One chapter in forgotten science history introduces one of the greatest researchers of all time, whose investigation of basic life-related energies stands paramount in the history of qualitative 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.
Baron von Reichenbach (in 1832)
Our story begins in the Kingdom of Württemberg. Born in Stuttgart (1788), Karl von Reichenbach became a laudable personage of great scientific stature. Known for his humility and deep sensitivity, the enormous scientific contributions made by him in European industry and research are legendary. 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.
After a stormy youth as a chief conspirator against the Napoleonic occupation in Germany, Karl emerged as a scholar of high merit. Earning his doctorate in natural sciences and theology, he became a knowledgeable and enthusiastic contributor in chemical, geological, metallurgical, and meteorological sciences.
Very gradually distinguishing himself as an exemplary industrial engineer, he began establishing ironworks (Villengen, Baden), charcoal furnaces (Hausach, Baden), metallurgical and chemical works (Blansko, Moravia), steelworks (Turnitz, Austria), and blast-furnaces (Gay a, Moravia). 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 the antiseptic Eupion (1831), the preservative and therapeutic agent Creosote (1832), the indigo dye Pittical (1833) and Cidreret (a red dyestuff), Picamar (a perfume base), 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.
The Baron engaged the first exacting geological survey of Moravia. 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 subject.
Baron von Reichenbach (later years)
An avid observer of all anomalous natural phenomena, the various exotic forms of lightning and auxiliary atmospheric phenomena comprised another of his beloved scientific domains. His numerous and scholarly scientific descriptions of rare lightning forms and other strange natural occurrences flooded the periodicals of his time, making him an early enthusiast of what later would be termed “Fortean Phenomena”.
Possessing the unlimited resources of both the very finest scientific materials and vast wealth, Baron Reichenbach ventured into scientific domains, which few have successfully engaged. His pursuit of rare and erudite natural phenomena proceeded without limit. His fascination with the unknown became much more than a passionate devotion to an idle curiosity.
After completing his national industrial marvels, his devotion to these fascinations became a research endeavor of enormous thematic depth. 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.
Scientific curiosity drew Baron von Reichenbach into a serious study of illnesses termed “neurasthenias”. 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.
Most physicians and other professionals were as helpless before these strange maladies as their poor victims. There was no working theory by which to penetrate the mystery and discover, if fortunate, the cause and the cure. Many fell away to the common superstitions surrounding the conditions, fearful of venturing into its lairs. 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.
The symptoms of “sleepwalking” was somewhat well known and greatly feared by the ordinary villagers. Having a monthly regularity, usually appearing with the full moon, he attempted to scientifically address the phenomenon. “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.
Most victims of the condition were seen by their frightened observers, walking with eyes opened. Sometimes these persons spoke aloud in gibberish, moving their hands about as if conversing in a state of full consciousness. They could not be awakened when in this condition. It was as if they had slipped into another world, within which they led other lives. 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.
Dreaded by parents of young children, the outward first signs of this catatonic grip began as severe and sudden muscle cramps. The illness progressively worsened with age, children absorbed into the somnambulistic world with frightful speed. Ultimately these victims would die in some horrid and freakish accident during a sleepwalking episode. 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.
The condition seemed especially aggravated during nights of the full moon, arms reaching out toward that celestial body as if signaling mysterious spiritualistic messages. 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.
Often the most unsuspecting stimulations would arouse them from the seizure after a certain time had passed, where sharp pinpricks otherwise could not elicit even a vague conscious response. A sudden swoon, and the victim would “come to their senses”, often with hysterical fear and shock the result. 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 bed chambers 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 unfulfilled lives.
There were others who suffered from “night fears” and emotional “hysterias”, often provoked into episodes by the approach of sunset and the full moon. Thought to be allied with madness and spiritism, “night phobics” and “somnambulists” were feared as persons influenced entirely by occult forces. 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.
Judging from the symptomology and the equally strange “lunar attractions”, Reichenbach believed the illnesses were a response to more fundamental natural forces. Other colleagues were not willing to risk their reputations by making any statements on the issue. 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.
It was clear that influences such as these could never be accurately assessed without the human agent as subjective observer. 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.
A new qualitative view of natural phenomena would gradually reveal a forgotten world where permeating energies were discovered everywhere. Many academes viewed this as a dangerous “return to superstition and ignorance”, but the Baron would later state that nature was fundamentally composed of experience permeating energies. Their influence, he insisted, so deeply suffused observers that quantitative methods could not sufficiently reveal their presence.
Only the human organism, as laboratory and detector, could best serve as sensitive indicator of otherwise unrecognized “mystery forces”. 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, Joire, Bose, Pavlita, Meinke, Hanks).
Determined to discover the true natural cause of somnambulism and its allied emotional hysterias, he gathered literally hundreds of case histories from the surrounding countryside. Most were afraid to speak of the condition. 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.
The compassion stirring within him had scientific weaponry as its advantage. He would seek out the strange cause behind the terrifying effect. Ultimately, this research might lead to some kind of a cure. Few would reject his powerful, confident, and benevolent presence. It is doubtful that many other investigators could have found such ease in communicating the true motives of his search. 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 children.
In order to truly comprehend more of the attributes associated with these maladies, the Baron probed victims with deep and personal questions. In this, he preceded Sigmund Freud’s talking-cure method. Despite his lengthy and confidential discussions with sleepwalkers, he noted that cures did not result. Talking did not remove the symptoms by helping the victims to “face their fears”, No, he continued to believe that this peculiar class of maladies had a deep, unrecognized natural cause.
As case studies became less informational and more human, he realized the gravity of what later were termed “emotional illnesses”. The Baron recognized that, despite the emotions conjured by the illness; emotion itself was not the root of the condition. 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 Baron, observant and sharp-witted, noted that most of the visited families were not particularly superstitious people to begin with. Neither were these people excessively religious or religiously fearful of “lunatick” influences. Though some may have resorted to old folk-arts of exorcism and talismanic magick, most had given up the search for an immediate relief to their plight. The parents of sleepwalking children were care-worn, silently suffering individuals.
So, there were an overwhelming number of cases where very young children began manifesting night fears and sleepwalking without any pre-established “provoking atmosphere” of religious dread. 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.
In addition, the cases with which the Baron was principally intrigued were all widely isolated cases. His case studies revealed a wide regionally dispersed incidence of the malady. The Baron gradually expanded his inquiry concerning nocturnal phobia and somnambulism across Europe over a wider population cross-section. There were so many cases to chronicle. 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 sleepwalking symptoms?
His great range of cases now taught that the distribution and occurrence of night fears and somnambulism had no geographic preference. Specific bordering European nations did not exhibit variations in the incidence of these conditions. 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”.
All of these peculiar maladies were horrid secrets, kept well within the family, never openly mentioned. 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 family members.
Public exposure by hostile neighbors could be the prelude to “institutionalization”. Since most cases kept the malady a grave secret, few ever discussed the problem enough to “share symptoms”. This was another major recognition. Many afflicted individuals suspected that others were inflicting “the evil eye” upon them. 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 cure.
