The flood of knowledge brought to us by the Information Age, fortunately, includes the work of many of the great scientists you won’t hear about in your average school textbook. One such figure contributed greatly to the realm of the science of subtle energy. As information spreads, his work is now legendary within the sphere of subtle energetic research.
Big Name, Mind, and Heart
Born in 1788, German scientist, Baron Dr. Karl Ludwig Freiherr von Reichenbach not only had an impressive name, he possessed an equally impressive mind. Karl was well studied and practiced in the fields of chemistry, manufacturing, metallurgy, geology, and earned his doctorate in philosophy. With all of this knowledge at his disposal, he became a self-made Baron through his massive contributions to the field of industrial chemical extraction and refinement; before moving onto the work he would become underground famous for.
Utilizing the enormous wealth he accumulated through his early work, he continued on with his scientific research into that which fascinated him the most. He discovered a luminous form of energy, not yet identified by the Western world. By choosing this new form of energy to be the focus of his life’s work, he committed himself to modern scientific obscurity.
“All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.” – Arthur Schopenhauer
However, having already made his fortune by other means, his reputation did not matter much to him. Among his many grand contributions to science, most now attribute the crown jewel of von Reichenbach’s work as his investigations into what he deemed the all-pervasive “Odic Force” (also written Od, Odes, Odyllic, Odems, etc.). Named after the Norse god of heaven, Odin, this subtle energetic force was first noticed by the Baron when he was conducting research on the human nervous system. He felt compassionately determined to help those who were suffering from somnambulism, also known as sleepwalking, night terrors, and emotional hysteria.
The Darkside of the Moon
In his time, there was essentially nothing that doctors could offer to help these individuals who were often shunned by their villages for fear of some sort of “demonic possession.” Suspecting something yet-to-be scientifically discovered was happening, von Reichenbach gathered hundreds of accounts of these conditions. Looking over the data, a pattern quickly emerged that demonstrated a correlation between these bizarre behavioral episodes, and the lunar cycle, with most incidents occurring at the time of the full moon.
Through direct observation in patients' homes and at his private estate, case studies revealed that before a sleepwalking incident would begin, something in the nervous system would cause muscles to cramp, twitch, or go into paralysis. This “neuro-sensitivity” led him to a new classification of humans he called “sensitives.” Sensitives are able to experience heightened states of feeling more easily and for longer periods of time, beyond what a non-sensitive person could.
After ruling out a wide range of potential triggers including psychological factors, ecological allergens, and electrostatic energy, von Reichenbach turned his focus towards the fluctuations of the Earth’s magnetic field as a possible aggravator towards sensitive nervous systems. Handheld bar-magnets had proven to have direct effects on the expression of symptoms in sensitives, but there was no direct correlation to be found between the fluctuations of the regional magnetic fields, and somnambular and hysterical episodes.
What force could bar-magnets have that was not present in the larger magnetic fields of the earth? There was only one avenue left to explore, and that was the universal correlation between these episodes and the moon. Although it seemed superstitious, the presence of the light of the full moon was the only constant among the most extreme episodes of sleepwalking.
With no other options, von Reichenback decided to conduct a study under the full moon. Patients who slept in completely dark, light-sealed rooms received an alleviation from their symptoms. Those who were exposed to even a small amount of moonlight, however, reported discomfort and irritation throughout their body. With prolonged exposure, heat sensations, cramps and twitching began to appear. Could these people be allergic to moonlight?
Further testing revealed that symptoms could become much worse when the moonlight was amplified through glass prisms or by holding a metal plate in the light. However, perhaps the most surprising result occurred when a metal plate was placed outside of the window, and the patient was asked to hold a braid of wires attached to the plate. Not only would symptoms appear when they held the wire, but they would feel the onset of symptoms before even touching the wire!
A New Form of Energy
In thousands of isolated, repeated incidents, this phenomenon was confirmed, and its implication is profound. Something within the moonlight could be transmitted through metal, like electricity, but more subtle. Attempts to measure the electrical charge failed, so the force was not electrostatic in nature. There is an energy that is radiating from the moon, that is conducted by the light rays, but is not the light itself.
Similar tests were conducted with the sensitives in sunlight, which in most instances produced pleasant, cooling effects. Here, he had discovered a new force that seemed to be connected to, yet separate from, electricity, magnetism, light, and heat. He claims that this force is radiated by many substances and can influence people to varying degrees.
For example, in another set of studies beginning in Vienna in April of 1844, sensitives were asked to sit in a dark room for a couple of hours, and then observe magnets. Independent of one another, more than 100 tests confirmed the same result. According to the results, light, smoke, sparkles, and flame-like energy was seen exuding from the poles of the magnet.
Plants, animals, and humans were also seen exuding this force under the same conditions. Von Reichenbach stated, however, that this force is not generated by living things themselves. While it can be concentrated, especially in crystals and magnets, it flows eternally around the Earth; traveling throughout the cosmos, through the light streams of the sun, moon, and stars.
Odic-Magnetic Letters,Karl von Reichenbach, 1788-1869, translated by John S. Hittell