What Is Spiritual Dowsing

Dowsing is the practice of employing rods, pendulums, and other instruments to detect the existence of energies, substances, items, or missing persons or things that are not visible to the naked eye.

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Come learn how to dowse with us at our first class. Engage with the invisible realm by tuning into your intuition. Lisa will speak about how she used dowsing to develop a close relationship with the land and the livestock she looks after, bringing a healing and revitalizing element to the location where she lives.

* Grounding and centering exercises to help you be more successful with your dowsing tools

About the Professor: Lisa McCrory was originally introduced to dowsing in the early 1990s and has since used it in a variety of situations. Agriculture and land stewardship are two of her loves, and dowsing has played an important role in both. Lisa is a Reiki II practitioner who believes that Reiki has greatly improved her dowsing.

Attestation: “The Dowsing for Spiritual Growth class was a lot of fun. I was shocked at how much I was able to learn in just one afternoon. I valued the other students in the class as well as Lisa's knowledge and experience. The course was well-designed, interesting, and interactive, and I appreciated that I was given a list of resources to help me continue my education. This lesson was truly a blessing in my life.” ‘Lisa B.'

What is the purpose of dowsing?

I went dowsing last week. This ancient practice of holding twigs or metal rods that are claimed to move in reaction to hidden objects is also known as divining. It's commonly used to find water, and farmers in California have been known to hire dowsers to help them figure out how to irrigate their land.

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Despite numerous anecdotal stories of success, dowsing has never been proven to function in scientific trials. That isn't to suggest the dowsing rods are stationary. Yes, they do.

The scientific explanation for what happens when people dowse is that whatever held in the hands moves due to “ideomotor movements” — muscle movements generated by subconscious brain activity. It seems and feels as if the movements are a result of involuntary movement. Movements of objects on a Ouija board have been shown to be caused by the same phenomenon.

What is the art of dowsing?

Dowsers are used for more than just finding water. Dowsing, also known as water witching or divination, is an ancient skill that is used to discover the unknown, such as the whereabouts of water or minerals, as well as unanswered health issues. And, while the method's explanation appears to be beyond comprehension, it is an established practice for individuals who have the ability to tap into this unseen energy.

“It's a wonder why it works,” said Gary Coley, president of Big Sky Dowsers. “I'd argue it's something God has given man permission to do.”

The most prevalent perception of what a dowser performs is to find water. A man following the autonomous motions of a forked willow branch as it leads him to a water source is a classic image. Dowsers, on the other hand, can locate oil, minerals, and even be utilized in forensic investigations. It's also a useful tool in holistic health care.

“Dowsing has a wide range of uses. He stated that all you have to do is ask it a question.

And the dowser's toolkit is just as diverse. Many dowsers employ metal rods and pendulums in addition to willow, hazel, or nearly any other wood. Some people don't require anything and rely only on their intuition.

“Welding rods are what I use,” Jerry Taylor of Great Falls, who learned how to dowse from his aunt about 60 years ago. I keep them in my pickup at all times.”

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He stated he took brass welding rods, trimmed them to around 18 inches long, then bent the ends at 90 degrees to make 6 inch long hand grips.

Others have found that twisted laundry hangers or wooden branches work just as well.

The tool's behavior is also entirely configurable. Most rods are held lightly in the palms parallel to each other and move when the dowser's desired source is within range.

He explained, “My aunt would put them on her hips and they'd start bouncing a little bit.” “The rods cross for some people. Mine have a tendency to point in the direction of a water seam. They return to parallel when I travel past the seam.”

Taylor approaches dowsing from an unusual angle. Before coming to Montana, he worked as a water chemist in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California for nearly 40 years. Over the years, he effortlessly dug 50 water wells and always discovered water by dowsing.

Coley employs a pendulum to answer health issues instead of rods or branches to find fluids or minerals. “I operate with energy,” he explained.

Using a pendulum as a dowsing tool harkens back to the age-old Chinese medical practice of tapping into pressure points to determine what is going on inside the body.

To use a pendulum, the dowser asks a question while gently holding a thread with a weight on the end. The weight of the pendulum may swing back and forth or in a circle, depending on how it is programmed, notifying the practitioner the answer to the question.

“Dowsing doesn't repair anything; it just gives you the ‘yes' or ‘no,'” he explained.