Those afflicted with the symptoms of sleepwalking maintained these symptoms throughout adulthood, only occasionally relieved by greatly misunderstood alleviations. 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.
The Baron isolated the principle signals of the condition’s temporal onset. Varying in intensity with subjects and seasons, piercing muscular pains afflicted his sensitives in various parts of the torso: a sign that sleepwalking would soon commence. Sleepwalking was similar to cataleptic seizures, the victim losing complete consciousness during the attack. Parents recognized the early symptoms, preparing each month for sleepless nights. The condition is far more prevalent today than is commonly assumed or admitted.
Watching little children being seized with these terrible and uncontrolled behaviors broke the hearts of many decent and perplexed parents. 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 approaching.
Other cases, deemed “hysterical”, remarked that these cramps could be painfully felt throughout the entire torso during this lunar peak season. 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.
Through his very extensive collection of case studies, the Baron was able to predict the profile of persons most susceptible to this strange malady with an equally curious precision. 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 unique trademark.
This peculiar neuro-sensitivity lay at the very bottom of their equally peculiar condition. This neuro-sensitivity was an organismic state with which they were each born. 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: “healthy sensitives”. When sensitive states were examined, the Baron found a series of amazing and unsuspected correlations.
Sensitive individuals evidenced special neurological states: heightened states where feeling was easily stimulated and prolonged. Sensitive persons felt and sensed more of the world than most other persons could. In this sense they were indeed “special and distinct”. 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 qualitative observations.
He now had lists of many hundred reliable and true sensitives from all classes and European nations. This, for the time period, was a remarkable feat. Moreover, he had the financial means to maintain his controversial work, besides transporting and housing his sensitives throughout the lengthy examination periods required by his rigorous and thorough qualitative methods.
The Castle Reisenberg could comfortably house his guests under supervision and safety, servants supplying all required needs throughout the many days of research. He was best suited for such a task, having the time, wealth, and academic position to engage the undertaking. He carefully arranged observation of such sleepwalkers with an aim toward dispelling the problem completely.
Reichenbach’s “sensitives” were the “extremely susceptible persons” treated by Franz Anton Mesmer. Persons prone to “hysteria” and “neurasthenia” were those later examined and treated by Sigmund Freud. What is generally not well known is the historically strong connection among these three personages.
Vilified and outcast by the European medical guild of the 1700’s, the name of Franz Anton Mesmer remains as mysterious today as it was in his own day. 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.
The battery was developed slowly, the result of an attempt to mimic conditions found at certain “sacred spots” of the Austrian countryside. Mesmer constructed the battery to imitate natural configurations. It has a decidedly organic aspect to its internal structure. 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.
These shocks were thrilling, vivifying, exciting, and definitely curative. 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 Court.
In later years, critics failed to consider the Mesmer battery (the “baguet”) while verbally slandering Mesmer’s character. Nonetheless, he managed several notable cures among the upper class. These remained his loyal patrons until death. 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.
Last, electrostatic shocks are not vivifying. They do not increase life-potential. They can kill. They are not thrilling, they hurt. They do not bring relief, they produce tension. 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 name Mesmer remains significant in the forgotten science, which bridges the medieval scientific arts with the science of the early Victorian Epoch. 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.
Sigmund Freud, unable to help certain “hysterical” patients, traveled to France in order to learn from a neurologist who used both Mesmerism and hypnotism, Dr. Jean Martin Charcot. 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.
“Hysteria” and “neurasthenia” typified those whose temperament seemed highly-strung and nervous. They also were chronically fatigued and indifferent to life. In addition, such persons were noticeably unable to experience the normal intensity of their senses. 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 its freedom.
Any other researcher besides Baron von Reichenbach would never have achieved such a great depth of accumulated case studies. But local people and other of his countrymen were quick to respond to his kind and compassionate queries. 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.
Freudian “talk-cure” required expensive, extensive, and intensely personal interviews between patient and physician. In many cases, significant cures were not effected at all. “Hysterical” patients did not find complete alleviation of symptoms after these supposed subconscious excursions. 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.
Studying his case histories, the Baron realized that these individuals were not “raving mad lunatics”. These were not persons enslaved to “inaccessible memories”. 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 patients.
Negative dreams, images, phobias, and associations, the so-called subconscious motivators, always seemed to follow rather than precede episodes of sleepwalking. Children, far too young to have formed any such associations, were some of the noteworthy victims. 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.
An early investigator of qualitative phenomena, the Baron was well aware of the phenomena, which often attend such research. 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!
Treating the phenomenon of suggestion against true perception, he often created ecstatic tensions in a room to test the honesty and reliability of his sensitives. 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 imaginations.
The Baron was well aware that suggestive questions could falsify all of his accurate data. Truth, after all, was what he sought. Each of his numerous sensitives corroborated their experiences without provocations. 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).
Reichenbach insisted that Mesmerism had nothing to do with hypnotism. Furthermore, he found that hypnotism had no curative effect on somnambulists. No manner of suggestion successfully intervened with the sleepwalking activity. He therefore placed no confidence in the purely psychological cause of somnambulism. He did not equate Mesmer with hypnotism, knowing and practicing both hypnotic suggestion and “Mesmeric passes”.
He next intensely studied Mesmer’s “animal magnetism”. Reichenbach discovered that the application of this force in no way involved the use of hypnotic suggestion, a verbally applied means. The ill-famed “Mesmerism” involves the passing of hands over persons who are afflicted with diseases in the hopes of effecting alleviations. 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.
He now realized that the entire physiological organization of these unfortunate sensitives was somehow being influenced by an aggravating agency, which would be found in the external natural world. 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 mystification?
Energies have sources. Energies manifest as radiances and currents. What was this fundamental “occult” energy? Was it electricity? Was it magnetism? What was animal magnetism? Was it a combination of known forces, or something completely distinct? The questions outweighed the answers.
He had found that equally basic environmental states were required before somnambulism would be triggered. It was also obvious to him that lunar influences were, of course, the “forbidden” causative agency. At first he dodged this issue completely. 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.
Was the effect a chemical one? Were certain strange aerial agencies the cause of sleepwalking? Could sleepwalking be an allergic reaction to some wind-spread dust? 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?
In a series of very basic hypothetical assumptions, he cited electrostatic energy. This seemed the first likely choice. Who has not known a sleepless night? A permeating natural condition might directly impact the delicate nerves of sensitives. 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 regional electrification.
If the somnambulistic condition was an irritable response to electrifications, similar to allergic response, then it would be possible to measure neighborhood electrostatic strengths against the sleepwalking response. 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 quantitative measure.
Neurosensitives might be more susceptible to such regional electrical irritations precisely because their neural apparatus is so different. Perhaps their myelin neurosheaths were thinner than normal. Perhaps their inter-synaptic spacings were closer. Perhaps their neurochemistry produced enhanced and prolonged neural firing. 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”: a physiological intolerance to a weak, though progressive regional electrical state. But this is not what he found.
His own familiarity with strange forms of lightning led him to believe that invisible irritating electrostatic shocks, a quiet kind of “heat lightning”, might be the first triggering mechanism of somnambulism. Invisible electrostatic shocks were measured across large areas of ground. 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.
