The Mystery Of Dowsing
By James Donahue
A few years ago our well began to go dry and we were forced to hire a well driller.
After spending time as a young man working with oil well crews, I know from experience that every driller has a "system" for
finding water, and it is usually based on superstition rather than scientific proof.
After all, knowing exactly what lies deep in the Earth under our feet is hardly an exact
science. Geologists think they have some idea, but there are always surprises.
The well driller we hired was no exception. He thought he knew were to find water on
our property, and proceeded to set up his rig in the side yard.
My wife, Doris, was a fly in his ointment, however. She has known most of her life that
she can dowse for things. Using bent willow sticks or sometimes bent coat hangers, she has had remarkable success in making
those long extended parts go crazy in her hands when she stands over a target. She is especially good at dowsing for water.
Doris offered to check for the existence of water where our driller said he thought
it would be. When she stood over the spot with coat hangers in hand, the metal rods stood motionless. Strangely, when she
took one step to the left, the rods sprang to life. She suggested an obstruction, and proposed that the bit be moved slightly
south from where the driller had it parked.
Perhaps out of pride, or just pure arrogance, the man refused to budge. He insisted
on drilling right where he said the water was. It was a big mistake. When he was about 800 feet down, his diamond bit hung
up on something very big and hard . . . I suppose a large bolder. After fishing for the bit for another day, our driller sadly
gave up, moved his rig a few feet to the south, and successfully found water.
It was a hard lesson. Either because he didn't believe in dowsing, or perhaps he thought
a woman could not, or should not dowse, the man lost more than his profit in the cost of his diamond tipped bit and
the lost days of labor on our site.
Even though the practice is commonly used all over the world, science looks at dowsing
with a jaundiced eye. I think that is because it smacks of psychic or right-brain functioning. It cannot be explained in any
I have read of dowsers who successfully found a variety of other things buried in the
earth, like gas and water lines, septic tanks, old road beds and building foundations. One man in England uses it to follow
ley lines. A woman in Indiana uses pendulums and other devices to find lost grave sites.
I think science rejects dowsing as a valid tool because it does not seem to work for
everybody. Also, because they fear public ridicule, practitioners don't like to admit they use it.
The various names given dowsing by scoffers helps explain why it has escaped serious
public acceptance. The names include rhabdomancy, divining, witching, and doodlebugging.
The easiest dowsing tool can be made from common metal coat hangers. Cut the hangers
at the neck, then straighten and bend them at right angles so that the shorter pieces form handles. Some like to cut the handles
to a length of about four inches, so they don't extend below the hand.
When Doris dowses, she holds the rods in both hands, and walks around until something
happens. Proper dowsers are said to hold the rods forward, with elbows at the waist and forearms parallel to the ground. Grip
the rods enough to keep them parallel to each other, and horizontal to the ground.
When a target is underfoot, the rods will swing wildly. For some they criss-cross. For
others they will swing away from one another. When I followed Doris in her quest for water, I discovered that I too
can dowse. When over a water bed I tried to hold the metal rods in place, but found the force that drove them so strong,
my grip failed to prevent them from swinging.
Theories as to why dowsing works range from altered energy fields created by running
water to breaks in magnetic polarity from the disturbed soil.
That so many different things can be found through dowsing makes me think there is something
else involved here. I believe dowsing is another form of tapping into the collective matrix. To be successful, the dowser
must be capable of using right brain functioning.
Thus it is possible, when the handler of the rods has a specific target in mind, to
easily locate missing objects in the Earth by just thinking about the target and letting the rods tell us what
we already subconsciously know.