[sic] have remarkable survival power–that is, those who have survived the argonal box! [sic] Again, thank you for your assistance in our review of the DeMeo proposal.”(7) Despite DeMeo’s protests that AAAS/PD used hate mail and smears as part of its evaluation process, it reversed itself and rejected the proposal. As with the “Orgonomy Peddlers” article, Dr. DeMeo makes full documentation of this sabotage, and AAAS/PD’s extremely unethical behavior, available for a stamped envelope. Carlinsky-directed invective has provided background for anti-Reich articles in such books as Jack Raso’s Dictionary of Metaphysical Healthcare,(8) Robert Baker’s Mind Games(9) and such magazines as New York Skeptic,(10) and the aforementioned Skeptical Inquirer and Paranoia. In much the same way Mildred Edie Brady’s articles were multiplied by repetition in other magazines that did no research on Reich before convicting him of medical fraud in their pages, the criticism on the surface looks like it comes from many sources. It actually comes from the same source–an irrational one, from a convicted criminal who trumpets his own mental pathology.(11)
Perhaps most remarkable is the link between Joel Carlinsky and Martin Gardner, a CSICOP “fellow” of some repute who was responsible for repeating the Brady smears in his 1952 book, Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science.(12) Gardner has written his own criticism of DeMeo (13), which uses more tempered language but still virtually ignores Reich’s scientific protocols and relies on information coming again from Carlinsky. In his last memoir, Gardner notes that he learned the ape language of the Tarzan novels from Carlinsky.(14) That information was used in both a Washington Post review of the memoir and in Skeptical Inquirer, making the CSICOP-Gardner-Carlinsky connection absurdly explicit.(15) Similarly, correspondence between DeMeo and Henry Bauer, the Dean of Arts and Sciences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, on Bauer’s criticism of Reich in Skeptical Inquirer were dutifully copied by Bauer and sent to Carlinsky. Bauer’s article unfairly failed to mention volumes of scientific documentation sent to him by DeMeo, but the essential point remains: CSICOP skeptics offer Carlinsky as a credible source while his open ambition is to smear, distort, criminally harass and do physical harm to students of Reich.(16)
That this is an extraordinary breach of the scientific integrity the “skeptics” pretend to defend, not to mention a breach of plain common sense, requires only a quick review of Joel Carlinsky’s behavior over the past twenty years:
- Mid-1970s: Carlinsky showed up unannounced at Jerome and Desiree Eden’s home in Idaho carrying a small amount of a radioactive substance to “test” the Edens’ sensitivity to the poison. Jerome Eden wrote Planet in Trouble among many other titles that boldly pursued Reich’s ideas in rolled-sleeve-work-shirt, everyday language. The Edens had moved to Idaho to get away from pollution. Eden died of cancer in 1989; his widow Desi subsequently died of breast cancer.
Early 1980s: At Carlinsky’s urging, the FDA began investigating doctors they thought were still treating patients with orgone accumulators. Carlinsky also began writing and phoning various orgonomic workers attempting to extort information from them with threats of breaking into their homes.
September 1980: Carlinsky broke into the Wilhelm Reich Museum in Rangeley, Maine, stealing various files, Reich’s original microscopic slides, and, significantly, the guest book listing. Police arrested him when he tried to sell some purloined letters, and indicted him for possession of stolen property, stolen credit cards and possession of a forged driver’s license. He was convicted.
Mid-1980s: Carlinsky began hanging around Earth First! meetings, acting in concert with Mary Lou Sapone of Perceptions International, a private Wackenhut-styled security firm. Functioning as an agent provocateur–some Earth Firsters thought he worked for the FBI–he tried to enlist them in a plot to “take out every nuclear reactor on the East Coast.” Dave Foremen and other EF! activists were arrested in a similar framed-up scheme.(17)
Late 1980s: The FBI warned the American College of Orgonomy in Princeton, New Jersey about a bomb threat. During this period, Carlinsky shifted tactics with his phone calls and correspondence, presenting himself as a fellow enthusiast to those with a genuine interest in order to cajole information from them. In 1989 he claimed responsibility for the damage caused by Hurricane Hugo using Reich’s cloudbusting technology. By 1990, Carlinsky had focussed his attention on James DeMeo. He sent a threatening letter to DeMeo’s wife, circulated a fake fund-raising letter using DeMeo’s stationery and continued circulating poison-letters to universities, professional journals and private groups.
