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Odic force

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Odic force (also called Od [õd] and Odyle) is the name given in the mid-19th century to a hypothetical vital energy or life force by Baron Carl von Reichenbach,an accomplished chemist (known for his analysis of creosote,waxy paraffin,and phenol).

Proponents of the concept suggest that Odic force permeates all plants, animals, and humans. It took its place in the 19th century as one of many proto-scientific ideas leading towards a unified theory of vitalism. Von Reichenbach coined the name from that of the Norse god Odin.

Believers in Odic force say that it is visible in total darkness as colored auras surrounding living things, crystals, and magnets, but that viewing requires hours first spent in total darkness, and that not everyone has the ability to see it. They state that it resembles the eastern mystical concepts ch'i and prana. However, they regard the Od, not as associated with breath (like ch'i), but mainly with claimed electromagnetic properties.

Baron von Reichenbach developed the concept of Odic force during the 1850s in his Researches on Magnetism, Electricity, Heat and Light in their relations to Vital Forces. His claims included that his Odic force had a positive and negative flux, and a light and dark side. Individuals could supposedly "emanate" it, particularly from the hands, mouth, and forehead. He believed it had other uses, and that for example crystals could store it within themselves as "crystalod". Von Reichenbach hoped to develop a scientific proof for a universal life force, but since his experiments relied not on instruments but on perceptions reported by allegedly psychically sensitive and psycho-kinetically adept individuals, it never acquired currency in the general scientific community.

Current popularity of the theory within New Age and paranormal circles has arisen at the same time as the success of George Lucas' fictional Force in the Star Wars series, with which the Odic Force has similarities.


Criticisms of this theory usually include references to the Placebo effect.

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