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BOOK REVIEW
The Montauk Project:
Reviewed by James DeMeo, Ph.D.




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BOOK REVIEW

The Montauk Project:
Experiments in Time
by Preston B. Nichols, with Peter Moon
Sky Books, New York, 1992

Reviewed by James DeMeo, Ph.D.


Originally published in 1993, in On Wilhelm Reich and Orgonomy (Pulse of the Planet #4) page 140.

The Montauk Project (hereafter TMP) puts forth the argument that the US Government, through its military and research institutions, engaged in secret work on the subject of electromagnetic invisibility, the so-called "Philadelphia Experiment", which later branched out to include secret weather-control, mind-control and time-travel experiments. Into the web of this argument, the authors assert that Wilhelm Reich played an important role. Chapter 7 of the book, titled "Wilhelm Reich and the Phoenix Project", identifies Reich's discovery of orgone energy, DOR, and other details suggesting the author has studied Reich in some manner. The author asserts Reich's atmospheric work was followed by US government officials, who, with Reich's cooperation, used his discoveries to develop the radiosonde, a device sent up in weather balloons for measuring upper atmospheric temperature, humidity and pressure. However, TMP presents the radiosonde as a "secret Reichian weather control device," developed in collusion with the US government. A separate one-page Appendix, titled "Wilhelm Reich", presents a few additional confused and error-filled paragraphs. The author knows enough about Reich's work to use his terms, such as orgone and DOR buster, which suggests the fabrications are not accidental. The author cleverly accuses disbelievers and critics of his fantasy tale of engaging in "disinformation", which may be a Freudian slip for the motivation to include Reich in the book. For example: "Despite what disinformation you may hear, the government already knew what Reich could do and considered him a brilliant man. They asked for his prototypes and he was happy to oblige them..." (p.43) Later (p.45), the author asserts that the Reichian weather-control aspects of the radiosonde are cleverly disguised in its electronics. "Because of these precautions, the secret was maintained for over 40 years." Of course there is not one shred of evidence behind these fairy-tales, but no matter. The book is filled with such paranoid confusions from start to finish.

To summarize my feelings about this book: it is mediocre science fiction. The "Philadelphia Experiment", for example, is the least-documented of any of the supposed "secret government research" projects. I recall reading about this "experiment" more than 30 years ago, as a teenager, in science fiction paperbacks and comic books. The entire fabric of the story is woven from assertions by a few individuals who claim to have inside knowledge which "came" to them after regaining previously-blocked "memories". In an introductory passage, the author admits the book is but "an exercise in consciousness", and states the story is founded upon "soft facts" and "grey facts", in contrast to "hard facts...backed up by documentation". And so by the author's own admission, TMP fails to document any of its central premises regarding the purported strange experiments, or the supposed role of Reich (or Tesla) in any of it.

Having seen and weathered far more studied attempts to undermine Reich's solid research, I can't get too worked up about this book. No scholar will take the book seriously because, in addition to lacking documentation, the author admits to disorientation, flights of fantasy, breaks with reality, and open involvement with "psycho-active electronics". My major annoyance is that a growing number of laypeople who know nothing about Reich are taking the book seriously. It is becoming a hot item on the strangeness circuit. Already I have received a dozen calls asking if the book is true. Several mail-order book catalogs devoted to unorthodox subjects also carry it, alongside other titles on bona-fide subjects, lending an aura of legitimacy to it. And recently, the author Nichols has lectured to eager audiences at various "free energy" and "New Age" groups. The Rim Institute Center in Arizona also scheduled a workshop on "Time Travel and the Alien Presence", with the following description in their catalog:

"The Montauk Project has been called one of America's greatest modern mysteries. The story began with the pioneering work of Wilhelm Reich and Nikola Tesla, took form in government-sponsored weather control experiments in the early 1940s, and crystallized in the ill-fated 'Philadelphia Experiment' on invisibility during World War II...The incredible story includes: joint human/alien research, abductions and brainwashing, advanced age-regression techniques, psychics linked into Tesla technology, missing Nazi gold, explorers lost forever in alternate worlds... Nichols...regained the blanked memories of his role as chief technician for the Project only after years of struggle."

And so the amazing story of "Wilhelm Reich's secret government research" spreads. The authors of TMP will likely find a warmer welcome on the public speaking circuit than anyone who has only researched Reich's findings on fascism, sexuality, the bions, orgone accumulator, cloudbuster, or other "less-spectacular" subjects. In fact, to satisfy the growing public interest in this fairy tale, a second book Montauk Revisited was recently released, along with a video Montauk Project Tour. [JD Note 2007: Many more "Montauk" titles have since appeared.] It is a strange social phenomenon, indeed. For those who have been emotionally touched and helped by Reich's discoveries, who have worked hard to keep orgonomy clean of mystical distortions, dilutions, fabrications and hostile attacks, the book presents quite a challenge. The public appears thirsty, not for the difficult truths and facts developed in Reich's painstaking research, but instead, for whatever meagre scraps of fantasy and mystical delusion which can be conjured up, to erode away those same "hard facts". Reich is more "acceptable" as the archetypical mad scientist, or as part of a "secret government experiment", moving back and forth into other dimensions. Perhaps this is to be expected, from a popular culture addicted to violence, mysticism and horror films. It makes one wish Reich actually did develop a method for time travel, as there are a few people we'd like to teleport back to the stone age!

Postscript

Also see the following pertinent articles:

The Growing Nonsense About Wilhelm Reich and Orgone Energy on Global Internet.

On Atmospheric Disturbances, "Chemtrails" and the "Croft Chembuster": Critical Discussions.




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