Royal Rife

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Royal Raymond Rife, June 1931 - Popular Science Magazine RoyRife.jpg
Royal Raymond Rife, June 1931 – Popular Science Magazine

Royal Raymond Rife (May 16, 1888 – August 5, 1971) was an American inventor and early exponent of high-magnification time-lapse cine-micrography. [1] [2]


Little reliable published information exists describing Rife's life and work. In the 1930s, he made several optical compound microscopes and using a movie camera, took time-lapse microscopy movies of microbes. [2] [3] [4] He also built microscopes that included polarizers. [5]

Time-lapse microscopy

Time-lapse microscopy is time-lapse photography applied to microscopy. Microscope image sequences are recorded and then viewed at a greater speed to give an accelerated view of the microscopic process.

Polarizer Optical filter device

A polarizer or polariser is an optical filter that lets light waves of a specific polarization pass through while blocking light waves of other polarizations. It can filter a beam of light of undefined or mixed polarization into a beam of well-defined polarization, that is polarized light. The common types of polarizers are linear polarizers and circular polarizers. Polarizers are used in many optical techniques and instruments, and polarizing filters find applications in photography and LCD technology. Polarizers can also be made for other types of electromagnetic waves besides light, such as radio waves, microwaves, and X-rays.

Rife also reported that a 'beam ray' device of his invention could destroy the pathogens. [2] [6] Rife claimed to have documented a "Mortal Oscillatory Rate" for various pathogenic organisms, and to be able to destroy the organisms by vibrating them at this particular rate. According to the San Diego Evening Tribune in 1938, Rife stopped short of claiming that he could cure cancer, but did argue that he could "devitalize disease organisms" in living tissue, "with certain exceptions". [6]

Rife machine from 1922 Oryg rife.jpg
Rife machine from 1922

Rife's claims about his beam ray could not be independently replicated, and were discredited by independent researchers during the 1950s. [7] [8] An obituary in the Daily Californian described his death at the age of 83 on August 5, 1971, stating that he died penniless and embittered by the failure of his devices to garner scientific acceptance. [9] Rife blamed the scientific rejection of his claims on a conspiracy involving the American Medical Association (AMA), the Department of Public Health, and other elements of "organized medicine", which had "brainwashed and intimidated" his colleagues. [9]

Reproducibility is the closeness of the agreement between the results of measurements of the same measurand carried out with same methodology described in the corresponding scientific evidence. Reproducibilty can also be applied under changed conditions of measurement for the same measurand to check, that the results are not an artefact of the measurement procedures. A related concept is replicability, meaning the ability to independently achieve non-identical conclusions that are at least similar, when differences in sampling, research procedures and data analysis methods may exist. Reproducibility and replicability together are among the main beliefs of 'the scientific method'—with the concrete expressions of the ideal of such a method varying considerably across research disciplines and fields of study. The reproduced measurement may be based on the raw data and computer programs provided by researchers.

Conspiracy theory An explanation of an event or situation that unnecessarily invokes a conspiracy

A conspiracy theory is an explanation of an event or situation that invokes a conspiracy by sinister and powerful actors, often political in motivation, when other explanations are more probable. The term has a pejorative connotation, implying that the appeal to a conspiracy is based on prejudice or insufficient evidence. Conspiracy theories resist falsification and are reinforced by circular reasoning: both evidence against the conspiracy and an absence of evidence for it, are re-interpreted as evidence of its truth, and the conspiracy becomes a matter of faith rather than proof.

American Medical Association professional association for physicians and medical students

The American Medical Association (AMA), founded in 1847 and incorporated in 1897, is the largest association of physicians—both MDs and DOs—and medical students in the United States.

Interest in Rife's claims was revived in some alternative medical circles by the 1987 book by Barry Lynes, The Cancer Cure That Worked, which claimed that Rife had succeeded in curing cancer, but that his work was suppressed by a powerful conspiracy headed by the American Medical Association. [7] After this book's publication, a variety of devices bearing Rife's name were marketed as cures for diverse diseases such as cancer and AIDS. An analysis by Electronics Australia found that a typical 'Rife device' consisted of a nine-volt battery, wiring, a switch, a timer and two short lengths of copper tubing, which delivered an "almost undetectable" current unlikely to penetrate the skin. [10]

Alternative medicine Form of non-scientific healing

Alternative medicine are generally practices that lack biological plausibility and are untested or untestable. In a few cases they are proven ineffective. Complementary medicine (CM), complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), integrated medicine or integrative medicine (IM), and holistic medicine are among many rebrandings of the same phenomenon. While the aim is to achieve the healing effects of medicine, alternative therapies share in common that they reside outside medical science, and rely on pseudoscience. The alternative is distinct from the experimental, which employs scientific method to test plausible therapies by way of responsible and ethical clinical trials, producing evidence of either effect or of no effect. Research into alternative treatments often fails to follow proper research protocol and denies calculalaton of prior probability, providing invalid results. Traditional practices become "alternative" when used outside their original settings without proper scientific explanation and evidence. Frequently used derogatory terms for the alternative are new-age or pseudo, with little distinction from quackery.

