by Gerry Vassilatos
extracted from "Lost Science"
His name forgotten and ignored by modernists, the life and work of Baron Karl von Reichenbach stands as a monument.
He is a true scientific legend, a giant,
a reminder that the world is more marvelous than we are led to
believe by those who misalign our perceptions and misdirect our
views. It is for this reason that I have chosen to begin the LOST
SCIENCE series with his biography.
His father, the Court Librarian, was
able to supply Karl with a rich reserve of arcane treasures. Books
of a most wonderful kind flooded his young life with the stimulating
and refreshing visions of a hundred forgotten naturalists.
His wealth increasing beyond all reckoning, he purchased lands literally from the Danube to the Rhine.
His fame and reputation as an industrialist and research scientist spread across Europe. In short, he was an exemplary scientist-mogul of legendary proportion. Reichenbach discovered paraffin in 1830, one practical result of his own research with coal tar and coal tar derivatives.
He did not stop making chemical discoveries of commercial impact however.
From coal tar he extracted,
...as well as Kapnomor, and Assamar.
The successful commercial development of
these organic substances brought him into greater wealth.
Reichenbach's discoveries founded the huge dye and chemical
industries by which Germany made legendary fortunes, which few but
German chemists remember.
He loved all things natural, especially
things that were considered extraordinary or rare. To this end he
collected things such as meteorites, a collection which was famous
in his day. While most academes ridiculed the notion of sky-falling
stones ("aeroliths"), he published several notable treatises on the
Reichenbach discovered a glowing energy form, which totally revolutionized his own worldview, as well as those who earnestly followed his marvelous publications. Until his death in 1869, he maintained that nature was suffused with a mysterious luminous energy from which it derived its vivifying powers.
How this great discovery was made begins
the controversial period of Reichenbach's life, that period when he
dared academic prejudice and plunged into the unknown.
He was perhaps first to address these "psychosomatic" illnesses. Somnambulism, night cramp, night fears, and emotional hysteria were remarkably incomprehensible maladies. Each such illness was utterly fascinating to him. They seemed to affect only certain "sensitive" or "nervous" individuals. The mystical nature of these ailments, especially that of "sleepwalking", provoked fear among all classes of people during this time period.
No class, ethnic, or religious group
lacked victims of the conditions, which seemed to carelessly select
its helpless victims. But beneath the surface of these extraordinary
maladies Reichenbach suspected the extraordinary.
But Reichenbach was not one given to
superstitious fear or fantasy. Though he suspected the
extraordinary, he also expected to discover a new force at work: an
undiscovered natural cause. Therefore he walked boldly into the
study with no preconceptions.
"Somnambulism", the technical term, is a condition in which sleeping individuals suddenly rise (yet asleep) and walk for long time periods until awakened.
When in the grips of this strange
seizure, the somnambulist walks out across precarious ledges and
rooftops. In a complete state of trance, somnambulists remain
absolutely unaware of their endangered states. Unaware of the
often-frightening heights to which their sleepwalking brought them,
many somnambulists died (and yet die) through tragic falls.
When under the strange spell, no manner
of arousal could break their trance-like state. Prisoners to
forces beyond the human understanding of the time, few would
escape the cruel grip of their illness until death. Lives wasted by
the malady which none dared mention, they lived out their time in
quiet fear and obscurity.
Their bodies in a strange state of
muscular catatonia, it was possible for these victims to sustain
deep gashing wounds entirely without pain until awakened. Widely
separated sleepwalking cases seemed unified on specific nights of
the month, a bizarre coalition.
This was the source of superstitious
fears surrounding the phenomenon, the almost paganistic movement
that these persons displayed in seeking out the moon. It was during
these opened displays that whole villages might know the presence of
a somnambulist. This is why parents were so careful to lock in their
afflicted children, regardless of age.
Imagine innocently going to sleep, and then awaking with a start atop a precarious ledge or rooftop alone! Many victims of the sleepwalking illness had to be locked into their bedchambers during the night by caring parents, some of who had prematurely aged with the strain.
Most victims who were severely afflicted
could never hold steady employment or perform the simple duties of
married life. Most withered away behind walls. Victims. Unknown and
Most townsfolk feared that the condition was a contagious evil.
Those with sleepwalkers in their
families were often shunned by all others. Called "lunatics" by most
country folks, the conditions were considered a curse, a plague, a
mark of evil, the opened cause of some horrid unconfessed deed. Many
families having these afflicted victims were barred from religious
attendance. Gradually separated from social mainstreams, these
families eventually perished in forced obscurity.
Because of a long-standing prejudicial poise, academes were not willing to study these specific illnesses or so-called "occult" forces.
Too great a change of scientific
foundations would be required. Furthermore, they challenged his data
gathering methods, declaring that no strict quantitative
measurements could ever be made in the study of "hysterias". In the
absence of such kinds of data, his study would fall apart.
The human subject was viewed by
Reichenbach to be a laboratory, a world in which perceptual energies
operate. There was no other means for studying such phenomena. Until
new and organismic meters could be developed, the human agent was
the laboratory. This new scientific poise, a shift from quantitative
to qualitative, attracted the critical attention of his colleagues.
Psychic forces could not yet be directly measured by laboratory instruments. He fully anticipated that later scientific developments would provide some kind of material detector for these mysterious powers, meters, which imitated organismic response.
Several such devices were later
developed and implemented as interactions between materials and
human energies were accidentally discovered (Torr, loire, Bose,
Pavlita, Meinke, Hanks).
Baron Reichenbach made the very first venture into a new scientific territory when once he observed the phenomenon for himself. The task would first entail a sociological profile, filled with new philosophical insights and new phenomena. Data itself would require philosophical re-interpretation until satisfying models for the problem could be developed.
Only a penetrating mind could see the
implications, which innumerable case studies would soon reveal.
Furthermore, the acquisition of necessary data would entail visiting
and consulting with hundreds, possibly thousands of families before
any definitive statements could begin.
Establishing trust with his "sensitives"
was the first real step in securing data of greater content.
Parents, however aged, were very quick to tell the Baron just when
and where the first occasion of sleepwalking began in their own
After compiling and studying thousands of such records, Baron von Reichenbach discovered certain curious features, which always accompanied those who were afflicted with night hysteria and somnambulism. As he went about carefully seeking his cases studies the prevalence of these phenomena truly shocked him. There were cases everywhere.
Parents told that night cramps, night fears, and sleepwalking appeared when their children were yet very young. In most cases, the conditions gradually disappeared with increasing age.
Night fear, night cramps, and somnambulism always followed the appearance of specific lunar phases, reaching maximum expressions at full moon. Afflicted individuals were not all older in years. Very little children were also afflicted. These little ones were too young to be actively aware of moon-related superstitions or frightening pagan fantasies.
Their particular form of hysteria or
somnambulism was not a response to family atmospheres of fright. It
was a natural response to an external natural influence.
The parents of sleepwalking children
were care-worn, silently suffering individuals.
These were spontaneous conditions,
manifesting so early in childhood that they could not be the result
of suggestion. Were the condition a hereditary weakness, then more
family members would suffer from it. But this was not the case.
Each told of the same pattern of
symptoms. The age when this malady first manifested often commenced
with the child's ability to walk. The question was disturbing. Why
would healthy young children suddenly exhibit the varieties of
Family structure did not influence their dread appearance. Otherwise dysfunctional families often did not produce case studies. Religious persuasion had no discernible effect either. He voiced the opinion that certain land regions might be devoid of sleepwalkers, being revealed only through more refined examinations of social groupings.
There were no preferences with respect
to sexuality. Male and female victims showed equal representation,
although women were more frequently cited by professionals as "more
susceptible to hysteria and night fears".
Social taboo maintained the wall of secrecy behind which afflicted persons maintained their own safety. Since sleepwalking and night fears were each traditionally associated with lunacy, to admit being a sleepwalker or having uncontrolled emotional reactions at sunset could be a life-threatening affair. There were more ancient times when whole families, having a single such sleepwalking member, were burned at the stake.
Many noble families and persons of
wealth were found by him to have had hysterical or somnambulistic
Ritual exorcisms, common in the
folk-religions of the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe, were
summoned with great caution. Fear of exposure by authority figures
of dubious alignment prevented both the cry for help and the sought
Furthermore, the Baron found that spells
of sleepwalking were usually preceded by curious prickling
sensations, "cramps", and muscle "spasms". This muscle "tetanus"
warned of the impending crisis, which signaled imminent sleepwalking
episodes to concerned family members. Nightfall threw those having
nocturnal phobia into paroxysms of crying and trembling with
apparently no reason at all.
Parents recognized the early symptoms,
preparing each month for sleepless nights. The condition is far more
prevalent today than is commonly assumed or admitted.
Physicians often called for persistent "nightmares" or "fevers" recognized the signs of sleepwalking. Vain was the help of physicians, whose herbal preparations offered no real cure. Sleepwalkers were never themselves sure whether their dreams were real excursions or fantasies, lacking all sense of reality.
