History of Royal R. Rife, Jr. (and the Rife Ray machine)
This is a history of the life of Royal Raymond Rife, Jr.. Not much is known of his early life, other than he was born in Elkhorn, Nebraska, on May 16, 1888, and was the second child born to Royal Raymond Rife and Ida May Rife. His father was a mechanical engineer. Royal Rife's heavy German accent may be an indication that their household spoke German as their home language. (Elkhorn's web site indicates that their area's ancestry is 47% German.)
Rife indicates that he started his first laboratory in San Diego in 1912, after working in New York for four or five years (apparently for the Carl Zeiss firm). He appears to have then gone to Germany where he worked with Carl Zeiss, of the Zeiss optical company (a major manufacturer of microscopes and other precision optics) in Heidelberg, Germany.) In a history of his career later, indications are that he was also a US Naval Commander, Retired, and there were suggestions that he may have been on assignment for the US Government while in Europe. In 1912, he married Mamie Quinn in the San Diego area. There are reports that he traveled extensively in Europe, accompanied by his wife, probably in the late 1910's or following WWI in the 20's.. Rife was an accomplished musician, playing the french horn and the guitar; one letter indicates he built a 100-string "guitar"-type-instrument. He was also quite a sportsman, with a collection of high-powered rifles, and held the high-powered motorboat speed record until his death in 1971. Photos of him with musical instruments (and on one of the power boats) are available from some web sites. In a brief history of Rife written in 1954 by John Crane, Rife indicated that he received an honorary Doctor of Parasitology (Science) degree from the University of Heidelberg in 1914. Crane further says that Rife received an honorary Doctor of Science degree from the University of Southern California in 1936, although paperwork in the 30's indicated that Rife may have never accepted the degree from USC, indeed, Rife was known, in those years, to throw mail into the trash unopened.
Rife is said to have built his first microscope in 1921 and later, after much research and work on microscope optics and light sources. He patented a high-intensity lamp for microscope use in 1929 (Patent #1727618).
In tests using B. coli (bacillus coli) Rife found that the bacteria, if exposed to radio-frequency energy at certain frequencies, would "deactivate", or die. Later testing showed the same results with other samples of B. Coli at the same frequencies. Rife needed a means of seeing even smaller pathogens, even down to the virus size if possible, and set out to examine microscope optics and the factors which limit the standard optical microscope to magnifications of between 1000 and 1500 times magnification - the "Fraunhofer Diffraction Limit". Rife found a means to building a microscope with a very long optical path with specially-ground quartz prisms in the barrel of his microscope. In addition, he determined that white light, which contains all wavelengths of visible light, was not suitable for high-magnification optics, and used a "Risley" prism between his light source and the sample, thus illuminating the sample with a single frequency of monochromatic light (very similar to high-definition research microscopes of today which use lasers).
Rife built his first known microscope, "Number 1" in 1920 on an optical bench similar to a lathe bed. Microscope #2 was similar in construction, but built in 1923 in a vertical format similar to a standard microscope. #2 was sent to Northwestern University for Dr. Arthur Kendall's use, apparently for some time in the 1932 time-frame. Unit #3, built in 1933 and shown above on the right, was the "Universal Microscope" which had provisions for polarized, bright field, dark field, infrared and ultraviolet imaging. #3 was the unit which is talked about so much, since it is the unit which Rife used to examine live virus samples. Microscope #4, which had no polarizing stage, but offered magnifications up to 15,000 times, was built in 1935, and appears to have been an early version of a much more simple Universal Microscope which Rife hoped to find a manufacturer for. Rife commented in one of his letters that #4 had been built at the request of a manufacturer, but he does not say who that might have been. In papers from England in the 1938 period, it is mentioned that #4 had been sent to England, and a technician working for Rife went there to help install it. Later it is mentioned that #4 was sent back to Rife (in 1939), and at some point a newer #5 microscope is sent. #5, built about 1938, is currently in the Science Museum in London, England, and while it is not available for normal viewing, groups of researchers have been able to closely examine it, and a videotape of it was made in 1999.
