new life merely just the beginning of eventual death,
as scientists believe? Or is death the beginning of
“eternal life,” as religions teach? Or could life
be a never-ending cycle of life/death/life/death reincarnations?
Can new life develop from non-living things? Or was
all life and the universe created eons ago by the
Creator, or through some freak accident of the cosmos?
Where did I come from? What will happen to me after
death? These are questions human beings have attempted
to answer for centuries.
NASA and Astrobiology
Robert Folk is a geologist who specialises in microscopic
examinations of limestone. Working in Italy in the
1980s with a new scanning electron microscope (SEM)
with magnifications up to 100,000X, he repeatedly
came across “hordes of tiny bumps and balls” entombed
within the rock that he initially passed off as artefacts
or laboratory contamination, as had every other geologist
using the SEM.
However, after a year of doubts and some reading in
microbiology, Folk learned that exceedingly small
cells called ‘ultramicrobacteria’ did in fact exist.
With further microscopic work, he realised the enormous
numbers of tiny grape-like and chain-like clusters
were indeed bacteria. Most amazing was these “nanobacteria”
could be easily cultured as common forms of bacteria,
known as cocci, bacilli, staphylococci and streptococci.
His first scientific presentation of these astounding
findings was met with “stony silence” and “howls of
disbelief” from many microbiologists. To this day,
some scientists contend these so-called nanobacteria
are simply too small to contain the necessary genetic
material for life.
In microbiology, the ultramicroscopic bacteria are
regarded as stressed or resting forms of big bacteria,
and are thought to be both rare and dormant. Geologists
prefer the spelling “nannobacteria” to conform with
the spelling of extremely tiny “nannofossils”, a common
term in geology dating back to the nineteenth century.
But Folk claims nanobacteria are enormously abundant
in minerals and rocks and they form most of the world’s
bio-mass. If so, how could they have been missed for
so long? Folk says microbiologists have little or
no interest in bacteria found in soils or rocks; and
for fifty years it has been standard microbiological
dogma that bacteria smaller than 0.2 micrometers cannot
Size does matter, even when discussing the tiniest
forms of life. The term “ultramicroscopic” is applied
to bacterial cells smaller than 0.3 micrometers. At
this size, bacteria are still barely visible as the
tiniest of dots discernable with the light microscope.
The ordinary light microscope can magnify objects
up to 1000X and objects smaller than 0.25 micrometers
cannot be seen. The electron microscope is able to
photograph objects at magnifications of 300,000X,
Nanobacteria are the smallest of living creatures,
measuring in the 0.05 to 0.2 micrometer range (a micrometer
is 1/1000 of a millimeter). This puts nanobacteria
as an intermediate life-form between normal bacteria
and viruses. Viruses are around 0.01 to 0.02 micrometers
in size and cannot be seen with the ordinary light
The size of bacteria, nanobacteria and viruses is
exceedingly important to bear in mind because it is
connected to more than a century of microscopic study
into the germ origin of infectious disease. Furthermore,
the “dividing line” between bacteriology and virology
has been the customary “filter pore size” of 0.2 micrometers.
Microbiologists have always assumed such a filter
pore will catch all bacteria, and fluid running through
a 0.2 micrometer filter pore would be bacteria-free.
When geologists photographed 0.1 micrometer “bumps”
they passed them off as contamination, never believing
they could be living bacteria. Folk says, “You see
what you are looking for and what you have faith in!”
By the early 1990s these nanobacteria were investigated
by a team of biologists in Finland,
headed by Olavi Kajander. Since that time nanobacteria
have been found in kidney stones, dental plaque, the
gall bladder, in calcified arteries and heart valves,
and in certain skin diseases. Kajander’s team also
reported nanobacterial forms as small as 0.05 microns
in human blood, and have retrieved DNA on particles
as small as 0.2 microns. Most disturbing are reports
showing nanobacterial contamination of fetal bovine
serum used in the production of many viral vaccines.
This adds concern to the controversial problem of
“vaccine-induced illness” and the fear some people
have of contaminated vaccines.
Are nanobacteria connected with the origin of life
on Earth? Nanobacteria-like “fossils” have been observed
in several meteors, such as the Martian meteorite
found on the Antarctic ice shelf in 1984. This meteorite
is believed to be 4.5 billion years old, and is thought
to have left Mars 16 million years ago. Supporters
of nanobacteria research insist these bacteria have
implications for how life began on Earth and other
planets like Mars.
NASA, the US
space agency, has an Astrobiology Roadmap program,
which consists of more than 200 scientists and technologists.
Astrobiology addresses three basic questions: How
does life begin and evolve? Does life exist elsewhere
in the universe? What is the future of life on Earth
According to Roadmap, there are revolutionary changes
going on in the world of microbiology.
“Our ongoing exploration has led to continued discoveries
of life in environments that have been previously
considered uninhabitable. For example, we find thriving
communities (of microbes) in the boiling hot springs
of Yellowstone, the frozen deserts of Antarctica,
the concentrated sulfuric acid in acid-mine drainages,
and the ionizing radiation fields in nuclear reactors.