Certain individuals interviewed by the
Baron remarked that their hands and arms became stiff, painfully
twitching uncontrollably just as the full moon phase was
Such body-permeating tetanus blocked
breathing, stiffening the torso as in death. In many cases, this
muscular tetanus resulted in complete immobilization and partial
paralysis throughout the week prior to uncontrollable sleepwalking
episodes in certain cases. Little could be done to give them aid.
The body stiffening, fright the result, uncontrolled shaking, those
who watched were utterly helpless.
He quickly discovered that such "sensitivity" was not at all uncommon.
In fact, he was thoroughly surprised to
find that such sensitivity permeated all classes and nationalities.
It was easy to find subjects. Chaperons always present, the
experiments were conducted in all dignity and scientific rigor. The
Baron was meticulous and patient, recording everything that he
observed with a special penetrating clarity, which became his own
The first group comprised individuals of a very nervous and sickly nature whose extreme neuro-sensitivity commenced only with ill-health. These were termed his "sick sensitives".
The second group was comprised of vibrantly healthy individuals having extreme sensitivity to all stimuli:
When sensitive states were examined, the
Baron found a series of amazing and unsuspected correlations.
The Baron registered a large population
of sensitives, first from his own districts and provinces. These
could be summoned to the Baron's estate for an exhaustive series of
What is generally not well known is the
historically strong connection among these three personages.
Mesmer's earliest work centers around the development of a strange battery-like accumulator by which his earliest and most famous cures were wrought. Since medical practitioners accused him of exclusively using hypnotic spells and suggestions, the historical reference to this battery remained shrouded in forgotten archives, a true mystery.
Where, however, do we find its most complete description? Nowhere else but in the writings of Baron von Reichenbach!
No doubt the result of his father's
library; this lost information was fortunately preserved. According
to Reichenbach's own reference, hypnotism is not what Mesmer
employed in his work at all.
A grounded device, the wooden tub housed several thick layers of wet vegetable matter and iron slag. A single iron rod ran through the entire composition, closed at the top with a circular wooden barrier. While working with the development and application of his special battery, Mesmer himself received a distinct impulse when he touched the single iron pole.
Electrostatic shock was not unknown.
Familiar with these, he declared that this energy was completely
different in nature, having a more body permeating and "thrilling"
aspect when experienced. But, none of Mesmer's subjects reported
that the effect was identical with common electrostatic shocks.
Those who touched the exposed rod experienced a sudden tingling rush, which permeated their bodies, bringing delighted shrieks or sighs, but most often stimulating a sudden unconsciousness. Many seemed to faint to the ground, although on awakening none reported pain or spasm at the onset of the "fainting".
Mesmer's attendants caught "fainting" patients. Many of the upper class came only for the diversion, but found themselves leaving the experience in some way relieved of unsuspected emotional blocks.
When these individuals awoke, they were apparently relieved of inaccessible, life-distorting emotional blocks. Mesmer simply watched cures taking place. Patients were simply directed to grasp the free terminal of the large tub-shaped battery. The nobles treasured his science, seeing him as a modern alchemist.
Their desire was to keep him near the
Upon examination, electrostatic energy
could not have been developed by the Mesmer battery. The arrangement
represented a electrical short-circuit. In addition, the monopole
could not have produced adequate electrical voltage to achieve such
permeating physiological effects. Furthermore, no low voltage or
high amperage current could have been developed in this structure.
Mesmer had discovered a distinct form of
energy which few academicians and other professionals refused to
acknowledge. The energy with which Mesmer dealt was classed among
those peculiar vivifying energies termed "vitalistic".
The vilification of Mesmer entailed greater cause than most suspect. Obvious is the danger which Mesmeric medical practice posed to ordinary physicians. This is why most professionals do not like the association of Freud with either Mesmer or Reichenbach.
Yet, like Mesmer himself, the theme and
association is an indelible historical fact. Baron von Reichenbach
had carefully studied all the historical references concerning
Mesmer while yet in his youth. Familiarity with the widest possible
range of different scientific topic areas was a lesson graciously
learned from his father, the Court Librarian.
His first work began with an absolute
reliance on hypnotic methods. Later awareness of ‘subconscious"
symbols and emotional associations caused him to deviate from
Freud's original means for treating neurasthenia and hysteria.
Thus separated from the world at large, neurasthenics and those prone to hysteria often progressed into deeper states of alienation: the journey from neurosis to psychosis.
This collective title branded their
victims with such completely negative associations that none dared
enter the study, which could possibly lead to a "cure". Persons
designated as neurasthenics and somnambulists were not treated in
the same manner as others. With such secrecy, ignorance was given
Years later, studying Reichenbach's work, Freud rejected causes of neurasthenia which involved "external influences". Citing the power of dreams and symbols as a distinctly permeating energy, he delved into supposed suppressed memories and painful "traumatic" life episodes.
This change of direction did not
adequately and effectively provide a treatment, which changed
patients in a short time period.
Reichenbach, however, looked for purely
physical causes of the malady. If an external energy was influencing
a person's physiology, then every illness termed "neurasthenic"
could be cured.
They were ill, but their malady did not proceed from emotional or mental cause at all.
In fact, far more persons evidenced the
condition in mild form than most suspected. The Baron did not
believe that dreams or suppressed memories were the real roots of
sleepwalking at all. Neither did he therefore apply any of the
"talking tools" later exclusively implemented by Freud to free his
Reichenbach believed that subconscious "inductions" followed more mysterious natural energies. Negative thoughts, emotions, and imagery polarized around the entrance of such natural energies. Sleepwalking symptoms would first appear when these mysterious currents entered a person's physiology.
All the foul and negative associations
would follow much later. Reichenbach believed that the sleepwalking
malady was a consequence of external, body permeating forces. He
expressed the belief that a force, a new and yet unmeasured force,
was the cause of all these case histories.
There were those who criticized the use of human agents as measuring tools. These colleagues protested that human subjects were often easily influenced by all kinds of suggestions and other effects, and were therefore completely unreliable.
Reichenbach agreed that verbal
suggestion was a problem. He had learned, at the very onset, not to
"lead the subject on" with excessive questions. But as to their
sensitivity to "all kinds of effects", well… that was the point of
using them! Only human agents could experience the very effects and
influences, which he was trying to detect!
Designed to evoke suggestions in such
subjects, the Baron became an experimental adept in these regards.
He selected out only those sensitives who were adamant concerning
their perceptions, eliminating those highly suggestible persons who
could easily fault his stringent scientific requirements with their
He later formally reported the clear distinctions between actual sensitivity and mere suggestion, a daring but necessary disclosure.
The Baron decided to utilize sensitives from every social class and nationality where possible. No other academician would dare touch the issue for fear of losing title and position. Just as had been done with Franz Anton Mesmer, many feared reprisals for the mere association with "vitalistic" research.
Most researchers of high rank were thus
eliminated from the most exciting and astounding research venue of
the early Victorian Era. Later Victorian academes broke the
conservative tradition and plunged into the study of vitalism,
replete with its references to animal magnetism and, or course,
Mesmer (Crookes, Lodge, White, Tesla, Lahkovsky).
He did not equate Mesmer with hypnotism,
knowing and practicing both hypnotic suggestion and "Mesmeric
He mastered the method with great proficiency.
In Mesmeric passes of the hand one could distinctly sense the movement of a mysterious "influence", which proceeded from its administrator to the recipient. It was after all a simple exchange of an unknown energy which Mesmer termed "animal magnetism". Subjects, in several instances, were attracted to the hand of the administrator, hence the term "magnetism".
Reichenbach found that these "magnetic
passes" of the hand over somnambulists could temporarily reduce
their symptomologies of cramp or muscular tetanus.
Just as his passing hand could bring relief, so too a mysterious "passing energy" brought them into misery. The root and cause of all emotional ailments had to be an invasive external force. This agency had to be a force, a radiance, or a current, which acted as an allergen to sensitive persons. This, he insisted was the cause of all these bizarre symptoms.
He therefore tried to isolate this
"occult force". But, where would he begin? How would he find an
energy, which had been attended by so many centuries of fear and
Reichenbach explored the possibility
that some accepted, though previously unrecognized force
combination, might be the "irritant", the true natural cause of
sleepwalking. Reichenbach did not first grope for the improbable,
proceeding from the known to the unknown.
It was obvious that not all persons were plagued with the yearly onset of "hay fever", despite its wide manifestation during late summer. The pollen of trees and flowers did not produce the allergic symptoms in all people.
There were a few individuals who
manifested specific allergic reactions to roses or gardenias, oak
trees or dogwoods, goldenrod or hay. In a similar way could not this
sleepwalking not be an allergic reaction? But, what allergen
continued to exist during the snowy winters?
If some mysterious physical force was
directly influencing these persons, then perhaps most people were
basically "insensitive" to its pervasive influence. Somnambulistic
muscle tetanus bore an unmistakable likeness to electrical shock
responses over a long period of time. The Baron at first believed
that sleepwalking might be caused by some kind of greatly sustained
If the "permeating force" hypothesis was going to work at all, it certainly required a more complete and practical analysis now.
