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Two photo combo of rainmaker Charles Hatfield. On left is a March 15, 1924 image of Hatfield, on ladder of tower he built in Coalinga, California, for fulfill a $8000 contract for deliver two inches of rain. Hatfield, on right, scans sky for Los Angeles Times photographer Gordon Wallace during a 1947 interview at his Eagle Rock home.

Weather Modification Goes Wrong in 1915, Rainmaker’s Chemical Cocktail Produces Floods

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During a drought in California, Hatfield was hired by the San Diego city council with a four-to-one vote and promised $10,000 in a handshake deal if he could make it rain.

He convinced people he had the methods of creating rain from a chemical cocktail he formulated. Witnesses claimed he shot the chemicals into the air like bombs, spurting fumes and smoke to ascend into the sky and convince the cumulus clouds to send down rain.

Although Hatfield was considered a rainmaker, his original profession was a sewing machine salesman.

He convinced people he had the methods of creating rain from a chemical cocktail he formulated.

To inject his rainmaking concoction into clouds overhead, he built a 20-foot tower in the area and burned the chemical mixture from the top of the structure. Witnesses claimed he shot the chemicals into the air like bombs, spurting fumes and smoke to ascend into the sky and convince the cumulus clouds to send down rain.

On January 1, 1916, the rain started in San Diego and it didn’t stop for the entire month, resulting in 30 inches of rain. The floods destroyed the dam, washed out roads, lifted railroad tracks, caused property damage across the region and killed an estimated 14 to 50 citizens.

Illustration from March 30, 1924, Los Angeles Times during coverage of Charles Hatfield rainmaking work in Coalinga, Calif.

Illustration from March 30, 1924, Los Angeles Times during coverage of Charles Hatfield rainmaking work in Coalinga, Calif.

Hatfield never got his money. The city council claimed the floods were an act of God, not an act of Hatfield.

Strangesounds
Main Headline Image via LA Times


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DID YOU KNOW…

The Country of Ethiopia has 13 Months, Celebrates New Year on September 11th
*UPDATED WEEKLY
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