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Working with his brother, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer, was an example given by Coley. Coley sent him a number of books with tips on energy balancing to aid his healing after utilizing dowsing to answer queries about his health.

“He has had no chemo-related ill effects.” He's on week 12 and hasn't had any,” Coley explained.

It's an illustration of how knowledge can be a strong instrument, even when it's received in unorthodox ways.

“Some dowsers do it for free for friends,” Taylor explained. “It may cost $50-$100 if they're doing it for a business or for someone who wants to drill a well.” However, there is no such thing as a typical charge.”

For those who have been dowsing for a long time, part of the fun is teaching others how to do it.

When Taylor's aunt first showed him how it worked, he stated his eyes widened. Even if they are skeptics, he enjoys sharing his experience with others. Actually, if they think it's all nonsense, he enjoys it more.

Taylor remarked, “I've been able to demonstrate friends how to do it.” “It's more fun for me to do it with folks who claim it's impossible.” I've even persuaded PhDs that it's possible.”

During the annual meeting in August, the members of Big Sky Dowsers welcome curious people to observe their demonstrations. People can also contact the group for further information on this ancient skill, as well as to meet up with other dowsers and learn from them.

“During the summer, we usually get together once or twice and go on a field trip,” he said. “Practice is the key.” Dowsing, I believe, is a skill that practically everyone can learn. If you're willing to practice, it appears to be more.”

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Dowsing is one of those ancient disciplines that, despite its enigmatic nature, remains a useful tool in today's technological society.

Water well drillers frequently hire a dowser to assist them narrow down their drilling possibilities, according to Taylor. “These days, a dry hole is a rather pricey hole.”

“God put everything in the world for a reason,” Taylor explained. Anyone can dowse for the answers if they have a little confidence in the forces that be.

What is dowsing in psychology?

Dowsing is the process of using a divining rod to look for subterranean water, ore, or other resources. For years, popular superstition has credited dowsers with supernatural talents, implying that they can locate buried goods by responding to extrasensory cues.

What is the purpose of a divining rod?

Dowsing is an occult technique that involves using a forked piece of hazel, rowan, or willow wood, a Y-shaped metal rod, or a pendulum suspended by a nylon or silk thread to locate hidden substances such as water, minerals, wealth, archaeological relics, and even dead corpses.

How do you use a dowser?

“Water dowsing” is a term that refers to the process of utilizing a forked stick, rod, pendulum, or other similar instrument to seek underground water, minerals, or other hidden or lost objects, and it has been a source of debate for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.

Although dowsers (also known as diviners or water witches) employ a range of tools and methodologies, most still use the classic forked stick, which can be made from a variety of trees, including willow, peach, and witchhazel. Keys, wire coat hangers, pliers, wire rods, pendulums, and many types of complex boxes and electrical instruments are used by other dowsers.

One fork is held in each hand with the palms facing upward in the traditional way of utilizing a forked stick. The bottom or butt end of the “Y” is angled skyward at a 45-degree angle. After that, the dowser walks back and forth across the area that will be tested. The butt end of the stick is supposed to rotate or be lured downward when she/he passes over a source of water.

Water dowsers are mostly used in rural or suburban areas when homeowners are unsure where to find the best and cheapest groundwater supplies. Because a well can cost over a thousand dollars to drill and develop, homeowners are understandably hesitant to take a chance on a dry hole and seek advise from a water dowser.

Case studies and dowser demonstrations may appear convincing, but when dowsing is examined scientifically, it paints a totally different image. The obvious explanation for “successful” water dowsing is that subsurface water is so abundant near the land surface in many regions that it would be difficult to drill a well without finding water. It's tough not to drill and locate water in a region with appropriate rainfall and favorable geology!

Water exists practically everywhere beneath the Earth's surface. This helps to explain why so many dowsers seem to work. However, various techniques must be utilized to accurately locate groundwater in terms of depth, amount, and quality. To identify the depths and extent of the various water-bearing layers, as well as the quantity and quality of water found in each, hydrologic, geologic, and geophysical knowledge is required. To ascertain these facts, the place must be properly tested and studied.

USGS General Information release, Appraising the Nation's Ground-Water Resources

How do witching rods work?