Qualitative experimentation would be the
necessary route toward ascertaining this truth, since only
sensitives could reveal the effects, which he sought. The sensitives
were his "detectors". But he could balance their response against a
Then, any electrostatic environment would send them into convulsive fits and spasms for a sustained period of time. Yes. Perhaps an invisible electrostatic condition was activating the primary tetanus response in certain "sensitive" individuals.
Forces and irritability. His thesis was beginning to take a more scientific form now. He formally postulated that these episodes of muscle cramping, painful twitching, irritability, and finally sleepwalking was actually the result of a special sensitivity to natural electricity.
The response resembled a prolonged and compounded "electro-tetanus":
But this is not what he found.
Like "heat lightning" these covered very large areas of ground, sending almost imperceptible electrical shocks throughout grounds, buildings, animals, and people.
Were not animals observably disturbed
long prior to lightning storms? Sensitive meters measured sudden
electrostatic impulses when ground-connected. Such measurements
indicated that large area "invisible" lightning discharges were
shuddering through the ground incessantly. Such shocks would
definitely be perceived by the body as an irritant.
In fact, though houses were riddled with
many thousands of surging electrostatic volts during such storms,
these individuals did not show any of the muscle tetanus symptoms.
Not so much as a single muscular spasm, the usual onset of the
sleepwalking episodes, was observed during severe thunderstorms.
How much more would supersensitive human neurology respond to such pervasive magnetic influences?
Applications of bar magnets to sensitive
individuals already proved to produce muscle tetanus reactions. In
fact, on several occasions, the Baron stimulated a trance-state in
some sensitives merely by passing a bar-magnet over them. Painful
cramping and trance were each repeatedly induced among several
different sensitives until the Baron was sure that the response was
Only then would the correlation be sealed and proven. Measurable magnetic surges occurred throughout the day and night for weeks. Surprisingly however, there were few correlations between these magnetic surges and the somnambulistic symptoms.
How could this be?
The hand-held magnets produced both
defined tetanus and trance states, while terrestrial magnetic surges
did not. Here was a true mystery. Bar-magnets were several orders
more powerful than the regional influence. But the regional
influence was supposedly the cause of sleepwalking symptoms.
With the exception of the bar magnet
activity, no correlation could be shown to exist between terrestrial
magnetism and sleepwalking. Was there an unrecognized force then?
What force was projected by bar-magnets, which was not projected by
Though he originally dodged the issue, he was ready to try the last resort. There was that one common factor in all somnambulistic case studies. Only one. And that common element had more mythology associated with it than most academicians cared to recount.
the Moon. Something about the
radiations from the moon.
Nevertheless, the presence of full
moonlight always produced the most dramatic sleepwalking episodes.
The Baron began analyzing his own findings, now correlating "common
features" among all his many thousands of case studies. It paid well
to do such basic research, acquiring data with no predetermined
schema in mind. There were several scientifically plausible
connections to his data in this hypothesis.
This line of thought brought on a
revolution in his scientific approach, which led to a startling
discovery. If sensitive neurophysiologies responded to mysterious
"permeating" regional influences, then these influences were
completely unrecognized by academic science. The new force, which he
The age-old association of mental
illness and lunar phase could not be taken seriously!
One by one, sensitives were permitted to
rest within a completely darkened room. The curtains drawn, the
lunar light completely absent, he observed a small alleviation of
their muscular symptoms. This first discovery revealed the curious
and sometimes "spontaneous cure" which these persons often
experienced when remaining completely indoors during these lunar
Though this effect very gradually faded
away, it offered evidence of the allergenic reaction, which he had
previously hypothesized. Mirror-reflected moonlight gave weaker, but
In addition to these pain-inducing
effects, the Baron observed that sensitives were strongly attracted
into the moonlight. They each displayed a desire to touch and be
drawn more into the moonlight. Could this physiological attraction
explain why they so often, quite unconsciously, were led outdoors
during their trance-states?
Moonlight did indeed produce "allergic" irritations in certain sensitive persons. An unexpected discovery of enormous import. He published these early findings, only after confirming these findings in several hundred other cases. An allergic reactivity to lunar spectra existed among these strange neurosensitives perhaps because its spectrum contained certain elemental irritants.
This hypothesis was very easy to test. The Baron placed a large glass prism in the moonbeam, splitting the lunar light into its own distinct rainbow. The lunar spectrum contained the sleepwalker's irritants in distinct colors. Lunar red produced the irritating heat; lunar green actually induced cramping on contact!
Longer exposures to moonlight induced
partial paralysis, amounting to a peculiar loss of consciousness.
Thereafter, partial sleepwalking episodes were actually induced.
Here then was the real cause of somnambulism and cramp. Once thought
to be an occult or spiritistic phenomenon.
Thrusting the rod into the light beam produced sickness, sometimes vomiting. Most certainly the glass was conducting something more than light. He next gave a plate of metal to his subjects, requesting that they introduce the metal into the shaft of moonlight. Movement of the metal plate into the light shaft produced the cramping response.
Lunar radiations were being conducted by the metal plates directly into the body of the neurosensitive.
This was not light which entered their
Was this the mysterious energy he had previously hypothesized? A new series of experiments marked a clear division between his former apologetic and latter revolutionary research. He began devising novel apparatus specifically for making precise qualitative observations.
Positioning large metal plates on outer
window ledges, which faced the moon, he designed special conductive
apparatus to which sensitives were exposed. Thick braided wires,
each being brought into a chamber through the window, were held by
each sensitive during individual examinations.
It was clear that an unknown energy was
actually radiating from the termination! This energy began in light
rays, was absorbed and conducted through metals, and then could
discharge from conductors like light! Fantastic! The fact that human
sensation alone could experience the effects validated the
qualitative nature of Reichenbach's work.
Those who felt the discharge from furthest distances were true "highest sensitives". Those who required contact with the braid were "lowest sensitives".
Direct contact with the braid always
gave the most severe and painful cramps. This contact always evoked
prolonged reactions. A one-minute touch often brought a one-hour
The contact seemed "hot… irritating… uncomfortable".
But this was just what they reported that direct moonlight produced!
Since the very same effects could be
communicated through a wire braid, the energy had little to do with
the light at all. It was obvious that a special energy, radiating
from the moon, was merely conducted along light rays. Now he had to
isolate and understand this species of energy with a determined
In the same manner, extremely fine
compass needles were not moved by the mysterious current. The energy
was therefore not magnetic in species. It was just as he had
determined previously. What then was it? Would other celestial
bodies produce the same kinds of effects?
Using the large glass prism, Reichenbach
discovered that sunlight also possessed specific spectral components
in which the mysterious energy seemed most concentrated. A suffusing
and irritating "heat" was reported in red solar light. This heat
provoked a "stuffy claustrophobic" feeling but no muscular spasms.
Sensitives felt stronger and more alive when touching wire exposed to solar violet light. In addition, sensitives were able to discern the "violet excitations" and the "red irritations" in metal objects, which had been merely exposed to solar light for several minutes!
This significant discovery opened a new
Clearly this was a completely unrecognized force having its own laws and properties.
It was an identity, which evoked identical reports in the greatest majority of sensitives. This was indeed the mystery energy, which caused somnambulism and its frightful attendant maladies. How this mysterious energy permeated whole regions of ground was now clear.
Light energy saturated homes with the
currents, and sensitives responded to the currents. Specific areas
of land could probably absorb more of this energy than others. These
places would show higher incidence of sleepwalkers. Similarly, there
were probably places, which were absolutely free of sleepwalkers.
They were not told what to expect. In the dark, the Baron introduced the wire braid. He had placed it into various portions of solar or lunar spectra, waiting for their honest responses. Without prompting or coaching, each independently reported the very same sensations and impressions.
As the braid came within a set distance,
each immediately felt the strange sensations, which radiated from
the end. Moonlight always produced hot irritations and cramps.
Sunlight violet always produced cool pleasantries, the reversal of
night fears. Here was a more scientific distinction, which
differentiated the historical preferences for sunlight or moonlight
in different individuals.
An entirely distinct, and previously
unsuspected world of forces was at work! Here was an opened door,
through which all of the academically ridiculed energies found
entrance. Human physiology was the invaluable tool by which it was
detected. Here now was where the reviled ancient sciences found
their vindication, evidencing the qualitative sensitivity of ancient
naturalists who spoke of "the radiant world".
Certain families had learned that their
children could be "cured" from the sleepwalking affliction by simply
putting them in a more interior room of the house. This effectively,
and most fortunately, insulated them from lunar light. So, the Baron
decided to maximize the conditions of this "insulation", and thereby
cure all his cases.
Reichenbach sought the development of an
insulator to help these infirm persons, a means by which living
quarters could be isolated and "sterilized" from all
photo-contaminations. Although thick barriers could not block out
the strange currents completely, proper insulation was not without
its curative effects.
Plenty of sunshine would actually be therapeutic for their "nervous" physiological states. Extreme such sensitivities would require that heavy tapestries be placed around sensitives against lunar light. It was apparent that these mystery currents were powerful allergic agents: photo-allergens. Without the insidious implications of madness and dysfunction now, the victims of somnambulism had found their help.
