Roy, Sallin, Jean Darcet, de Borey, Joseph-Ignace Guillotin, Antoine Lavoisier, Poissonnier, Caille, Mauduyt de la Varenne, Andry, and de Jussieu.

Whilst the Commission agreed that the cures claimed by Mesmer were indeed cures, the commission also concluded there was no evidence of the existence of his magnetic fluid and that its effects derived from either the imaginations of its subjects or through charlatanry.

Note* The Royal Commission agreed that the effects claimed by Mesmer were indeed cures but because they couldn’t see or measure the force that was resposnible for the cures it was dismissed and consigned to the rubbish heap. This is not to different from the more modern story of Royal Raymond Rife who claimed to use electromagnetism to heal cancers and illnesses.

Mesmerism and hypnosis

Advertisement poster of 1857: Instant sleep. Miscalenous effects of paralysis, partial and complete catalepsy, partial or complete attraction. Phreno-magnetic effects – Musical extasis – Insensitivity to physical pain and instant awakening – transfusion of magnetic power to others

Abbé Faria was one of the disciples of Franz Anton Mesmer who continued with Mesmer’s work following the disapproval of the Royal Commission. In the early 19th century, Abbé Faria introduced oriental hypnosis to Paris. Faria conducted experiments to prove that “no special force was necessary for the production of the mesmeric phenomena such as the trance, but that the determining cause lay within the subject himself;” in other words, that it worked purely by the power of suggestion.

Hypnosis originates from the practice of Mesmerism, being an attempt at what the surgeon James Braid described as “rational mesmerism”. Braid based his methods of hypnotism directly on the practice of Mesmerism, but applied a more rational explanation for how the process worked. The term “hypnotism” was coined and introduced by Braid.

The vital fluid and the practice of animal magnetism

A 1791 London publication explains the Mesmer’s theory of the vital fluid :

“Modern philosophy has admitted a plenum or universal principle of fluid matter, which occupies all space; and that as all bodies moving in the world, abound with pores, this fluid matter introduces itself through the interstices and returns backwards and forwards, flowing through one body by the currents which issue therefrom to another, as in a magnet, which produces that phenomenon which we call Animal Magnetism. This fluid consists of fire, air and spirit, and like all other fluids tends to an equilibrium, therefore it is easy to conceive how the efforts which the bodies make towards each other produce animal electricity, which in fact is no more than the effect produced between two bodies, one of which has more motion than the other; a phenomenon serving to prove that the body which has most motion communicates it to the other, until the medium of motion becomes an equilibrium between the two bodies, and then this equality of motion produces animal electricity.”

According to an anonymous writer of a series of letters published by the editor John Pearson in 1790, Animal magnetism can cause a wide range of effects ranging from vomiting to what is termed the “crisis.” The purpose of this treatment (the crisis) was to shock the whole body into convulsion in order to remove obstructions in the circulatory system that was causing sicknesses.

Furthermore, the anonymous supporter of animal magnetism purported that the crisis created two effects on the patient including a hypnotic state in which the patient was “possessed of his senses, yet cease to be an accountable creature” and the patient would have “unobstructed vision” being able to see through objects. A patient under crisis was believed to be able to see through the body and find the cause of illness in themselves or in other patients.

The Marques of Puységur’s miraculous healing of a young man named Victor in 1784 supports this treatment of the crisis. The Marques was able to hypnotize Victor and while hypnotized, Victor was said to have been able to speak articulately and even diagnose his own sickness.

Hypnosis is a mental state (according to “state theory”) or imaginative role-enactment (according to “non-state theory”). It is usually induced by a procedure known as a hypnotic induction, which is commonly composed of a long series of preliminary instructions and suggestions. Hypnotic suggestions may be delivered by a hypnotist in the presence of the subject, or may be self-administered (“self-suggestion” or “autosuggestion”). The use of hypnotism for therapeutic purposes is referred to as “hypnotherapy”, while its use as a form of entertainment for an audience is known as “stage hypnosis”.

The words hypnosis and hypnotism both derive from the term neuro-hypnotism (nervous sleep) coined by the Scottish surgeon James Braid around 1841. Braid based his practice on that developed by Franz Mesmer and his followers (“Mesmerism” or “animal magnetism”), but differed in his theory as to how the procedure worked.

Contrary to a popular misconception – that hypnosis is a form of unconsciousness resembling sleep – contemporary research suggests that hypnotic subjects are fully awake and are focusing attention, with a corresponding decrease in their peripheral awareness. Subjects also show an increased response to suggestions. In the first book on the subject, Neurypnology (1843), Braid described “hypnotism” as a state of physical relaxation accompanied and induced by mental concentration (“abstraction”)


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