This urban legend relates to a case dating back to 1997, the very early days of modern Rife research.
In a court case of the time, a lady called Shelvie Rettmann, of Prior Lake, Minnesota, is claimed to have made representations that she can cure cancer.
She is claimed to have treated two patients (mother and daughter), who were diagnosed with "advanced colon and liver cancer" and "breast cancer" respectively, and suggested that these patients avoid chemotherapy and instead use her therapy.
During the therapy, Rettmann used radionics to analyze and treat the patient along with a "Rife" generator, a special diet, dietary supplements, a regimen of baths, and foot zoning.
Despite positive reports from Rettman, the mother later died of cancer and the daughter later determined she did not have breast cancer.
Rettmann allegedly conducted seminars about her products in Ellsworth. Consumers who used her services were allegedly told that she had successfully treated as many as 1,000 patients.
She had been selling the Rife device for about $3,500 and the radionics machine for $1,700. She also sold the nutritional supplements she recommended.
In September 1998, Minnesota Attorney General Hubert Humphrey III announced that his office had obtained a judgment against Rettmann. The Scott County District Court found that Rettmann had violated state laws prohibiting deceptive trade practices and consumer fraud by selling medical devices without FDA approval and telling consumers she could cure cancer with a "Rife generator" machine, a "radionics" device, "foot-zoning" treatments, and various vitamins and supplements. During a hearing, the FDA provided support and expert testimony confirming that the devices Rettmann sold were illegal.
The judge concluded: (a) Rettmann had sold over $7,000 worth of bogus medical devices, treatments and products to an Anoka, Minnesota, man with pancreatic and liver cancer; (b) Rettmann promised she could cure the consumer's cancer faster if he stopped taking chemotherapy treatments; (c) relying on Rettmann's promise, the man stopped chemotherapy after a single session and died four months later; and (d) Rettmann also violated Minnesota consumer laws by saying she was licensed to practice "foot zoning" (essentially foot massage) and she could cure cancer through "foot zoning" treatments. Minnesota does not license the practice of "foot zoning." The judge prohibited Rettmann from providing health care services or products, ordered refunds upon request to injured consumers, and imposed civil penalties of $50,000 plus the state's attorney fees and costs.
Rettmann filed for bankruptcy in July 1998. However, the court ruled that the State was still entitled to obtain a judgment.
Response to this story from the Rife Research community
First of all, the court case is real and someone called Shelvie Rettmann did exist, although she has since passed away.
According to the History of Rife Communities, the Rife research community has been active since at least 1996, with many active researchers that have been involved for years previous to that. If Shelvie Rettmann had been involved in Rife therapy and treating over 1000 patients, the Rife community would have known about her at the time. Despite repeated discussions about this case, it has not been possible to find anyone involved with Rife research who actually knew Shelvie Rettman. As information about Rife technology was difficult to find at that time and the few researchers knew each other, the very fact that nobody in Rife research of the time knew about her shows that she could not have fully understood what Rife technology consisted of.
Although the terms "Rife frequency" and "Rife generator" are mentioned, no particular unit is mentioned by name. Reports in the media of the time referred to it as a "Rifer Frequency Generator radionics machine". However, according to our research, no actual Rife machine has ever been sold under that name. Again, the name suggests that she used a radionics unit, not a Rife machine. Radionics is a totally different technology and we have often found that skeptics try to associate Rife with Radionics in order to discredit it. That is like comparing trains with cars as both are a form of transport. However one only gets you into the general area you want to go, while the other takes you straight to where you want to go.
Inquiries have been made to the court in question and they have been unable to name the device used either. Either way, the methods described refer to radionics devices, not Rife in any form. The fact that they say "Rettmann allegedly advised both to have treatments with a Rife Frequency Generator" means they have no proof that any kind of Rife device was involved at all. Back in 1997, modern "Rife" devices were in their infancy and not comparable with the high quality equipment available today. It has since been determined that devices made in that day were not operating according to the principles of Royal Rife, as those principles were not understood until much later.
Further research has shown that Shelvie was actually using a radionics device, not Rife therapy at all as we know it today. See also Rife and R.I.F.E. machines defined.
Advanced colon and liver cancer
Anybody who is involved in treating "advanced colon and liver cancer" knows that this is a serious disease and nobody can promise any kind of cure. One of the most serious accusations made is that Rettmann had advised against using chemotherapy. We must therefore ask how effective is chemotherapy against these forms of cancer, and would chemotherapy have saved the patient if it was used.
In the peer reviewed study "The Contribution of Cytotoxic Chemotherapy to 5-year Survival in Adult Malignancies", chemotherapy contributes to the 5 year survival rate of colon cancer in just 1% of such cases (in 13936 cases, just 146 people survived for 5 years). Although liver cancer was not discussed in that paper, having advanced liver cancer in addition to colon cancer is not going to improve the patient's chances of survival. As the quoted 1% effectiveness is well below generally accepted levels (30%) for the placebo effect, administering chemotherapy or not would not have had any real effect on the survival of the patient.
Guilty by Association
This skeptics report tries hard to associate Rife therapy with radionics -- two very different methods which have nothing in common. The report further tries to associate Rife with Albert Abrams, MD. It is known that Rife was aware of the work of Albert Abrams. However the Rife devices he developed were very different from those made by Abrams. It is like comparing a bicycle to a motor car. Both can be used for transporting people and have wheels, yet their inherent design is very different.
Can Resonance Destroy Bacteria?
According to the skeptics, "The American Cancer Society has pointed out that although sound waves can produce vibrations that break glass, radio waves at the power level emitted a Rife generator do not have sufficient energy to destroy bacteria".
Our experiments have shown that Rife frequencies can be very effective in selectively destroying pathogens. The report from the American Cancer society shows they have made no such investigations of their own into this.
The skeptic's article is valuable in showing us what NOT to do. Regardless of the individuals involved, no one should be taking money for health care without a license; no one should promise a "cure" with or without a license; initial diagnosis, no matter who does it, should include lab test findings; and if a "cure" is achieved it should also be verified by a conventional laboratory test.
The bottom line is that according to our research, Rettmann was using Radionics, not Rife therapy. Furthermore, this case has nothing to do with modern day Rife equipment or the equipment originally developed by Royal Raymond Rife.