Dowsers employ two rods or a single forked stick to find subsurface water sources in water divining. They believe the rods would spontaneously cross or the stick will suddenly snap lower as they walk over a water source.

What is the mechanism behind it? The power is thought to originate from the human dowser rather than the sticks, but as for how it works, one dowser told Julie McCarthy, “science doesn't have the answers.” It's a mystery, according to believers.

Skeptics claim there's nothing strange about it at all: the rod moves in reaction to a human's modest, unconscious movements, much like a Ouija board.

Why do dowsing rods cross?

Water dowsing does not operate in the sense of finding subsurface water. Water dowsing is the practice of claiming that a person can identify subsurface water sources without the use of scientific gear. Typically, a dowser travels around a property with sticks or rods in the hopes that the rods will dip, twitch, or cross as he walks over underground water. The dowsing rods move, but not in response to anything beneath the surface. They're merely reacting to the guy gripping the rods' erratic movements. A tiny movement is amplified into a large movement when the rods are held in an unstable equilibrium state. The movements of the rods do not appear to be caused by the slight vibrations in the dowser's arms, because the vibrations are so faint compared to the rod motions. People make the irrational leap that the movements of the rods are caused by something powerful that is out of sight, such as underground water, based on the incorrect assumption that the movements are not caused by the little random vibrations of the dowser's arms. There is a strong motivation for people to want water dowsing to work because correctly identifying subsurface water can save a farmer the hassle of digging multiple wells that end up dry, and scientific alternatives can be expensive.

Unstable equilibrium is a situation in which all forces acting on an object cancel out, yet the slightest variation from the equilibrium point causes the thing to fly away. For example, if you lay a marble on the top edge of a strongly ridged roof, the forces pulling it down on either side of the roof cancel out, and the marble remains immobile. If even the tiniest breeze passes through the marble, it will give it a little bounce toward one side of the roof. The forces will no longer cancel, and the marble will fall through one of the roof's sides. Gravity was able to amplify a minor movement that was unnoticeable to humans (the bump from the gentle wind) into a huge movement because the marble was in an unstable balance (the marble rolling down the side of the roof). To the naked eye, it appears that a power agent is only present on one side of the house and is attracting the marble to it. Were we not familiar with the idea of unstable equilibrium, we may conclude that subsurface water only exists on one side of the house, pulling the marble down that side. This type of misunderstanding is at the root of water dowsing belief.

Water dowsing appears to be effective in many parts of the world. In such areas, the dowser's suggested placement does indeed lead to a productive well. However, because there is so much groundwater close to the surface in these parts of the world, any position will give a fruitful well. It's like asking a magician to close his eyes and use his magic skills to discover a single green sock in a box filled with solely green socks. Any approach we utilize will appear successful if a system is surreptitiously rigged for 100 percent success from the outset. According to the United States Geological Survey, “The natural reason for'successful' water dowsing is that subsurface water is so abundant near the land surface in many regions that it would be difficult to drill a well without finding water. It's tough not to drill and locate water in a place with appropriate rainfall and favorable geology!”

The most common misconception about dowsing is that subsurface water consists of enormous underground rivers flowing through tunnels. According to this logic, one area on a farm would be an excellent location to dig a well because it is parallel to the underground river, but another spot 20 feet away would be a bad location since it is not parallel to the underground river. In truth, the majority of underground water does not flow through rivers, but rather through microscopic pores and fractures in the rocks. If you dig deep enough in any climate with a modest quantity of rainfall, you will always find water. As a result, the question to ask isn't, “What location on my farm has water underneath it?” but rather, “What spot on my farm has water underneath it?” Every location has water beneath it. “How deep will I have to dig to get below the water table?” is the correct question to ask. “Does my ground contain the correct kind of rock that will release its water fast enough to fill my well?” is another crucial question to address before drilling a well. Even if there is water in the earth, a solid rock with microscopic pores may release too little water to be beneficial.

