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article imageOp-Ed: Does "water witching" work?

By Ken Hanly     Oct 11, 2017 in Technology
Dowsing is one type of divination used in attempting to find ground water (water witching) , buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, grave sites and much else. Most consider it a pseudoscience.
There are numerous studies that show dowsing is no more effective at discovering water or whatever than pure chance or a guess. Sometimes dowsing is referred to as divining. In the US and elsewhere when it is used to determine where to dig an oil well it is called doodlebugging. When used to determine where to dig a water well, it is called water finding, water witching, or water dowsing.
Dowsing has a long history. It could have originated in Germany as early as the 15th century to try to discover metals. In 1518 Martin Luther claimed that dowsing violated the first commandment. Some think dowsing for water is very ancient but the first account of the practice was in 1568. In southern France in the 17th century dowsing was used to track criminals and heretics. In 1701 the Inquisition forbade the employment of dowsing for purposes of justice.
In modern times, there have been supposedly "high tech" dowsing rods and other devices that have been marketed for police and military use but none have been shown to be effective. One of the more infamous of these devices was manufactured by Advanced Tactical Security and Communications Ltd. headed by John McCormick. The hand-held ADE 651 was described as follows: This simple device consisted of an antenna attached loosely to a handgrip. The detector has a "substance detection card" that supposedly could be tuned to detect anything, including explosives, banknotes, or human bodies.
This claim ought to have aroused suspicion, but the Iraqi government bought thousands of them. Advertising material claimed the detector used "nuclear quadrupole resonance (NQR) or nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)." Later, though, McCormick admitted it worked the same way as water dowsing. Others agree, with the BBC describing the device as "a glorified dowsing rod."
As mentioned, the Iraqi government bought thousands of the devices and even continued to use them after they were revealed as frauds.
In water dowsing a forked stick, rods, a pendulum or a similar device is used. Many diviners still used the traditional forked stick often coming from willow trees but also peach and witch hazel. The forked stick method is described as follows: "In the classic method of using a forked stick, one fork is held in each hand with the palms upward . The bottom or butt end of the "Y" is pointed skyward at an angle of about 45 degrees. The dowser then walks back and forth over the area to be tested. When she/he passes over a source of water, the butt end of the stick is supposed to rotate or be attracted downward." As the appended video shows, a rod or rods are also often used.
I personally have tried to use both the forked stick and the two rods but when I walked about with them they failed to do anything even in areas where I was sure there was water. I once had over seventy acres of land that was over the Oak Lake Aquifer. A map of the aquifer can be found in this article. Most of the land was bush and sand hills but there was plenty of land available for a large garden. However, the sandy soil needs a lot of water to grow vegetables well. Although some friends suggested I use a diviner, I just picked a spot where it was relatively flat with a bit of topsoil. Neighbours all had good water with shallow wells. No doubt local diviners had stellar records.
I used a sandpoint and drove it in by hand as shown on the appended video. I hit water at about 8 feet a very shallow well. I used just a hand pump which gave enough water to keep the garden growing but with quite a bit of effort. Many years later I bought very cheaply an old schoolhouse on ten acres. It too was on the aquifer. Again some neighbours said that diviners had successfully found water. I used a sandpoint again and reached good water at just 12 feet. I first used a hand pump and hauled water as well but later was able to buy and set up an old windmill. I chose where to dig because it was not far from the back door and was right next to where I wanted to plant a garden. I can boast of having one hundred percent success at finding water.
In spite of the lack of scientific evidence that water witching works many still use it as seen on the appended video. In the late 60s during the Vietnam War U.S. Marines used dowsing in an attempt to locate weapons and tunnels. In 1986 when 31 soldiers were buried by an avalanche in Norway, the Norwegian army tried to locate them using dowsing. No doubt one of these days with all the digital transformation that is going on we will see smart divining rods being developed
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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