We find some microbes that grow in the deepest parts
of the ocean and require 5000 to 1000 bars of hydrostatic
pressure. Life has evolved strategies that allow it
to survive even beyond the daunting physical and chemical
limits to which it has adapted to grow. To survive,
organisms can assume forms that enable them to withstand
freezing, complete desiccation, starvation, high levels
of radiation exposure, and other physical and chemical
In addition, astrobiologists tell us that huge amounts
of bacteria and possibly viruses are contained in
Earth’s upper atmosphere. It is estimated a ton of
these organisms arrive on Earth every day!
Sensing and Communication Between Bacteria
In an amazing discovery, scientists have learned that
bacteria can communicate with each other. When enough
microbes gather to form a “quorum”, they release a
hormone (a pheromone) which allows them to “talk”
to one another and plan strategies, and even make
some genetic changes to allow survival. Not only do
similar bacteria talk to each other, they also talk
Barbara Bassler, a molecular biologist at Princeton
University, is a leading pioneer in quorum sensing.
Writing about her work for Wired magazine (April
2003), Steve Silberman says that communicating microbes
are able to collectively track changes in their environment,
conspire with other species, build mutually beneficial
alliances with other types of bacteria, gain advantages
over competitors, and communicate with their hosts
– the sort of collective strategizing typically ascribed
to bees, ants, and people, not to bacteria.”
Quorum sensing has profound implications in the
war against disease, particularly now that so many
bacteria are becoming resistant to antibiotics. According
to Silberman, “Bassler’s research points to new ways
of fighting disease that will aim not to kill but
to scramble data in the bacterial network. One approach
would be to block the receptors that receive the molecular
signals so that cells never become virulent; another
would target the DNA-replication mechanisms set in
motion inside cells when the signals are received.”
Not everyone in microbiology is convinced bacteria
can communicate. But if some clairvoyants can talk
to dead people, why can’t bacterial cells talk to
one another? And don’t all the cells in our body “talk”
to each other in some way?
Bacteria, and the Beginnings of Life
Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species was
published in 1859 and is the seminal book giving rise
to biology, as well as to the scientific and religious
controversies that continue to this day. People were
incensed to think humans could have arisen from monkeys
and apes. Now some scientists think we developed side-by-side
along with bacteria.
Every human, plant and animal cell has genetic material
inside a nucleus. Surrounding the nucleus is a jelly-like
cytoplasm which contains the “mitochondria”, which
are considered to be tiny chemical factories that
process the nutrients which provide energy to the
Evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis of the University
of Massachusetts believes the ancestors of all life
are the bacteria, which fused into higher forms of
life. Margulis follows in the footsteps of American
biologist Ivan Wallin, who in 1927 first claimed mitochondria
originated as free-living bacteria. Wallin thought
ancient bacteria and their host cells evolved together
to establish an inseparable symbiotic partnership.
He even claimed to have removed mitochondria from
cells and to grow them. Needless to say, Wallin’s
ideas were ridiculed and almost universally rejected.
But Margulis also theorises the origin of the mitochondria
in our cells is derived from separate organisms that
long-ago moved into other cells and entered a symbiotic
(sort of a co-dependant) relationship with multi-cellular
forms of life. Remarkably, the DNA in the mitochondria
is totally different from the DNA in the rest of the
cell, which lends support to this idea.
Margulis subscribes to the vision that the Earth,
as a whole, is a living being. In What is Life?
(1955), co-written with Dorion Sagan, she maintains
all life is bacteria – or descends from bacteria.
In short, life is bacteria. And, as such, bacteria
are closer to immortality than animals with bodies.
Bacteria account for the vast majority of life forms
on Earth, and are essential to maintain the conditions
for life on the planet. They are the smallest living
cells that can replicate without a nucleus, and are
indeed the building-blocks of life. In comparison,
the fertilised human egg is about 150-200 micrometers
in size – about the size of a grain of sand and barely
visible with the naked eye.
What can microbes tell us about our origin and our
destinies? And could we be immortal like our one-celled
“life” in the Laboratory
What is the lowest form of life? And can life be created
from non-life? Some scientists believe viruses are
the lowest form of life. We are told viruses need
to penetrate a cell and use the cell’s genes to survive.
In the process, disease can be produced. But are viruses
“alive” or “dead”? Scientists can’t agree.
In 1991 Eckard Wimmer and his associates created a
polio virus for the very first time – outside a cell
and in a test tube. They extracted a soup of proteins
from human cells, and then added genetic material
from a polio virus. After a few hours, assembled polio
viruses appeared in the mix.
According to a New York Times report (Dec.
13, 1991), Wimmer was asked, is the product in the
test tube living or nonliving? Some consider viruses
to be simple living organisms, others consider viruses
to be very complicated chemicals, said Wimmer. But
“when it hits the cell it is very much alive. Some
argue that one attribute of life is that it can reproduce
itself. Well, that is what viruses do when they get
into the cells. The debate on whether viruses are
alive has been going on since they were discovered
100 years ago.”