The Baron established rooms for their
recuperation. Those suffering from night hysteria and night cramps
took sunlight and found that their symptoms were disappearing in
time. The cures were miraculous and mystifying.
"Odos" in Ancient Greek meant "roadway".
"Voda" in Old Norse means, "I go quickly …! stream forth".
"Odylle", "Ode", and "Od", the names, which Reichenbach gave to this singularly fundamental energy, also referred to Wodin, the "all-transcending one".
The name was the first of a new technical lexicon, which Reichenbach would build throughout the next few decades, despite final and loud academic protests. Od energy represented a Victorian revelation, an opening of ancient knowledge.
Od energy was far more than an ordinary
inertial force. Od was an energy, which somehow linked sensation and
the world, a personal energy that connected individuals directly
with the very core of natural reality.
Taking a large length of braided wire,
the Baron asked his subjects to hold their end of the braid. In an
isolated chamber, he then touched the termination to a heavy metal
plate, which sat under pure sunshine. He timed the effect. When the
sensitive reported the sensation, the Baron could calculate the
actual conductive velocity along the braid.
Time was always required between the
connective application and the sensitive perception of the energy in
his subjects. Some 30 seconds was often required before any
manifestation could be experienced after an initial application of
light at the other end.
Saturated objects "spilled over" with Od currents. Steel objects and given volumes of water each held their maximum Od charge for 10 minutes or more. Od was sensibly conducted along electrical insulators such as silk threads, cotton threads, glass rods of great length, wooden dowels, and long resinous strands.
Also noteworthy in these regards was the way in which the energy would "load" this conductive matter, being stored for several minutes after the connective wire was removed. In some cases, the energy would remain in certain materials for up to one hour's time before leaking away!
The healing Od violet energy of sunlight
could be stored in Leyden Jars for a very long time. Od entered the
body-interior of materials, which it traversed. This mode of
propagation differed completely from electrical charging, where
charges traverse the conductive surface only.
Despite the great length of these wires
in some cases, new sensitives continued to accurately and
independently distinguish the "heat" of moonlight, and the "cold" of
Here were highly consistent experiential states, effects that could not be mechanistically resolved. Od was not heat or cold, not temperature, yet it was able to be perceived as such in sensitives.
A more thorough and exhaustive
scientific approach was now obviously necessitated.
During an examination, the Baron arranged his solar light experiment and introduced his familiar braided line to a select group of sensitives. The room was excessively darkened, the sunshine saturating the light-receiving plate outside. Sensitives each began reporting a visible flame of white light, which projected vertically from the braid end.
The Baron noted these reports with
Reichenbach found that his high
sensitives each had personal familiarity with the phenomenon,
assuming that everyone could see the lights. It was found that each
gained this ability during childhood, oftentimes coinciding with the
onset of sleepwalking.
As designed, all of his experimental
apparatus were prepared in an adjoining darkroom. These could be
introduced to the darkroom and presented to observers in prearranged
sequences. Materials were also carefully laid away in darkrooms for
very long time periods. In this manner, any solar stimulated light
emissions could be eliminated at once.
Floors were blackened and covered with
insulative materials. Hallways and rooms were blackened. Windows
were blackened and sealed tight all around, covered with thick black
layers of cloth.
Now he could corroborate their
statements! Od lights appeared without any special stimulations or
treatments. Od luminosity differed completely from frictive
luminescence. Od was a natural phosphorescence, which connected all
It became difficult to differentiate
between the experientially induced sensations and the luminous
pulsations themselves. Od force was not an inert force, it was a
personal force; one whose influences permeated observers. As Od
changed, so sensation changed.
Reichenbach preferred the term Od,
recognizing that Od was a world-permeating presence of far greater
importance than" originally supposed. The relationship of soul and
matter seemed not to be a problematic discussion when recognizing
that Od force truly permeated all matter. Od represented the world
soul, flooded and coursing throughout matter everywhere.
He eventually came to discern the
peculiar twilight of the dark viewing room. Od vision was most
clearly perceived in the darkness. Forms and colors were clearly
seen by most sensitives, illuminated by Od light alone.
He needed to modify the room considerably before reasonably complete "Odic purity" could be observed. Despite the placement of heavy woven Od absorbent tapestries on ceilings and walls, each continued to see the other as a vague and ghostly blue-gray presence.
The clearest details of facial features…
face, head, shoulders and hands… all exposed parts, could be seen.
Solar Od permeated everything with its wonderfully vivifying
Since Od permeated all matter, it also permeated physiology. When considering the active role of Od in both the mind and the eye, it was difficult not to deduce a strong identity. If Od could activate visionary imagination, then it was the actual cause of optical vision. Describing this spontaneous and apparently unending phosphorescence became a fascination from which he never departed to the very end of his life.
Earnestly desiring to share this
miraculous experience with other colleagues, the Baron warned that
none of his precautions were to be violated if success in obtaining
Od visual effects was truly desired.
One cannot imagine the Baron's own
patience, considering that he performed these experiments for
several decades with innumerable repetitions!
A large prism was utilized in order to
ascertain which specific portions of solar light actually contained
the greatest fund of the mysterious Od current. A special
open-walled room just below the Castle roof area was prepared for
receiving Od currents from any desired celestial source.
Red irritations were canceled by violet
excitations, and vice-versa. He assigned polarities to these
spectral bands, giving the violet band a "negative" value and the
red band a "positive" value.
To them the violet rays of sunlight supplied an energetic nutrient. Sunlight was more agreeable to those afflicted with spasms and cramps. This is why they also abhorred the night, often physically fearing its approach.
This explained their "nocturnal phobia", the shaking and fright. Deficient in the ability to saturate violet energies in their own bodies, each sunset left them horribly depleted.
The violent shaking and emotions were in
no way different than those manifested by undernourished persons. Od-polarizations
explained the physiological symptoms of somnambulism, night cramp,
night fears, and emotional hysteria in a very concise descriptive
manner. The superstitious fear concerning each was effectively
dispelled when comprehending Od currents.
The Od cold flooded their bodies and the
room. Whenever the air was disturbed by talking, the flame flickered
in response. In this latter phenomenon, Reichenbach realized that
air was not dispersing the flames. Odic emanations from the mouths
of sensitives were blowing out the flames. This vibrant response to
speech was a new and thrilling suggestion of telecommunications at
an early date.
The Baron recognized that gradual
introductions were necessary in these experiments, since the Od
force took time to manifest and experience.
When she stepped back into the shade,
the wire flame diminished, while producing a disagreeable Od heat,
which they all experienced in their turn.
Zinc gave reddish white flames. Glass
was substituted for metal, producing a white lambent Od flame.
Polarized light, through a 35-degree angle window, produced no
noticeable differences in Od flame colorations when allowed to fall
on the metal plates.
Green being the midpoint, disagreeable
heating sensations appeared from yellow through red. Spectral green
moonlight itself produced strong muscular cramping, as did the green
spectrum of sunlight.
Several high sensitives clearly saw a tufted flame, some 10 inches in height and thick, rising from the wire end. Moonlight produced an unexpected attraction in several sensitives, who wished to follow the wire line right out into the night sky! Their hands, arms, and torsos became so rigidified by the wire contact alone that he had to stop the experiment.
To give an idea of the Baron's
thoroughness in these regards, consider that these experiments were
performed through three full moon phases with a specific cluster of
Each produced the disagreeable heating action for a prolonged period of time. In addition, objects so saturated could be identified without question, the characteristic heat of lunar light becoming familiar. There were surprising colorations and auric flames resulting from these lunar exposures.
Copper produced red and green flames
together, both zinc and silver produced tufted flames of white,
while tin extended blue auric flames. The differences between direct
natural light and light passed through glass plates was now closely
Water exposed to direct sunlight had a
"different taste", being cool and slightly acidulous. Water exposed
to glass filtered sunlight tasted "warm and bitter". Apparently,
water was able to retain Od when once exposed to Od sources.
Violet color bands producing cool and acidulated qualities, red color bands producing warm and nauseating qualities.
Here was yet another qualitative "fete accompli". The Baron challenged fellow chemists to discover the purely "chemical changes" which had been wrought in the water samples. He himself, a "chemist extraordinaire", could in no way find traces of any "chemical" additions by these exposures.
The inference that a "pure quality" had
entered water, producing these clear and manifest effects, was
absolutely abhorrent to his colleagues. The flavors were distinct.
The effects sometimes violent. Several sensitives became so nauseous
when drinking the "red water" that they began vomiting.
Water exposed to red light ("amarom")
and that exposed to violet light ("acidulum") sparked a new
controversy among academicians.
The crossover between two worlds, one of qualities and the other of quantities, proved that one precedes the other.
Here it was possible to enhost "mere
qualities" into matter. Therefore, qualities themselves were much
more than metaphoric realities. It was obvious to the Baron that the
qualitative world of Od currents were the fundamental
world-permeating power. His colleagues in Berlin were incensed.