The central problem with his electrostatic hypothesis was that many sleepwalkers did not commence their trance-like behavior during these surges at all! Neither did they respond to thunderstorms. 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.
If not electrostatic, then what? Magnetic influence? Perhaps the body was sensitive to sudden fluctuations in the terrestrial magnetic field, which stimulated the seizures. Such forces had been measured during solar eruptions, visibly rocking and shaking compass needles. 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 real.
It was only necessary to perform several experiments now to measure the regional magnetic fluctuation as sleepwalking symptoms began to appear. 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.
Here was a true conundrum. How were permanent magnets and terrestrial magnetism different? They quantitatively measured out to be the same force. Master of the scientific method, Reichenbach had exhausted the existing registry of academically acknowledged forces. 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 terrestrial magnetism?
By now, he seemed to have exhausted the known forces and their combinations. It was a noble effort, an apologist’s elegant attempt. He pondered long on these questions. 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. It was . . . the moon. Something about the radiations from the moon.
The thought that somnambulism might be brought on by some aspect of moonlight was a strange and “non-academic” one. 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.
Certain lunar phases were always marked by the parents as signs of the impending sleepwalking episodes. 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 originally proposed.
Baron von Reichenbach produced a most remarkable series of experiments whose single aim was to discover the now obvious connection, which existed between the lunar radiance and somnambulism. Most of his colleagues, esteemed academicians, scoffed at such a very simple and obviously superstitious-laden hypothesis. The age-old association of mental illness and lunar phase could not be taken seriously!
Reichenbach was not dissuaded from his straight course now. He would test moonlight on his sensitives, one by one. His method began with a simple series of tests in more controlled environments. 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 phases.
Into a light-sealed room, the Baron arranged for a thin ray of moonlight to impinge on particular parts of the face, arms, and hands of sensitives at rest. The first sensation which sensitives reported was a disagreeable warmth, an uncomfortable irritation that flooded their being. A claustrophobic sensation permeated their bodies and they become restless. Here then was the first symptom of the sleepwalker in action.
With longer exposure, the cramping and muscular twitching gradually began. Uncomfortable heat and muscular tetanus began manifesting in their bodies. The Baron found it amazing that the removal of moon rays revealed a long-lingering effect. Sensitives maintained their greatly irritated states by exposures of only a minute or two! 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 similar effects.
Remarkable! A mysterious and previously unknown force was here, in the moonlight itself. 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?
Here then was a great discovery. 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.
One by one, during individual sessions, the Baron gave a rod of glass to his sensitives and asked each to touch a shaft of moonlight, which passed, well insulated, through the room. 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. How could ordinary moonlight perform such extreme responses? What exactly was it about moonlight, which caused such powerful reactions in the musculature of neurosensitives? And how was moonlight conducted along metal plates? This was not light which entered their bodies.
Moonlight was stimulating a new conductivity throughout the metal. This was communicated into the sensitives by conduction, provoking the somnambulistic symptoms! 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.
With the plate under full moonlight, he observed remarkable projective effects. When he simply approached each of his isolated subjects with the braided wire, they each began sensing the onset of severe muscular cramps through several feet of space. 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.
More tests revealed that, for each sensitive, painful muscle cramping began within a specified distance from the braid end. Here was an “objective” measure of human sensitivity. He was now able to measurably distinguish among his sensitives. 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 spasm.
This experimental arrangement was prepared and conducted thousands of times with hundreds of different sensitives. Always the same results were achieved. Sensitives experientially corroborated each of these findings with great accuracy. No device, no measuring instrument could achieve an equivalent energetic detection. In this first simple demonstration, a world of new forces and their interaction with matter was being revealed.
Asking each of his separate subjects to describe the currents, which they painfully could feel while holding the wire braid, each independently offered identical statements. 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 effort.
He attempted measuring the electrical charge condition of the discharges. The most sensitive electroscopes showed absolutely no deflections when connected to the braid. This was therefore not an electrostatic manifestation, which had been overlooked by scientists of the seventeenth century. 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?
The Baron performed the identical experiment with solar light. Thrusting glass rods and metal rods into an isolated solar beam, sensitives reported an anomalous “cool” sensation. They actually preferred this energetic effect to that of moonlight since it was wonderfully refreshing. 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.
A wonderful vivifying force was discovered in the violet spectral end of solar light. 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 door.
New knowledge! First, sensitives could actually detect and report the penetrating effects of a new energy species in moonlight. Second, this conducted energy was not itself light. Had it been light, its effects could not have provoked spasms by conductive contact alone. Not light, but carried along light-beams. A curious paradox! Third, this conducted energy produced defined sensations when physiologically contacted and conducted. Fourth, this unknown energy was capable of being both absorbed and conducted along metal wires. Fifth, it was neither electrical nor magnetic energy. Sixth, it became radiant when discharged from points across space. Seven, after brief exposures, matter could store the energy for prolonged periods. Eight, mirrors could reflect the currents. Nine, all of his sensitives gave closely identical reports during their independent sessions.
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.
Sensitives were again asked to rest in a completely darkened room and report their sensations. 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.
Neither of the lunar or solar current effects, however strong, registered on sensitive thermometers. 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”.
There were instances when sleepwalkers were haphazardly insulated from lunar light in the normal course of their family lives. When moonlight was prevented from reaching the interior of their homes, reports always mentioned a lower incidence of sleepwalking. 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.
Reports also mentioned that misty or cloud-laden skies blocked expected sleepwalking episodes, to the great relief of parents. Whenever full moon days were accompanied by overcast skies there was no sleepwalking. 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.
It was also found that extreme neurosensitives could feel the effects of both moonlight and sunlight right through walls and ceilings! The Baron’s persistent and repeated experiments found that woolen cloth, especially in heavily woven layers, actually blocked the mystery currents. It was possible now to help those suffering from sleepwalking now!
Drawing out heavy curtains over windows and bedsteads would resist and block the strange energies. 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.
The causative energy was itself a true mystery, requiring a name. Looking into Germanic mythology, he sought some term, which could describe the permeating nature of this strange current. “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.
Not fully able to comprehend the entirety of Od and what it represented, Reichenbach began studying the primary attributes of Od energy. He first wished to find out the propagation speed of the Od currents in wire conductors. Metals apparently conducted the currents with special strength. 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.
Repeating this experiment several hundred times, he satisfied himself that the Od currents were extremely slow ones. Surprisingly, they traveled some 1.5 yards per second at best, saturating and creeping through the conductive lines as a vegetative flux. Od intensities grew with time, until conductor saturations were observed. 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.
It was found that Od saturated matter in a fluidic manner, propagating organismically in distinct thready penetrations. 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.
“Od” was an apt name for a power, which traversed all matter. Od, the permeating current, was now studied with attention to the details of its behavior. Od could permeate a great length of wire, while the temperature currents of heat and cold measurably could not; a distinguishing feature. 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 sunlight.
Solid metals, “continuous metals”, were the best Od conductors. Loosely woven matter, like cloths, were highly resistive to the flow. New measurements with the most sensitive thermometers could neither reveal the heat nor the cold, which sensitives felt when touching Od charged wires. 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.