Electronics Australia or EA was Australia's longest-running general electronics magazine. It was based in Chippendale, New South Wales.

Such 'Rife devices' have figured prominently in several cases of health fraud in the U.S., typically centered around the uselessness of the devices and the grandiose claims with which they are marketed. In a 1996 case, the marketers of a 'Rife device' claiming to cure numerous diseases including cancer and AIDS were convicted of felony health fraud. [11] The sentencing judge described them as "target[ing] the most vulnerable people, including those suffering from terminal disease" and providing false hope. [12] In some cases cancer patients who ceased chemotherapy and instead used these devices have died. [13] [14] Rife devices are currently classified as a subset of radionics devices, which are generally viewed as pseudomedicine by mainstream experts. [7] In Australia, the use of Rife machines has been blamed for the deaths of cancer patients who might have been cured with conventional therapy. [10] In 2002 John Bryon Krueger, who operated the Royal Rife Research Society, was sentenced to 12 years in prison for his role in a murder and also received a concurrent 30-month sentence for illegally selling Rife devices. In 2009 a U.S. court convicted James Folsom of 26 felony counts for sale of the Rife devices sold as 'NatureTronics', 'AstroPulse', 'BioSolutions', 'Energy Wellness', and 'Global Wellness'. [15]

Radionics form of alternative medicine

Radionics is a form of alternative medicine that claims disease can be diagnosed and treated by applying electromagnetic radiation (EMR), such as radio waves, to the body from an electrically powered device. It is similar to magnet therapy which also applies EMR to the body, but using a magnet that generates a static electromagnetic field.

In 1994, the American Cancer Society reported that Rife machines were being sold in a "pyramid-like, multilevel marketing scheme". A key component in the marketing of Rife devices has been the claim, initially put forward by Rife himself, that the devices were being suppressed by an establishment conspiracy against cancer "cures". [7] The ACS describes Lynes' claims as implausible, noting that the book was written "in a style typical of conspiratorial theorists" and defied any independent verification. [7] Although 'Rife devices' are not registered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and have been linked to deaths among cancer sufferers, the Seattle Times reported that over 300 people attended the 2006 Rife International Health Conference in Seattle, where dozens of unregistered devices were sold. [14]

See also

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Quackery Fraudulent or inept medical practice

Quackery, often synonymous with health fraud, is the promotion of fraudulent or ignorant medical practices. A quack is a "fraudulent or ignorant pretender to medical skill" or "a person who pretends, professionally or publicly, to have skill, knowledge, qualification or credentials they do not possess; a charlatan or snake oil salesman". The term quack is a clipped form of the archaic term quacksalver, from Dutch: kwakzalver a "hawker of salve". In the Middle Ages the term quack meant "shouting". The quacksalvers sold their wares on the market shouting in a loud voice.

Quackwatch is a United States-based website, self-described as a "network of people" founded by Stephen Barrett, which aims to "combat health-related frauds, myths, fads, fallacies, and misconduct" and to focus on "quackery-related information that is difficult or impossible to get elsewhere". Since 1996 it has operated the alternative medicine watchdog website, which advises the public on unproven or ineffective alternative medicine remedies. The site contains articles and other information criticizing many forms of alternative medicine.


Chromotherapy, sometimes called color therapy, colorology or cromatherapy, is an alternative medicine method, which is considered pseudoscience. Chromotherapists claim to be able to use light in the form of color to balance "energy" lacking from a person's body, whether it be on physical, emotional, spiritual, or mental levels.

Ryke Geerd Hamer, a German ex-physician, was the originator of Germanic New Medicine, also formerly known as German New Medicine and New Medicine, a system of pseudo-medicine that purports to be able to cure cancer. The Swiss Cancer League described Hamer's approach as "dangerous, especially as it lulls the patients into a false sense of security, so that they are deprived of other effective treatments."

Max Gerson was a German-born American physician who developed the Gerson Therapy, a dietary-based alternative cancer treatment that he claimed could cure cancer and most chronic, degenerative diseases.

Gary Null Radio personality and author

Gary Michael Null is an American talk radio host and author who advocates for alternative medicine and naturopathy and who produces a line of dietary supplements.

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714-X or 714X, also referred to as "trimethylbicyclonitramineoheptane chloride", is a mixture of substances manufactured by CERBE Distribution Inc and sold as an alternative medical treatment which is claimed to cure cancer, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and other diseases. There is no scientific evidence that 714-X is effective in treating any kind of cancer, and its marketing is considered health fraud in the US.