Various controlled scientific research conducted over the last century have repeatedly concluded that water dowsing is ineffective. In 1990, for example, James Randi invited 30 “professional” dowsers to Kassel, Germany, to have their abilities examined in a study. Pipes carrying running water were buried underground at established sites, and dowsers were tested to see if they could detect water flowing through them. All of them failed to outperform random guessing. James Randi recounts the experiments in the book Carl Sagan's Universe, edited by Yervant Terzian and Elizabeth Bilson:

We devised a series of experiments to test the forked stick, pendulum, coat hanger wires, or anything while we were there, as I have done in many countries throughout the world. Some folks use their hands to do it. And we did it two years ago in Kassel, Germany, with a pretty comprehensive series of experiments, and it confirmed, of course, that the law of averages works quite well, but dowsing does not.

Dowsing, groundwater, hydrology, unstable equilibrium, water, and water dowsing are some of the topics discussed.

What is witching a well?

According to Wikipedia, “a type of divination used in attempts to locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, gravesites, and many other objects and materials, as well as so-called currents of earth radiation, without the use of scientific apparatus,” witching wells/dowsing is “a type of divination used in attempts to locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, gravesites, and many other objects and materials, as well as so-

Can you find water with a stick?

Dowsing is a technique that involves using a dowsing rod or divining rod to locate water on your property. Experiment with overhand and underhand grips while walking back and forth over a known water vein, underground spring, well, etc. with a fresh forked stick of peach, hickory, dogwood, cherry–or whatever works for you.

When the divining rod begins to bend, grip it tightly in your hands so it does not roll. The pull from your dowser should be powerful enough to tear the bark on the stick and create red friction lines on the inside of your fingers if it's working properly.

Can dowsing rods find gold?

We have a deep link to the past as prospectors. We live in a world where technology has progressed to incredible heights. High-tech devices that were only imaginable by science fiction writers a few decades ago are now a part of our daily life. Despite current scientific advancements, there is currently no foolproof method for detecting undiscovered gold reserves. We leave no stone unturned in our hunt of the yellow metal. A good prospector will use every tool at his or her disposal to get even the smallest advantage in finding a gold mine.

We respect the abilities of past prospectors to find gold mines using nothing more than their own inventiveness and a sense of adventure. Some tactics haven't changed in centuries, while others haven't changed in millennia. Dowsing falls somewhere in the middle. It's always been a puzzle to me. Nobody knows how it works, but many people claim it does on their mother's grave.

Dowsing is the process of utilizing a forked stick, metal rod, pendulum, or other similar instrument to seek underground water, minerals, or other hidden or lost objects, and it has been a source of controversy and debate for decades.

Hundreds of years, if not thousands, have passed. Divining or witchcraft are other terms for the same thing. The divining rod has a long history of mysticism, magic, and supernatural beliefs that extends back over 8,000 years.

An 8,000-year-old cave painting in northern Africa's Tassili Caves depicts a guy clutching a forked stick, which he appears to be using to look for water.

The Scythians, Persians, and Medes all utilized divining rods. Bavarian miners pioneered the method in the early 1500s, and it quickly spread throughout Europe since their deep mining talents were in high demand. For more information on this, see our article on Free Miners.

The topic has been a source of contention since before the Middle Ages. Under the assumption that dowsing is linked to witchcraft, Martin Luther categorized the use of the divining rod as an act that violated the first commandment in 1518. In this excerpt from “De Re Metallica,” published in 1556, one of the most influential works on mining at the time, the practice is described:

The forked twig is a source of much debate among miners, with some claiming that it is the most useful tool for finding veins and others denying it. Some people who manipulate and utilize the twig use a knife to cut a fork from a hazel bush, which they believe is more effective than any other bush for displaying veins, especially if the hazel bush grows above a vein.

Others utilize a different sort of twig for each metal while looking for veins, such as hazel twigs for silver veins, ash twigs for copper veins, pitch pine for lead and especially tin veins, and iron and steel rods for gold veins. All of them tighten their fists and hold the forks of the twig with their hands, the clinched fingers needing to face the sky in order for the twig to be elevated at the point where the two branches meet. Then they roam aimlessly through mountainous terrain.

It is believed that when they lay their feet on a vein, the twig immediately rotates and twists, revealing the vein by its activity; when they take their feet away from that area, the twig becomes immobile again.

Nonetheless, these events have led to the belief among common miners that veins are discovered by using twigs, because they do so by accident; however, they frequently lose their labor, and while they may discover a vein, they become no less exhausted digging useless trenches than miners prospecting in an unfortunate location.

