Odic Force

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Odic Force

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

The term “odic force” was first used by Baron Karl von Reichenbach in 1858, and applied to the subtle emanations that he believed come from all matter, ranging from the stars to the human body. Only those who are truly sensitive would be aware of it, he believed, but that did not deny its existence. The Baron found that sensitive people saw luminous emanations coming from magnets and crystals observed in a darkened room. The north pole of a magnet gave off a blue color and the south pole gave an orange color. There was some confirmation of this when Professor D. Endlicher of Vienna saw what he described as “flames” coming off the poles of an electromagnet. These flames extended for as much as forty inches and were a mixture of rich colors. He also saw a luminous smoke. This took place in England during experiments conducted by Dr. Ashburner and Dr. William Gregory, Professor of Chemistry at Edinburgh University.

Reichenbach felt that in the human body, the odic force varied dependant upon the health of the person, the time of the day, whether or not the person had eaten or was hungry, and similar variables. The force can most easily be seen coming off the tips of the fingers, especially when the two hands are held with the finger tips pointing at each other in close proximity. The human body showed blue, and felt cool, on the left side and orange, and warm, on the right side. There is a similarity between what Reichenbach believed and what has more recently been demonstrated by Dr. Walter J. Kilner, as the aura, and by Dr. Wilhelm Reich (with his concept of Orgone energy), and the photographs of Kirlian photography developed by Semyon and Valentina Kirlian.

In the early days of Modern Spiritualism a number of people attributed rappings, table tipping, and poltergeist phenomena to the actions of the odylic force. It certainly seemed to make more sense when applied to table tipping than did Faraday’s theory of unconscious muscular action. Lewis Spence said that Samuel Guppy, husband of well known medium Agnes Guppy, “regarded the so-called ’spirit’ intelligences producing the manifestations as being compounded of odylic vapours emanating from the medium, and probably connected with an all-pervading thought-atmosphere.”


Bagnall, O.: The Origin and Properties of the Human Aura. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1957
Crow, W. B.: Man, Myth & Magic: Double. London: BPC Publishing, 1970
Fodor, Nandor: Encyclopedia of Psychic Science. London: Arthurs Press, 1933
Reich, Wilhelm: The Discovery of the Orgone. New York: Orgone Institute Press, 1942
Spence, Lewis: An Encyclopedia of the Occult. London: George Routledge & Sons, 1920
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