Fitted with a light receptive
organization, light from various celestial bodies was directed into
pure water samples. Solar water produced restful sleep within
fifteen minutes' time. Lunar water had a strong unpleasant taste,
producing characteristic nausea.
Refrigeration eliminated the foul lunar
flavorings and the extreme irritability.
Various other planetary configurations produced specific emotional effects: sadness, weeping, anger, and disorientation.
In short, hysterical symptoms.
What is very conspicuous in all of the Baron's rigorous and lengthy studies is the sheer consistency of reports made by his sensitives. The Baron was a seeker of truth, not fond of self-deception.
He already recognized the subtle manner
by which the experimenter could contaminate empirical results with
"suggestions" and "expectations". He therefore adopted a bland
questioning technique by which the new sensitive would be introduced
to an experimental arrangement before observations were made.
Silence was the rule thereafter.
The sensitives were trained in this
silent process. None could see the other. Sound mufflers filled the
rooms, so that scuffling could not disturb the concentrated
Each shared a range of other
sensitivities, which allowed a deeper kind of Od research. Each of
these high sensitives reported the rare ability, personally noted
from an early age, of seeing luminous colorations and "rainbow
effects" around specific materials. This vision persisted in the
night as well as during the sunlit hours. The Baron ascertained from
each independently that the auras were visible in both sunlight and
in the darkness. Here was a rare opportunity to study the fabled
"aura vision" firsthand!
Most dealt with their ability by hiding
it, though they were never without the vision.
The colorations, which they saw in and around each viewed object, always maintained a fixed identity. Auras differed among objects and materials, providing a means for distinguishing among the objects viewed.
Sensitives reported that material auras
each were possessed of distinctly "soft, striated, and harsh"
qualities. Sometimes these auras "pulsated, throbbed, and streamed"
into space. Reichenbach was completely enthralled by this new
discovery. Sensitives could enable the accurate exploration of the
He carefully noted distinct differences between the Odic luminosity of male and female auras. Auric differences among persons of different age and temperament were distinguished.
The Baron stated that, by experimental examinations, the aura of each individual differs,
States of health and illness could be correctly diagnosed by the auric observation high-sensitives on infirm persons.
Sensitives could actually "see into" the auric bodies and anatomical chambers of others, discerning states of vitality or illness, even detecting "lesions" or other such "dark markings".
There were frequent corroborations with
physicians, who isolated the very disorders described by the
sensitives. Their vision was indeed accurate. This was no
superstitious activity. To the Baron, this was a case of superior
and mysterious vision. Surpassing Od vision.
During the early twentieth century, Dr.
Walter Kilner developed diagnostic techniques, which derived
from Reichenbach's studies of the human aura. Dr. Kilner's method
employed special glass filters of dicyanin, a liquid through which
the aura could be clearly visualized. It was possible for Dr. Kilner
to make detailed examinations of human auras against sunshine in
special examination chambers.
A whole range of different materials was
brought together in order to record descriptions of Od emanations by
sensitives. Chemical solutions, chemical powders, metal plates,
cloth composites, organic matter, stones, plant matter, the human
body itself; all were drawn into the viewing chamber to be studied
and re-studied several thousands of times.
In the Baron's darkrooms, natural phenomena could freely express themselves without hindrance. His experiments began with study of the "dark rainbows" and their relationship with mineral matter. An incredible array of substances was introduced into the preparation chamber. Samples were placed on the small circular revolving table in the adjoining equally blackened preparation room.
Rotation of this table would silently send it into the viewing room.
The signal bell being struck, each
sensitive would examine the viewing space for luminous radiations.
As each empirical description was made in detail, the former
materials were removed. New materials were continually and gradually
introduced on this revolving table. Each toll of the bell signaled a
new "dark visual" examination.
Through his numerous mines and industrial refineries he was privy to otherwise inaccessible minerals and chemical samples. Each of his rare chemical, metal, and mineral specimens were carefully brought through the window, Od emanations being described. These sessions each took many hours.
The number of substances actually employed during each darkroom examination period exceeded six hundred. Along with these, came numerous other element "composites" in which material combinations were studied.
Viewing each of these samples, his
sensitives reported astounding variations in Od color and
intensities. These colors were wonderfully brilliant when once the
eyes had grown accustomed to the absolute blackness, in no way
resembling the familiar phosphorescence of solar stimulated rocks
and chemicals. These new manifestations were flame-like and complex,
possessed of defined structure and polar differentiation.
After several hours of patient observation in utter blackness, the wonderful ability became effortless. He then realized that sensitives were neurologically gifted individuals who were capable of sensing the exceeding faint influences of Od. Persons who never realized their own sensitivity to such energies were brought into the black rooms. As soon as they too grew accustomed to the blackness, they each actually saw the Od lights emanating from each sample.
The Baron stated that most people can
see Odic phosphorescence, but may never have had the experience
because of the total blackness and lengthy preparation time required
before seeing the displays.
The Baron listed what the group had independently and painstakingly affirmed in his "Od Elemental Tables":
In addition, it was reported that strong Od cold was produced by,
Strong Od heat was produced by,
The flames of certain elements expelled their Od flames in curious tensions.
Points on the samples produced more intense colorations. Variously colored, and decidedly high pressured in appearance, these auras each resembled electrical "brush" discharges. With these fundamental pieces of data, he was able to arrange an "Od-periodic table".
The Baron found that strongly electropositive elements (alkali metals) produced Od heat, and strongly electronegative elements (halogens) produced Od cold. These known Od sources now provided the Baron with an experiential reference through which new comparisons could be made.
How Od was modified when passing through
different materials or configurations would teach more about the Od
nature. Compound metal blocks (welded copper and zinc) gave no
compound effects in sensitives, whose senses detected the
independent emanations of each individual element. Soldered
copper-zinc blocks produced only the "copper warmth" and the "zinc
There were few materials, which did not conduct Od: paper (especially in layers), leather, and cloths of excessive weave and thickness.
Od could jump across gaps and resistant
barriers, forming its own articulate circuits directly through
matter. Od did not behave as electricity often does, surrounding and
avoiding the interiors of materials and geometric forms. Od
penetrated and articulated throughout the body of most materials.
These usually took the appearance of a soft flame which took an ascendant path toward the ceiling. Strong blowing against these flames successfully divided these flames.
Their progress toward the zenith was not hindered afterwards, the flames rejoining and ascending in full force once again. There were times when these flames were influenced, wavering rapidly by unknown external causes. These breezy effects were never quite understood by the Baron, there being no knowable cause for this at that time.
It was obvious that some insensible
regional disturbance caused these wavering drifts. He found it
possible to cause auric divergence by rapidly rotating the samples.
Auric flames were blown outward by this rotary action.
Chemical solutions were mixed in the preparation room and instantly introduced before the sensitives. Chemical reactions produced bright colorations whose luminosity gradually faded with time.
Sulphuric acid, poured into water and
stirred produced a red tufted flame, which rose straight up the
glass-stirring rod. When an iron wire was placed into a concealed
sui ph uric acid solution, sensitives visually identified auric
flames from the wire terminal brought out before them.
Touching their end of the long connective wire, certain sensitives could feel the bubbling of chemically active solutions as real "shocks", which traveled through their bodies in a disagreeable manner. Ordinary candle flames were touched to the long conductive test wire, producing an amazing Od cold in sensitives.
Many sensitives reported that, when
attending church mass, they were often made uncomfortably cold by
"frigid draughts" exuded from candle stands!
Wool was used to rub the same copper plate, producing a strengthened Od heat effect. A silk handkerchief produced the strongest reaction of the previous two trials. Rubbed tin plates produced weak Od heating effects.
A saw blade ripped through some wood in
the dark. The sensitive saw nothing of the possible lights produced
by this friction, but rather identified definite reddish flames
coming from every tooth of the blade shortly after it was drawn
These flames, along with the heating
emanations, disappeared a while after the rubbing ceased. Iron and
steel demonstrated an amazing ability to retain Od effects for
upwards of two hours.
This primitive electrostatic charging
method was a frictive source. He found that sensitives consistently
reported Od cold with positive electrifications, Od heat with
negative charges. Od sensations out-proportioned both frictive and
electric forces in these cases. In addition, the Baron noticed that
the luminous effects of electrification proceed independently of
those produced by Od effects, the two never interfering.
In addition, experimental researches of the "forbidden" Franz Anton Mesmer were now equally fathomed. The Baron examined the earliest designs of Mesmer, his special ground battery, the "baquet". Analyzing its construction from early descriptions available to him, he comprehended why the device so powerfully acted on subjects.
The Baron knew why it operated, and why it was able to send "thrill shocks" into those who touched its single iron terminal. The Mesmer battery was a powerful chemical Od generator, having several layers of Od reactants.
He clearly comprehended why stirring the
battery occasionally would "restore its activity".
When this magnet came through the dark window into the viewing room, the sensitive peeled with an ecstatic delight. Declaring the colors and intensity of Od light from the magnet to exceed all other displays, the Baron was truly impressed. Reichenbach next examined magnets of great strength. His hopes of comprehending something of the terrestrial condition would not be disappointed.