A chance observation plunged Reichenbach into a new research avenue, which demanded a total change of his methods. 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 mounting excitement.
In completely darkened chambers his sensitives began visualizing luminosities among all the items, which had been exposed to both the sun and the moon. Metals objects gave a steady, flame-like radiance, which absolutely fascinated his medium sensitives. 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.
He brought his examinations to a quick hiatus in order to completely prepare for the next series of exacting examinations he felt compelled to under take. Now requiring special laboratory conditions, stringent laboratory conditions, he designed for the accurate qualitative analysis of Od and its various natures. The Baron envisioned a system of special darkrooms by which he could make strict determinations of the luminous Od properties. Absolute blackness would now be required.
He converted several chambers and halls of Castle Reisenberg to this end, providing both for the comfort of his sensitives and for the diverse experimental arrangements which he planned. 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.
In the completely blackened viewing room, a flat rotary tabletop brought laboratory artifices and material samples to and from the sensitives. Manual introduction of new materials could be effected through thick black velvet curtains. the rotating table had velvet covered windows to insure that no source of distraction could interrupt the sensitives. 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.
Outside, the Baron arranged for a rooftop stage, where a great battery of large metal plates could be established, wire braids and solid wires conducting down into the chamber for special experimental observations. When these rooms were finally ready, he discovered an ability which he doubted possible for a time. He himself could now see the luminosities, which his sensitives had very easily reported. 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 things together.
It became apparent that even persons of “no sensitivity” could see the Od luminescence. When the proper precautions against light were taken, this rare light was seen pulsating and streaming forth from all substances. Od was a luminous current. In Reichenbach’s terminology, it was “a self-luminant”. But, watching the wonderful Od luminous display throughout the darkroom, he sensed something, which inspired the deepest wonder. 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.
Where even the thick masonry and ceilings of several feet thickness each began visibly emitting a rare white light. The Baron correctly hypothesized that, after a suitable saturation period in sunlight, all matter became Od luminous. Faces could be clearly discerned in this strangely wonderful Odic illumination.
The Baron was never able to completely eliminate the permeating Solar Od currents, despite all such precautions. Even during night study sessions, he found that a strange feathery emanation flooded his darkroom. This manifestation was referred to as “ectoplasm” by others. 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.
Od saturation in the Baron’s darkrooms was so evident that his sensitives were finally able to see everything in the room in a kind of twilight. They even took the Baron by the arm and led him around, with complete visual clarity, among all the assembled scientific apparatus. Identifying each one by this strange visual sense alone, they caught the Baron completely by surprise. 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.
Saturated in solar Od, though several foot thick stone castle walls intervened between the chambers and sunlight, sensitives reported the presence of a permeating glow throughout the room. 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 presence.
These feathery room-permeating emanations provoked numerous discussions on the true nature of vision and mind. The supposed differences between imagination and optical vision began to blur, distinctions becoming vague. 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.
Absolute blackness was the first requirement. Utter and complete blackness. Next was the relaxed preparation in utter darkness for at least one hour. If these steps were omitted in any way, the effects would never be seen. One cannot imagine the Baron’s own patience, considering that he performed these experiments for several decades with innumerable repetitions!
In the new darkroom, Reichenbach decided to re-examine the Od content of light with greater attention to spectroscopic detail. 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.
The large glass prism was poised on its metal support, projecting bright rainbows against the weather-beaten brick wall. He arranged for the exposure of conductive wires in each resultant color band. These well-sealed wires brought the Od currents into the darkroom from each color band for examination.
Pure sunlight produced the most powerful Odic manifestations. Refracted sunlight was decidedly weaker. As before, he confirmed that glass-refracted sunlight was cool at the “violet” band, and irritating at the “red” band. But he recognized distinct polarities in the effects, which each opposed color band produced. 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.
Sunlight contained an overwhelming “negative” polarity. Moonlight contained a surplus of the “positive” variety. Od polarities were like nutrients. Depending on their personal energetic deficiencies, people each desired specific colorations.
The dangerous manner in which sleepwalkers often clambered up onto terraces, balconies, or even rooftops could now be understood. Sleepwalkers were mysteriously drawn outside in full moonlight in order to absorb Od-positive rays, to them a nutrient. Moonlight was more agreeable to sleepwalkers. This is why they sought it out even during there light dreamy states. This explained their strange behavior under the moon.
Those who were subject to severe muscular cramping or night fears sought Od-negative rays of sunlight. 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.
He began expanding his examinations of the natural world. He now employed his rooftop stage in a new series of examinations involving celestial light, modifying the experimental apparatus by using several different large metal plates (1 square yard each) of zinc, iron, silver, tin, lead gold leaf. In addition, several strange composites were tested, one such being a sulfur-soaked linen cloth of equal size as the metal plates.
Different metallic conductors were connected to each of these in sequences, the wire terminus examined in the dark room. Conductors were very long, some 40 feet in length. The sensitive was asked to hold this wire during the darkroom examinations. Blinding white solar rays were allowed to fully saturate these plates. Shortly after each connection, sensitives began giving very explicit descriptions of their impressions.
Auric flames, some 12 inches in height, projected from the wire end before their very eyes. 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.
As solar light shone on the plates, or was alternately blocked by deliberate interpositions, the sensitives reported that projective flames correspondingly rose and fell. An interval of 30 seconds was always required before the effects, caused in the plates, were communicated to the sensitives. The Baron recognized that gradual introductions were necessary in these experiments, since the Od force took time to manifest and experience.
The Baron allowed his daughter to stand in the direct sunlight shaft, grasping the wire in her hand. The sensitives each saw a flame of 9 inches rise from the wire end with a corresponding pleasant Od coolness flooding the room. When she stepped back into the shade, the wire flame diminished, while producing a disagreeable Od heat, which they all experienced in their turn.
LIGHT AND METALS
Solar light on copper produced green and blue flames, both gold and silver each produced notable flames of a clear white, lead communicated a gray-blue flame, tin plates produced flames of dull white. 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.
The Baron again arranged his very large glass prism in the open-air balcony, projecting its spectrum on the weather worn brick wall. The copper wire touching each color gradually, sensitives reported agreeable sensations from violet to green. 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.
Reflected red and infrared spectra always gave nauseating responses, while the violet and ultraviolet spectra gave elevating cool responses. One could therefore fraction Od currents out of light to obtain its vitalizing power. Several inventors later developed other means for selecting and tuning these special energies, founding the science of Radionics.
Night experiments produced equally strange results. The bright moonlight was allowed to saturate his metal plates. 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 sensitives.
Another experimental arrangement was attempted to test to capacitive ability of metals. Their ability to retain moonlight Od utilized German silver, placed in full moonlight. Saturated with this flux for several minutes, sensitives each felt a disagreeable heat. No measurable temperature difference existed. Several other metal plates were allowed to saturate lunar light before being communicated directly to the sensitives. 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 examined.
