My first steps on the Orgonite trail took place in Spring
2008, when I decided to distribute the mysterious ‘pucks’ of resin, metal
and crystal among friends with allotments and gardens. The resultant, and
unexpected, vegetable growth (FT249:24) only served to send me further down
the path. Orgonite is a recent invention building on the concept of Dr
Wilhelm Reich’s Orgone Accumulator, a device he believed stored and
concentrated positive energy (see FT107:26–30). The Orgonite pucks are
solid-state versions of the same concept which are intended to take in
negative energies and emit positive ones.
In 2009, I decided to find out more about how this simple composite material – made from aluminium shavings, resin and a crystal – functioned when used by a wider group of people. Was there some person-specific phenomenon which massively accelerated plant growth, resulting in giant vegetables? Or was the motive force provided by the Orgonite itself, somehow acting on the environment?
A very informal trial was set up locally in Brighton, in conjunction with EcoLogicCool, a small shop specialising in power-saving and energy management hardware as well as recycled gifts. Shop owner Jake Greene was “up for it” as an experiment, and – although he had no investment in the project – was happy to humour me by placing a puck with each of the two palm plants in the store. The shop would simply be acting as a central distribution point for the Orgonite, as well as for the disposable 24-shot cameras offered as a documentation tool for those who didn’t have digital cameras or suitably equipped mobile phones.
A questionnaire was prepared beforehand, which the participants had to fill out, covering a range of topics from gardening skills to paranormal belief. They were then handed either one or two ‘tower buster’ (TB) Orgonite pucks, depending on the size of their gardens, with an estimated effect radius of 3–4.5m for plants when buried in the ground. People without allotments or gardens were still welcomed and told to use potted plants to see the effects.
Word of mouth acted as an initial call for participants, and this was followed by a nationally distributed press release announcing the trial. Participants ranged from keen gardeners to weekend dabblers, from members of the clergy to local police officers, each taking away one or two of the TBs. Strangely, the Green Party, who had a stall set up nearby to attract new members, seemed to resist offers to join in the free trial, which would have required no more than simply walking the short block to “EcoLogicCool”.
With the trial being covered twice on BBC Sussex – the prime 7.30 morning slot and a specialist Sunday gardening show – the range was extended to include keen gardeners outside Brighton, with even the BBC’s local morning team joining in the experiment. One specific invitation was to people with ‘brown thumbs’ – those who seem to kill any plant they’re given. This would hopefully demonstrate whether some psi elements were at work, as similar interference on psychotronic hardware had been reported in past tests.
The number of TB pucks given out locally was close to 100, with half being funded by me as part of a longer and more detailed research project with Black Ice magazine, and the other half kindly donated by the supplier at www.whale.to. One of the earliest results came back from G Davies, a gardener with a polytunnel greenhouse, who had already started growing her green beans. She commented that she “was eating runner beans 31st of May” from her allotment, very much earlier than expected.
The use of Orgonite in gardening had also sparked the interest of organisers at the Liverpool Biennial after a couple of TBs were given out during a lecture at the city’s Made Up Weekend, both of which produced extreme growth increases on indoor potted plants. These personal results led to setting up a further two-part lecture and trial in Seaforth, using the same methodology as in the local Brighton trials. TBs were purchased and a box donated by the maker. About 20 locals arrived, and with the exception of one paranoid individual attempting to derail the lecture (before the bulk of the audience turned on him), the take-up was exceptional, clearing out all the TBs and the 25 or so disposable cameras.
Another piece of early evidence could literally be seen in my backyard on my return from Liverpool. Given that I have no access to the basement flat’s backyard, I had simply thrown a couple of pucks out of the bathroom window during the summer of 2008. Over that summer, the hedges on both sides of the property grew like mad and were noticeably much larger than in previous years. Finally, both sides got so tall that the landlord had to have them cut down by a professional; the resulting cutback was so severe that the landlord thought the hedges had been killed. Gazing out the window now, it struck me that not only were the hedges not dead, they had in fact grown back to the point that the one on the left side was close to covering half the yard.
