Der Spiegel
Wednesday, August 6, 1953

Medicine: Deep Psychology

Three years ago, when the American quack Ron Hubbard announced to an astonished world that the human psyche was already gathering experiences in the darkness of the mother's womb, it appeared that Hubbard and his thousands of followers were fated to be left standing on the front steps of spiritual development. Even back then the more serious psychologists of the Freudian school (who mainly think of subconscious childhood experiences as being crucial), held that Hubbard's "dianetic teachings" were only so much quackery which contained a grain of truth.

Now the respected psychiatrist Denys Kelsey also believes to have discovered through basic research that there must actually be "memories" of (mostly unpleasant) "experiences" in the prenatal period. In any case the same view appears to have been published in a respected British psychology paper "Journal of Mental Science", in which Kelsey's puzzling test results appeared. Though this says more about the dilemma of modern psychology than it does about the human soul.

The article depicts the absurdity of witch Doctor Hubbard, who deigns to let us know that "Dianetics" is a "milestone of mankind", comparable to the discovery of fire (Spiegel 2/1952), as a logical extension of an already psychologically beaten path. Practitioners of this psychoanalysis make the claim to heal the human psyche through exploration and conscious discovery of their "sub-conscious" experiences. But the human psyche refuses to be grasped by men with hypnotic stares and leather couches, not to mention being healed. As many practitioners of psychoanalysis as there are, it is only natural that they now begin in earnest to seek their mistakes instead of themselves in their mother's womb; a grotesque claim which leads to grotesque conclusions.

Cannibalizing the achievements of Freud, Hubbard has professed that the human spirit is made up of two parts: the analytical element (Consciousness), which observes, remembers and thinks, and the reactive element (similar to the Freudian "sub-conscious"), which neither remembers nor thinks, but automatically records impressions the same as a tape recorder.

In a spiritually fully-developed person the analytical spirit sorts and files the majority of its experiences. Nevertheless it can be shut off through unconsciousness, acute spiritual shock, and bodily pain. During this period the subconscious registers all events with absolute precision, not as a memory, but as an "engram" (literally "inscription") directly into the ectoplasm of the body cell. Afterwards the ectoplasm forms a sort of recording shellac, in which the subconscious experience is encased.

The unconsciousness hoards recordings of experiences without the person knowing anything about it. In recent conscious experiences which contain some similarity to the engram-snapshot, the "reactive mind" automatically mounts the corresponding recording and begins playing it. An example from Hubbard's lecture: A woman is beaten by her husband into unconsciousness, and then beaten some more. A chair is overturned, and the water faucet is running. The woman does not remember, but her unconsciousness has made an engram. Later on the sounds of the falling chair and running water causes the recording of the engram to come into play. The woman feels pain, but doesn't know why.

Hubbard further asserts that the embryo, which already contains an analytical spirit inside of the mother's body, is inscribed with the basic and determining engram. With this basic engram Hubbard claims that he has discovered the "hidden source" of psychosomatic illness (bodily afflictions without recognizable physical cause, mostly rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, heart complaints, migraines, stomach ulcers) and "human aberrations" (perversions). All you have to do to become a "clearer" person is to buy Hubbard's handbook (four dollars), hypnotically track down the engrams and make them consciously known.

Thousands of Americans place themselves on the couches of Hubbard's quacks, curl up in prenatal positions, and try to hypnotically displace themselves back in their mother's body so that they may recognize what it was that they were so scared of back then. Grown men and women writhe, squeal and wheeze while they "re-experience birth." Mass hysteria breaks out as the worst excesses of quackery are amateurishly brought into being.

Now Psychologist Kelsey, a professor who is taken seriously, comes on the scene and says without cracking a smile that these so-called fantasies were the actual re-living of "prenatal (that means before birth) experiences. Kelsey quotes the hypnotic depositions of three people.

The first, a 44 year old single woman, "returned" under hypnosis to her 13th year of life, "back" to the fifth year, to the first half-year, finally to the third week. She said, "I was part of a unit, now I am separate." Kelsey said "When I count to ten, you will once more be the unit."

At the count of ten she said "quite calmly and confidently", "I am in the womb. Something is pulsating in me - the heart of my mother. I can see nothing, and I cannot feel my mouth."

Kelsey's second case is that of a 28 year old married woman, who, despite the fact that she had born two children, claimed that she was completely uninformed [about the births]. It could be that she suffered from hysterical amnesia, interjects Kelsey, but "I am sure that she knows nothing of the biological details of the experience. ...Under hypnosis she soon travelled back to a point in time shortly after her birth. She felt as if her neck was being pressed together. She had no idea why. I told her to re-live the feeling. She reached for her neck with her hand... and then for her navel area - 'It's coming out of my belly." The patient presumes that she is an unwanted baby and twice describes a burning pain, which she then traces back to an abortion attempt by her mother.

From her mother, Kelsey learns, that she was not really wanted and was nearly strangled by the umbilical cord at birth. "Of course the mother denies any attempt to cause herself a miscarriage."

The third patient, a 25 year old bachelor, could not pull an article of clothing over his head and could not successfully maneuver with his hands. He also suffered trauma in his mother's womb. At his birth, reported the mother, the shoulders stuck after the head came out. It was an hour before a doctor came and freed the baby from his unhappy position.

Although his mother maintained that she had never told the patient anything about it, he re-enacted his birth difficulties in pantomime under hypnosis. Informed now as to the cause of his limitations, the young man exercises as part of professional therapeutic treatment and makes good progress.

While Psychologist Kelsey and a growing number of his Anglo-American colleagues believe that they have intelligently managed "to break the last bonds of scientific materialism to pre-natal psychology", Psycho-quack Hubbard already blazes the trail to finding causes of pre-natal shocks which are "not to be pin-pointed on this earth."

According to Hubbard's freshly brewed "Scientology", each person is as old as the universe and already has multiple incarnations to his credit. Each person has in this universe a "theta being" (similar to the astrological "Astral Body"), which contains his thought energy. A victim of Hubbard who had a pain in his chin used to be a clam. What he thought was flying must have been a clam which was plucked up by a bird and dropped someplace where it landed on a rock.

"Scientologist" clubs are being formed everywhere in America, and Hubbard, the grand master, drives around and listens with false concern as his fellow members stammer out their fearful adventures they had on Venus. A Hubbard fanatic fervently declared, "Existence in the universe is exactly as unpleasant as it is here. Anything can happen."

German Scientology News