The Baron allowed wire terminals to touch skylight, which had passed through a thick glass block. On touching the other terminal end in the darkroom, the sensitives reported an Od heat. The wire, removed from behind the glass block and placed in direct skylight, produced Od cold. Various aqueous solutions were exposed to both sun and moonlight. 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.
The large prism was now employed in a more detailed investigation of this phenomenon. The various spectra, projected against the wall, each produced remarkable flavorings, which were accompanied by “other” sensations. Water tumblers were each placed in its various color bands. Violet color bands producing cool and acidulated qualities, red color bands producing warm and nauseating qualities. Here was yet another qualitative “fait 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.
Od “trapped in matter” represented a new phenomenal species. Anyone could taste and sense the stored qualities now. And here is where the Baron began to make strong statements against his academic critics. Here now were means by which forces, which were termed purely qualitative, yielded quantitative effects. Here, qualities were materializing as quantities. They could be retained in water for hours. Water exposed to red light (“amarom”) and that exposed to violet light (“acidulum”) sparked a new controversy among academicians.
Reichenbach stated the belief that all fluids were subject to those laws by which crystals were regulated and formed. It was possible then to store these Od patterns in fluids of the kind, which crystals clearly manifested. This storing of patterns had been cited for the behavior of remedy substances termed “homeopathic”. 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.
Water samples, allowed to stand in pure moonlight for several moments, produced a “mawkish” and nauseating sensation (lunar “amarom”). This sensation ran through the body, producing nauseating tremens and occasional vomiting. These were, in fact, the very symptoms, which certain night phobics manifested. Here then was a world of qualities, just as the ancients insisted, where qualities ruled inert matter.
Dr. Buryl Payne recently reproduced these experiments with exacting results, noting the dramatic variations among water samples exposed to specific planetary light emanations. The device he used was a 6-foot metal pipe (5 inches in diameter), mounted on a telescope tripod. 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.
Lunar water tasted as “burnt rubber”. Several samples made during a lunar eclipse produced near violent irritability in those who drank the samples. Stopping the light from entering water samples absolutely blocked the unpleasant flavor and sense. Refrigeration eliminated the foul lunar flavorings and the extreme irritability.
Water made by exposure to Venusian light gave a strangely “metallic” flavor, producing an unexpected giddiness. Jupiter exposed water tasted sulfurous, but relieved certain internal upsets with surprising speed. Various other planetary configurations produced specific emotional effects: sadness, weeping, anger, and disorientation. In short, hysterical symptoms.
Od was light. A very rare and world-permeating light. It was an unsuspected reality in the heart of nature. 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.
Except for the sensitive’s own verbal descriptions of things experienced, no speaking was ever permitted during the long and arduous observation process. 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 observation process.
His sensitives numbered in the many hundreds. They were cases, discovered in his journeys across Europe. 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 sensitives recalled their early concerns when the ability first manifested itself. When neither their parents nor their siblings could “see the pretty rainbows” surrounding everything, these child sensitives felt real pity for the others. With increasing age, however, the ability became a nuisance, especially when social acceptance became the need of greatest personal emphasis. Most dealt with their ability by hiding it, though they were never without the vision.
It was difficult for many of them to associate with persons whose auras were unsightly! While the Baron was truly fascinated, he focused primarily on the more natural manifestations of the auric 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 Od world.
The Baron studied the human atmosphere or aura, speaking of its “radiant light which, undetected, sweeps into space”. 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 “as perfumes differ . . . as various tones differ . . . as various colors differ”. 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.
Some sensitives exhibited extraordinary sense receptions: hearing and even seeing through the hands and stomach area (solar plexus). Notable degenerate conditions of auric color and form indicated disease states. 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.
He now planned now to expose each of his special sensitives to successive presentations of materials. 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.
Within this wonderfully relaxing environment his results would be more highly considered by other colleagues. 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.
The process was arranged in a selected sequence. The Baron had a vast chemical and mineral collection at his disposal. 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.
The Baron himself grew accustomed to recognizing the same luminations, which sensitives reported. 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.
Sensitives examined elemental groups, reporting their color impressions. Those elements, which had multiple colorations, displayed multi-layered flame-like emanations. The Baron listed what the group had independently and painstakingly affirmed in his “Od Elemental Tables”: Cadmium (white, blue), Cobalt (blue), Silver (white), Gold (white), Palladium (blue), Rhodium (blue), Chromium (green, yellow), Titanium (red, violet), Arsenic (blue-red), Osmium (red, gray), Potassium (red, yellow), Nickel (red, yellow, green), Sulfur (blue), Selenium (blue, red), Tin (blue, white), Copper (red, green), and so forth.
In addition, it was reported that strong Od cold was produced by sulfur, bromine, graphite, arsenic, tellurium, iodine, selenium, phosphorus, oxygen, arsenic, and manganese. Strong Od heat was produced by gold, platinum, potassium, mercury, tin, cadmium, iridium, iron, oxygen, rhodium, lithium, zinc, osmium, lead, nickel, sodium, antimony, cobalt, silver, titanium, copper, and palladium.
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 electro-positive 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 cold”.
Touched for a few seconds with Od-positive and Od-negative elements, it was found that glass rods and metal rods retained the Od “charge” condition for much longer times than any other tested materials. Thus, Od could be transferred as a slow-moving current through any conductor. 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.
The emanations themselves were projected from each element in a variety of strengths. 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.
The Baron examined auric emanations proceeded from chemical solutions, frictive actions, and chemical reactions in various containers. 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 sulphuric acid solution, sensitives visually identified auric flames from the wire terminal brought out before them.
Sensitives accurately reported when the wire in the concealed chamber was lowered into and out of the solution. Each time a large flame rose up the wire and projected visibly into the air for several inches. With these luminations came also projected sensations of heat or cold. Iron wire flames in sulphuric acid, were white and red-blue. Brass wires in the same solution gave white and green light flames.
Various combinations of chemicals were stirred in the preparation room. Wires, plunged into these freshly stirred solution, brought no measurable thermic effects through many yards of wire length, while Od cold and Od heat was powerfully sensed in the viewing room. The Baron wrapped the wire around a long glass-stirring rod, plunging it into various solutions. Od traveled through the glass rod and passed through the long wire to the sensitives in the room beyond.
Iron filings in water, stirred with the glass rod, gave Od warmth. Iron filings in vinegar, when so stirred, produced Od cold. 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!
A hot iron was passed over a copper plate until warm. The wire being connected to this plate and the terminus held by the sensitive produced two unexpected reactions. First, the unmistakable heat seemed too intense to bear, though the plate itself was only warmed. Second, the sensitive remarked that her hand had become noticeably “heavier”.
Porcelain and wooden rods, when heated at one end, felt “cold” to sensitives. This remarkable phenomenon of Od cold in otherwise strong heat insulators defies academically expressed physical principles. Fire itself, touched with very long metal wires and held at their terminus, felt “cold” to sensitives.
Copper plates were rubbed vigorously with wood, producing Od heat in thirty seconds through 21 feet of wire. 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 through wood.
Iron rods were rubbed together until the sensitives saw bright flames with a warm wind projecting outward from the extreme rod tips. Charcoal pieces were rubbed together, producing dark red flames throughout their substance. Glass rods were rubbed in a covered cloth, the free ends of which glowed with the unearthly light. 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.
