“It was 50 years ago that physician-scientist Wilhelm Reich, best known for his discovery of a purported cosmic life force associated with sexual orgasm, died in federal prison, his books burned and his equipment destroyed by the government.
Ridiculed at the time, the European-born psychiatrist is today largely forgotten and his work on what he called orgone energy remains outside the scientific mainstream. But a small number of scientists and other believers are working to advance his studies — and resurrect his reputation. “Personally, I think it’s going to be a long time before all of his work is understood and recognized,” said Reich’s granddaughter, Renata Reich Moise, a nurse-midwife and artist in the coastal town of Hancock.
Also this month, archives comprised of nearly 300 boxes of Reich’s unpublished papers that were placed in storage at the Countway Library at Harvard Medical School will become available to researchers for the first time. Before going to prison, Reich directed in his will that the scientific papers, journals and diaries only be opened 50 years after his death. He also specified that his laboratory at the 175-acre site he dubbed Orgonon that overlooks Rangeley Lake be converted to a museum.”