The Electric Club of San Diego thanked Rife for a presentation
he gave them in February of 1930. There are many similar letters
in the records; Rife was a popular, fascinating and entertaining
In the early 1930's Rife became associated with Milbank Johnson, M.D., who, in earlier years, had been Professor of Physiology and Clinical Medicine at the University of Southern California (USC), and was the Chairman of the "Special Medical Research Committee". USC has no record of such an organization, however there are numerous documents from Johnson and others referring to the Committee. It is quite possible that this Committee was a "gentlemen's handshake" agreement between Dr. Johnson and Dr. Rufus B. von KleinSmid, President of USC.. In addition, quite a number of researchers at USC are named over the years, so there is no doubt that this group did exist in some format. Dr. Johnson had come to California in 1893 to start up the Alhambra (CA) hospital. He was a member of the American Medical Association, the Los Angeles and the Southern California Medical Associations, and was a founder and the 2nd President of the Automobile Club of Southern California from 1903 to 1905. He was a Director of the Pacific Mutual Insurance Company from 1906 to 1933. Dr. Johnson was a driving force behind the development of the Rife machine. He, and many others involved in the research of the Rife machine, were nationally-known and recognized in their fields, and there is no doubt whatever that the microscope and "ray machine" did in fact work. Several of the medical researchers and doctors of that time who were involved with the research of devitalizing organisms were the top people in their field; the head of Experimental Bacteriology at Mayo Clinic; the Director of Medical Research at Northwestern University, and others.
In 1931 Dr. Johnson was contacted by, and encouraged Dr. Arthur Kendall, Ph.D., Director of Medical Research of Northwestern University (and eventually Dean of the Medical School) near Chicago, to come to California and meet Royal Rife. The two got along well, using Kendall's "K" Medium (developed from pig tissue) to grow human cancer cells for experimentation with Rife's "ray machine" or frequency instrument.
In May 1932 Dr. Johnson wrote to Dr. Kendall (at one time Directory of the Hygienic Laboratory in the Panama Canal construction project) (The national Hygienic Laboratory eventually became the National Institutes of Health). Kendall, certainly an internationally-known Ph.D., had been awarded a Doctor of Science degree by USC in 1932. (Kendall retired from Northwestern University in 1942 at about age 65, and moved to a housing development he had been actively supporting in Mexico, and passed away in late 1959 in the San Diego area, after the development project failed.)
Rife, by the mid-1930's, had successfully found and documented the frequencies which would devitalize many of the major illnesses of the day, and had built a "ray machine" which used a helium plasma lamp excited by very precise radio-frequencies. A short exposure once every three days was the treatment method which seemed to work best, and there are many letters from MDs and patients who had used Rife's "Ray Machine". The medical establishment was not interested, even though there were a few MDs around the US who eventually used his ray machine quite successfully against many different illnesses. There were not very many of the machines in existence, perhaps four to six, and being a new technology, they were expensive and difficult to build. Rife's focus was in determining the exact frequencies which would devitalize various pathogens - he was at heart an exacting machinist.
It is not certain, but conjectured that in about 1933, Dr. Johnson suggested a radio engineer named Philip Hoyland, who lived in nearby Altadena, CA., to Rife as someone who could help (or even build) the ray tube devices. Hoyland, who was known as quite an accomplished radio engineer of the time, built Rife's equipment in his Altadena home or garage, and delivered the machines to Rife's laboratory in his truck. Hoyland, who was married to Laura Mazie, moved to the Pasadena area in 1927, and was the President and Manager of the Premier Radio Corporation of California. In 1928 he is shown as a salesman for the Rowley Electric Company, and 1929 and 1930 as a serviceman for the Radio Doc Company in Pasadena. He owned his home at 584 Stonehurst Drive in Altadena. There is thought that Hoyland built most, if not all, of the early Rife Ray machines, and court documents show him as the owner, along with Rife, of the Rife Ray Machine. The photo showing Rife with a Ray Machine later in the 1930's shows Hoyland explaining something on the machine to Rife, but Hoyland received no credit for his many contributions to the Ray Machine, even if he did build most of them.