This dramatic growth spurt is comparable to that of the hazel tree reported by M Rogers of Shoreham (FT249:24), who continues to get reliable growth from a grapevine “that used to produce these bitter little peas and for the second year running is producing a vineyard in my greenhouse”.
The initial press release sent out at the end of March 2009 spread far and wide, appearing on a range of news websites, with five pages of results on Google and a Digg entry. One surprising appearance, becoming the basis for a 340+ page thread, was on the David Icke forum where people who have experience with Orgonite are sharing reports and photos of their own Orgonite creations. Multiple attempts have been made by a few posters to derail the thread, which has now been made ‘sticky’ (i.e. can’t be deleted). Such posters are always countered with lucid arguments and observations by those on the forum with hands-on experience. These include a curious result with freezing water combined with Orgonite, producing stalagtites and highly visible vortex formations.
P Gardner, who makes his own Orgonite, explained: “The ice thing seems to work 99 per cent of the time – only a couple of occasions out of many without noticeable results. Varying permutations of TBs – above/below/both – and contents of Orgonite – types of quartz, wire wraps etc – seem to have a noticeable difference on the formations produced.”
Wanting some sort of explanation of how the Orgonite was affecting the water, he took a piece into a secondary school science department to get their take on it. “All were pretty flummoxed, agreeing that something was going on but they didn’t really know what,” he reports.
Gardner has not pursued all the variations in the Orgonite material design, reasoning thus: “I now know it just does ‘work’. I don’t really feel the need to prove it to myself.” It’s a common reaction, and for many Orgonite users, following a season or two of exceptional plant growth, further ‘teasing out’ of the ‘why’ isn’t needed.
Other observations of Orgonite effects are being reported. One active poster, Natalie in the US, commented that she has “noticed Orgonite makes a positive effect on my mood as well as my energy level. Placing Orgonite on my incoming power supply has also decreased my electrical usage and expenses! Also sleeping near small pieces of Orgonite is improving my quality of sleep. I sent some Orgonite to two family members who also confirm that it is improving their sleep. One has had chronic insomnia in the past and now takes the Orgonite everywhere he travels to insure a good night’s sleep!”
These subjective physiological reports continue to be scattered among the collected anecdotes concerning Orgonite effects. B Harrison in Lancashire was mailed two pieces in order to reproduce the basic seed germination tests. Instead, he pursued his own test on himself, having suffered from chronic leg pain and numbness for some time, possibly due to a cartilage issue. He simply put a TB in his trouser pocket and within two weeks the long-running pain was gone. He then repeated this experiment on a Manchester-based friend with a similar leg complaint; likewise, the condition cleared up.
Ever the investigator, Mr Harrison has, on a few occasions, removed the Orgonite from his pocket – only to be revisited by the chronic pain, again relieved by the return of the Orgonite.
It wasn’t until early August that a more rigorous element of the trial was revealed by P Barker, who had produced amazing results the previous year with his beets and parsnips. Educated to graduate level in chemistry, Mr Barker knew the importance of running a control group for any experiment and that it is the statistical analysis of the whole crop which proves a trend, not the discovery of one or two prime examples chosen to show off the best results.
He speculated that the soil may have an element to play in the results and, observing that the section of allotment that produced the standard-sized results had a ‘weaker’ soil compared to the one which generated the monster-sized vegetables (FT249:24), simply swapped the Orgonite from one side to the other for this year’s growing season.
First out of his allotment were “Paris Market Barons” from Kings Seeds, Suffolk, which don’t look like normal carrots, as they are almost spherical, but are ideal for shallow soil. To bias the results in favour of the control group in better soil, he gave me the largest of the vegetables from that side of the allotment and the smaller of the crop from the Orgonite-present “poorer” soil.
He explains: “ Even using this statistical bias when comparing the two samples, the difference in size/yield of the Orgonite crop was noticeable in that the best of the crop sown in good soil were no better than the average crops sown in the worse soil with the Orgonite presence. The best crops from the Orgonite patch were the biggest of all.” He also notes there was “very little carrot fly on Orgonite patch – much more evident on control patch”.
