Orgone energy is an alleged type of "primordial cosmic energy" discovered by Dr. Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957) in the late 1930s. Reich was an Austrian immigrant to the U.S. who had been trained as a medical doctor, psychiatrist, and Freudian psychoanalyst.
Reich claimed that orgone energy is omnipresent and accounts for such things as the colour of the sky, gravity, galaxies, the failure of most political revolutions, and a good orgasm. In living beings, orgone is called bio-energy or Life Energy. Reich believed that orgone energy is "demonstrable visually, thermically, electroscopically and by means of Geiger-Mueller counters."* However, only true believers in orgone energy (i.e., orgonomists practising the science of orgonomy) have been able to find success with the demonstrations.
Reich claimed to have created a new science (orgonomy) and to have discovered other entities, such as bions, which to this day only orgonomists can detect. Bions are alleged vesicles of orgone energy which are neither living nor non-living, but transitional beings.
Reich died on November 3, 1957, in the Federal Penitentiary at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, where he was sent for criminal contempt. The criminal charge was levied because Reich refused to obey an injunction against selling quack medical devices such as the Orgone Accumulator and orgone "shooters," devices which allegedly could collect and distribute orgone energy, thereby making possible the cure for just about any medical disorder except, perhaps, megalomania and self-delusion.
The Food and Drug Administration not only declared that there is no such thing as orgone energy, they had some of Reich's books burneda sure-fire way to ignite interest in somebody.
Despite having little status in the scientific community, Reich's ideas have been passed on by a number of devoted followers led by Elsworth F. Baker, M.D., founder of The American College of Orgonomy, and Dr. James DeMeo of The Orgone Biophysical Research Laboratory, Inc., located in Ashland, Oregon. Baker's successors (he died in 1985) and DeMeo continue to defend both Reich the scientist and orgonomy.