He wished to test the effect both of heat and electrification on his sensitives. The Baron decided to try rubbing cloths with an electrophorus, a sulfur cake. 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.
Silk offered special and surprising conductive qualities not manifested with other woven materials. Reichenbach suddenly comprehended the success of early electrostatics researchers while using silk threads as conductive lines. 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”.
He presented a small bar magnet along with his mineral samples once. 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.
All of his sensitives were now exposed to a great variety of magnets. Each exclaimed, in loud and prolific exclamations, the sheer beauty and elegance of these displays. Weak sensitives saw a bright blue flame, which issued from the magnetic north pole, while a red flame issued from the polar south. 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.
Flickering magnetic flames issued upward, apparently under pressure, from each pole. Poles were fairly covered with little flame tongues, which incessantly moved over the pole surface. The colorations were truly spectacular. 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.
The high sensitives each perceived much more, however, than the simple blue north and red south poles. They saw glittering rainbows spontaneously surrounding the magnets in all directions. Dark rainbows. These rainbow colorations held their structure in space. Despite attempts at disturbing this apparent radiant structure, none could force the rainbow colorations to shift in any way from their structured form.
This light proceeded in its multicolored splendors from all sides of the large magnet. The rainbow effect from the magnet reached two yards! The steel of the magnet body between poles was awash in a flowing white light. This whiteness was filled with numerous sparklets and flickering flames all across the gap and iron surfaces. 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 “combustion”.
A gray-white “Od smoke” rose to the ceiling. Blowing on these flames made the displays flicker. Unlike the continued flickering of ordinary flames after such draughts, the magnetic flame quickly reassumed its shape and intensity. 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.
Reichenbach took several large bar magnets and stood them on end. The South Pole in the vertical position, sensitives visibly identified a radiating wheel of colors with greenish yellow (north), violet blue (east), red (south), and yellow (west). The bar magnet having North Pole vertical gave greenish yellow (north), violet blue (east), red (south), and orange (west). 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?
Copper coils were wrapped around magnetic poles and long conductors were drawn into the dark viewing room, whereupon sensitives saw large magnetic flames issuing from the free wire ends. Terrestrial magnetism did not influence or modify the polarity of Od phenomena. 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 magnetic “west”!
Various soft iron shapes were examined: plates, discs, cones, cylinders, and spheres. Exposed to bar magnets, these iron forms displayed Od color effects due to magnetic induction. Streams of Od currents were visibly identified traversing the spaces between magnet and iron, a fluidic transfer of Od radiance. 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.
He tried to induce electricity and magnetism with Od. Taken from elements and minerals through wire connections, he found it impossible to produce either electrostatic charges or magnetic polarities. 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, and minerals.
Magnetic materials clearly focused Od, but Od did not produce magnetism. 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.
At the prime focus, the Baron observed a radiating series of sharp lines. This iris was the result of an inductive effect. Focused Od seemed to be projected outward from the large lens with some acceleration. 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.
The Baron attached a single silver-zinc battery terminal to an iron disc, which was suspended by a silk thread. With only the silver terminal connected, the red coloration at once appeared. When the zinc terminal was applied, the blue coloration appeared. With both connected, the blue-red coloration swelled from the disc. By this experiment, he showed that electrical polarities could focus Od.
He tried reflecting the magnetic Od light in a large mercury mirror. 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 be seen.
Electromagnets produced identical Od luminous effects as when sensitives examined permanent magnets. Electromagnets permitted the controlled observation of “Od lag” effects. 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.
In all of this, the Baron was progressively moving toward an astounding demonstration, which, he believed, would give an unequivocal explanation for the Aurora Borealis. 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.
Each such flare occurred as a sharp discharge from the pole surface, proceeding in radial directions. The colors varied across the polar surface along succinct radial directions outward: Od light meridians. 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.
Just as magnetic Od was blown about by unknown winds, the Aurora was blown about by the high winds of the uppermost atmosphere. This explained the erratic undulations, rolls, and serpentine ripples of the Aurora. 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.
Higher vacuum states produced brighter and more intensely colored Od flames. 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. Focused 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.
Erratic movements of magnetic needles, which always preceded auroral phenomena, evidenced the natural fluctuation of radial Od flares from the poles. 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.
The nature of Mesmer’s famous “magnetic water” was sought. 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 stirring action.
Several sensitives actually fell asleep when approached by magnets. The responses were truly bizarre. Though completely unconscious, the hands of some sensitives actually adhered to the magnets. 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.
It was found that the water samples were not chemically changed. The change was a deeper one than supposed. 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.
Baron von Reichenbach measured the “permanence” of Od charged water. 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 nauseating.
Electrophoric cakes of sulfur were rubbed, emitting white flames of light as well as Odic smoke in the utter blackness of the Castle darkrooms. 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 hunted.
Because of these numerous observations, and because of the frictive manner in which Od phenomena were made manifest, Baron von Reichenbach surmised that Od was a material “dust” of superfine degree. He also suggested that Od was the very material, which luminesced, in the electrified vacuum tubes of Plucker and Geissler. 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 advanced form.
Od would only make its appearance in electrical devices a short time after they had reached their maximum strength. The lag was considerable, usually taking 30 or more seconds to manifest. 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.
The manifestation of Od currents, stimulated by electrostatic energy, required 30 seconds or more before becoming visible. It was obvious that this Od light was not simple electrostatic luminescence. 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 discharge.
These electrostatic inductions of Od were truly anomalous from an electrical viewpoint, since the wires used all ran along the castle floor! Reminiscent of work later done by Tesla, this Od luminous momentum revealed how different Od and electricity were. 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.
High voltage electrical induction coils also produced Od luminosity after 45 seconds, continuing to do so long after the electrical currents had measurably ceased. 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.
Od forces did not give reciprocal electromagnetic effects. The “traction” of Od by electric and magnetic means was clearly observed, but the induction of electromagnetic charges by Od was never determined by the Baron. In addition, both electrical and magnetic phenomena available to the Baron at the time produced Od effects in weakest possible manner, being more the result of frictive effects than of true Od induction. He encountered numerous setbacks in his hopes of demonstrating the mutual “transformation” of both Od and electromagnetic energies.
“Powerful Od sources fail to induce electrical or magnetic effects, when a magnetic needle possessing one-hundredth the Odyllic power will do so instantly”. There was some obvious reluctance, which Od exhibited when being forced to become electrostatic, or magnetic force.
While this great “failure” seemed to close a curtain, the Baron saw a far greater curtain opening. Goethe’s prescription was to look deeply into the face of nature for answers. 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 humanity.
In fact, non-active electrical apparatus and components exhibited remarkable ability in storing, conducting, and modifying Od. This fact was developed into the science of radionics independently by Dr. George S. White and Dr. Albert Abrams, both medical doctors.
Permanent magnetism was as fundamental a force concentrator as could be found, until crystal Od was discovered. 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.
In May of 1844, the Baron brought forth a large mountain crystal from his collection for viewing. 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 smoke.
