He developed a delusion that he had powerful friends in government, including President Eisenhower , who he believed would protect him, and that the U. Air Force was flying over Orgonon to make sure that he was all right. Sharaf writes that Reich detested unannounced visitors; he had once chased some people away with a gun just for looking at an adjacent property.
He told the inspectors they had to read his work before he would interact with them, and ordered them to leave. In February the United States Attorney for the District of Maine filed a page complaint seeking a permanent injunction under Sections and of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prevent interstate shipment of orgone accumulators and to ban promotional literature. In a letter to Judge John D. Clifford, Jr. My factual position in the case as well as in the world of science of today does not permit me to enter the case against the Food and Drug Administration, since such action would, in my mind, imply admission of the authority of this special branch of the government to pass judgment on primordial, pre-atomic cosmic orgone energy.
I, therefore, rest the case in full confidence in your hands.
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The injunction was granted by default on 19 March The judge ordered that all accumulators, parts and instructions be destroyed, and that several of Reich's books that mentioned orgone be withheld. According to Turner, the injunction triggered a further deterioration in Reich's mental health. From at least early , he came to believe that the planet was under attack by UFOs, or "energy alphas", as he called them.
He said he often saw them flying over Orgonon—shaped like thin cigars with windows—leaving streams of black Deadly Orgone Radiation in their wake, which he believed the aliens were scattering to destroy the Earth. He and his son would spend their nights searching for UFOs through telescopes and binoculars, and when they believed they had found one would roll out the cloudbuster to suck the energy out of it. Reich claimed he had shot several of them down. Armed with two cloudbusters, they fought what Reich called a "full-scale interplanetary battle" in Arizona, where he had rented a house as a base station.
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In late Reich began an affair with Grethe Hoff, a former patient. Hoff was married to another former student and patient of his, the psychologist Myron Sharaf , who decades later, with his Fury on Earth , became Reich's main biographer. Hoff and Sharaf had had their first child the year before Hoff left him for Reich; the marriage was never repaired although the affair had ended by June Walter Roner. While Reich was in Arizona in May , one of his associates sent an accumulator part through the mail to another state, in violation of the injunction, after an FDA inspector posing as a customer requested it.
Michael Silvert, were charged with contempt of court ; Silvert had been looking after the inventory in Reich's absence. Representing himself during the hearing, he admitted the violation but pleaded not guilty and hinted at conspiracies. During a recess the judge apparently suggested a psychiatric evaluation to Reich's ex-wife, Ilse Ollendorff, but this was not communicated to Reich.
The jury found him guilty on 7 May , and he was sentenced to two years' imprisonment. On 5 June two FDA officials arrived at Orgonon to supervise the destruction of the accumulators. Most of them had been sold by that time and another 50 were with Silvert in New York. Only three were at Orgonon. The FDA agents were not allowed to destroy them, only to supervise the destruction, so Reich's friends and his son, Peter, chopped them up with axes as the agents watched.
On 26 June the agents returned to supervise the destruction of the promotional material, including copies of Reich's books. In England A. Neill and the poet Herbert Read signed a letter of protest, but it was never published. On 23 July the remaining accumulators in New York were destroyed by S. Collins and Sons, who had built them. On 23 August six tons of Reich's books, journals and papers were burned in New York, in the Gansevoort incinerator, the public incinerator on 25th Street. Although these had been published in German before Reich ever discussed orgone, he had added mention of it to the English editions, so they were caught by the injunction.
The psychiatrist Victor Sobey d. All the expenses and labor had to be provided by the [Orgone Institute] Press. A huge truck with three to help was hired. I felt like people who, when they are to be executed, are made to dig their own graves first and are then shot and thrown in.
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We carried box after box of the literature. Reich appealed the lower court's decision in October , but the Court of Appeals upheld it on 11 December.
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Edgar Hoover , director of the FBI, requesting a meeting,  and appealed to the Supreme Court , which decided on 25 February not to review the case. Silvert committed suicide in May , five months after his release.
Hubbard, a psychiatrist who admired Reich, examined him on admission, recording paranoia manifested by delusions of grandiosity , persecution, and ideas of reference :. The patient feels that he has made outstanding discoveries. Gradually over a period of many years he has explained the failure of his ideas in becoming universally accepted by the elaboration of psychotic thinking.
This time it was decided that he was mentally competent and that his personality seemed intact, though he might become psychotic when stressed. I am in Lewisburg. I am calm, certain in my thoughts, and doing mathematics most of the time. I am kind of "above things", fully aware of what is up. Do not worry too much about me, though anything might happen. I know, Pete, that you are strong and decent. At first I thought that you should not visit me here. I do not know. With the world in turmoil I now feel that a boy your age should experience what is coming his way—fully digest it without getting a "belly ache", so to speak, nor getting off the right track of truth, fact, honesty, fair play, and being above board— never a sneak He applied for a presidential pardon in May, to no avail.
Peter visited him in jail several times, where one prisoner said Reich was known as the "flying saucer guy" and the "Sex Box man". His last letter to his son was on 22 October , when he said he was looking forward to being released on 10 November, having served one third of his sentence. A parole hearing had been scheduled for a few days before that date.
He wrote that he and Peter had a date for a meal at the Howard Johnson restaurant near Peter's school. Reich failed to appear for roll call on 3 November and was found at 7 a.
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The prison doctor said he had died during the night of "myocardial insufficiency with sudden heart failure". He had left instructions that there was to be no religious ceremony, but that a record should be played of Schubert's "Ave Maria" sung by Marian Anderson , and that his granite headstone should read simply: "Wilhelm Reich, Born March 24, , Died Time magazine wrote on 18 November Wilhelm Reich, 60, once-famed psychoanalyst, associate and follower of Sigmund Freud, founder of the Wilhelm Reich Foundation, lately better known for unorthodox sex and energy theories; of a heart attack; in Lewisburg Federal Penitentiary, Pa; where he was serving a two-year term for distributing his invention, the "orgone energy accumulator" in violation of the Food and Drug Act , a telephone-booth-size device that supposedly gathered energy from the atmosphere, and could cure, while the patient sat inside, common colds, cancer, and impotence.
The psychoanalyst Richard Sterba wrote in that Reich had been a brilliant clinician and teacher in the s; even the older analysts had wanted to attend his technical seminars in Vienna. There were inaccurate rumours from the late s that he had been hospitalized. Similarly, Sandor Rado had Reich as an analyst and in and declared him schizophrenic "in the most serious way". Reich's daughter, Lore Reich Rubin, a psychiatrist , believed that he had bipolar and had been sexually abused as a child. Sharaf argued that psychoanalysts tended to dismiss as ill anyone from within the fold who had transgressed, and this was never done so relentlessly as with Reich.
His work was split into the pre-psychotic "good" and the post-psychotic "bad", the date of the illness's onset depending on which parts of his work a speaker disliked. Psychoanalysts preferred to see him as sane in the s because of his work on character, while political radicals regarded him as sane in the s because of his Marxist-oriented research. He wrote in that for years he and his friends regarded Reich as "something akin to a messiah". Bell started teaching a course on Reich in at New York University through its Division of Continuing Study, and it was still being taught at the time Sharaf was writing Reich's biography in , making it the longest-running course ever taught in that division.