As well as introducing people to the concept of Orgonite in gardens, the press release found its way to people already using it, giving them an opportunity to contact me and share their experiences. L Woodgate of Lewes wrote: “I’ve had Orgonite around the house for a couple of years (made it myself)… I used to live in Valencia and my garden there went mad with growth when I introduced it… I’ve since moved to Lewes and have an allotment. I was thinking of mixing up another batch (I just use pot scrubbers for the metal) and using it in my allotment. Although armed with healthy scepticism, I have been ‘blown away’ by the results so far.”
He further added that Orgonite seemed to produce notable effects on sleep, recommending that one should “put some Orgonite under your bed at night and you will get crazy amounts of dreams… All my mates who tried it were a bit freaked out… All very interesting and I’m not even much of a hippie type”.
One person with a definite scientific background, Brighton resident R Robinson, was interested in experimenting with the Orgonite pucks, and decided to use a type of flowering bulb which takes an exceptionally long time to germinate. His results in the blind experiment were negative. In fact, the bulb with Orgonite produced a smaller plant than that without the Orgonite.
Other negative results have come in amidst all the positive ones; interestingly, wheatgrass seems to remain unaffected by Orgonite. Both of these no-effect results appear to be connected to the speed at which the plants grow – wheatgrass very fast and bulbs prohibitively slowly. Furthermore, an element of bulb growth could possibly illustrate the mechanism of Orgonite; bulbs are self-contained in their nutrient supply, needing only some water, unlike germinating seeds which require more water as well as healthy and rich soil to grow in.
Given the small size, and scarcity, of gardens in Brighton, some people resorted to using the Orgonite on windowsills with herbs, as N Palmer did with equal numbers of coriander and basil plants. He observed: “Consistently, with each new plant grown, the pot standing on the Orgonite produced more bushy herb plants than its neighbour,” and added: “My wife was not interested until she noticed that the herb plants in pots standing on TBs consistently produced more bushy plants.”
The primary intention of the trial was to generate results from a wide variety of people rather than just a few in a specific area, and to that extent it was successful. However, as a side effect, it also revealed a surprising aspect of people’s interaction with “the unknown” when it comes to how and if they share that information with others.
N Palmer, who has now consumed several crops of Orgonite-assisted herbs, relates: “Most people express disbelief when I mention this. One friend said he was surprised I hold this odd ‘belief’, since he regards me as intelligent. This same friend dismissed my personal experiences and observations as hearsay and wishful thinking.”
This very rudimentary, shoestring trial of Orgonite effects for the most part produced results as expected. However, the return from people submitting data over the growing season was at best 20 per cent locally, with nothing at all from the Liverpool trial participants. Documentation was a major issue, even among those who had produced results. At “EcoLogicCool”, the two palms had noticeably grown, according to shop owner Jake, although he had to be cajoled into taking a photo with his mobile phone. Of all the supplied free disposable cameras, only one has been returned to date.
How many of the other participants both locally and in Liverpool had no results or exceptional results with the Orgonite it’s simply not possible to say from this trial. Given that people I knew personally were having results but still not documenting them with photographs leads me to wonder whether there is an issue at work here which is likely to be common in other fortean areas, namely an unwillingness to admit that something unusual has happened in the first place or to share this information with others.
Whatever the reasons for this reticence, as well as in some cases an almost violent reaction to the very possibility of unusual effects, the experiments continue – despite lack of funding – and have now taken an international turn. Two pieces of Orgonite mailed to a friend in Prague are resting under fully blooming indoor house plants despite it being the depth of winter.
Meanwhile, those who have had (and reported) results from the trial plan to continue exploring it during this year’s growing season, with a further trial being set up in Manchester this spring, as well as a local polytunnel greenhouse loaded with large pieces of Orgonite and a specialised time lapse camera.
While these developments continue apace, certain unexpected results and observations – vivid dreams, cures for insomnia and pain relief – suggest there are yet further avenues to be explored. Clearly, my time following the Orgonite trail is far from over.