The 1934 "Cancer Clinic" .. In April of 1934 Dr. Milbank Johnson of Pasadena, CA., wrote to Arthur Kendall about the clinic proposed in La Jolla, Ca., starting the middle of June, and indicates that he has rented a house there for three months - so as to be close to the clinic which was held from June to August/September at the "Annex" on the Scripps Ranch. He further states that "I hope by then we will have human cases to work on." There were a number of patients at the clinic, including some cancer patients. Johnson later wrote that he "had no help whatsoever, no nurses or assistants". In another letter in 1935, he says that the results were "not conclusive" - it is thought that some patients had responded well to the treatments from the Rife Ray machine, but that Johnson was not convinced that such a speedy recovery was necessarily the same thing as a "cure" - although apparently Royal Rife considered them "cured." Dr. Johnson also wrote later that he had run the clinic by himself, to prove what the Rife Ray machine could do in vitro - in the body. Mr. Rife was almost certainly not present for most of this clinic, but may have come around ocassionally to help or to observe - he later testified in court that he had never treated a human patient. One patient from that clinic, who was described as one of the few patients with a visible cancer (on his cheek) contacted Dr. Johnson in early 1935, and was sent to another MD for removal of one eye - there is evidence that he had an eye cancer which had either not gone away, or which had returned. It is certain that Johnson sent him off for removal of the eye. Dr. George Dock, who was the President of the Las Encinas Sanitarium in Pasadena, was also the President of the Los Angeles County Medical Association, and is mentioned as one of the physicians "attending" or more likely advising, in several of the letters of the period. It is quite possible that none of these other MDs actually participated in the Clinic, and in one case, Dr. Alvin Foord later testified that he only did tests on samples sent him by Dr. Johnson. Johnson was an avid writer, yet there are very few letters from the period of the clinic and through into 1935 from him. I believe that, had he been satisfied with the results of the La Jolla Clinic, he would have been writing to many of his friends about the results - those letters have never been found, placing the results of the clinic in grave doubt.
On May 15th, 1935, Dr. Johnson wrote to Rife indicating that the University of Southern California was sending Rife notification that he was to be given a Doctor of Science degree ( honorary). There are indications that Rife never wrote back to USC, indeed, Dr. Johnson chides Rife as being "a rotten correspondent" in his letter to Rife. Also in 1935, Rife received an order for "One of those hypersensitive stethoscopes", indication that Rife was indeed building other devices for researchers and MDs. In a letter in 1939, he was requested to bring "the stethoscopes .. and other of your inventions" that he might care to put on the market to England (that trip never happened, as Rife was summoned to testify at the Beam Ray trial). Dr. Johnson began using one of the Ray Machines (probably #5 or #6) in the fall of 1935, the year after the clinics in La Jolla, installing the device at the Santa Fe Hospital in Los Angeles. Treatments were offered twice a week, typically for five minutes each, and apparently focussed on individual diseases.
Dr. Milbank Johnson, in 1936, writes that he is happy that Phil (Hoyland) was able to tell what the matter was with one of Rife's Ray Machines, and that it would be no problem to fix. Other documents of the period indicate that Rife usually had at least one of the machines that Phil Hoyland built, and that the two men sometimes traded machines while one was being worked on. In April of that year, a Dr. Goodman writes to Johnson about a patient of his whose vision had improved following treatments. A later letter to Rife from Johnson indicated that this patient had seven three-minute treatments with the Ray Machine.)
It became clear that Rife needed a better facility in which to do his work, and Milbank Johnson approached Henry Timken regarding funds for a new lab - Johnson's letters indicate that Timken was not in favor of addititional spending, but Johnson, with help from Mrs. Bridges, overcame Timken's concerns. It appears that Rife's new laboratory was started in construction in April 1936, and in August of 1936 Rife moved into the facility - certainly the laboratory seen in the film (now on videotape) narrated by John Crane. He expresses great satisfaction in the new facility, built from the ground up to his specifications, with considerable advise from Dr. Johnson (one of these suggestions was to place the restrooms near the entrance, so that guests didn't have to tromp through the laboratory to use the facilities), and placing the animal rooms in the basement along with the heavier equipment. In October-November of 1936, Dr. Johnson started using a Ray Machine in a clinic at the Pasadena Home for the Aged, and reported having excellent results, doing exposures three times a week. In that letter, he also tells of finding a "new" band of frequencies using a modified machine, and that band not only broke all the glass in his laboratory, but it also killed every culture sample - including molds - that were in the lab. Johnson was quite excited about this, in his letter to Rife. A later letter tells of treating twenty to twenty-two people per session at his Clinic in Pasadena, and having excellent results. When Johnson closed this clinic, it appears that he was writing up the results for publication - one note says that all but one patient with cataracts was restored to normal vision - but it is unknown if that publication ever happened.
