|Austrian-born American psychologist Wilhelm Reich's 1923 sexual tension diagram, from his “Concerning the Energy of Drives”, in which the outlines of the idea of orgone energy began to take root. |
The theory of orgone energy was [or is] very controversial, is said to be now considered a defunct theory, although devices utilizing this theory are still being sold on Amazon (see below), and very convoluted to pick through, being that it culls from a number of different areas, both from the nonsensical fringe domain, e.g. chemical ether, from electromagnetic field theory, semi-conductor theory, and from Freudian psychodynamics, in particular Austrian psychologist Sigmund Freud’s libido theories (sexual drive), which themselves are deeply rooted in extrapolated ideas of Helmholtzian thermodynamics (Freud’s vicarious mentor), i.e. of concepts of conservation of energy, bound energy, free energy applied to the mental domain of thought, action, and repression of ideas and movements.
Orgone energy, in some contexts, is described as being “negative entropic force”, or life force, in nature responsible for concentrating and organizing matter. This, however, may be a latter interpretation by one Reich’s followers, being that the concept of negative entropy wasn’t introduced until circa 1942; although, to note, Reich was aware of entropy used in psychology at least as early as 1923.
The theory of orgone energy was developed in the 1920s through the 1950s by Austrian-born American psychologist Wilhelm Reich, loosely being an expanded derivative of Sigmund Freud’s psychological energy theories of libido (Instincts and Their Vicissitudes, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, etc.).
|Summary videos of Austrian-born American psychologist Wilhelm Reich's orgone energy theory.|
Reich, following Freud, saw nascent sexuality as the primary energetic force of life. The term itself was chosen to share a root with the word orgasm, which both Reich and Freud took to be a fundamental expression of psychological health. The focus on sexuality, while acceptable in the clinical perspective of Viennese psychoanalytic circles, scandalized the conservative American public; the result of which, spurred by the WWII fears, Reich was jailed at least twice.
In his 1923 article “Concerning the Energy of Drives”, in which mention of entropy is made in a footnote, Reich outlines a "drive theory" to study the way in which energy functions in humans and nature and eventually, in the decades to follow, platforms from drive energy to, in the summary words of historian Michael Mannion, “libido through bioenergy to orgone energy.” 
Reich seems to have had many students that latched on to this idea, a school of thought sometimes called Reichian psychology. His daughter Eva Reich (1924-2008), for example was said have lectured on Reichian psychology, as well as taken part in many of his early experiments. 
|One of Wilhelm Reich's circa 1940s orgone accumulators, described as such: “one takes the energy directly out of the accumulator and send it to the specimen itself. This latter method is employed in construction of the chemical ether generator. A typical approach in its construction is to make a 5-20 layer orgone accumulator, making a small hole through all the layers. A small flexible tube can then be inserted directly inside, thereby drawing out the orgone energy from the multiplayer box. This tube is then aimed right at the specimen. Most of the time a metal cone is connected to the outside end of the metal tube. Both tube and cone should be coated with a good flexible organic insulator to prevent orgone energy from escaping from the sides.” |
In 1934, after his migration to the US, Reich began to speculate about biological development and evolution, and then branched out into much broader speculations about the nature of the universe. 
Believing he had detected "bions"—self-luminescent sub-cellular vesicles visible in decaying materials, and presumably present universally—he first conceived them as electrodynamic or radioactive entities, as had the Ukrainian biologist Alexander Gurwitsch, but later concluded from his research that he had discovered an entirely unknown but measurable force, which he then named "orgone", a pseudo-Greek formation probably from org- "impulse, excitement" as in org-asm, plus -one as in ozone (the Greek neutral participle, virtually *ὄργον, gen.: *ὄργοντος). 
In 1940, jumping from what seems to have been a possibly a useful theory of sexual energy in outline, Reich jumped into what seems to be the fringe range of ideas (e.g. discussing UFOs), when he built what he called “orgone accumulators”, types of said-to-be conductive boxes, comprised of alternating layers of ferrous metals (iron) and organic insulators (non-conducting material) with a high dielectric constant (ratio of the amount of electrical energy stored in a material by an applied voltage, relative to that stored in a vacuum), in which people could sit and absorb stored orgone energy or “orgone heat” from the surroundings, and supposedly heal themselves, or something along these lines.