1991: In a phone conversation with Ed Gehrman, a contributing editor of Flatland Magazine, Carlinsky stated that he would do everything in his power to discredit Wilhelm Reich and that if Dr. DeMeo had any chance of convincing establishment science of the validity of cloudbusting, Carlinsky would “have to shoot him.” Gehrman took this matter-of-fact threat very seriously.
DeMeo made every effort to ignore the attacks and has successfully continued his work with the biophysics lab, opening a new facility, conducting many symposia and publishing a great deal of scientific data. Perhaps articles such as this one cast Carlinsky’s escapades in too high relief. He may be nothing more than over-identified with Reich, socially unable to express himself in another way. But Earth First! would be the first to point out that the FBI’s COINTELPRO program didn’t end with the congressional committees on intelligence in the mid-1970s. Shortly after the planning sessions for the 1990 “Redwood Summer” demonstrations to protect old-growth forests, environmental organizers Judi Bari and Daryl Cherney were bombed in their car in Oakland, California. The FBI charged them with possession of an explosive device, a false charge for which the FBI is now being successfully sued. Interestingly, Carlinsky attended those meetings of Earth First! before the bombing, presumably as part of a cadre of provocateurs. Dave Foreman and other EF! activists were arrested in a scheme very similar to the one Carlinsky concocted for them.
In 1996, Steamshovel Press editor Kenn Thomas traveled to an infrared imaging lab north of London with a BBC-TV director to test the temperature differential of an orgone accumulator. The imaging clearly detected increased heat within the accumulator, an important observation that contradicts the mechanical process of entropy. Soon after Thomas returned to the US, Carlinsky barged into the London office of the BBC director and demanded money. It was not the first time Carlinsky had flown a great distance to meddle in orgonomy-related activity.
Is Carlinsky an agent-provocateur? He is a two-time loser on federal counts and operates full-time on tax dollars as an SSI disability pensioner. Where does he get the time, the plane fare, the unlimited long-distance phone calls for the past thirty years, to disrupt workshops and conventions, mail out hate flyers, chatting for hours to anyone who will listen? If he has another source of funds, as a paid provocateur might, it remains unknown. If he manages all this by living free off his parents (despite his 55 years of age), theft, extortion and somehow defrauding the airlines, his government SSI checks subsidize this. This makes him a de facto, government-funded provocateur.
Carlinsky is in fact, and by strict SSI definition, incapacitated – yet he finds people to type his rants, post them on the Internet, publish them in periodicals and advertise his mail drop. To anyone who requests more “information” and to many that don’t, he sends personalized letters on yellow legal paper, laboriously penned in all capitals, with spelling skills that rival those of the late Lee Harvey Oswald. With select targets, Carlinsky calls at all hours and refuses to terminate conversations at obvious points — telephonic stalking and a subtle form of brainwashing. He’s always got a juicy rumor based on a half-truth. In this way, he pushes his contacts into typing and editing his lies, spreading the rumors. They in turn offer little resistance in favor of getting a big kick out of tempestuous social relations such as Internet “flame wars” and public mud-slinging — from a safe distance, of course.
When Paranoia reprinted Carlinsky’s “Orgonomy Peddlers”, the editors knew that the article itself was libellous since they edited it to make it less so. Though completely ignorant of the facts under discussion, they did not contact the persons slandered in Carlinsky’s article prior to publication. When Kenn Thomas confronted Paranoia’s editors with the facts, and tactfully suggested the possibility that Joan D’Arc’s decision to legitimize Carlinsky with her enthusiastic endorsement might have resulted from his phone harassment, she took umbrage that the notion was “insulting.” Later, she and co-editor AlHidell professed total ignorance of Carlinsky’s past. Al – but not Joan D’Arc – said he regretted publishing the article. However, they made no effort, then or now, to get the facts.