Because we believe a miner should be a good and serious man, he should not use an enchanted twig, because if he is prudent and skilled in natural signs, he understands that a forked stick is of no use to him, because, as I previously stated, there are natural indications of veins that he can see for himself without the use of twigs.

Dowsing rods come in a variety of shapes and sizes. The original method was cutting a forked branch from a live tree; any tree can do, but willows, witch hazel, and other fruit and nut trees appear to be the most common. With your palms facing upwards, you grab the ends of the “Y” with your hands. The technique is to go around and bend the rod towards the earth as you approach the target (ground water, gold deplost, etc.).

Metal rods are preferred by modern dowsers. A modern dowsing rod is made up of two metal rods that are sixteen inches long and bend at a 90 degree angle to produce a handle on each end (also known as L-rods). To allow the rod to move freely, the latest invention incorporates ball bearings in the handle. Modern divining rods do not bend towards the earth; instead, they are allowed to cross or reach the operator's chest, or point in specific directions.

Some claim to be able to do long-range dowsing from distances ranging from a few hundred meters to thousands of kilometers. Some people even claim to be able to dowse using a map from another country.

Dowsers promise to be able to locate everything from water to gold to your misplaced vehicle keys. The most popular method is dowsing for water. There are a number of people that make a living out of water dowsing. Over 2000 people are members of the American Society of Dowsers.

Personal Accounts

I had the opportunity to try dowsing in the summer of 2020. We used some dowsing rods that a friend of mine had while examining his claim. He advised me to envision whatever it is that I was looking for. We were looking for a concealed paleochannel in this example.

I walked in a straight line while preserving the idea of a channel in my thoughts, holding the rods horizontally so they could move freely. I was astonished to feel the rods move out of my control at one point, and they actually cross in front of me. It was a pleasant sensation that appeared to be miraculous. A pin flag was used to mark the location. My companion went over a broader region with me, and we mapped out several places where the rods crossed. Although the results did not match our seismic survey, he plans to test the region next summer with his excavator.

My personal experience was far from definitive. It did, however, peak my interest.

I know a few specialists that utilize the approach to detect subsurface facilities like water and electrical cables on occasion. They swear it works; they have no idea how or why, but they claim it does. In Canada, several utility providers utilize divining rods on occasion.

Long Range Locators

Electronic equipment even promise to be able to spread the dowsing signal over long distances. Long Range Locators are the name for these gadgets (LRLs).

There are a variety of LRLs on the market, ranging from devices that resemble ray guns to those that appear like lasers “Signal generators,” “oscillators,” “harmonic molecular resonators,” and other names with scientific connotations. The universe of LRLs is a hazy one. Many producers have been charged with fraud because the bulk of LRLs are bogus.

The Omni-Range Master, for example, costs $2,885 USD and claims to be able to do the following:

Within 15 minutes of starting operations, the Omni-Range Master's signal line can scan an area of at least 64 square miles and decide if any of the sought-after mineral is present.

It also boasts of having “From 50 feet to over 8 miles, accuracy is 1/32 of an inch.” Wow, if that actually worked, that would be incredible!

Despite the fact that it does nothing, the Omni-Range Master is a favorite among dowsing and LRL fans.

The manufacturer provides a frequency list for locating numerous substances and things, including:

It's intriguing that it references dinosaur bones, which would be made up of a complicated mix of chemicals. It's also odd that it lists paper money at all and that it has two separate frequencies for it.

A conventional waveform generator is used in this device (chip that produces an electrical current in a variety of voltages and frequencies). The concept is that by plugging electrodes into the ground, the device will cause “molecular resonance” in the surrounding area, resulting in “signal lines” that may be followed using dowsing rods.

The device is powered by a 12V battery and does not transmit enough power to be useful. I believe that those who believe in “A very low voltage can be amplified by a sort of harmonic resonance, according to “signal lines” and LRLs, but there is no evidence for this.

On the surface, the idea of “Some geophysical techniques, such as Induced Polarization (IP) and Resistivity, are related to “frequency” and electrodes in the ground. IP employs a voltage of 25,000 volts as well as highly sophisticated recording equipment. It also entails a sophisticated data processing method. If the ore body is large enough, IP can identify it, but even that advanced geophysical technology won't tell you where the gold is (or dinosaur bones).

