His name forgotten and ignored by modernists, the life and work of Baron Karl von Reichenbach stands as a monument. He is a true scientific legend, a giant, a reminder that the world is more marvelous than we are led to believe by those who misalign our perceptions and misdirect our views. Our story begins in the Kingdom of Wurttemberg. Born in Stuttgart , Karl von Reichenbach became a laudable personage of great scientific stature.
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His name forgotten and ignored by modernists, the life and work of Baron Karl von Reichenbach stands as a monument. He is a true scientific legend, a giant, a reminder that the world is more marvelous than we are led to believe by those who misalign our perceptions and misdirect our views. Our story begins in the Kingdom of Wurttemberg.
Born in Stuttgart , Karl von Reichenbach became a laudable personage of great scientific stature. Known for his humility and deep sensitivity, the enormous scientific contributions made by him in European industry and research are legendary. His father, the Court Librarian, was able to supply Karl with a rich reserve of arcane treasures. Books of a most wonderful kind flooded his young life with the stimulating and refreshing visions of a hundred forgotten naturalists. After a stormy youth as a chief conspirator against the Napoleonic occupation in Germany, Karl emerged as a scholar of high merit.
Earning his doctorate in natural sciences and theology, he became a knowledgeable and enthusiastic contributor in chemical, geological, metallurgical, and meteorological sciences. Very gradually distinguishing himself as an exemplary industrial engineer, he began establishing ironworks Villengen, Baden , charcoal furnaces Hausach, Baden , metallurgical and chemical works Blansko, Moravia , steelworks Turnitz, Austria , and blast-furnaces Gay a, Moravia. His wealth increasing beyond all reckoning, he purchased lands literally from the Danube to the Rhine.
His fame and reputation as an industrialist and research scientist spread across Europe. In short, he was an exemplary scientist-mogul of legendary proportion. Reichenbach discovered paraffin in , one practical result of his own research with coal tar and coal tar derivatives. He did not stop making chemical discoveries of commercial impact however. From coal tar he extracted the antiseptic Eupion , the preservative and therapeutic agent Creosote , the indigo dye Pittical and Cidreret a red dyestuff , Picamar a perfume base , as well as Kapnomor, and Assamar.
The successful commercial development of these organic substances brought him into greater wealth. The Baron engaged the first exacting geological survey of Moravia.
He loved all things natural, especially things that were considered extraordinary or rare. To this end he collected things such as meteorites, a collection which was famous in his day. While most academes ridiculed the notion of sky-falling stones "aeroliths" , he published several notable treatises on the subject.
An avid observer of all anomalous natural phenomena, the various exotic forms of lightning and auxiliary atmospheric phenomena comprised another of his beloved scientific domains. His numerous and scholarly scientific descriptions of rare lightning forms and other strange natural occurrences flooded the periodicals of his time, making him an early enthusiast of what later would be termed "Forte an Phenomena".
Possessing the unlimited resources of both the very finest scientific materials and vast wealth, Baron Reichenbach ventured into scientific domains, which few have successfully engaged. His pursuit of rare and erudite natural phenomena proceeded without limit.
His fascination with the unknown became much more than a passionate devotion to an idle curiosity. After completing his national industrial marvels, his devotion to these fascinations became a research endeavor of enormous thematic depth. Reichenbach discovered a glowing energy form, which totally revolutionized his own worldview, as well as those who earnestly followed his marvelous publications.
Until his death in , he maintained that nature was suffused with a mysterious luminous energy from which it derived its vivifying powers. He was perhaps first to address these "psychosomatic" illnesses.
Somnambulism, night cramp, night fears, and emotional hysteria were remarkably incomprehensible maladies. Each such illness was utterly fascinating to him. They seemed to affect only certain "sensitive" or "nervous" individuals. The mystical nature of these ailments, especially that of "sleepwalking", provoked fear among all classes of people during this time period.
No class, ethnic, or religious group lacked victims of the conditions, which seemed to carelessly select its helpless victims. But beneath the surface of these extraordinary maladies Reichenbach suspected the extraordinary. Most physicians and other professionals were as helpless before these strange maladies as their poor victims. There was no working theory by which to penetrate the mystery and discover, if fortunate, the cause and the cure.
Many fell away to the common superstitions surrounding the conditions, fearful of venturing into its lairs. But Reichenbach was not one given to superstitious fear or fantasy. Though he suspected the extraordinary, he also expected to discover a new force at work: an undiscovered natural cause. Therefore he walked boldly into the study with no preconceptions.
The symptoms of "sleepwalking" was somewhat well known and greatly feared by the ordinary villagers. Having a monthly regularity, usually appearing with the full moon, he attempted to scientifically address the phenomenon. When in the grips of this strange seizure, the somnambulist walks out across precarious ledges and rooftops.
In a complete state of trance, somnambulists remain absolutely unaware of their endangered states. Unaware of the often-frightening heights to which their sleepwalking brought them, many somnambulists died and yet die through tragic falls. Most victims of the condition were seen by their frightened observers, walking with eyes opened.
Sometimes these persons spoke aloud in gibberish, moving their hands about as if conversing in a state of full consciousness. They could not be awakened when in this condition. It was as if they had slipped into another world, within which they led other lives.
