Ever wondered if you had the power to find a hidden treasure in your backyard? Well, there exists a technique which could help you do so. The origins of the dowsing technique go back to Germany in the 15th century when the quest of metals was in full swing. Many may call this ancient technique as an activity related to chance, but there are many who believe that there is something special going on.
The old gag where a man with a forked stick is searching for water is very well known. Initially, he finds nothing, but as he approaches a tree, some strong power starts pulling the end of the stick downwards. The man looks triumphant, his talent and techniques vindicated. He then spots a rather self-satisfied dog standing next to the tree with a leg cocked in the air!
The process the man used is called dowsing, and it can be used to find oil, gold, water, and even golf balls.
It is known as one of the oldest of psychic powers, and connects man directly with the earth, but does dowsing really work? Over the centuries, dowsers have made many appearances in mankind’s traditions. It is said that cave drawings in Spain and Iraq show dowsers working in prehistoric times, and woodcuts from ancient China and Britain support the long heritage of dowsing.
During the Middle Ages, dowsers were vilified as witches or devil worshippers; Martin Luther even claimed that dowsing was ‘the work of the devil’. However, history also shows that many official groups have placed their trust in dowsers. German dowsers were apparently invited to assist British miners during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, and it is claimed that modern military organizations actively employ them.
Some believe it is electromagnetic power or other earth forces.
General Patton was said to have used dowsers to find water to replace the wells destroyed by German forces during the Second World War, Similarly, the US Marine Corps apparently used dowsers to find mines laid during the Vietnam War, and the British Army followed suit in the Falklands War. The most common method dowsers employ is to walk around the area in which they are searching whilst holding their dowsing tools.
These can be forked branches which point down when the dowser is above the thing searched for, or, more commonly, are two L-shaped rods made of copper, wood or wire held in each hand. The rods sit in the palms of the dowser with the longest side of the ‘L’ pointing forwards. When the dowser approaches the hunted substance, the rods swivel in the palm to touch each other, forming a cross.
Another way of dowsing is to use a piece of string with a crystal on the end. The pendulum gently swings and the dowser is subtly guided to what they are looking for. The most impressive display is when dowsers are not even in the area to be searched and simply use their dowsing technique over a map to locate an object or substance.
..some dowsers achieved a 96% success rate in 691 drilling attempts to find water in Sri Lanka.
There are a number of theories as to why the rods move. Some believe it is electromagnetic power or other earth forces. However, the most likely explanation is involuntary nerve signals sent to the dowser’s palms. It is generally accepted that dowsing is not controlled by physical or chemical influences, but more by the psychic ability of the dowser. It is suggested that, over time and with practise, the dowser can improve their talents and success rate.
There have been some quite striking results from experienced dowsers. In a 1995 report by Hans-Dieter Betz, a physicist at the University of Munich, it was claimed that some dowsers achieved a 96% success rate in 691 drilling attempts to find water in Sri Lanka.
One such challenge promises a million dollars if an 80% success rate in finding water .. can be achieved.
The German government has since sponsored 100 dowsers to find water in arid areas of southern India. The conventional scientific view is, however, that dowsing achieves no better results than pure guesswork. Indeed, there are a handful of high-profile competitions involving big money prizes for dowsers.
One such challenge promises a million dollars if an 80% success rate in finding water flowing through underground pipes during controlled conditions can be achieved. The money has never been won.
Some dowsers do still use their skills to earn a healthy living – a select few act as advisors to mining and drilling companies searching for minerals.
However, the fact is that scientists are always sceptical about phenomena that they cannot explain. But the great thing about dowsing is, unlike other psychic powers, it is an activity anybody can at least try. Who knows, if you practise hard enough, there is a million-dollar cheque just waiting to be cashed!