Large magnets of various sizes, shapes,
and symmetries were now examined. With these came perhaps the most
startling colorations and focused Od effects.
The Baron was excited by these
declarations because he too could see them. He wished to produce the
effect with greater power. Employing a 100-pound horseshoe magnet of
numerous layers, poles pointing upward, each sensitive clearly saw a
powerful luminosity, which filled the viewing room.
These grand luminous magnetic displays
projected other sensual attributes besides color. North polar blue
flames were cool and soothing, while south polar red flames were hot
and irritating. The differences were striking, corresponding pretty
nearly with the solar spectrum colors. The Baron perceived a
possible world unity in this Od force phenomenon.
Despite attempts at disturbing this
apparent radiant structure, none could force the rainbow colorations
to shift in any way from their structured form.
Flames, issuing in tufts from the poles,
did not attract or influence one another. Each behaved
independently, neither combining or repulsing. Magnets swarmed with
tiny flickers of white light here and there, a mystifying
The Baron had already realized that the
act of blowing on these Od flames was not the result of air draughts
at all. Magnetic Od flames could be extinguished momentarily, while
not affecting the magnetic strength at all.
The fixed structure and form of the
whole display was the startling feature. Considering that the
discharges were a continuous rushing Od flame, it was difficult to
comprehend the actual source of this structure. How was its complex
coloration maintained in such a fixed organization?
Large soft iron bars were used to probe the terrestrial magnetic field in the darkroom, being poised in various compass directions.
The earth magnetic colors, though dull,
yet followed the same "rule" of color and form. No quantitative
analysis ever discerned such distinctions as magnetic "east" and
The blue North Pole induced a
corresponding red south pole on the exposed face of iron forms, the
blue northern flames appearing on the opposite iron faces.
Multicolored wreaths covered the surfaces in a continual flickering
flow of light. Induced flames, when blown upon by the sensitives,
grew brighter, divided, and then resumed their original appearance.
This brought him to the realization that Od existed independently of its sources. Materials where Od was found were simply Od concentrators or Od "foci". Od did not convert into other energies, although it was present where other energies manifested themselves.
Od luminous phenomena appeared when
electricity and magnetism did not: in sunlight, moonlight, elements,
Glass lenses, placed near the poles, actually focused the colored flames! The blue North Pole flame was gathered into a tight bundle and focused in the space beyond the lens as a bright white glow in mid-space. A distinct cone of Od light was seen when a white card was placed along the lens focal axis.
Prismatic rings could be seen at various
distances along the axis, produced by a veritable Od cone of light.
Focused Od induced new polarities on
striking the card target. Strong magnet poles projected Od light out
to walls and floors when so directed. Sensitives saw large spots of
blue or red polar Od light, which appeared several yards away from
the larger magnets in midair! Here was a new world of optics which
few of his colleagues would ever recognize.
At an angle, sensitives could see the reflected Od light. Mirror-reflected Od often allowed only the irritating Od heat rays to be transmitted. Such Od temperature effects were felt so intensely, that perspiration often grew upon sensitives. The measured temperature had not changed.
Though these Od rays were refracted and
projected through lenses out to several feet distance, magnetometer
studies made by Haldat (1846) proved that the magnetic rays were
neither refracted nor reflected. Moreover, when magnetic rays were
interrupted in space by a suitable iron armature, the Od rays
continued right through the armature to the space beyond and could
When the electromagnets were electrified, Od required some thirty seconds for its appearance and disappearance, thirty seconds after current was removed. While electromagnetic effects appeared and disappeared instantaneously by the closing of a switch, Od charge and discharge lagged considerably behind the initial impulse.
In addition, Od maintained its polarity
when electromagnets were "impulsed" with DC current, continuing to
flow between the impulses.
An electromagnet, placed within a large hollow iron sphere, was examined in the darkroom under varying degrees of electrification. The Baron referred to the iron globe as his "terrella", or, "little earth". The electromagnet poised within this globe, he raised the rheostat in degrees.
Sensitives clearly saw a very
intensified color display, which proceeded from both poles toward
the center. These intensely colored flames struck out across the
outer globe surface in sharp, very bright flares. Observation taught
that Od lights of such great extent did not adhere, but freely
flowed over the surface of conductive materials.
Moreover, isolated filaments gathered
the Od discharges into distinct bundles. These wandered over the
outer globe surface in meandering flares, flickering to and fro like
discharges. Together, these meandering radial flares produced a
flashing multicolored display. He was convinced that magnetic Od
produced the Aurora Borealis.
When strong magnets were placed in bell jars and evacuated in degrees for observation, the Od luminosity expanded in wonderful colors.
Each stage of evacuation gave a greatly
enlarged luminescence. The rainbow colored Od light also grew
brighter with increasing vacuum. No such phenomenon was ever
reported in the academic circles.
He now hypothesized that at near space altitudes, the corresponding expansion of Odic lights would be observed. His theory also explained the strange hue-tinted white glow, often seen covering the night sky. Focussed in rare night cirrus clouds, Od could adequately explain their wondrous appearance.
Bearing the characteristic of flames, capable of being mechanically moved by special winds, he believed that he had discovered the true and fundamental cause of Auroral effects. The Baron's own novel theory of the Aurora Borealis, an Od light display of great magnitude, has never really been appreciated for its rare merits.
Explaining not only the sudden
meandering flares of polar light, his theory alone explains the wide
variations of color and remarkable transformations of shape seen
when polar lights are active. It is interesting to note that none of
the color or shape phenomena are ever successfully explained by the
"electrical aurora" theory of Bjerknes.
The weakening of magnetic needles during
violent auroral episodes could be explained by the erratic motion of
Od filaments, clustering Od force in a singular channel.
A tumbler full of water was stirred with
a clean permanent magnet. The result was a real and lasting sensate
effect, especially when sensitives tasted the samples. Water, which
was stirred with either pole, gave characteristically different
sensations. North poles produced a water stimulant, while south
poles produced an irritant. The sensations being real, there had to
be an equally real reason for the changes brought about by the
Others, though remaining awake, would
fall into painful tonic spasms when merely approached with a magnet.
Sensitives could tell whether tumblers of water had been stirred
with magnets at all. They also learned to tell whether north or
south poles had been employed in the stirring.
Here again, Od energy had successfully
brought new qualities to an inert substance. The effect was tested
against neutral samples. The result of the Baron's "blind" and
"double blind" examinations proved that there was indeed a sensible
change of taste after magnetic stirring.
Od charged water remained active even when poured among numerous glasses. Luminous Od remained in water samples for long time periods. North pole-stirred water remained a tonic stimulant, while south pole-stirred water remained an irritant of nauseating proportion. In addition, the Baron found that hand-held water retained Od. There was a strict polarity transference from hand to sample.
Water, activated by the right hand
produced energetic responses. Water held in the left hand was
These white flames disappeared after a
few minutes. The white luminous smoke reached the ceiling, where it
curled in luminous billows upon itself. Od smoke was a phenomenon as
mystifying as all the other Od lights. Od smoke was like the
"ectoplasm" and "ghost-lights" which certain researchers actively
A young Sir William Crookes, no
doubt, studied and endorsed these Od treatises with great delight.
Tesla would later echo these very same statements in greatly
Completely grounded wires, connected to large electrostatic machines, continued radiating Od light for 60 or more seconds after the machines ceased revolving. Negative electrostatic charges gave Od heat. Positive electrostatic charges gave Od cold. Several hours were required to remove the Od content of electrically activated substances, even after continual contact with neutral bodies.
Induced by electrostatic charges, Od
seemed to have a deeply penetrating nature. Induction of Od through
electrical means seemed to be more the result of an internal
frictive action; a thorough friction caused by electrostatic
stimulation of metals and insulators alike.
Wires, radically charged by electrical means, continued to emanate a strong white light for 60 seconds or more after being completely removed from the circuit! Charged Leyden jars glowed with Od currents for 120 seconds or more after being electrically neutralized.
Dark viewing room wires were connected
to Leyden jars, glowing with a continuous and intense white light
when discharged through sealed spark gaps. This intense white Od
light continued to radiate for 300 seconds with EACH spark
Voltaic piles projected strong Od lumination of peculiar motion throughout the entire battery.
In addition to this luminous display,
the Od, which radiated from voltaic columns, maintained a defined
and continual columnar rotation! Od luminations, though caused by
electrical shocks, behaved as completely independent of their
causative electrical charges. Where electrical activity only
occurred when circuits are closed, Od luminations continued for
hundreds of seconds.
The Baron turned his thoughts on the
possibility that Od might induce electromagnetic effects in suitable
designs, and set about to test these possibilities. It seemed at the
time that electricity and magnetism were able to induce Od at a
distance, but Od could in no manner induce electricity or magnetism.
He encountered numerous setbacks in his hopes of demonstrating the mutual "transformation" of both Od and electromagnetic energies.
