The Rainmaking Machine
“Let it rain, let it rain
Baigorri is in the cave
Plug in the device, and watch it rain…”
An accordion accompanies these verses, dedicated to a man capable of reaching the sky. He is said to have made it rain in the middle of a drought.
To combat the excesses of nature, some scientists have yearned to control the weather. But while controversial silver iodide cloud-seeding represents some of the more recent attempts at weather modification, one man is said to have invented an effective rainmaking machine in the 1930s. So did this mythical rainmaking machine really work as so many reports claimed? Unfortunately, we will probably never know.
The inventor of this mysterious device, Argentinean born Juan Baigorri Velar, was a student of engineering. Later, he traveled to Italy to study Geophysics at the University of Milan. This training led him to accidentally construct what history would know as the “rainmaking machine.”
Initially, Velar set out to make a device that could measure potential electricity and electromagnetic conditions of the Earth. But, in 1938, when working in the attic of his Buenos Aires home, he discovered that the device induced a little rain that dispersed amid his surroundings. Baigorri Velar realized that his little machine could be the start of something big.
When the gifted scientist made it rain in some of the country’s more remote and driest regions, his mysterious machine quickly became the talk of Argentina. According to some accounts, Velar’s most memorable feat was his ability to bring rain over provinces that had seen droughts for many months or even years.
In Santiago, Velar’s machine was said to have ended a drought that had lasted for one year and four months. Dr. Pio Montenegro noted that before Velar, the area hadn’t seen rain for three years. Yet in just two hours under the influence of Velar’s visit, the area saw 2.36 inches of rain.
In Carhue, Velar was said to have made it rain enough to bring back an old lagoon. In 1951, in a rural area of San Juan where rain hadn’t fallen in eight years, Velar’s visit was said to have immediately produced 1.2 inches.
Velar kept the internal workings of the machine a secret, but it’s known that it had an “A” circuit for slight drizzles and a “B” circuit for heavy rains.
Because the machine has disappeared, much of the “evidence” of Baigorri Velar’s revolutionary invention is in the form of national and foreign interviews.
Velar was granted the nickname “Wizard of Villa Luro,” which naturally encouraged a flood of skeptics and nonbelievers, including the director of the National Meteorological Service, Alfred G. Galmarini. However, Galmarini’s insistence on discrediting Velar would make him the victim of his own demise when he challenged the “Lord of the Rain” to induce a storm on June 2 in 1939.
Velar accepted the challenge. He was so confident in his machine that he sent Galmarini a raincoat with a note that read: “To be used on June 2nd.” True to his word, on that day, Velar’s miracle began to materialize. Clouds quickly began to form and turn dark. Then a deluge of divine proportions continued well into the next day.
With these miraculous performances, one would think that Baigorri Velar and his machine were destined to earn a place in history, but who is familiar with the name today? Velar is said to have received a couple of foreign offers to buy his machine, but he refused, insisting that it was built to benefit Argentina.
In 1972, Baigorri Velar (81) died poor and few knew of his great accomplishments. Nobody is sure what became of his enigmatic machine, but it is said that on the day he was buried, there was was huge downpour.
The fame of Baigorri Velar has always been seen as questionable. Many continued to refute his machine, arguing that the weather it was said to create was merely a convenient coincidence.