Shortly after confessing they had been duped, they rejected Jim Martin’s suggestion that if Carlinsky had victimized them, they themselves might research and uncover Carlinsky’s activities, his financial support, and his background. They “don’t do research,” the Paranoia editors opined, but simply “edit” a self-styled “people’s forum” devoted to the “heightened awareness” of “paranoia,” and became angry at Martin as the messenger of bad tidings and truth. Having been caught red-handed conspiring with a well-known provocateur, and having demeaned the work of a scientist whose work they did not understand, they whined more about “openness to controversy” than about having been set up by Carlinsky. This made explicit a perception–prompted in part by the editors’ use of pseudonyms–that Paranoia, a magazine which primarily publishes Internet downloads and widely circulated material from other zines and newsletters, had never taken conspiracy research seriously.(18) In the end, Paranoia’s editors exposed their contempt for all such research and indeed, the contents of their own magazine, when they claimed: “We did not knowingly become involved in this real-life conspiracy” [emphasis added]. The provocateurhad exposed the poseurs.
Formed in 1995, the internet Orgonomy Mailing List (OML) performed its function well and people from around the world began sharing their research and questions. Some participants privately discussed the inevitable appearance of Carlinsky on the mailing list. DeMeo sent documentation regarding Carlinsky’s history to Jamerling Ogg (whose web page “PORE” is one of many intenet sites on Reich) since Ogg was ignorant of it as were others on the OML. Ogg informed DeMeo that he planned to publish “Orgonomy Peddlers” on his web site and included his own endorsement of Carlinsky’s toxic disinformation. Ogg said he wanted to “expose the plague.” He introduced it like a virus into the internet by mailing it to his friends and to DeMeo. Fully informed as to Carlinsky’s criminal behavior and stalking of DeMeo, Ogg demanded that DeMeo reply in detail. DeMeo was faced with the absurdity of writing yet another reply to Carlinsky’s false and misleading claims and Ogg’s illiterate expansion of them. Jim Martin, upon reading Ogg’s editorial, insisted that Ogg remove his contributions from PORE’s web site. Martin and Thomas had been the first contributors to the “PORE Journal” and Ogg subsequently plagiarized Martin’s work (19) on his web pages. An “anonymous someone” then broadcast the article to the subscribers of the OML and elsewhere on the Internet. Ogg posted the article on his own web page – without DeMeo’s response.(20) Steamshovel Press editor Kenn Thomas became among the first to post angry responses and quit the OML in protest as it became clear that it would devolve around Carlinsky’s distortions.
Out of nowhere, John-Michael Battaglia appeared on the OML, the person who had been so helpful in containing Carlinsky’s disinformation among the cloudseeders of the Weather Modification Association. After that episode, Battaglia had shared a copy of a play he wrote on Reich with DeMeo, who encouraged him to write it as a documentary. The two had a final meeting after Battaglia’s business collapsed financially in Los Angeles and he was returning home to live with his family. They parted on friendly terms. Now (perhaps after continued pressure from Carlinsky) Battaglia did not wait for DeMeo’s response and immediately began baiting him with his own angry and unfair remarks on Carlinsky’s behalf. Both Jamerling Ogg and John-Michael Battaglia have tried to distance themselves publicly from Carlinsky, but the fact remains that they used him for their own small purposes, finding pleasure or self-importance in tearing down the work of others. They eventually turned OML into a sewer of invective against DeMeo. Shortly before Christmas 1996, Ogg forwarded to the OML some private email from DeMeo wherein DeMeo voiced his frustration with Ogg’s continuing promotion of Carlinsky. Ogg did this in an effort to incite his associates to denounce DeMeo. After they had posted about 100 kilobytes of turgid attacks on DeMeo to the exclusion of any positive contributions, the OML’s disgusted moderator decided to shut the down the mailing list. Hypocritically, Ogg and Battaglia profusely thanked the moderator for his service on the OML, while blaming its demise on DeMeo.
Carlinsky received help from two other sources. EIDOS, a porno tabloid, published yet another one of his rants. Steamshovel Press editor Kenn Thomas counter-pointed for the sake of redirecting EIDOS readers from Carlinsky’s rants to Reich’s actual writings. When EIDOS editor Brenda Loew Tatelbaum published a follow-up from Carlinsky, Thomas decided not to continue a pseudo-dialogue which granted head-start prominence to lies while the truth comes limping along behind. Thomas also wrote a similar admonition to Jim Keith, author of Black Helicopters Over America and OKBomb, and coauthor with Thomas of The Octopus: Secret Government and the Death of Danny Casolaro. Keith spellchecked and typed up Carlinsky’s article and sent it out for publication to a half-dozen magazines (EIDOS was the only one to publish it) in exchange for Carlinsky’s “inside dope” on conspiracy currents. He thereby participated in the kind of conspiracy he ostensibly writes to expose by forwarding Carlinsky’s cruel and personal attacks on Jim Martin of the Flatland book service. Keith secretly betrayed someone who had sold and promoted his work for many years. When confronted, Keith laughed it off: “if I really wanted to destroy your little empire I’d think of something much more effective,” echoing Carlinsky’s own overdeveloped sense of grandiosity.