There was some obvious reluctance, which
Od exhibited when being forced to become electrostatic, or magnetic
He soon discovered, quite in the course
of his continuing research, that there were far more potent
"portable" Od sources in nature than even permanent magnets. For Od
itself was a new force, a new world energy. Od could be used, as it
was to perform hitherto unforeseeable activities in the benefit of
This fact was developed into the science
of radionics independently by Dr. George S. White and Dr.
Albert Abrams, both medical doctors.
A much more fundamental Od activity was observed in chemicals and minerals. The Baron recognized that, far beyond the magnetic activities, minerals represented nature's most fundamental energies. Magnets were artificial materials, being created in electrical fields. Minerals were found in their native state.
Strong Od sources were found among the
minerals and natural crystals.
The sensitive reported that the entire crystal appeared to be streaming with a fine white Od light of great power. When asked to describe the light distribution, the sensitive described colorations not unlike those produced by large magnets.
The sharp crystal point projected a deep
blue Od jet, some eight inches long. This bright blue projection was
in constant motion. Emitting numerous sparks, the flame-jet in the
space beyond the sharp point was tulip shaped. Turning the crystal
around, the broken crystal base revealed a dense red and yellow
Blue jets were cool and red-yellow jets were hot. Crystal Od did not effect changes in electroscopes. Crystals not being magnetic, this new Od phenomenon fairly astounded the Baron. Only crystals whose principle axis of symmetry was singular could produce this rare force with an unexpected power.
Many large and splendid crystal specimens were obtained from the Imperial collection in Vienna for his use. With these large Od sources, sensitives experienced not only blue and red Od flames, but real breezes and (more spectacularly) convulsive muscular spasms in defined degrees.
These powerful manifestations so
distinguished the crystallic force from all other Od manifestations
that the Baron considered it to be the most fundamental Od focus in
Some crystals, which caused the convulsive and painful "hand closing" effects, did so without attracting the hands of sensitives.
Crystals, which caused strong hand clenching and painfully violent spasms, included,
Crystals lacking optical axes (natrolite, zeolite, arragonite, stalk-like crystalline heaps, globular crystallizations, all nucleated crystal masses) did not produce the crystallic Od force, emanating only the amorphous Od current observed in other minerals.
A quartz crystal, some 2 inches thick and 8 inches long, was drawn down the arm of a sensitive. The recipient had the sensation of a cool and luxuriantly comfortable breeze.
A "reverse pass" beginning from hand to
elbow produced the disagreeable hot Od sensation. A crystal three
times the size of this produced violent spasmodic effects on the
physiology of exposed sensitives. These effects often approached the
artificial evocation of seizures.
Numerous passes across the body of
sensitives and non-sensitives alike produced violent cramping, the
force being the collective sum of each pass. This was not observed
with magnets. Numerous passes produced the same response as single
passes. Darkroom examinations revealed that crystals visibly
expanded the human aura when grasped at the base.
Wishing to determine whether crystallic
Od was not some variant of magnetic Od, the Baron took the large
selenite crystal and suspended it within the gap of a large
horseshoe magnet. Even when made to oscillate, no divergence or
variations could be observed. The magnetic activity of the crystal
was thus eliminated as a possible "ordinary" cause.
Sensitives could not approach this splendid mountain crystal without the immediate sensation of a cool wind projecting from the sharp pointed end.
One sensitive described the wind "as if
cool air were gently blown upon him through a straw". In another
series of experiments, the large crystal was used to induce
instantaneous sleep in sensitives at a distance of 42 feet! Od force
apparently increased with the size of the crystal.
Transference of the Od charge did not
degenerate into magnetic or electrostatic charge. He suspended
needles by silk strands, but no induced motions could be observed in
these. The giant crystal apparently had no power to induce physical
A large copper coil was wound, into
which the Baron thrust the selenite crystal, but no induced currents
were ever detected in the most sensitive astatic galvanometer.
Despite these inabilities to measure interactions among the known
forces and Od force, other laboratory electrical components
exhibited remarkable ability in storing, conducting, and modifying
The degree of force from crystals
surpassed all other Od agencies. A brief contact with a crystal
point was sufficient to bring about an enormous Od current. Charges
conveyed to copper, zinc, silver, iron, linen, silk, water, and
every other material, which the Baron had earlier tested, gave
greatly intensified Od radiance.
Tin plates seemed able to block some of
this force, but never completely. Organic materials (wood, glass,
leather, paper) classified as Od insulators, offered resistance to
crystallic Od. Multi-layered paper was found to be an absolute Od
insulator and resistor. The multiple layers of paper in a thick book
resisted Od charging regardless of exposure time near the crystal
Deal board (a composite) required a long time and numerous movements before a weak crystallic force could be felt in the hand.
Curiously, the giant mountain crystal
was incapable of penetrating paper, while in free space it induced
catatonic sleep at 42 feet. Wood, touched to the crystal point for a
short time, induced both a sudden "shock" and spasm.
Blue Od light, observed in darkrooms
from crystal points, was filled with sparks and dartlets. The blue
Od light passed upwards into a white light. Interior crystal light
appeared wondrous to both sensitives and well prepared darkroom
observers, evidencing movements, sparks, starlike formations, all of
which exceeded the magnetic Od in both color and intensity.
Crystallic Od was the luminous source, which "beams like sunlight". He saw the crystallic force as a detector and concentrator of worldforce. It did not require the expenditure of energy. Reichenbach emphasized the term "concentrator" when speaking of Od sources, recognizing that Od was not generated by these objects at all.
Od was conducted and concentrated in
"specific foci" as it flowed through the world. He declared that the
Odic streams "flowed on eternally".
It became obvious to researchers such as
Reichenbach that there were indeed "other currents", Od currents,
whose use would release new potentials to humanity. The wonderful
aspect evidenced in Od currents is their obvious ease in effecting
subjective sensations and impressions.
Here then was the beginning of Radionic
Science, which Twentieth Century investigators would later privately
implement in exceptional analyzers and "tuners".
This was the first in a series of geophysical Od studies. The Baron monitored terrestrial Od flow by observing crystal Od variations during specific seasons. It was found that an uninterrupted supply of celestial Od currents charged both the atmosphere and ground. Such celestial Od streams traversed the ground surface, seeking specific ground sinks.
This flowing concentration of Od in
ground-points was associated with numerous surface "ghost lights",
noted in specific geological points by local inhabitants. In fact,
the Baron had occasion to discover the true source of legendary
He explained these remarkable phenomena
as the combined effects of earth magnetic and chemical reactions
taking place in the tilled soil. He also found other sites where
this Od luminosity had lent a "haunted" atmosphere to otherwise
lovely locales. The Baron cited the prevalence of ground breezes,
which blew the Od lights around, especially in cases where these
"grave lights" or "ghost lights" wavered about.
Why should it weaken when traversing space?
Od came to earth directly from purely celestial influences. He had proved this with moonlight, and then with sunlight. But the discovery that starlight could also charge objects with Od suddenly became a theme of major importance. Here was an energetic charging effect, which occurred across vast stellar reaches.
It therefore represented a unique energy
source, which offered humanity a possible new means for broadcasting
a usable power. More would have to be learned about its conversions
and modes of propagation before any technological advances could
In a notable patent (685,958)
he describes the powerfully transformative results obtained when
solar light is conducted into a specially prepared metallic plate,
vertically poised within a high vacuum tube. The device, grounded
through a heavy-duty mica capacitor, produced prodigious amounts of
electrostatic energy when illuminated by strong sunlight.
He noted the strong association of
physiological Od with nerve ganglia. Od was especially concentrated
in the solar plexus. Od pulsations in the body followed Od
pulsations throughout nature, a remarkable and unsuspected circadian
Each of these energy spots surged with the solar Od rhythm. The curious correspondence of biological Od force with solar rhythms was especially fascinating. Od strength increased at sunrise and decreased at sunset.
The Baron noted that every part of the natural environment directly responded to the solar Od supply. Soils, minerals, lakes, trees, animals, and other humans revealed a simultaneous response to solar Od energies.
Od was now understood to be a shared force, the world-unifying agent.
This fact was truly appreciated by
Despite the fluctuating charging and discharging of solar Od absorbers there was a constant terrestrial Od foundation, which did not wax, and wane with the sun. Residing continuously and without diminished force in crystals, the Od supply remained constant throughout the night. This essential and mysterious function of crystalline basement rock provided a special and rare Od supply.
Was it any wonder that myth and legend spoke of subterranean jewels, the magickal and luminous sources of living energy.
Here, Reichenbach was realizing the
fundamental energetic structures of the world, learning of an
essential "metabolic process" by which solar Od was absorbed during
the daytime and crystal-discharged during the night. The Baron was
now convinced more than ever before that Od was the fundamental
world-force, preceding even magnetism and electricity in natural
Od currents were mapped, coursing among
the planets and stars. There were ground-points, marked by
sensitives, where celestial Od currents ran into and through the
earth. In this he glimpsed something of the forgotten technologies
with which the ancients had ability. Why they labored so much in
marking special ground-points with tall stones now became obvious.
These conditions remained fixed through time and season, except when modified by progressive lunar and planetary movements. When closely examined it was also discovered that select portions of the western sky gave a vivid "cold" just after sunset.