When under the strange spell, no manner of arousal could break their trance-like state. Prisoners to forces beyond the human understanding of the time, few would escape the cruel grip of their illness until death. Lives wasted by the malady which none dared mention, they lived out their time in quiet fear and obscurity. Dreaded by parents of young children, the outward first signs of this catatonic grip began as severe and sudden muscle cramps.
The illness progressively worsened with age, children absorbed into the somnambulistic world with frightful speed. Ultimately these victims would die in some horrid and freakish accident during a sleepwalking episode.
Their bodies in a strange state of muscular catatonia, it was possible for these victims to sustain deep gashing wounds entirely without pain until awakened. Widely separated sleepwalking cases seemed unified on specific nights of the month, a bizarre coalition. The condition seemed especially aggravated during nights of the full moon, arms reaching out toward that celestial body as if signaling mysterious spiritualistic messages.
This was the source of superstitious fears surrounding the phenomenon, the almost paganistic movement that these persons displayed in seeking out the moon. It was during these opened displays that whole villages might know the presence of a somnambulist. This is why parents were so careful to lock in their afflicted children, regardless of age.
Often the most unsuspecting stimulations would arouse them from the seizure after a certain time had passed, where sharp pinpricks otherwise could not elicit even a vague conscious response. A sudden swoon, and the victim would "come to their senses", often with hysterical fear and shock the result.
Imagine innocently going to sleep, and then awaking with a start atop a precarious ledge or rooftop alone! Many victims of the sleepwalking illness had to be locked into their bedchambers during the night by caring parents, some of who had prematurely aged with the strain.
Most victims who were severely afflicted could never hold steady employment or perform the simple duties of married life. Most withered away behind walls. Unknown and unfulfilled lives. There were others who suffered from "night fears" and emotional "hysterias", often provoked into episodes by the approach of sunset and the full moon.
Thought to be allied with madness and spiritism, "night phobics" and "somnambulists" were feared as persons influenced entirely by occult forces. Most townsfolk feared that the condition was a contagious evil. Those with sleepwalkers in their families were often shunned by all others. Called "lunatics" by most country folks, the conditions were considered a curse, a plague, a mark of evil, the opened cause of some horrid unconfessed deed. Many families having these afflicted victims were barred from religious attendance.
Gradually separated from social mainstreams, these families eventually perished in forced obscurity. Judging from the symptomology and the equally strange "lunar attractions", Reichenbach believed the illnesses were a response to more fundamental natural forces. Other colleagues were not willing to risk their reputations by making any statements on the issue. Because of a long-standing prejudicial poise, academes were not willing to study these specific illnesses or so-called "occult" forces.
Too great a change of scientific foundations would be required. Furthermore, they challenged his data gathering methods, declaring that no strict quantitative measurements could ever be made in the study of "hysterias". In the absence of such kinds of data, his study would fall apart. It was clear that influences such as these could never be accurately assessed without the human agent as subjective observer.
The human subject was viewed by Reichenbach to be a laboratory, a world in which perceptual energies operate. There was no other means for studying such phenomena. Until new and organismic meters could be developed, the human agent was the laboratory.
This new scientific poise, a shift from quantitative to qualitative, attracted the critical attention of his colleagues. A new qualitative view of natural phenomena would gradually reveal a forgotten world where permeating energies were discovered everywhere. Many academes viewed this as a dangerous "return to superstition and ignorance", but the Baron would later state that nature was fundamentally composed of experience permeating energies.
Their influence, he insisted, so deeply suffused observers that quantitative methods could not sufficiently reveal their presence. Only the human organism, as laboratory and detector, could best serve as sensitive indicator of otherwise unrecognized "mystery forces". Psychic forces could not yet be directly measured by laboratory instruments.
He fully anticipated that later scientific developments would provide some kind of material detector for these mysterious powers, meters, which imitated organismic response. Several such devices were later developed and implemented as interactions between materials and human energies were accidentally discovered Torr, loire, Bose, Pavlita, Meinke, Hanks. Determined to discover the true natural cause of somnambulism and its allied emotional hysterias, he gathered literally hundreds of case histories from the surrounding countryside.
Most were afraid to speak of the condition. Baron Reichenbach made the very first venture into a new scientific territory when once he observed the phenomenon for himself. The task would first entail a sociological profile, filled with new philosophical insights and new phenomena.
To know the present, you must first know and understand the past. B , pp, spiral How did the aura research of Baron Karl von Reichenbach prove the vitalistic theory and frighten the greatest minds of Germany? How did the physiophone and wireless of Antonio Meucci predate both Bell and Marconi by decades? How does the earth battery technology of Nathan Stubblefield portend an unsuspected energy revolution?
Gerry Vassilatos Lost Science
Royal Rife, T. Brown, and T. Henry Moray. Read about the aura research of Baron Karl von Reichenbach, the wireless of Antonio Meucci, the controlled fusion devices of Philo Farnsworth, the earth battery of Nathan Stubblefield Gerry Vassilatos writes about the remarkable lives, astounding discoveries and incredible inventions of such famous people as Nikola Tesla, Dr. Read about the aura research of Baron Karl von Reichenbach, the wireless of Antonio Meucci, the controlled fusion devices of Philo Farnsworth, the earth battery of Nathan Stubblefield and more. What were the twisted intrigues that surrounded the often deliberate attempts to stop this technology? Vassilatos claims that we are living hundreds of years behind our intended level of technology and that we must recapture this "lost science.