The phenomena of blue and red-yellow polarities in crystals were accompanied by visual and visceral sensations. 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 nature.
Some specimens compelled the hands of sensitives to grasp the crystal terminals in a strange display of physiological traction. Reichenbach referred to certain crystals as “detectors of Od”, inferring by this that world-ad actually focuses in crystals.
Several crystals produced uncontrolled “grasping responses” and painful “cramping” effects in the fingers of sensitives. These included diamond, antimony, witherite, cassiterite, corundum, hornblende, staurolite, copper sulphate, tungsten, mica, potassium ferrocyanide, witherite.
Some crystals, which caused the convulsive and painful “hand closing” effects, did so without attracting the hands of sensitives. These included rock salt, quartz, sphaelerite, cobalt glance and iron ore. Crystals, which caused strong hand clenching and painfully violent spasms, included meteoritic iron, French quartz crystal, calcite, arragonite, tourmaline, beryl, selenite, fluorspar, and barite. 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.
Crystallic points produced “thrilling” stimulations and wakefulness, while crystallic bases produced deep and sudden sleep. Crystal Od was powerful. Its permeating force supervened the neurology of sensitives, causing physiological tractions and convulsions. The bodies of sensitives stored up crystal lie force. 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.
It was thought that traces of iron in the crystals produced the crystallic Od force. 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.
He purchased a very large quartz crystal prism from Gotthard, “measuring eight inches in diameter . . . a six-sided colossus having pyramidal ends . . . which I had great difficulty in using”. 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.
He tried raising iron filings with it, though none could be raised even with the crystal point. He tried using it to magnetize iron needles without effect. 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 movements.
A large selenite crystal was suspended by silk, placed under a bell jar, and approached by a large magnet. No motions were observed in the crystal Od. The same selenite crystal was suspended near an electrified wire without resultant motions. He took much smaller crystals, suspending each by fine silk threads and observing their orientations in the terrestrial magnetic field. No general orientation was ever discovered among the crystals.
Furthermore, crystal concentrated Od activated electrical apparatus and components in unexpected ways. 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 crystallic Od.
Placed on metal plates or in large metal coils, crystals produced a penetrating and highly focused Od polarity. Representing more potent natural Od states than even lodestone, crystal lie force powerful compelled the Baron into new investigations. With exception of a few organic materials, crystallic Od charged all contacted objects with ease and power.
Metals conducted crystallic Od with a sensible “shock” which sensitives could feel. Capable of penetrating the body on contact, crystallic Od evidenced its natural predominance over all other Od sources. With crystallic Od, the propagation time in wire conductors was nearly instantaneous! Crystal-transferred Od was intense, penetrating, and complete. Od-charged metal objects retained their flow for longer time periods, springing with prolific Od flames.
Crystal lie Od transference intensified the natural Od radiance of elements and minerals. Crystallic Od was the quintessential natural Od focus, permeating all matter. 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.
It seemed difficult to isolate crystallic Od. 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 point.
Crystallic Od had difficulty passing through the one inch thick book, and did not succeed in passing after being moved over the large crystal point several times. Od propagation was blocked in organic matter. 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.
A 40 foot woolen cord was traversed by crystallic Od in a very short time, again the result of its longitudinal strands. Silk and glass seemed more perfect crystal Od conductors when compared to paper, wool, and wood. Long exposure times did not increase the Od charge of a metal object after its saturation point was reached. Saturated objects radiated their Od surplus into space. The critical time for saturation was tested among several metals.
Crystals could charge water samples, as did magnets and sunlight. Crystal points projected coolness into water, the acidulous taste resembling that produced by magnetic north poles and violet spectrum sunlight. Crystal bases gave the same nauseating flavor produced through both south magnetic poles and red spectrum sunlight.
After sufficient examination, it was found that crystallic force resided primarily in the optical axis of crystals. Those crystals, which lacked strong optical axes, also lacked the strong crystallic focus. 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.
The discovery of crystal Od, and its ancillary phenomena, so impressed him that he spent a great long while both studying and marveling over its very existence. 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”.
With this crystal giant, the Baron launched on an amazing series of experiments designed to determine the usefulness of crystallic force in a new technology. Modern electro-technology itself is predicated on the use of electron currents. It is completely dependent on interactions, which these currents exhibit when made to move through special structures. 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.
Dr. Ashburner, Reichenbach’s English translator, produced several remarkable crystallic Od detectors, having eight or more large mountain crystals of quartz wrapped in great silk-insulated copper coils. These, closed with a platinum “keeper” produce a prodigious Od charge of shocking power. There were researchers who later managed the extraction of Od-like energies from certain rare minerals and specially synthesized crystals (Moray).
Baron von Reichenbach speculated that the crystallic Od is to crystals what vital force is to organisms. In other words, he speculated on the intelligent living aspects of the Od force. Here then was the beginning of Radionic Science, which Twentieth Century investigators would later privately implement in exceptional analyzers and “tuners”.
The Baron examined the Odic influences of both solar and lunar light and their ability to modify crystal Od sources. 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 “grave lights”.
Taking several of his sensitives out in the night air, he led them into a new cemetery one at a time. Each sensitive clearly beheld the Od light eerily hovering over the ground where new burials had taken place. 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.
Reichenbach sought to probe the mysteries of Od in space now. Od traversed great lateral distances of 160 or more feet across laboratory spaces, effecting powerful sensations across these distances without appreciable loss. Od did not apparently weaken when once in the radiant form. 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 take place.
Nikola Tesla advanced the knowledge of solar Od, permitting the true transformation of Od into electrostatic charges. 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.
The Baron observed diurnal pulsations of Od potential from various physiological centers, noting and charting their natural regularity. 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 rhythm.
The most sensitive body spots showed the most concentrated proportions of Od: the lips, face, fingertips, erogenous zones, feet, and toes. 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 ancient scientists.
In solar energy, ancient natural philosophers recognized wonderful metaphysical activities. The solar Od rhythm revealed an essential world dynamism, a “reciprocation” which had long been forgotten. 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 origin.
The deep blue night sky revealed a wide variety of Od currents. Several of his sensitives had shown great attraction to specific sectors of the night sky. Whorl-like sectors of space displayed Od currents of different polarities. 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.
Several of his sensitives always mentioned that portions of the night sky seemed especially attractive, while others were disagreeable. 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.
Blindfolded and asked to seek that constant cold of the night sky, sensitives invariably located the magnetic meridian toward the north. The Milky Way produced the most delightful coolness, the Pleiades excelling in these soothing and cold sensations. Planets each gave a strange and disagreeable warmth, despite the general coldness noted in the entire starry vault. 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 allowed stellar light to fall upon a copper plate. To this was attached a long conducting wire. Held by the sensitive, a slender white light of 24 inches rose from the wire end, becoming very cold and invigorating. The slender light rose and fell when the Baron repeatedly moved the copper receiver in and out of the starlight. 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 and spine.
The Baron accidentally discovered that planetary light, even from a single planet, completely absorbed the collective invigorating action of the stars. Jupiter became an unbearable sight for certain sensitives. 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.
