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! 🙂

Mythical Monday: Jellyfish of the Air? by Mae Clair

There are many strange things that exist or are rumored to exist in our world, plus a plethora of oddities that defy explanation. Many people believe multiple dimensions flow through alternative 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 size boxes in which he hoped to harness the energy and use it to cure his patients of diseases such as cancer.

The problem with that: Wilhelm Reich was not a licensed medical practitioner, and this procedure along with his highly dubious mental state and other questionable treatment theories, eventually landed him in hot water with the authorities of his day. 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 seriously cool photo…although I certainly wouldn’t want to get stung by that thing. No wonder Leistig’s assistant screamed his head off!