Although the cause of most cancers remains a mystery,
research over the past half-century has focused on
cancer viruses as a probable cause. With research
focused on viruses, it would seem ludicrous to ask
– can bacteria cause cancer?
The mere thought of bacteria causing cancer drives
most cancer experts up the wall! However, with the
recent interest in nanobacteria and their discovery
in the blood and in various diseases of unknown origin,
the question should not be so easily dismissed.
Furthermore, in the past decade physicians have come
to accept the fact stomach ulcers can be produced
by bacteria (Helicobacter pylori), and some
ulcers eventually lead to stomach cancer. For many
decades, it was dogma that bacteria could not live
in the acid environment of the stomach. Also, pathologists
could never see or detect bacteria in the stomach
lining around ulcers. With the discovery of Helicobacteria
and special staining techniques, doctors can now demonstrate
bacteria in many ulcers – proving that microbiologists
and pathologists were unable to “see” microbes, even
though they are now clearly visible once they accepted
the possibility microbes might be present.
New Life, and Reich’s “T-Bacilli”
Although the origin and cause of cancer is mysterious,
there is no doubt cancer is the body’s futile and
often fatal attempt to create new life and new growth.
That is why cancer is so intimately connected with
theories about the origin of life.
One of the most controversial physicians of the last
century was Wilhelm Reich (1897-1957), a psychiatrist
and cancer researcher who claimed to discover “orgone
energy” – an energy that pervades the world and is
intimately connected with our physical and mental
In The Cancer Biopathy (1948), he wrote that
cancer is a systemic disease caused by emotional despair
and resignation and the chronic thwarting of natural
sexual functioning. And this was just a few of his
highly unorthodox beliefs based on his many observations
Reich also uncovered infectious “T-bacilli” (bacteria)
in cancer that resulted from the degeneration of cancerous
tissue. In his view, these bacteria formed a bridge
between the living and the non-living. The T-bacilli
were present in the blood and tissue before
the cancer tumour developed; and these microbes were
intimately connected to “bions” and the loss of biological
energy. Reich’s heretical bions were the carriers
of biological energy; and the staphylococcus and streptococcus
germs he found connected to cancer were actually formed
from the degeneration of the bions.
Just as there is no clear dividing line between life
and non-life, there is no clear boundary between healthy
and diseased individuals. Reich claimed the cancer
cell developed as the body’s attempt to resist the
build-up of the T-bacilli in energy-depleted tissue.
“The first step in the development of the cancer tumour
is not the cancer cell… it is the appearance of T-bacilli
in the tissue or in the blood.” But T-bacilli were
not only found in cancer; they were also present in
the blood and tissues of both healthy and sick non-cancerous
individuals. However, sick and cancerous patients
showed a larger number of these forms, and Reich developed
a blood test to show this. T-bacilli were always found
where there is degeneration of protein, and in that
respect, Reich wrote: “All humans have cancer.”
The orgone energy of the body determined the resistance
of the body to these microbes. As long as the tissues
and blood are “organotically strong, every T-bacillus
will be destroyed and eliminated before it can propagate,
accumulate, and cause damage”, wrote Reich. Because
cancer germs were present in healthy people, Reich
knew this would be a very difficult concept for physicians
to consider and accept.
Reich wanted scientists to look at science in a new
way and to try and see it from the point of view of
For example, “The bacteriologist, for instance,
sees the staphylococcus as a static formation, spherical
or oval in shape, about 0.8 micron in size, reacting
with a bluish coloration to Gram stain, and arranged
in clusters. These characteristics are important for
orgone biophysics, but are not the essentials. The
name itself says nothing about the origin, function,
and position of the blue coccus in nature. What the
bacteriologists calls ‘staphylococcus’ is, for orgone
physics a small energy vesicle in the process of degeneration.
Orgone biophysics investigates the origin of the staphylococcus
from other forms of life and follows its transformation.
It examines the staphylococcus in connection with
the processes of the total biological energy of the
organism and produces it experimentally through degenerative
processes in bions, cells, etc.”
Through his scientific experiments with orgone energy,
Reich hoped to harness orgone for the treatment of
disease and the good of humanity.
Needless to say, Reich’s entire life’s work was considered
hogwash, and a scientific inquisition eventually ensued.
Branded a menace and a quack, he ran afoul of the
US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which claimed
his experimental “orgone accumulator” was being used
illegally to treat cancer – and that it was nothing
more than a perverted sex box.
Refusing to obey a court injunction, Reich was sentenced
to prison. His books were burned, his equipment destroyed
by FDA agents, and he died at the federal penitentiary
at Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, in March 1957, at age
His research into the origin of life, and his belief
orgone energy contained within the tiniest forms of
life that could not be destroyed, make him one of
the most misunderstood and hated physicians of the
But, as we shall discover, there are other heretics
in medicine, now mostly ignored and forgotten, who
also believed cancer was connected with bacteria of
human origin. Like Reich, they claimed a study of
these microbes would not only lead to the infectious
cause of cancer – but to a cause of life itself.
concluding part of this article will appear in the
next issue of New Dawn.