Explanations of the Phenomenon

The mechanics behind the occurrences have been explained in a variety of ways by proponents of the dowsing technique. “The rods just expand your personal magnetic field..which, in turn, responds to, and interacts with vibrational frequencies of the Earth,” one poster on a prospecting forum recently stated.

Some believe it is due to psychic energy, while others believe it is due to the solar cycle and charged particles from the sun. There are almost as many theories as there are practitioners.

Michael Fercik's latest book, “The Art of Dowsing: Separating Science from Superstition,” attempted to explain dowsing scientifically. A passage from the book is as follows:

The hands-on dowsing techniques are 100% accurate, however the dowsing theory could be little incorrect here and there. I stated how I can dowse to identify sought objects to the best of my ability, using physics from electrical lessons, a college physics class, educational publications, and educational TV programming. If a group of open-minded physicists says one of the theories is not this way but that way, I am corrected, and we follow the theory of the group of open-minded scientists.

Despite the fact that his book is labeled “Separating Science from Superstition,” the author appears to have just a rudimentary comprehension of science.

Fercik discusses how he came up with his own hypothesis of “elemental magnetism.” It's critical to define the term “theory” in the context of science. People sometimes assert that something is “only a theory” or that “I have a theory.” In science, that word has a special meaning. A scientific hypothesis is a prediction that can be tested and verified about the natural world. Experiments using the scientific method must be used to confirm those predictions. A theory cannot exist without the ability to make predictions that can be verified by others; otherwise, it is merely a conjecture and has no bearing on science.

Fercik goes on to say that each element in the periodic table has its own distinct “elemental magnetism,” and that a dowsing rod can “tune in” to that feature in the same way that a radio can tune in to a station. He argues that by attaching a “one-tenth troy ounce” piece of silver, for example, you can tune in your rod. Then your rod has been fine-tuned to catch silver. He underlines that the silver or gold must be 99.999 percent pure or it will not function.

According to the author, a dowsing rod and a metal detector both work in similar ways, with the dowsing rod being powered by “human neuron electrical signals.” Walking while dowsing appears to build up a strong enough static charge to move the rods when your target is close.

Metal detectors and dowsing rods, according to Fercik, both operate by “picking up the distinctive emitted elemental magnetic flux lines of the targeted element or targeted elemental mass.” In actuality, neither device operates in this manner.

Metal detectors emit an electromagnetic field from the search coil, which energizes and retransmits any magnetically susceptible metal objects that are close enough and large enough. The field transmitted by the metal items is received by a second coil. It's similar to HLEM or aerial TEM in terms of electromagnetic geophysics. Modern metal detectors are able to distinguish between different metals such as gold and iron by distinguishing certain phase responses. It's difficult to determine the difference between metals with comparable phase responses, such as tin foil and gold.

The movement of the dowsing rod is described by the author as the result of shutting a circuit and allowing static electricity to flow. According to the book, when the dowsing rod comes into contact with the sought element's “elemental magnetic flux lines,” a circuit is formed, and the dowsing rod connects the static electricity of the nervous system with the sought element's “elemental flux density.”

The author then goes on to introduce a slew of other magnetism-related names that he coined himself. His ideas don't fit the criteria for a scientific theory; they could be easily examined, but the book doesn't provide any evidence of this. He also fails to recognize that water is made up of two different elements: hydrogen and oxygen.

Instead of emphasizing “educational TV programming,” the author should have consulted someone with an expertise in physics or chemistry. Scientists aren't hard to come by, but if he did, there would be no book to write because it would have been refuted before it even got to the publisher.

Ideomotor Effect

Dowsing rods have been demonstrated to work in the same way as Ouiju boards. Human muscles, not ghosts, magic, or “elemental magnetic flux lines,” move the rods (or planchette in the case of the Ouija board). The ideomotor effect is responsible for the operator's lack of awareness that they are actually moving the object.

William Benjamin Carpenter discovered the ideomotor effect in 1852, which explains movement of the human body that is not triggered by the conscious mind. Your body moves without requiring constant cognitive decision-making. Muscle memory is a term used in sports. Another example is driving a car or playing a musical instrument.

When you are startled or mistakenly touch something hot, your body can move to protect you without the need for conscious brain input. Many studies have revealed that our muscles will unconsciously behave in accordance with an imprinted expectation in a range of situations. We are unaware that we are the source of the following action while this is taking place.