Indeed, the Carlinsky affair remains a tempest in a teapot for now. He does not have the audience Mildred Edie Brady had in the late 1940s because (a) the Internet has made readers rely much less on public opinion magazines like New Republic and more on their own thinking and research; and (b) Carlinsky cannot write a coherent essay. He can and has done damage, however. Those who have embarrassed themselves in their dalliance with Carlinsky — CSICOP, Paranoia, EIDOS, KeelyNet, Jamerling Ogg, Jim Keith and John-Michael Battaglia — could coalesce and become an identifiable axis of disinformation, or they might reconsider and make a clear statement against his behavior. Will they learn and grow from the experience? Carlinsky is still out there stalking, lurking and tagging new suckers. His cover as a “friend of Wilhelm Reich” is now totally blown. DeMeo continues his work at the Orgone Biophysics lab with great success. Those who Carlinsky has attacked continue daily routines with the knowledge that this nut is out there gunning for them. He still has his monthly SSI check and whatever other resources that give him mobility and access.
Finally, an appropriate quotation regarding the genesis of all conspiracies:
“From this basic hiding emerge all structural cheating, sneaking, conniving, all evasion, circumvention fear of directness, all rules of conduct forbidding frankness. From this, logically, emerge organizations which serve the hiding or are to protect society against the ravages of crime emerging from cheating. Since the advent of dictatorships, this hiding has become a major weapon of political abuse and murder. Spying in all its forms, against and for government, good as well as bad, is an immediate expression and consequence of this basic hiding, due to dirtiness and suspicion in the character structure.”
–Wilhelm Reich, from “Desert Development and Emotional Deadness,” December 1953. (Orgonomic Functionalism, Volume 6, p.46, published by the Wilhelm Reich Infant Trust Fund, POB 687, Rangeley, Maine 04970.)http://www.orgonelab.org/carlinsky.htmJoel Carlinsky, CSICOP & Orgonomy
by Jim Martin (editor, Flatland Magazine
) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kenn Thomas (editor, Steamshovel Press
) Email: email@example.com
Copyright 1997, All Rights Reserved by the Authors.
- (1) Brady, Mildred Edie, “The Strange Case of Wilhelm Reich,” New Republic, May 26, 1947; see also: “The New Cult of Sex and Anarchy,” Harper’s, April 1947.
- (2) Reich, Wilhelm, Conspiracy: An Emotional Chain Reaction, Orgone Institute Press, Rangeley, Maine, 1954.
- (3) In 1987, Lear became the first to suggest a “secret deal” between alien “greys” and the US government, in which the “greys” exchanged their vastly superior technology for poaching rights on humans as the alien’s dietary supplements. No explanation was forwarded to explain why a vastly superior technological race might need to make such a “deal” with any earthly power. Glenn Campbell, editor of the Groom Lake Desert Rat related something about Lear’s reputation with serious ufologists on a call-in radio show: “When a caller said, “John Lear says…” you could hear their eyes roll upward and the tinge of wry sarcasm enter their voices: “So what did John Lear say?”
- (4) “Reichean [sic] critic Joel Carlinsky notes that James Nichols, accused in 1995 (charges were later dropped) of storing and detonating bombs on his Decker, Michigan farm, kept a ‘cloud buster’ there. James Nichols reportedly discussed with an FBI informant in 1988 ways to ‘level’ the Federal Building in Oklahoma City, a crime for which his brother Terry Nichols now stands indicted. Wilhelm Reich, psychiatrist and biophysicist, and inventor of the cloudbuster, believed, as do his disciples now, that droughts are caused by dangerous levels of ‘deadly orgone radiation’ building up in the clouds, so the disciples build these implausible contraptions, which they point at the sky, trying to zap the drought away. Typically one or more of the Reicheans will claim credit whenever a drought ends, although none has yet owned up to being responsible for a destructive flood, the disciples of Reich keep each other in a perpetual state of froth, endlessly deploring the Food and Drug Administration’s heavy-handed actions during the 1950s against Reich for his quack cancer cures, painting him as a latter-day Galileo, hounded and destroyed by fanatical inquisitors.” Skeptical Inquirer, March 1996.