At nine in the evening this western coldness shifted toward the northwest, during which also south and southwestern skies were most warm. At midnight, the north sky became cold, the south warm. At four in the morning, north and northeast became cold, south and southeast warm.
Finally, just before sunrise, eastern
skies appeared to be most cold. The anomalous persistence of solar
cold in the west, its sudden disappearance and reappearance in the
eastern sky at three in the morning is most mystifying. The
throbbing Od pulsations in the sky mystified him.
Reichenbach and his sensitives charted
the dominant Od paths between the stars, and from stars to earth.
Everything seemed effulgent in Od, the flowing vivifying light that
bound all natural things together.
He chose a zinc plate to receive the
stellar whiteness, obtaining the exact results but with diminished
intensity. In addition, the stars collectively acted upon the
sensitives as a rather weak magnet, producing effects on the head
Planetary light, on copper collecting plates, neutralized Od sensations completely. When this occurred, sensitives could not hold the wire terminals.
It was obvious that planets had opposed
Od polarities when compared with the polarity of stars. The
neutralizing effect was not pleasant to personally contact, rather
like a deeply disagreeable electrical shock. Somehow, planets were
drawing off the cool, invigorating light of the stars.
Because of this, they were very capable as human ore detectors. He employed them on several occasions to explore on behalf of the local mines. Coal, zinc, lead, copper pyrites, water, all were sensed by their finely tuned nervous systems.
Walking outside at night, sensitives
felt the Od emanations of trees, through intervening spaces up to
400 feet. The world of "vegetable" now became a special fascination
to the Baron, who by now had developed sufficient data on the world
This method was later adopted by
Georges Lahkovsky in studying celestial radiations and the
growth of plants. The copper receptor coil was placed on a Calla
Aethiopica, producing an unexpectedly rapid and vivid reaction. A
penetrating and excessive heat suddenly permeated throughout the
sensitive's body. An Aloe Vera plant was then sampled. Its effects
were similar, though weaker in contrast.
Most of the blooms gave warmth in the
stem and cold in the flowers. After sufficient examination of many
flowering plants it was found that the growth rate of a plant was an
accurate measure of its penetrating efficacy as a medicinal agent.
Certain ray-flowers gave warmth except in their cool central discs,
a reversal of Od effects.
The true value of medicinals now was comprehended as the radiant emanation of such materials, not the bulk substance of the same. Od radiance, the true rationale of "medicines", divided the ancient reliance on herbals above minerals in this regard.
Herbal medicinals, far above the use of
mineral medicines, gave more penetrating and rapid Od effects.
Roses, pear-blossoms, and apple blossoms each produced tranquil
sleep in sensitives. The Baron determined their common chemical (phlorhisine),
recognizing in it a most concentrated Od polarity.
Tall plants gave Od polar reversals,
which remained fixed in their various segments all along their
length. Flower, stem, leaf, fruit, root, or tuber… each gave
differing Od polarities and intensities of the same according to the
When a small animal (a field mouse) was
placed on the plate, the sensitives felt the Od heat most vividly.
This reaction was also identically felt to greater degree when the
Baron placed a kitten on the copper sensing plate. Both the copper
plate and copper coil sampling technique, employed in these latter
experiments, became the regular component of Twentieth Century's
This vivifying power drove the
development of all created things along their various
"metamorphoses". Each individual metamorphosis had as its aim a
curious and mystical conformity with "ultimate forms" which existed
in metaphysical space. The "world-process" drove changes in space,
mineral, vegetable, and animal worlds until each conformed to the
likeness by which each was formed.
In this conviction, the natural world was seen to be a natural and organismic system where Od was the "blood" and "vitalizing fluid". Here, at long last, the Baron had found the physical proof of Goethe's "world process"!
Od was the closest which scientific
research had then come toward knowing the "life force".
The many thousands of observations made by Reichenbach through the course of more than a decade were to comprise a massive volume of works. The greatest of these is entitled "The Dynamics of Vital Force".
In this tome, Reichenbach enumerates the
names and reports of several hundred sensitives. He lists their
personal sensitivities, social rank, numerous incidents from his own
diaries, and a complete summary of his major experimental results.
Liebig, Wohler, Berzelius, Dalton, Poggendorff and others like these notables agreed that Reichenbach had discovered a new energy form. But they clamored for objective proof. Reichenbach had already found that lens focussed Od light could produce images on daguerreotype plates. He therefore began producing photographic proof of perceptions made by his sensitives for his colleagues.
The first of these "Odographs" were
published in 1861, to the astonishment of critical academes.
Reichenbach realized that, while the chemically active rays of sunlight could not penetrate the glass block, the "illuminating rays" did.
He cited instances where deep-sea divers
could not see sunlight, yet could see objects. At a critical sea
depth, neither sunlight nor objects could be seen, a radiant
blackness flooding the eyes. The essential difference, between
perceptible Od light and measurable optical light became apparent.
She produced a catalogue containing many thousands of these "radiovision" prints. With photographic evidence of radionic energies, she toured European medical circles. Physicians were eager to both learn and implement the revolutionary technology.
DeLa Warr (1948, Oxford)
continued these researches, producing similar photographic results.
Academic science has produced a mechanistic worldview because of its reliance on measuring devices. This worldview reduces all natural dynamics to the collective activity of four fundamental forces. The quantified world is therefore framed by academicians as a "field of forces" whose collective blend produces "force patterns".
When these "force patterns" are
encountered by sensing organisms, they are "locally interpreted" in
stimulated nervous systems as "the world".
We see the utter collapse of
quantitative analysis when it attempts to analyze experiential
realities. Capable only of describing energy field epiphenomena, it
selectively filters out the very center of what it examines. There
are some academicians who cannot comprehend why this occurs.
But experience, in its fundamental core, is no collection of quantifiable forces.
The force analytic method cannot mechanistically explain consciousness, failing miserably when extending its analytic prowess into experiential phenomena. All it manages to do in this regard is describe the epiphenomena, which accompany consciousness: magnetic, electric, and chemical "fields". This diversion results because measuring instruments cannot conduct or respond with the sensate energies themselves.
Quantitative science has been continually constricting its worldview by adopting the inferior examination methods which instruments provide, misguiding its own consciousness from the most fundamental and accessible worldview. Consciousness is a non-inertial realm into which measuring devices do not enter. There is no way to reduce consciousness to a force model.
Each of the historic ruling paradigms
has so screened, filtered, and divided Nature that each derived
worldview no longer holds a meaningful place in human consciousness.
Quantitative Science is very good at achieving one objective: the kaleidoscopic fragmentation of experience. Instrumental examinations begin with the general acceptance that experience is "faulty" and consciousness is "biased", both being judged and condemned as "invalid".
Of late, the conscious interpretation of
instrument-derived data is undertaken by statistical analysis,
conscious interpretations also considered "invalid".
Like Narcissus, fixated on its own
reflection, quantitative science also imagines that what it sees "is
the only face in the world". By projecting its inertial measurements
upon the world experience, quantitative science effectively filters
out Nature's fundamental language: its projective meanings and
These continually emerging
inconsistencies are the embarrassing "warning signs" to quantitative
Consciousness was the medium in which
they wondered at, gloried over, and pondered the natural behaviors.
Their advanced science was one in which natural phenomena were
assessed against the "dream sea", the collective fund of archetypes.
Victorian Qualitative Science required a special sensitivity and
The genteel elegance of their philosophical art has been replaced by a base and mindless technical threshing tool, which is incapable of discerning between mind and object.
If the scientific philosophy of the
Victorians has been considered outmoded and classified as
"pseudo-scientific", whose philosophical contentions decided that
instruments would do a better job? The continual removal of human
experience by the invalidation principle is now producing an amusing
consequence, by which quantitative science is eliminating the very
consciousness, which framed its rules!
Qualitative Science recognized that
Nature was a sea of experiential realities. Measurements had no
place in the sciences because measurements were not experiences.
Experiential states were the means by which Nature was examined and
intimately known by Qualitative Science.
This is the true motivation beneath the
scientific study of Nature.
It was in the study of Od phenomena and
sensations that new consciousness-extending apparatus were developed
in the Castle Reisenberg, laboratory fortress of Baron von
His prolific and creative writing style
was closely followed by devotees. His copious publications flooded
European academic circles, becoming the prized possessions of
notable minds; Crookes, and Tesla being but two such personalities.
His separate volumes, letters, lectures, and unpublished notebooks
could corporately fill a small library.
The world is founded in consciousness, exchanging conscious energies among its structured parts. Those who received the Victorian treasure house of knowledge made their own thrilling discoveries upon that foundation.
Researchers of the early Twentieth Century would later duplicate the experiments of Baron von Reichenbach (G.S. White, Tesla, Le Bon, Abrams, Drown).
After the aged Baron passed away, Fechner himself published a treatise, a silent tribute to Reichenbach:
The words of the truly great Baron Karl von Reichenbach yet resound in the minds of those who know a secret of lost world-vision, a secret of lost science…