Michael Faraday, a well-known scientist who, among many other things, set the foundation for the concept of the electromagnetic field in physics, was one of the first to investigate this phenomenon. Mysticism was at an all-time high at the time of Faraday's ideomotor experiment, in 1853, and Ouija boards were immensely popular. He set out to figure out who or what was behind the Ouija board.

Faraday's experiment was straightforward. On top of the Ouija planchette, he placed a small stack of cards (the piece that you put your hands on). If the force came from the participant's hands, the top of the deck of cards would move first in this experiment. If another force intervened, the bottom cards would be the first to move. In every example, Faraday and others have demonstrated that the force was generated by the participant's hands, not by any extraneous object.

High-speed cameras have been used in modern research to test dowsing. It has been demonstrated that the force on the dowsing rods is generated by the individual rather than by an external force.

It's amusing that today's proponents of dowsing require that testing be done by “open-minded” scientists, as if there's some sort of anti-dowsing conspiracy. There is no conspiracy; in fact, several scientific trials have been undertaken to test dowsing.

Take a peek at some of the research projects listed below. There are hundreds of studies on this topic, so this is by no means an exhaustive list.

In 2007, dowsing was the subject of a double-blind study undertaken by Psychologist Chris French. Richard Dawkins hosted the study, which was videotaped as part of a TV broadcast.

Professor French said of the dowsing professionals who took part in the research:

I believe they are really earnest, and they are frequently startled when we put them through a series of trials and then tell them, “Well, your performance is no better than we would predict just based on guesswork,” at the end of the day. Then, as is customary, they'll make up a variety of reasons, some could call them excuses, for why they didn't pass that specific test.

In 1948, Ongley conducted a test on 75 skilled water diviners in New Zealand. The study, which may be found at the URL above, outlines some of the history and methods available at the time.

“If the seventy-five diviners tested were typical of all jobs and from all locations of New Zealand, none of them exhibited even the slightest accuracy in any branch of divination,” Ongley concluded. The fact that 90% of the diviners are honest does not negate the harm they cause.

Anecdotal data does not represent solid scientific confirmation of the efficiency of dowsing, according to Vogt and Hyman. The scientists looked at a number of controlled experiments of dowsing for water and discovered that none of them yielded outcomes that were better than chance.

John Taylor and his colleagues conducted a series of experiments to detect unique electromagnetic fields identified by dowsing practitioners in this study. They didn't find any.

Experiments conducted by the British Army and Ministry of Defence have found that dowsing results are no more trustworthy than a series of guesses.

Do homeopaths use dowsing to detect homeopathic medicines? A placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind study

This research was conducted in 2012 and focused on a distinct aspect of the dowsing process. “Every living creature and inanimate item is continuously vibrating at a molecular level, according to the notion of psionic medicine,” the report said. The dowser detects this vibration subconsciously, and it is magnified by the pendulum or other dowsing instrument.”

In double-blind trials, participants were evaluated on their capacity to detect naturopathic medicine against a placebo. The study found that even the most experienced dowsers were unable to correctly identify the material with results that were no better than chance.

The office of the state archaeologist at the University of Iowa compiled this paper as a review of past experiments. The study came to the following conclusion:

Simple investigations show that when the dowser notices something interesting, the dowsing wires cross; this is an example of Carpenter's subconscious ideomotor effect (1852). This does not rule out dowsing, but it does show that the events experienced by dowsers can be explained by simpler explanations. The idea that dowsing rods cross when subjected to a large magnetic field caused by a subsurface anomaly defies basic scientific understanding of magnetic fields and isn't supported by simple experiment.

One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge

The One Million Dollar Paranormal Challenge is a one-million-dollar prize offered by James Randi, a well-known magician, to anyone who can prove a supernatural or paranormal skill using scientific testing standards.

Randi discusses one of the tests he held in 1979, in which four dowsers attempted to win the reward, in his book “Flim-Flam! Psychics, ESP, Unicorns, and Other Delusions.”

