Royal Raymond Rife (May 16, 1888 – August 5, 1971) was an American inventor and early exponent of high-magnification time-lapse cine-micrography. In the 1930s, he claimed that by using a specially designed optical microscope, he could observe microbes which were too small to visualize with previously existing technology. Rife also reported that a 'beam ray' device of his invention could weaken or destroy the pathogens by energetically exciting destructive resonances in their constituent chemicals. Rife's claims have not been independently replicated, and were discredited by independent researchers during the 1950s. Rife blamed the scientific rejection of his claims on a conspiracy involving the American Medical Association (AMA) and other elements of "organized medicine", which had "brainwashed and intimidated" his colleagues.
Interest in Rife's claims was revived in some alternative medical circles by the 1987 book 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 AMA. 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 magazine found that a typical 'Rife device' consisted of a nine-volt battery, some wiring, a switch, a 555 timer IC and two short lengths of copper tubing, which delivered an "almost undetectable" current that was "unlikely even to penetrate the skin, let alone kill any organism". Several marketers of other 'Rife devices' have been convicted for health fraud, and in some cases cancer patients who used these devices as a replacement for medical therapy have died. Rife devices are currently classified as a subset of radionics devices, which are generally viewed as pseudomedicine by mainstream experts.
Life and work
Little reliable published information exists describing Rife's life. He was born in Elkhorn, Nebraska.
In 1929, he was granted a patent for a high-intensity microscope lamp. On November 20, 1931, forty-four doctors attended a dinner advertised as "The End To All Diseases" at the Pasadena estate of Milbank Johnson, honoring Arthur I. Kendall of Northwestern Medical School and Rife, the developer of the 'Rife microscope'. Moving microorganisms from prepared, diseased human tissue were reportedly seen, still-photographed and also filmed with motion-picture equipment.
In a 1932 report in Science, Mayo Clinic physician Edward C. Rosenow wrote that in addition to other small particles viewable with the standard lab microscope, small turquoise bodies termed 'eberthella typhi' not visible with the standard lab microscopes were seen in filtrate using a Rife microscope. Rosenow attributed their detection to "the ingenious methods employed rather than excessively high magnification".
An article included in the 1944 Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution referred to "a very successful and highly commendable achievement on the part of Dr. Royal Raymond Rife of San Diego, Calif., who, for many years, has built and worked with light microscopes which far surpass the theoretical limitations of the ordinary variety of instrument, all the Rife scopes possessing superior ability to attain high magnification with accompanying high resolution". The authors proceeded to give details of Rife's "universal microscope", developed in 1933, noting that all the lenses, prisms and illuminating units were made of block-crystal quartz in order to polarize the light. Reproductions of micrographs showing chlorophyll cells, tetanus spores and the typhoid bacillus were included.
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".
Rife's microscope, techniques and claimed results have been consistently denied and discredited by the medical community, who've concluded that his results were simply not possible to obtain, observing the known laws of physics. 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.
Modern revival, marketing, and health fraud
Interest in Rife was revived in the 1980s by author Barry Lynes, who wrote a book about Rife entitled The Cancer Cure That Worked. The book claimed that Rife's 'beam ray' device could cure cancer, but that all mention of his discoveries was suppressed in the 1930s by a wide-ranging conspiracy headed by the American Medical Association. The American Cancer Society described Lynes' claims as implausible, stating that the book was "... written in a style typical of conspiratorial theorists, cites names, dates, events and places, giving the appearance of authenticity to a mixture of historical documents and speculations selectively spun into a web far too complex to permit verification by anything short of an army of investigators with unlimited resources." 
In response to this renewed interest, devices bearing Rife's name began to be produced and marketed in the 1980s. Such 'Rife devices' have figured prominently in several cases of health fraud in the U.S., typically centered around the inefficacy 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. The sentencing judge described them as "target[ing] the most vulnerable people, including those suffering from terminal disease" and providing false hope. 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'.
Several deaths have resulted from the use of Rife machines in place of standard medical treatment. In one case, a U.S. court found that the marketer of a Rife device had violated the law and that, as a result of her actions, a cancer patient had ceased chemotherapy after one session and died four months later. In Australia, the use of 'Rife machines' has been blamed for the deaths of cancer patients who might have been cured with conventional therapy.[broken citation]
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". Although 'Rife devices' are not registered by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and have not been shown to prevent death among cancer sufferers, over 300 people attended the 2006 Rife International Health Conference in Seattle, where dozens of unregistered devices were sold, as reported by the Seattle Times.
- "Local Man Bares Wonders of Germ Life: Making Moving Pictures of Microbe Drama". San Diego Union. November 3, 1929.
- H. H. Dunn (June 1931). "Movie New Eye of Microscope in War on Germs". Popular Science 118 (6): 27, 141. ISSN 0161-7370.
- "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.
- 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. Retrieved 2015-08-08.
- "Questionable methods of cancer management: electronic devices" (PDF). CA Cancer J Clin 44 (2): 115–27. 1994. doi:10.3322/canjclin.44.2.115. PMID 8124604.
- Del Hood (August 11, 1971). "Scientific Genius Dies: Saw Work Discredited" (PDF). Daily Californian (photocopy of newspaper obituary at www.rifevideos.com). Retrieved 2015-08-02.
- Hills, Ben (2000-12-30). "Cheating Death". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 2015-08-09.
- Willmsen, Christine; Michael J. Berens (2007-12-21). "Pair indicted on fraud charges in medical-device probe". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-04-24.
- Scoon, Aubrey (April 2001). "The End to All Disease". Everyday Practical Electronics. Special Supplement: 2.
- "Patent 1727618 - Microscope lamp". US Patent Office / Google Patent Search. 1927. Retrieved 2007-12-03.
- 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.
- Rosenow EC (1932). "OBSERVATIONS WITH THE RIFE MICROSCOPE OF FILTER-PASSING FORMS OF MICROORGANISMS". Science 76 (1965): 192–3. doi:10.1126/science.76.1965.192. PMID 17795318.
- R.E. Seidel, M.D; M. Elizabeth Winter (1944). "The New Microscopes". Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution (Smithsonian Institution): 207.
- Seidel and Winter, Smithsonian Report, pp. 207-8.
- Seidel and Winter, Smithsonian Report, plates 3-5.
- Farley, Dixie (September 1996). "Investigators' Reports". FDA Consumer (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). Retrieved 2009-08-07.
- "Investigators' Reports". FDA Consumer (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). September 1996. Archived from the original on 2007-12-14. Retrieved 2009-01-09.
- Stephen Barrett. "Rife Device Marketers Convicted". Quackwatch. Retrieved 2009-08-07.
- Stephen Barrett. "Rife Machine Operator Sued". Quackwatch. Retrieved 2007-02-12.
- The New Microscopes from the Journal of the Franklin Institute
- Electromagnetic Therapy from the American Cancer Society
- Rife devices from the National Council Against Health Fraud