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Dowsing 101
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Written by Heidi   
Thursday, 15 January 2009 12:30

Dowsing 101

There are lots of websites concerning dowsing. I searched both the skeptic and believing sites and found that the believing sites had more information to share. I will be referencing both.

On the website dowsing.org, the author states that dowsing most likely was started in biblical times when Moses struck the rock with the rod to bring forth water. There were other references later in the bible as well. Also, discoveries have been found—paintings in caves of Algeria, carvings of priests in Egypt and statues of Emperor Hwang-Yu of China dating as far back as 2000 B.C. of people holding sticks or rods to the sky (theness.com). The earliest undisputed writings about dowsing comes from the 1500s when Martin Luthur (in southern Germany, founder of the Lutheren church) said that dowsing was against the 1st commandment ("no other Gods before me"). Roughly 20 years later, German Georgius Agricola wrote the book “De Re Metallica” (wikipedia.com).

Most people coming to our website have only every heard of dowsing for spirits off of the occasional episode of Ghost Hunters. While the rest of the world that knows dowsing is more familiar with dowsing for water. Dowsing is actually used for a much greater variety of purposes from “water witching” to mineral finding to lost people to missing car keys. Anything that needs finding can supposedly be found with dowsing.

The methods used in dowsing are almost as varied as its purposes. For water dowsing, most sites recommend a Y-shaped stick, usually made of hazel in Europe or witch-hazel, peach or willow in the US (wikipedia.com). You can also use L-shaped rods (as seen on Ghost Hunters), a straight rod, your bare hands, or a pendulum. The pendulum is usually used in map dowsing (finding a location on a map) or yes or no questioning (where the pendulum hangs in between the yes and no until the question is asked).

There are lots of theories about how it works. I like Wikipedia’s summary best, though its wording may need a little explaining:
• Ideomotor Effect – unconscious movements like sleepwalking or being hypnotized.
• Sensitive to minute amounts of radiation that supposedly every object puts off
• Electroception-Sensitive to electric pulse such as can be found in some sharks, rays, and lungfish, to name a few.
• Magnetoception – Sensitive to magnetic field like birds, turtles and bees.
• Sensitivity to Telluric Currents – “Telluric currents are phenomena observed in the Earth's crust and mantle. In September 1862, an experiment to specifically address Earth currents was carried out in the Munich Alps (Lamont, 1862). The currents are primarily induced by changes in the outer part of the Earth's magnetic field, which are usually caused by interactions between the solar wind and the magnetosphere or solar radiation effects on the ionosphere. Tellurics also result from thunderstorms. Telluric currents flow in the surface layers of the earth. The electric potential on the Earth's surface can be measured at different points, enabling us to calculate the magnitudes and directions of the telluric currents and thence the Earth's conductance. These currents are known to have diurnal characteristics wherein the general direction of flow is towards the sun. Telluric currents will move between each half of the terrestrial globe at all times. Telluric currents move equator-ward (daytime) and pole-ward (nighttime).” (wikipedia.com)
• There is also the possible paranormal explanation.

Some of the reasons for why dowsing is not accepted as scientific proof is that there are too many questions concerning the origin of the source of the “power” and the different methods and the lack of consistent theories. James Randi (www.randi.org/library/dowsing) devotes a section of his website to explaining how even those who believe in dowsing can’t seem to agree on how it works. For us to call it scientifically, we have to know the in’s and out’s and understand what is really going on. So although dowsing may work for some, it is not something that a scientifically based group such as ours should be using on a regular basis.

Last Updated ( Thursday, 15 January 2009 13:43 )
 
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