In 1936, historical documents indicate that Rife was referred to as "Commander Rife" - and there are several cases of cataracts and carcinoma which patients recovered from following exposures to the ray tube. Coincidentally, Rife by this time had been ordered to spend no more than 2 hours a day at the Universal Microscope, as his eyes were failing; the long hours (days actually) of working at the microscope non-stop was taking its toll. One of the lamps Rife used was a small mercury-vapor light which produced quite a lot of ultraviolet light; since Rife was using quartz optics, that UV may have contributed to his failing eyesight.
The Beam Ray Company apparently was formed in October of 1936, with the approval of Rife and Hoyland. It is not known exactly what Rife's involvement with Beam Ray was, although it is very clear he was concerned that the machines produced be fully tested and certified as to their "true devitalizing power". On June 1st, 1937, the corporation amended its By-Laws to increase its Board from three members to nine. The Beam Ray Corporation officers consisted of: Benjamin Cullen (President), Ray Williams (Vice-President), Beth Willman (Secretary), Philip Hoyland, Charles Winter, J. W. C. Kitchen, A. B. Weeks, George Edwards, Ray Reynolds, and John Ernsting. (More than nine.) (Note that there is no relationship to the Beam Ray Corporation now operating). In early 1938, Benjamin Cullen transferred 450 shares of stock in Beam Ray to Royal Rife, 140 to Philip Hoyland, 480 to Edith Henderson, and 380 to W. H. Van Wart, while retaining 600 shares. A. W. Olmstead transferred 53 shares to Charles Winter and 447 to Beth Willman, while retaining 100 shares, and C. R. Hutchinson transferred 250 shares to C. W. Ernsting, 50 to George Edwards, 50 to Ray Reynolds, 200 to Royal Rife, 610 to Philip Hoyland, 100 to R. O. Berthean, 300 to Beth Willman, 300 to W. V. Blewett, 20 to W. H. Van Wart, 20 to Edith Henderson, and 447 to Charles Winter, while retaining 700 shares.
In 1937, Dr. Johnson indicates that Rife was working with helium and argon ray tubes. It appears that earlier versions had been helium, which may be such a small molecule that keeping it inside even a glass tube is difficult. Several papers mention that tubes had to be sent back to Rife or to Beam Ray to be recharged - another indication that Rife used helium in his early tubes, and may have switched to argon as the preferred noble gas to use in the plasma lamps. Other writings tell of the tubes having to be sent back to Hoyland to be "recharged" or refilled with whichever noble gas was being used - we have seen both helium and argon noted in the letters. In June of 1937, Johnson writes that after eight months of operation, he closed his Pasadena Clinic, which worked primarily on cataracts in the elderly. In cooperation with an oculist, it was determined that in every case except one, the patient's cataracts either cleared up, or his or her vision improved to the point no further treatments were needed. It is noted that in 1937, Philip Hoyland was living in the San Diego area, and working with Royal Rife on Ray Machines. A letter from Johnson in late 1937 to Rife indicates some form of misunderstanding between the two men, and Johnson's correspondence to Rife lessens from that date.
Letters from Western Electronic Corporation in 1938 indicate that Rife was building a flat field lens telescope, possibly work he continued into the 50's. A letter to the Royal Microscopical Society (apparently a part of the British Medical Society) in 1939 nominated Rife for a Fellowship in that Society.
On May 6th, 1938, the San Diego Evening Examiner ran a front page story (click for photo) with a picture of Rife and Hoyland (click for photo) standing in front of one of the Ray machines. The text is from Rife, and there is little mention of Hoyland in the article. .
In 1938, Dr. Bertram Gonin wrote from England expressing concern that the two machines he received were not functioning, and John Crane, years later, notes that he thought one of the Beam Ray employees may have sent unfinished machines to England so he would be asked to go repair them. Newer information hints that one of the people in England may have tinkered with the machine, and one of Rife's employees, Henry Siner, traveled to England in 1939 to adjust the microscope and to work on the Ray machine which had been sent. Siner later reported that the Ray Machine was working correctly. He returned (along with the #4 microscope) to the US in 1939. Rife had been planning on going, but the lawsuit (following) prevented that trip. The #5 microscope, a greatly simplified version of the Universal #3 microscope, was later sent to England, and is currently in the Science Museum in London, England, but is normally not on display.