In 1979, the prize was $10,000, and he accepted four people to be examined in Italy for their dowsing abilities. The requirements stipulated that the test area would be 10 meters by 10 meters. Just beyond the test area, there would be a water supply and a reservoir. Three plastic pipes would flow underground from the source to the reservoir, each on a distinct hidden path. Each pipe would enter the test area at a point on the edge and exit at a point on the edge. Although a pipe will not cross itself, it may cross others. The pipes had a diameter of 3 cm and were buried 50 centimeters underground.

Only one of the pipes would be picked at a time by valves, and only one would be selected at a time. Water would flow at least 5 liters per second through the chosen pipe. The dowser must first check the area for natural water or anything else that can interfere with the test, and this must be noted. Furthermore, the dowser must show that the dowsing reaction works on an exposed pipe with running water. Then, during each trial, one of the three pipes would be chosen at random. The dowser would put ten to one hundred pegs in the ground along the path of the active pipe that he or she traces. For the trial to be successful, two-thirds of the pegs placed by the dowser must be within 10 centimeters of the center of the pipe being traced. Each dowser's test would consist of three trials, with the dowser passing two of the three trials to pass the test.

Randi's $10,000 check was in the possession of a lawyer. The lawyer would give the claimant the money if he was successful. The check would be returned to Randi if none of the attempts were successful.

All of the dowsers agreed to the test's requirements and claimed that they were able to complete it that day and that the water flow was adequate. They were asked how certain they were that they would pass the test before it began. All of them indicated they were “99 percent” or “100 percent” sure. When asked what they would think if the water flow was turned 90 degrees from what they thought it was, they all agreed it was impossible. They were asked how certain they were that they had passed the test when it was completed. Three people said “100 percent,” while one said he hadn't finished the test.

None of the dowsers had passed the test when all of the tests were completed and the location of the pipes was revealed. Dr. Borga had positioned his markers with care, yet the one closest to the water pipe was a full 8 feet away. “We're lost,” Borga replied, but within two minutes, he was blaming his failure on a variety of factors, including sunspots and geomagnetic variables. Before the test, two of the dowsers thought they had located natural water, although they disputed about where it was, as did the dowsers who found no natural water.

Cargo Cult Science

Dowsing has never been put to a rigorous scientific test. That has nothing to do with the scientists who conducted the research being “open minded.” Science is an unbiased means of evaluating and interpreting the natural world that does not rely on opinion. Good science does not strive to prove a hypothesis; rather, a true scientist should make every effort to debunk it, and only after all attempts have failed can we conclude that the phenomenon is true.

In his commencement address to the graduating class of Caltech in 1974, the great scientist Richard Feynman perfectly expressed this. It's an excellent lecture about pseudoscience and cargo cults. Take a look at the video below.

Dowsing is a pseudoscience at best, and attempts to explain it meet Feynman's definition of Cargo Cult Science perfectly.

A prospector could take up two metal rods and walk around until they uncover a high-grade gold mine, which would be great. The concept is compelling, and that appeal is what has kept it alive for so long. If that worked, everyone would be able to find gold in vast quantities, and dowsing practitioners would be multi-billionaires.

Even if you ignore the scientific studies and everything else in this post, it's very clear that dowsing practitioners have failed the basic logic test. Shouldn't they have tons of gold in their possession if they have the miraculous capacity to find gold by holding two rods?

I've had lengthy discussions with a number of skilled dowsers. They all have a day job and dowse as a pastime, with the exception of a handful who are paid to dowse for water. Dowsers all claim that the process is effective and works, but they have no gold to show for it. I've yet to encounter a dowser who has found billions of dollars in gold and lives in a mansion.

It's possible that there's a hidden force that can be tapped into utilizing the human body and two metal rods that we don't yet understand. Dowsing practitioners endorse this viewpoint. They say that science has yet to explain unexplainable “frequencies,” “harmonic molecular resonance,” “elemental magnetism,” and other clever-sounding terms.

“Exceptional claims deserve extraordinary evidence,” Carl Sagan famously said. Dowsers' statements are unquestionably exceptional. The amazing proof has yet to be presented.

I wouldn't hold my breath for the discovery of a magical power that sends out signal lines to buried gold that only a select few are able to detect with their natural skills. It's far more likely that dowsing is nothing more than a form of self-delusion caused by unconscious motions in reaction to implanted expectations, a process known as the ideomotor response.

I'd be interested in hearing your ideas and personal dowsing experiences. Please leave them in the comments section below.