- (5) Carlinsky, Joel, “Orgonomy Peddlers,” Paranoia #13, 1996.
- (6) Response To “Orgonomy Peddlers” Article by James DeMeo, Ph.D., 1996.
- (7) Correspondence from Robert I. Bowman, Counselor AAAS/PD to Joel Carlinsky, November 13, 1993.
- (8) Raso, Jack, The Dictionary of Metaphysical Healthcare, Prometheus Books, 1996.
- (9) Baker, Robert A., Mind Games, Prometheus Books, 1996.
- (10) Carlinsky, Joel, “Orgonomy in New Jersey,” New York Skeptic, Volume 3, Number 2, Fall 1990.
- (11) Just one example from a letter by Carlinsky to Dr. DeMeo in November 1996: “…If you had been willing to work with me from the beginning, we might have done a lot of good together. Instead,…I was forced by your actions to turn against orgonomy and seek to destroy it…” The prose sounds comical, but it soon takes on the tone of a stalker. “…cancer patients will possibly die because you forced me to ridicule and discredit the accumulator…Mildred Brady wrote only two articles about Reich; I won’t slack off that easily. How much damage do you think I will ultimately be able to do to you and orgonomy if I keep at it? Will ‘Greensprings’ [DeMeo’s Orgone Biophysics Lab] enter the American vocabulary along with ‘Waco’ and ‘Ruby Ridge’?”.
- (12) Gardner, Martin, Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science, Dover, New York, 1952.
- (13) Gardner, Martin, “Reich the Rainmaker: the Orgone Obsession,” Skeptical Inquirer, 13 (1): 26-30, Fall 1988; and DeMeo, James, “Response to Martin Gardner’s Attack on Reich and Orgone Research in the Skeptical Inquirer,” Pulse of the Planet, Vol. 1, No. 1, Spring 1989.
- (14) Gardner, Martin, The Night Is Large: Collected Essays, 1938-1995 (St. Martin’s: New York), 1996. “Mangani is the language spoken by the great apes who raised Tarzan. Several hundred of its words are scattered through Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan novels. I first learned this from Joel Carlinsky who wrote that as a boy he and his brother actually learned to speak Mangani, and that a full vocabulary is in one of the biographies of Burroughs. A related language spoken by the tailed men in Tarzan the Terrible is given in that book’s ten-page glossary, along with grammatical rules.”.
- (15) Washington Post, July 14, 1996; Dirda, Michael, “A Mansion of a Book from a Sparkling Intellect,” Skeptical Inquirer, November/December 1996.
- (16) Correspondence from Henry Bauer to James DeMeo and Richard Blasband, copy sent to Joel Carlinsky, 1996.
- (17) Animals Agenda, September 1989, p.20.
- (18) “If they could see us chuckling over some of this stuff, a light in the attic might go on!” Joan D’Arc quipped to one critic. Prospective contributors to Paranoia might contemplate this contempt.
- (19) Without attribution, Ogg appropriated Flatland Books catalog descriptions in a PORE annotated bibliography on Reich, and related Resource listings from DeMeo’s Orgone Accumulator Handbook.
- (20) Subsequently, Ogg would actually claim that he had not published Carlinsky’s “Orgonomy Peddlers” and assert that the whole dispute was the result of a “typo”. (See his letter to the editor, Paranoia #15). While he told Paranoia readers that he decided not to publish the article, in truth he published it on his PORE page under “Newsgroup Searches: 1996: February.”
- Postscript: September, 1997
- Since we posted this article in March of 1997, several of Carlinsky’s contacts, individuals who were mentioned here, have issued statements of denial, claims of “distortion,” and as we mentioned, picayune hair-splitting. We won’t waste our time being dragged into a false dialogue with people who are disingenuous because they have a bad conscience, or no conscience at all.