Thursday, March 27, 2014

Needed: Rainmaker

Watching the Hagerman NWR end of the Big Mineral arm of Lake Texoma dry up, along with other North Texas area lakes, we thought about the idea of a rainmaker.   An interesting account of rainmaking history in the late 1800’s is found on the Kansas Historical Society website, including such rainmakers “Melbourne the Rain Wizard” and later the Inter-State Artificial Rain Company. 

On Wikipedia we found this information on one of the devices purported to bring rain:  
"A cloudbuster (or cloud buster) is a device designed by Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich, which Reich said could produce rain by manipulating what he called "orgone energy" present in the atmosphere.
The cloudbuster was intended to be used in a way similar to a lightning rod: focusing it on a location in the sky and grounding it in some material that was presumed to absorb orgone—such as a body of water—would draw the orgone energy out of the atmosphere, causing the formation of clouds and rain. Reich conducted dozens of experiments with the cloudbuster, calling the research "Cosmic Orgone Engineering".  Reich feuded with the U. S. FDA over his device and ended his career in federal prison. 
Practitioners of rainmaking were often showmen and an entertaining story of one these is found in William Humphreys’ book, A Time and a Place.  The story, “The Rainmaker”,  set in the 1930’s, details the events leading up to “Prof. Simm’s” narrowly escaping tarring and feathering in Oklahoma by boarding the one car ferry across the Red River just ahead of a mob angry at his failure to bring promised rain; the story ends with Simms escaping a mob of angry Texans on the same ferry, after he has “caused” a flood with his rainmaking efforts.
The 1956 movie, The Rainmaker, starred Katherine Hepburn and Burt Lancaster, who portrayed a bogus rainmaker who brought hope to his clients.  
Ceremonial prayer for rain has been practiced in a variety of cultures:  The Rhythm of the Redman describes the rain dance of the Zuni, along with other Native American dances.  Feathers and turquoise, or other blue items, are worn during the ceremony to symbolize wind and rain respectively.  Other Native Americans in the dry Southwest also have a tradition of rain dances.   As recently as 2007 a public prayer ceremony for rain was led by the then Governor of Georgia, Sonny Perdue. 

With the advancement of the science of meteorology, today the term “rainmaker” merely refers to a person who brings clients or  business in for a company.   Bring on some real rain, please!

No comments:

Post a Comment