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  • Writer's pictureMichael Martin

Adventures in Cloudbusting

Wilhelm Reich and his cloudbuster

Soon after its release in 1985, I bought a cassette copy of Kate Bush’s album Hounds of Love, which, as far as I’m concerned, remains her finest work. Bush had not really gained all that much popularity in the United States in any way comparable to the phenom she had been in England, but I heard the track “Running up that Hill (A Deal with God)” and was so struck by the thundering drums, ethereal Fairlight keyboard sounds, and the drenchingly emotional vocal that I plunked down the cash for the full album. I was not disappointed.

A few years later, I was sharing my love for the album with my coworker at the bookstore where we worked and we started talking about the final track on side one (yes, boys and girls, there used to be things called “sides” before the digital revolution), a song called “Cloudbusting.” I loved the video and the story, but I was a bit dumbfounded when my friend told me it was based on a true story. She led me to the biography section of the store and pointed me to A Book of Dreams: A Memoir of Wilhelm Reich by Peter Reich, the son of the controversial psychoanalyst and scientist. I knew absolutely nothing about the elder Reich, but I bought the book. It relates the fascinating story of Wilhelm Reich’s relationship to his son and their adventures in cloudbusting and alternative scientific research in 1950s America. It’s also a very sad story, as Peter’s father ends his days in prison after falling afoul of government authority.

Wilhelm Reich invented what he called a “cloudbuster” after observing the behavior of water in a bucket when a pipe was held above its surface. He was even hired by blueberry farmers in Maine to end a deadly drought that threatened their harvest and livelihoods. As reported in the Bangor Daily News on 24 July 1953:

Dr. Reich and three assistants set up their ‘rain-making’ device off the shores of Grand Lake, near Bangor hydro-electric dam, at 10:30 on Monday morning 6 July. The device, a set of hollow tubes, suspended over a small cylinder, connected by a cable, conducted a ‘drawing’ operation for about an hour and ten minutes….

According to a reliable source in Ellsworth the following climactic changes took place in that city on the night of 6 July and the early morning of 7 July: ‘Rain began to fall shortly after ten o’clock Monday evening, first as a drizzle and then by midnight as a gentle, steady rain. Rain continued throughout the night, and a rainfall of 0.24 inches was recorded in Ellsworth following morning.

A puzzled witness to the ‘rain-making’ process said: ‘The queerest looking clouds you ever saw began to form soon after they got the thing rolling.’ And later the same witness and the scientists were able to change the course of the wind by manipulation of the device.” [1]

Needless to say, I found this fascinating. Who wouldn’t? But, try as I might, I could find almost no information about Reich or cloudbusting. This was in the days before the internet, of course. Since then all kinds of things are available online, though I am often skeptical of the claims found there.

In about 1993 or so, I actually met someone who had a couple of cloudbusters. Let’s call him “Norman.” Norman lived in a quaint subdivision not far away from me. A friend of mine, a chiropractor, wanted me to meet him, since he knew both of us were interested in biodynamics and alternative farming (you can read about some of these things in the book Secrets of the Soil by Peter Thompson and Christopher Bird). Norman’s yard looked like something from a sci-fi novel. He let everything grow, planted every inch of it with vegetables, fruits, beneficial plants, and had even devised a creek that surrounded his property—replete with frogs and other wildlife. This in the middle of a neighborhood characterized by ugly landscaping and ChemLawn services! I don’t think he exactly got on with the neighbors. Norman’s garden boasted some amazing results—his tomatoes and carrots were impressive with their rich colors and tastes, and he even devised a gazebo within which he planted figs. I visited him few times to share ideas—though he was far more knowledgeable than I was. I learned a lot from him.

I asked Norman about his cloudbusters, and he told me that he primarily used them to “clean up the atmosphere” of pollution and other antagonistic substances. This was the first time I’d ever heard the term “chemtrail.” I found the idea kind of preposterous—why would evil geniuses, governmental or otherwise, risk poisoning their own families? Norman more or less blew-off my question. Instead, he told me some shady figures from the government stopped by his suburban abode to ask if he had a scalar weapon (I didn’t know what that was, either). He said he laughed and replied, “It’s just me and my little cloudbusters.”

I didn’t doubt all things Norman told me, I just didn’t know what to make of it all.

Years later, almost four years ago to be exact, I started thinking about cloudbusters again. That summer our farm and those around us were inundated with rain. Fields were flooded out, and our ability to make a living was under serious threat. The rain simply would not stop. I had read that not only could cloudbusters make rain, they could also stop it. Desperate for something to change, I figured it was worth a shot.

So, one afternoon, I assembled all the appropriate materials in my barn and put together some sort of cloudbuster. My wife thought I was wasting my time. But what did I have to lose with the exception of a few hours? I set the device out on an old deck near our pond and waited, making sure not to have it pointed anywhere.

Before long, another deluge arrived. I pointed the pipes at the thickest part of the cloud-cover and, sure enough, the rain stopped within a few minutes. As you might be thinking, this could have been a coincidence. That was certainly a possibility as far as I was concerned. So, in the true spirit of science, I experimented.

I am very hesitant to monkey around with the weather, so I am not at all cavalier in the way I use this device. Nevertheless, once during a drought, I was looking to pull some rain near the farm. Luckily, we have a tool in our pockets that would have cost a fortune in Reich’s day—weather radar! So, in my experimentation, I would look to see where the rain was, even just the tiniest of systems, and see if I could pull it over. Worked. I’ve done it more than a few times, so much so that my wife has asked me to turn the cloudbuster on when the garden needs watering. I’m hesitant to do so—“It’s not like the hose!” I tell her. But then I saw this image float across social media the other day (an image from the early 1950s).

So maybe it is like the hose.

Over the past few months, I have experimented with dispelling chemtrails/contrails. I’m not exactly 100% sold on chemtrail theory—but nothing governments do could surprise me—but, chemtrail or contrail, neither one could be good for the environment. It was odd that I saw very few of these—the kind that go from horizon to horizon—over the past half-year or so, but at the end of January/beginning of February they seemed to appear daily. In the spirit of experiment, I decided to see if I could get rid of them. It worked. Then, a few weeks ago, I was driving home from an errand and saw dozens of these trails striping the firmament. I wanted to get home in a hurry to turn the cloudbuster on them. However, not a few minutes later I noticed the trails starting to dissolve. I wondered if my wife had been playing with the cloudbuster (she’d never so much as touched it before, so it would be odd.) Sure enough, when I arrived home, the cloudbuster was pointed in the right direction. I asked my wife if she’d done it. She said she hadn’t—but that she’d told our youngest to do it.

This may all seem like strange talk. But is it really? That guy in the pastel sweaters has been banging on quite a bit about changing the weather though dimming the rays of the sun by use of mists of calcium carbonate spread via aircraft, and the Chinese government is at the moment planning to massively expand its weather-modification program. I have little faith in these actors. But that doesn’t mean what they’re planning isn’t possible. In fact, I’d be willing to say they and others like them have been at this project for a good long while.

When Wilhelm Reich was imprisoned, all of his scientific papers were confiscated and destroyed under the guise that his was the work of a charlatan and that the things he proposed didn’t work.

I’m not so sure about that.


Michael’s latest books are an edition of The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz and Transfiguration: Notes toward a Radical Catholic Reimagination of Everything. He can be reached at See also The Center for Sophiological Studies' available courses. Also check out the latest volume of Jesus the Imagination: The Garden.

1. In Myron Sharaf, Fury on Earth: A Biography of Wilhelm Reich (St. Martin’s Press, 1983), 379-80.

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