Robert O. Young American alternative medicine writer

Robert Oldham Young is an American naturopathic practitioner and author of alternative medicine books promoting an alkaline diet. His most popular works are the "pH Miracle" series of books, which outline his beliefs about holistic healing and an "alkalarian" lifestyle. Young came to prominence after appearances on The Oprah Winfrey Show featured his treatment of Kim Tinkham for breast cancer. Tinkham and Young both claimed that he had cured her, but she died of her disease shortly afterwards. In general, Young's theories and treatments are considered quackery, which has resulted in a history of legal issues for Young. He was arrested in January 2014 and convicted in 2016 on two out of three charges of theft and practicing medicine without a license. He was sentenced to three years and eight months in jail in June 2017.

Energy medicine, energy therapy, energy healing, vibrational medicine, psychic healing, spiritual medicine or spiritual healing are branches of alternative medicine based on a pseudo-scientific belief that healers can channel healing energy into a patient and effect positive results. This idea itself contains several methods: hands-on, hands-off, and distant where the patient and healer are in different locations.

Live blood analysis (LBA), live cell analysis, Hemaview or nutritional blood analysis is the use of high-resolution dark field microscopy to observe live blood cells. Live blood analysis is promoted by some alternative medicine practitioners, who assert that it can diagnose a range of diseases. There is no scientific evidence that live blood analysis is reliable or effective, and it has been described as a fraudulent means of convincing patients that they are ill and should purchase dietary supplements.

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Medical microbiology medical specialty

Medical microbiology , the large subset of microbiology that is applied to medicine, is a branch of medical science concerned with the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases. In addition, this field of science studies various clinical applications of microbes for the improvement of health. There are four kinds of microorganisms that cause infectious disease: bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses, and one type of infectious protein called prion.

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Desiré Dubounet physician, transsexual performer

Desiré D. Dubounet is an American alternative medicine quack currently living in Budapest. Dubounet developed the pseudoscientific Electro Physiological Feedback Xrroid, an energy medicine device that is considered to be dangerous to health and has been described as a scam.

Alfredo Darrington Bowman, better known as Dr. Sebi, was a Honduran herbalist and self-proclaimed healer. Bowman claimed to cure all disease with herbs and a unique vegan diet based on various pseudoscience claims. His diet was based on the discredited alkaline diet. His beliefs on the origin of disease denied germ theory and taught that HIV is not the cause of AIDS, and factored in faux-afrocentric claims about the unique genetic characteristics of Africans and its diaspora.


  1. "Local Man Bares Wonders of Germ Life: Making Moving Pictures of Microbe Drama". San Diego Union. November 3, 1929.
  2. 1 2 3 H. H. Dunn (June 1931). "Movie New Eye of Microscope in War on Germs". Popular Science. 118 (6): 27, 141. ISSN   0161-7370.
  3. "Bacilli Revealed by New Microscope; Dr. Rife's Apparatus, Magnifying 17,000 Times, Shows Germs Never Before Seen". The New York Times. November 22, 1931. p. 19.
  4. Annual report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Institution. 1944. p. 207ff.
  5. Kendall, Arthur Isaac, MD., PhD.; Rife, Royal, PhD. (December 1931). "Observations On Bacillus Typhosus In Its Filterable State: A Preliminary Communication". California and Western Medicine. XXXV (6): 409–11. PMC   1658030 . PMID   18741967.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  6. 1 2 Jones, Newell (1938-05-06). "Dread Disease Germs Destroyed By Rays, Claim Of S.D. Scientist: Cancer Blow Seen After 18-year Toil by Rife". San Diego Evening Tribune. p. 1.
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 "Questionable methods of cancer management: electronic devices". CA Cancer J Clin. 44 (2): 115–27. 1994. doi:10.3322/canjclin.44.2.115. PMID   8124604.
  8. "Cheating death". Sydney Morning Herald. 30 December 2000. Archived from the original on 14 July 2016. Although unanimously condemned as worthless
  9. 1 2 Del Hood (August 11, 1971). "Scientific Genius Dies: Saw Work Discredited". Daily Californian .
  10. 1 2 Hills, Ben (2000-12-30). "Cheating Death". Sydney Morning Herald . Retrieved 2009-01-11.
  11. Farley, Dixie (September 1996). "Investigators' Reports". FDA Consumer . U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Archived from the original on September 10, 2016. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
  12. "Investigators' Reports". FDA Consumer . U.S. Food and Drug Administration. September 1996. Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
  13. Stephen Barrett. "Rife Machine Operator Sued". Quackwatch . Retrieved 2007-02-12.
  14. 1 2 Willmsen, Christine; Michael J. Berens (2007-12-21). "Pair indicted on fraud charges in medical-device probe". Seattle Times . Retrieved 2008-04-24.
  15. Stephen Barrett. "Rife Device Marketers Convicted". Quackwatch . Retrieved 2009-08-07.