In his Time magazine obituary, orgone energy accumulators are described as “telephone-booth-size devices that supposedly gathered energy from the atmosphere, and could cure, while the patient sat inside, common colds, cancer, and impotence.” 
|A modern-day version of Reich's orgone energy generator selling on Amazon. |
The construction of the boxes caught the attention of the press, leading to wild rumors that they were "sex boxes" that caused uncontrollable erections. 
Reich was concerned with experimental verification from other scientists and famously contacted German-born American Albert Einstein, who agreed to participate and test some of Reich’s theories.
On December 30, 1940, Reich wrote to Einstein saying he had a scientific discovery he wanted to discuss, and on January 13, 1941, went to visit Einstein in Princeton. They talked for five hours, and Einstein agreed to test an orgone accumulator, which Reich had constructed out of a Faraday cage (a metallic enclosure that blocks out external static and non-static electric fields) made of galvanized steel and insulated by wood and paper on the outside.
Einstein agreed that if, as Reich suggested, an object's temperature could be raised without an apparent heating source, thus violating the second law of thermodynamics, it would be a "bombshell" in physics. 
Einstein was said to have concluded that Reich's research lacked scientific detachment and experimental rigor, and in particular, found Reich's demonstrations of "orgone heat" inconclusive.  Reich eventually published a book on these experiments, and event which he dubbed the "Einstein affair", in 1953. 
Anti-orgone energy | Cloudbusters
Reich posited a conjugate, life-annulling energy in opposition to orgone, which he dubbed Deadly Orgone Radiation or DOR. He wrote that accumulations of DOR played a role in desertification, and he designed a "cloudbuster" with which he said he could manipulate streams of orgone energy in the atmosphere to induce rain by forcing clouds to form and disperse. It was a set of hollow metal pipes and cables inserted into water, which Reich argued created a stronger orgone energy field than was in the atmosphere, the water drawing the atmospheric orgone through the pipes. In 1953, he tested his cloudbuster orgone energy manipulator device out on blueberry crops, receiving money for his services.
● Siegfried Bernfeld and Sergei Feitelberg (and their libido energy and rectal temperature vs. brain temperature measurements of entropy, etc.).
1. Associated Press. (2008). “Eva Reich, 84, Lectured on Reichian Psychology”, Aug. 14, NYSun.com.
2. Mannion, Michael. (1997). “Historical Perspective Wilhelm Reich, 1897-1957” (abs), Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 3(3): 194-99.
3. Kelley, Charles R. (1962). “What is Orgone Energy?”, The Creative Process, Vol. II, Nos. 2-3
4. Staff. (1957). “Obituary notice for Wilhelm Reich”, Time, Nov 18.
5. Orgone experiment with Einstein (section) – Wikipedia.
6. Sharaf, Myron. (1994). Fury on Earth: a Biography of Wilhelm Reich (Einstein, pgs. 285-88). Da Capo Press.
7. Brian, Denis. (1996). Einstein: A Life (Reich, 9+ pgs; esp. 326). John Wiley & Sons.
8. (a) Meinke, Herman. (1990). “Possible Use of Chemical Ether Generators for Drought Removal”, Jul 24.
(b) DeMeo. (date). The Orgone Accumulator Handbook. Publisher.
(c) Reich, Wihelm. (1954). CORE, 6(1-4). July.
9. Cantwell, Alan. (2004). “Dr. Wilhelm Reich”, New Dawn Magazine, No. 84, May-Jun.
10. PCHD 2400 HD Heavy Duty Orgone/Life-Force Generator – Amazon.com.
11. Websters Dictionary.
12. Reich, Wilhelm. (1953). The Einstein Affair. Orgone Institute Press.
13. Reich, Wilhelm. (1923). “Concerning the Energy of Drives”, Zeitschrift fur Sexualwissenshcaft, Vol. 10; in: Early Writings, Volume 1 (pgs. 143-57; entropy, pg. 152), trans. Philip Schmitz. Macmillan, 1975.
● Orgone – Wikipedia.