On April 24 of 1938, Royal Rife and Philip Hoyland, as the owners of the Rife Ray instrument, granted C. R. Hutchinson a 1/3 interest in the machine for the purposes of "all other business requirements necessary for the expedient and beneficial promotion of such Rife Ray machine." In 1939 court documents, the statement is made that the Rife Ray invention was owned by Royal Raymond Rife, Philip Hoyland, and C.R. Hutchinson. It is likely that the assertions that the Rife Ray machine was built by Philip Hoyland is accurate - indeed, in the videotapes (from the original film) of the Rife Laboratory, there is no electronics shop shown, although many other rooms in the lab are displayed. It is likely that the machines were manufactured in the Pasadena area by Hoyland, and transported to Rife's lab. In August of 1938 the officers of Beam Ray were Benjamin Cullen, W. H. Van Wart, Beth Willman, A. W. Olmstead, and Ray Williams. In 1938 and 1939, Hoyland is not shown at the Stonehurst Drive address, and it is my belief that he had moved temporarily to San Diego, where he was close to the Beam Ray Corporation.
During November 1938 the Beam Ray Corporation, in a meeting in New York City, contracted with Dr. Bertram Gonin, William Blewett and Howard Parsons in England relative to the distribution of Rife Ray machines.
By May of 1939, Hoyland had filed suit against the Beam Ray Corporation, claiming that the firm was promoting the manufacture and development of the machine in England, and thus reducing or eliminating royalty payments made to Hoyland, one of the owners of the machine, and charging that the above-mentioned stock transfers were illegal. One of Hoyland's attorneys, Arron Sapiro, had been instrumental in the founding of the farmer's Co-Op movement in the US and Canada during the 1920's. It is worthy of note that Sapiro, brought by Hoyland, attended meetings of the Beam Ray Board of Directors as a "friend of the company", yet is the attorney, along with Eli Levenson, who Hoyland used in suing the corporation. Attorney Levenson's name appears constantly in the court documents - Sapiro is rarely noted. The lawsuit was closed on December 6th of 1939 by San Diego Superior Court Judge Edward Kelly, finding for the defendants, and Hoyland was ordered to pay the costs and disbursements of the court case. No record has been found as to whether any costs were ever recovered - the indications are that the corporation was by this time bankrupt. It is possible that Hoyland, who had asked in his suit that his attorney's fees be paid by the defendants, may have also been bankrupted when his complaint was ruled against, however in 1940, he is again shown at the Stonehurst Drive address. By 1943, Hoyland is shown at a different address, and by 1944 had moved out of the Pasadena area. Reports are that he never again worked in the electronics field.
By late 1940, Rife had been named a Fellow (or possibly a Royal Fellow) of the Andean Anthropological Expedition, an Institute for Scientific Research based in Phoenix, Arizona. The society's Advisory Board looks like a Who's Who of the Southwestern US's medical and business community of the 1940 era.
Dr. Raymond Seidel, in June of 1942, wrote to Rife with questions about the Universal Microscope for the article Seidel was preparing for the Franklin Institute (and later the Smithsonian). At least one of those articles is available from http://www.rife.org
Dr. Milbank Johnson, who was known
to have had a heart condition, became ill on Saturday, September 30th, and died
Monday night or Tuesday morning October 3, 1944 in the Huntington Memorial Hospital
(which once was the Pasadena Hospital). It has been said that he was preparing
a press release on the successes which had been accomplished by the Rife device
- I have found no indications of such actions, and in any case, it was certainly
not Johnson's style to become involved years later in an enterprise from before.
I feel it extremely unlikely that any such press release existed or was ever
planned, since the local newspapers would have reported on that.
Through the 1940's and early 50's little is heard concerning either Royal Rife or the Beam Ray Corporation, which probably closed as an active concern following the 1939 lawsuit. In 1950, Rife hired John Crane as a machinist, and Crane later became the President of the manufacturing effort, and also, in 1950, started doing business as Allied Industries.