In his most remarkable statement in these regards, the Baron alluded to the true energy behind astrological configurations: “we stand in connection with the universe by a new and hitherto unsuspected reciprocation . . . consequently, the stars are not without influence upon our sublunary (and perhaps) practical world, and the proceedings of many heads”.
Sensitives were able to detect metals despite their covering in thick insulators. 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 of “mineral”.
His examination of “living organic structures” commenced with the acquisition of several potted plants. Copper wire coils were wrapped around potted plants, the long free terminus grasped by the sensitive in the darkroom. 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.
Walking through opened fields in sunlight, a high sensitive began examining the numerous flowering plants near Castle Reisenberg. 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.
Here, the Baron recognized a long forgotten sensitivity, which physicians had anciently known. 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.
Indeed, certain plants gave completely contrary Od temperature effects because of the alkaloidal chemicals manufactured by them. In these cases, the purely Od chemical predominated the Od biological states. 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 species.
A general rule for vegetative Od polarity emerged; showing that vegetative parts of lethargic growth were always Od negative (cool) effects, while vegetative parts of rapid growth gave Od positive (hot) effects. Thus were vascular bundles found to always be most Od positive, while upper leaf faces were most Od negative.
Trees were also Od cold in their upper parts and Od warm near the roots. Such facts later reappeared in the designs of Nathan Stubblefield, who buried special compound bimetallic coils at the roots of trees to obtain commercial currents of energy.
The Baron sought to examine insects by his method. A little rose beetle, a moth, and other garden-variety insects were placed on a copper plate to which a long wire was connected in the familiar manner. The sensitives invariably felt this presence as Od heat after a few seconds. 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 Radionics.
Goethe had once described the world as a “process” whose transformations relied upon a mysterious world-force. 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.
Young Karl Reichenbach studied Goethe with a deeply passionate regard. His new studies reminded him of Goethe’s statements concerning world-process. Now realizing that Od is a general world-condition, he suddenly glimpsed the far reaching aspects of the “luminous world”. 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”.
His articles on Odic or Odyllic light were prized by academic notables such as Liebig and Wohler, who published them in their famous “Annalen der Chemie”. 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.
European scientists of high rank found the work done by Reichenbach to be of sound repute. 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 focused 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.
These photographs were made by the Od light projected from fingertips, crystal points, magnets, metals, chemicals, frictive effects, and heat effects. Several photographs demonstrated the transference of Od light from one material to another. Lenses were used to intensify these effects in certain plates, a fact which Dr. Abrams and Dr. Kilner later elicited in studying “human” (auric) energy.
In his photographic experiments, Reichenbach sought the aid of the Royal Photographer Gunther (Berlin). With Gunther, he discovered that Od light was in fact a completely different energetic species than ordinary light. The two established that strong sunlight could not produce photographic images through 6.5 inches of glass, while the eye could clearly perceive images through the same. 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.
In 1930, Dr. Ruth Drown produced a remarkable device, which was capable of producing anatomically interior photographs through radionic tuning systems and photographic plates. She produced a catalog containing many thousands of these “radio-vision” prints. With photographic evidence of radionic energies, she toured European medical circles. Physicians were eager to both learn and implement the revolutionary technology. De La Warr (1948, Oxford) continued these researches, producing similar photographic results.
Quantitative science is entirely based on data derived through the use of “objective measuring devices”. 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”.
This quantified worldview cannot describe sensations, qualities, or metacognition; it cannot directly describe our senses, sensation, or awareness. These experiential realities are fundamentally distinct energies, which have extent and continuity in space. 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.
It is no coincidence that the quantitative worldview works very well in describing superficial force dynamics of inertial space, employing force instruments to obtain its data. 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.
Because of the blind insistence that all things are force-reducible, modern quantitative science ultimately moves toward a completely alienated treatment of Nature, where sense-substituting instruments filter specific natural signals and thought-substituting statistics interpret data. 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”.
This self-destructive and self-annihilating devaluation of consciousness is abhorrent and unacceptable. Because so much emphasis has been placed on instruments, quantitative science has formulated a special world-interpretation, which adds nothing to the experiential dialogue. Quantitative science projects a worldview so alien from consciousness that its statements become abhorrent and humanly inconsequential.
Force measuring instruments have bound quantitative science into a closure from which it actually desires no escape. 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 consciousness.
If human experience is invalid, then who decided whether or not instrumental examinations of Nature were more valid? More valid compared to what or whom? Whose “faulty” consciousness decided this ridiculous contradiction? These continually emerging inconsistencies are the embarrassing “warning signs” to quantitative method.
The scientists of former times were not the mere force-measuring technicians of today. They were truly Doctors of Philosophy. These natural philosophers employed the powerful tool of consciousness in a metacognitive consideration, reflection, and interpretation of Natural behaviors. Data, and the accuracy of its acquisition was never considered more valid than the philosophical considerations concerning Natural meanings and their interpretations. 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 process.
Data, however accurate, was often disqualified as inadmissible and inconsequential, when far greater principles of metacognitive import were weighed. 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!
Former science, qualitative science, viewed the world as a vast potential of experiential possibilities. Qualitative Science understood that nature was fundamentally an experiential reality. Viewed as an exceedingly complex collection of qualities and aspects, ancient naturalists employed metacognitive process to interpret the various meanings of these qualities and aspects.
Qualitative Science studied the language of Nature, interpreting its meanings and enjoying the consciousness so evidently flowing throughout the world. 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.
Qualities and aspects are the innumerable “experiential potentials”. Consciousness, the mysterious energy, is the means by which we may know Nature intimately. What we need to do is rediscover the lost means for examining Nature by direct experience at a magnified potential. Experience is the heart and core of being. In fact, we all wish to “merge with Nature” completely. This is the true motivation beneath the scientific study of Nature.
Quantitative science does not give this. Art more completely achieves this purpose. But Qualitative Science most completely achieved this in the development of experience magnifying instruments, the Science of Radionics.
Sensation remains the only possible window through which consciousness accesses Nature directly. It is, in fact, the only window through which meaning is acquired. Sensation is the only accessible means through which a larger world-language of meaning and symbol is engaged by the ones who experience. Through the gates of perception, the experimenter realizes the deepest and most world-suffusing space, where meanings and symbols rule inertial realities.
It was in this world of pure experience, sensation, and consciousness that Baron Karl von Reichenbach found answers which have yet to be considered by his academic progeny. Perhaps the time has again come when the results of his massive research will again be studied with a view toward a new Qualitative science. 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 Reichenbach.
In the forty years during which these meticulous and thorough investigations were conducted, Baron von Reichenbach managed to collate an incredibly massive data bank. 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.
Few modern researchers ever manage the acquisition of lost Victorian knowledge. Few manage the sublime realization of lost technology, which our Victorian predecessors developed. Fewer yet develop the qualitative experiential modes by which the foundational worldview is realized. 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:
“It is in a dark and cold world we sit,
if we will not open the inward eyes of the spirit
to the inward flame of Nature.”
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. . .
“Everything, then, emits LIGHT . . .
Everything . . . Everything . . .
We live in a world full of SHINING matter!“