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Wilhelm Reich Trial: 1956

Builds "cloud-buster"

For nearly five years, while the FDA was compiling a case, the laboratory sold and rented accumulators. Meanwhile, Reich built a device—his "cloud-buster"—that some credited with causing severe rain in the Arizona desert and with diverting a New England hurricane.

February 10, 1954, brought a Complaint for Injunction, a formal civil action by the FDA against Reich, his wife, and the foundation. It charged them with violating the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act by making false and misleading claims and delivering misbranded and adulterated devices in interstate commerce. As plaintiff, the FDA requested the U.S. District Court to "perpetually enjoin" the defendants from continuing to manufacture, distribute, or publicize the orgone accumulator. Peter Mills, formerly Reich's attorney but now U.S. Attorney for the District of Maine, signed the complaint.

Mary Boyd-Higgins displays a device designed to concentrate the workings of orgone energy, designed by Wilhelm Reich. (AP/Wide World Photos) Mary Boyd-Higgins displays a device designed to concentrate the workings of orgone energy, designed by Wilhelm Reich. (AP/Wide World Photos)

Reich decided not to appear in court to contest the complaint. Rather, he wrote a letter to District Court Judge John D. Clifford, Jr. "I shall not appear," he said, "against a plaintiff who by his mere complaint already has shown his ignorance in matters of natural science."

On March 19, Judge Clifford issued a sweeping injunction ordering the destruction of all orgone accumulators owned by Reich or leased to others, as well as all printed and graphic material related to the device.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1954 to 1962Wilhelm Reich Trial: 1956 - Discovers "orgone", Invents "accumulator", Builds "cloud-buster", Ignores Injunction, Suggestions For Further Reading