A report written by Rife in 1953 states that "This BX virus can be readily changed into different forms of its life cycle by the media upon which it is grown." That statement, indicating the pleomorphism of the organism (changing to different forms), possibly causing different diseases depending in what stage of its development the organism is in, was also directly opposed to the established medical theories of the day. Rife invested years of research in determining observable facts the medical establishment had no interest in hearing and even less in researching for themselves! Even had Rife been an M.D., the strong wills of those in power in the medical establishment controlled permissible treatment, funding, and even what could get published in medical journals. Indeed, not much has changed, as the establishment has also managed to get laws passed controlling even what an MD may say to a patient, let alone offering treatments which may not conform to the established protocols of treatment. Health Care is not about treatment, its about doing that treatment in a manner the establishment permits - the health of the patient is, unfortunately, a minor concern.
Sept 1954, Rife gives rights to a "Measuring Telescope" to Rohr Aircraft Corporation, after working there as a consultant since late in 1953. In the late 1950's, there are a number of documents from several people at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City) and John Crane and John Marsh, who was working with Crane. Apparently there were one or more Rife machines in the Salt Lake City area being used experimentally. Rife's name comes up as one would refer to an advisor or consultant, so apparently by this time Rife had little to do with the ray tube technology or the company he once authorized to be founded. Also in 1954 is an application for a research grant by Allied Industries of San Diego, where Rife is listed as Principal Investigator for the grant, and is shown as Director of Research. John Crane is listed as the Manager and Design Engineer, Verne Thompson the Chief Electronic Engineer, Don Tully is the Development Associate, and Cameron Bland is the Electronic Engineer. Dr. James B. Couche, MD, is shown as a consultant. Dr. Couche had been involved with Rife for many years.
In 1956, letters from John Crane started used the name Life Labs, Inc. (also Rife Virus Microscope Institute) during that period, apparently in an attempt to protect the company from the ongoing (and successful) attempts by the medical establishment to silence the technology.
By 1958, John Crane was producing a machine which did not use the plasma tube, and it is reported that a man in Utah "treated himself" and was in remission from prostate cancer as a result. In the late 1950's, Crane made a number of tape recordings, many including Royal Rife, about the machines, Rife's experiences, and the possibility of setting up business with a person back east to start manufacturing Crane's version of the Rife machine. It is possible that a few of the Ray Tube devices still existed at that time, indeed there was an MD in the midwest who had one, and had reported using it with great success. Rife states on one of the tapes that he could take e.coli, a common life form in everybody's intestinal tract, and with the proper pH levels, turn it into a cancer organism.
In 1967, Rife wrote in a letter to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (in support of an appeal by John Crane, file #21542) that he had been "supported by Harry Bridges and H.H. Timken and Milbank Johnson with unlimited help and influence." This is one of the few references Rife ever made of his supporters.
Little is known of his Rife's career during the period from the mid-50's until his death on August 5th, 1971, except that the various trials and medical witch-hunts took a terrible toll on his health. He fled to Mexico to avoid the 1939 lawsuit, and there is an indication that there was an additional lawsuit in the 1950's in which John Crane and John Marsh were the defendants, and were sent to prison. I have no records of that suit. Sometime after that, Rife became involved in the Bahi faith in the San Diego area, and also married his second wife.
Rife unquestionably was a genius, and like many before, died a pauper. He was interred at the Mount Hope Cemetery in San Diego, alongside his wife Mamie Quinn, whose family were prominent in San Diego Chinese history. Rife's gravesite may be viewed HERE.
Note: We are in search of further documentation about Rife and his career. Anybody having information may contact the author at Dave@dfe.net
Special thanks to:
Los Angeles Times (Microfilm archives)
Pacific Life Insurance Company-Corporate Archives Pasadena Historical Society Archives
Public Library of Alhambra, California
Public Library of Pasadena, California
Pasadena Star News (Microfilm archives)
"What Became of the Rife Microscope" by Daniel Haley, 1998
"The Healing of Cancer" by Barry Lynes
"The Cancer Cure That Worked" by Barry Lynes
"Royal R. Rife" by Gerald Foye
"THE RISE AND FALL OF A SCIENTIFIC GENIUS" by Zero Zero Two Productions, Canada
"Suppressed Inventions" by Jonathan Eisen
And volumes of letters from the 1920's through the 1960's concerning Rife technology.
Email the author, Dave@dfe.net: EMAIL