Among the more than three hundred subjects receiving early Dianetics processing through the course of LRH research prior to the publication of Dianetics, was a particularly ailing New York longshoreman by the name of Dennis Rittwager. If the story is a famous one – Ron himself remarks upon the case in later lectures – the critical letter only recently surfaced amidst stacks of correspondence from the spring of 1950. To Ron’s on-the-scene report and the very self-explanatory longshoreman letter itself, we might further paint the scene as follows:
Having entered Manhattan some weeks earlier, Ron had made his way to the Hell’s Kitchen loft of celebrated portraitist Hubert “Matty” Mathieu, (“a dear friend, stamped with youth on the Left Bank of the Seine and painting dowagers at the Beaux Arts in middle age,” as LRH explains in his own highly celebrated Art). There, a fairly traditional Thanksgiving dinner commenced with iced sherry as a prelude to turkey. For the less prosperously neighboring Rittwagers, however, that Thanksgiving eve, 1946, held a very different fare.
By way of two ancillary notes: although injections of penicillin (then readily available over-the-counter) are generally sufficient to halt the spread of gangrenous infection, seriously affected tissue typically requires amputation. It becomes even more significant, then, that Rittwager lost not even a toe after the employment of Dianetics to relieve emotionally encysted grief, i.e., “he cried as he told me how he’d bought a little farm....”
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