Charles Hatfield Made It Rain in San Diego. The Problem Was He Couldn’t Make It Stop.

Charles Hatfield Made It Rain in San Diego. The Problem Was He Couldn’t Make It Stop.

Since the beginning of time, humans have sought to stage-direct our environment. The drama of history may have proceeded through act after act, but the trickster in the story has remained the same: the weather.

Over the centuries, our methods for trying to control the elements have gotten ever more sophisticated, and outlandish. We’ve tried to dance the rain down, blast precipitation from the skies, give the atmosphere an electrical wake-up shock, and seed the clouds with chemicals to bend them to our will.

The pseudo-science of what was later dubbed pluviculture, or man’s attempt to artificially bring about rain, began to develop more rapidly in the early 20th century. The men behind these schemes walked a tightrope between science and con artistry, many experimenting to improve their methods while also charging farmers and other desperate customers large sums of money for services that provided dubious results at best.

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