By: Marlene Affeld
Is it possible that certain people can discover water, minerals or oil hundreds of feet beneath the surface of the Earth simply by using their mind? Since biblical times, dowsers have claimed they can find water, buried treasure or hidden objects by using only their senses and a twig.
For centuries, rational people have been practicing and believing in something with no rational basis. I wonder why? I am intrigued by its applications in my quest for gold. Is divination a gift of paranormal power or a developed skill? What do you think?
Practiced around the world, the age old skill of dowsing, also known as water-witching, doodle-bugging or divining, is a practice that attempts to locate buried or hidden minerals, metals, gemstones or water by sensing and interpreting currents of earth radiation without using any scientific equipment.
Established in folklore and cultural traditions, divination has been part of the myths and legends of people from around the globe. As early as 5th Century B.C. Chinese texts describe water witching then much as it is practiced today. As early as 1568 the divining rod was applied in southern Europe in the elusive search for water.
Traditionally dowsers have employed a Y shaped twig or branch, using fresh cut branches from particular trees. In Europe hazel trees were preferred. In the United States dowsers often choose yew, willow, apple or peach branches. Many modern dowsers may use a simple L-shaped rod, with brass or copper being the metals of choice. Some diviners simply use bent wire or wire coat hangers.
Map dowsers often employ another type of divination device, usually suspending a crystal or pendulum, over maps to locate oil, minerals, persons or water. However, when we think of water-witching we picture a field dowser who patiently walks about a given area using a forked stick or rods to locate underground water. Where the branch quivers and points downward, water will be found. Many witchers are able to not only locate underground water, but to estimate its depth, describe the sediment and rock layers above it, and accurately predict the number of gallons per minute that a well will yield.
Typically rod dowsers will hold one rod in each hand, with the shorter part of the L held upright and the longer part pointing straight forward. When the rods are above water, the rods will point downward or cross. Unconscious muscular action by the dowser is thought to move the rod. Amazing! I have seen it done. When the well was drilled the water was sweet and plentiful!
Throughout its long history, dowsing or divining has been steeped in superstition and a complex web of controversy. Some critics call water witching a delusional and deliberate sham based on superstitious pseudo-science; evil and no better than voodoo! Critics claim the results are nothing but random guessing. However, Albert Einstein was convinced that dowsing was authentic. He said, "I know very well that many scientists consider dowsing as they do astrology, as a type of ancient superstition. According to my conviction this is, however, unjustified. The dowsing rod is a simple instrument which shows the reaction of the human nervous system to certain factors which are unknown to us at this time".
Despite centuries of skepticism, divining or dowsing has been successfully employed to find water, mineral and oil deposits, archaeological relics, buried treasure - even missing persons.
There really is not a proven scientific reason that dowsing works, but results speak for themselves. Dowsers find what they are seeking and they do it over and over again. Numerous theories have been offered to explain why the rods respond and move, indicating water. Subtle geological forces, speculation that dowsers are hypersensitive to subtle electromagnetic gradients, ESP, physic insight or other paranormal explanations are cited, but no one knows for sure. Yet, something is at play here. Something intangible, mysterious, unexplainable and I am fascinated.