Wednesday Weirdness: Jellyfish of the Air

pathway between large, gnarled trees with words "on the path of Wednesday Weirdness" superimposed over imageWelcome to my first Wednesday Weirdness. As a collector or curiosities, I hope to have many odd stories and unexplained phenomenon to share with you in the weeks and months ahead. Some of these posts appeared previously on my blog in the guise of Mythical Mondaybut I’ll only recycle those from my early days of blogging with few visitors. Other posts will be cover new oddities and some of the strange legends that have inspired many of my books.

First up—jellyfish of the air. This particular subject is one that has fascinated me from the moment I stumbled over it years ago.

Many people believe multiple dimensions flow through alternate timelines and places, others that they coexist within the same time and space as us, but aren’t visible to the naked eye.

Wilhelm Reich, a controversial psychoanalyst born in the late nineteenth century, was so convinced of this fact he set out to capture evidence on film.

Intense northern lights (Aurora borealis) over Lake Laberge, Yukon Territory, Canada, with silhouettes of willows on lake shore.Reich’s theory was built around the concept of something called “orgone,” a life force or cosmic energy omnipresent in the ground and sky. As proof such energy existed, Reich offered the Northern lights and St. Elmo’s fire as examples. He was so enraptured of the idea, he built “orgone accumulators”—life sized boxes in which he hoped to harness the energy and use it to cure his patients of diseases such as cancer.

The problem: Wilhelm Reich was not a licensed medical practitioner. The procedure, along with his highly dubious mental state and other questionable treatment theories, eventually landed him in hot water with authorities. Details of Reich’s life can be found on Wikipedia for anyone interested in learning more about his bizarre behavior and therapy concepts.

What interests me is an experiment he supposedly conducted in 1953 with the help of photographer Norman Leistig.

Reich had Leistig’s assistant raise an “orgone-charged” rod into the air in the hopes of attracting one of the invisible beings he believed existed. Within five seconds a huge jellyfish-like creature attached itself to the rod, becoming visible long enough for Leistig to capture it in a photograph. But the terrified screams of Leistig’s assistant so repulsed the manifestation it faded from sight.

Supposedly, twelve additional people witnessed the spectacle. Reich and Leistig were so unnerved by the experiment they refused to discuss it (although it’s rumored Leistig referred to Reich as “the Devil himself” much later in life).

Interestingly, I couldn’t find a single mention of this experiment among the numerous sites I visited related to Reich or Leistig, and I checked many. Even Google images came up blank. That makes me question whether it even took place, but like anything in a “cabinet of curiosities” I’m drawn to the idea. I originally stumbled across the story and a pin of the photo on Pinterest.

The original link connects to a photo blog for the
Caledonian Mining Expedition Company.

Check out the second photo from the top,
then come back and let me know what you think.

Hoax or not you’ve got to admit that is one freakishly cool photo…although I certainly wouldn’t want to get stung by that thing. No wonder Leistig’s assistant screamed his head off!

In closing, if you’re out and roaming about the blogosphere today, you can also find me at Teri Polen’s blog answering some spooky questions, and at Story Empire discussing writing sprints. It’s a busy Wednesday so if I’m a little slow responding to comments please bear with me! 🙂

48 thoughts on “Wednesday Weirdness: Jellyfish of the Air

    • I love how freakishly bizarre it is, although I’m sure I’d been screaming my head off is something like that suddenly popped out of the air, LOL.
      From what’ I’ve read about Reich, he wasn’t playing with a full deck!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I actually love jellyfish—well, not getting stung by one, LOL, but watching them swim. I think it’s so relaxing. I’ll often put the TV on to one of those meditative channels that has soft music with visuals of jellyfish. Kind of like Yule Log, only with jellies!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Oh how I love this new blog series, Mae! I’m fascinated with theories that require an expansion of thought and curiosity. Do you watch Ancient Aliens and UnXplained? They come on back to back on Friday nights. A few weeks ago, they were talking about the Mothman sightings. Fascinating! 🙂
    See ya soon at Teri’s and SE. Busy day for you. Cheers, my friend!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I catch those shows every now and then, but haven’t seen either for a while. I love that there was a segment on the Mothman. I’m going to have to look for listings and set my DVR.
      Like you, I enjoy anything that makes me think and question. I love mysteries and “what ifs!”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I wonder if Reich stumbled onto something and it’s been covered up by the government? (Yes, I believe in conspiracy theories, lol). All of those pictures were cool. That guy with the lions was either incredibly brave or unbelievably stupid 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Reich definitely ticked off a lot of people in positions of authority from what I’ve read about him, so I guess anything is possible. And conspiracy theories always make for interesting thinking, LOL! He was really a strange one, too.

      Aren’t the photos great? They’re so odd, which is why I love them. I think the guy with the lions crossed both lines of stupid and brave! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    • I love oddities like this, especially how photos were altered in earlier decades. There’s a whole series “spiritualist photographers” used in the early days of the 20th century to proclaim visitations from ghosts at seances. I discovered a ton of related material while researching Cusp of Night, including the many tricks charlatans used to dupe the public. They were quite clever for the time.

      I do love that photo, but having a mammoth jellyfish pop out of the air might be enough to keep me housebound!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You had me with this statement, Mae. “Many people believe multiple dimensions flow through alternate timelines and places, others that they coexist within the same time and space as us, but aren’t visible to the naked eye.” You see, I am one of those believers. I believe that we often travel to other dimensions in our unconscious sleep cycles and dreams. Of course, there is no scientific evidence to back that up. It’s just my own belief. How else can you explain dreaming about places and people that you’ve never seen? Well, I’ll stop there. The photograph is spooky! Wow! That is a huge manifestation of energy if it is real. Thanks so much for sharing this today. I love reading about and thinking about unexplained phenomena!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love the idea of visiting those places in dreams, Jan. I never stopped to think about that channel but it is a good one. I thrive on “what if” possibilities. Surprisingly, there are many topics on which I remain a skeptic but my mind remains open to the possibilities they present. I never tire of examining what could be. My curiosity is boundless in that regard,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed this post!

      Liked by 1 person

    • The Northern Lights are on my bucket list. DH saw them when he was in Presque Isle many years and I was so freaking jealous. I’ve written a short story that involved the NL, I’m so besotted with them, and the folklore behind them!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I know, right? Part of me is freakishly appalled and the other part is weirdly attracted to it. Of course, that’s from the computer side of looking at a photograph. Real life? Um…methinks I would be fleeing I terror!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Week In Review – Joan Hall

    • I would so love to see the Northern Lights. It ranks high on my bucket list. My husband saw them when he was in Presque Isle many years ago, and I’m always telling him how fortunate he was. Sorry you missed them, but hopefully, you’ll have another opportunity!


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