In the 1970’s I was still under the thrall of my family’s very own “orgone guru,” the late, absolutely bonkers Austrian Freudian psychiatrist Dr. Wihelm Reich. I lent what skills I had to proving to skeptics that “orgone energy,” which I really can’t explain here except to say that it explains EVERYTHING, existed, could be measured and, possibly, photographed with the appropriate equipment, filters and film.
Thus it was I found myself working with Dr. Richard A. Blasband, one of the last orgonomists to be trained by Reich, a rather humorless man in his mid-40’s who had established an orgonomically-correct (no fluorescent lights, not near a nuclear power plant, etc.) laboratory in the countryside outside Doylestown, Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
The thing that made Blasband interesting was that he had constructed a “cloudbuster,” a purported weather-control device with which Reich claimed he had made it rain in the Arizona desert, among other achievements. You can see something like it in the Kate Bush/Donald Sutherland video “Cloudbusting,” but that’s sort of the Terry Gilliam version of one; Reich’s, as you can see, was much less complicated! (The photo is uncredited and in the public domain.)
Basically this isn’t a machine at all, as it has no obvious energy input, and you can only detect the output if you are a sufficiently “open” or “sensitive” or “unarmored” or “orgastically potent,” which all are ways of saying you’ve paid some Reichian therapist (they drift rather far afield, these days, from what Reich wrote) a lot of dead presidents to treat the chronic muscular tensions that are the root of all your neuroses, psychoses, repressed desire to kill/fuck your mother/father/poodle/FFA project or whatever is bothering you.
The cloudbuster’s nothing but a bunch of telescoping aluminum tubes on a gimbaled axis that allows it to be swung and aimed at any point of the sky, preferably from the horizon to the zenith. The tubes, in turn, are, by Reichian logic, grounded by connecting them to a body of water (running is best) with flexible metal BX cable that has been wrapped in adhesive cloth tape. The theory is that the cloud buster will then “draw” the orgone energy from the sky to the body of water, and, depending on how you manipulate it, make all the clouds in the vicinity of where you point it either grow, or shrink.
(Hey, clouds are either doing one or the other, so you’re bound to win, right?)
With this contraption, Reich’s heirs (Such as Charles Kelly, James Trevor Constable, Blasband et. al.) claim to be able to do wondrous things such as change the path of mighty hurricanes by influencing the Earth’s “orgone energy envelope,” which is the force that controls hurricanes, natch.
(Hey, it’s Reichian physics, the less objective sense it makes, the greater its appeal!)
Let’s get one thing straight: Reich was trained as an M.D. and a psychiatrist, and that’s what he should have stuck with. His fascination with the microscope and his discovery of the “bions” (basic units of life) was the beginning of his endless fall down the rabbit hole of his own ego. Just because a man has a couple of interesting social ideas or espouses an appealing philosophy or writes a textbook titled “Character Analysis” doesn’t mean he, himself, can’t be totally fooled by a slick, sadistic, pedophile quack psychiatrist named Dr. Albert Duvall, who will molest virtually all of his pediatric patients as well as break his Hippocratic and psychiatric oaths with his adult patients.
Hmm, this piece is getting rather long, since I still have the original notes from the experiment, and the rather extensive analysis of the slides to refer to. Perhaps I should make this Part 1, and continue later in the day, it being 12:07 a.m.? Perhaps indeed.