Gone But Not Forgotten
Nov 10, 2001
Any recommendations on getting started with dowsing.

I had read books about dowsing and never got it to work. When I saw it being demonstrated at a country fair I had another go with the help of the demonstrator. He gave me metal rods to hold bent to an L shape about 10" x 6" along each arm and fairly heavy guage dia around 1/4". He said these were easier for novices than hazel forks etc but that they are just indicators of muscle reaction. Hold them loosely with the ends pointing slightly down and free to rotate in your grip. after several "passes" over the expected target & just about to give up I suddenly got the reaction. After that, I made my own rods and they have never failed to work. No doubt it is a reaction to some sort of magnetic field distortion caused by flowing water that you sense. As u say 42, I think we all once had this as a natural facility, water detection must have been very important, and I am told aboriginal people have never lost it.
However, when it comes to detecting changes in granite stones I am at a loss for explanations. I think your right in suggesting electric charges in the quartz xtals have something to do with it!
Any recommendations on getting started with dowsing.
Remembered this book:"the dowser's workbook" by Tom Graves, pub by the Aquarian Press.(about £9) which takes you through the process of dev. the skill. However the quickest way is to find someone who can show , as i learnt.
I'm sure that all of you dowsers will be keen to relieve Mr James (the great) Randi of his million dollar prize by successfully demonstrating your skills in a double-blind test (money for old rope, surely).

Details at:

Go on. I dare you!
Quote: "Go on I dare you!!" love to!! the most famous dowser in Devon offered his services with the proviso If i don't succeed, then there's no fee. He said that on tv. and for the benefit of sceptics I don't recall him ever failing to earn his fee.
That's fine and dandy Brian, but the challenge has been around for many years now with no takers.

Funny how this thread went dead when I mentioned it, isn't it?

Perhaps all of the dowsers are already rich? (or perhaps none of them are really confident of their "powers"?

Why won't any of them subject themselves to scientific scrutiny?
I have never heard of this challenge until you provided the link, and I'm hardly surprised that no-one has taken it up!
There are so many tricksters pretending to have paranormal powers etc. Just look at the david lettermans, uri gellers etc. and obviously they should be first in line for the major prize:D Why haven't they?
I don't personally believe that anyone can at will and under full control say, move an object without physical contact, or levitate themselves etc. - if they could the military would be first in line to use their services.Trouble is, any such anomolous phenomena appear to be erratic and random and as i see it, subject to quantum uncertainty.
However in regard to dowsing, I don't see anything supernatural or psychic about it, we can all do it or learn to. Even the water board man who verified our results said they often used dowsers first before bringing in the technology. Psychics have told me that they must not use their skills for personal profit. Ok what's wrong with giving the profit to charity?
Come on Brian...James Randi is the world's best known sceptic and de-bunker of those who claim "special powers. He was the subject of a long running libel suit with Mr Geller until Uri dropped the case.
Surely you will be eager to submit yourself to scrutiny in order to give the charity of your choice a million dollars. But I'm afraid that the real fact is that dowsing cannot be scientifically proven. All of the apocraphal stories you may relate to us on this bulletin board are just that...stories. Unless you and your dowsing pals can successfully complete some basic double-blind tests, we will not accept that they exist.

I repeat. I dare you dowsers to publicly attempt the "million dollar challenge".

Do you think I should start a new thread on this subject?
Definitely you should start a new thread to challenge everyone. Sorry, I remember reading about geller's lawsuit which I think he was advised to drop, not surprisingly as he is really a stage magician. I am not an expert dowser, just picked it up, but there are professionals out there with a proven track record who should find it easy. A few months ago F.T home page showed an article in which some established scientists accepted research results supporting proof of dowsing abilities presumably making it now mainstream, possibly no longer up for the Randi offer. Will see if I can find out. I posted a comment at the time also adding that hypnosis has been declared bona fide after cat scans had proved altered brain activity during tests. Amazing...I saw a tooth extraction carried out 40 yrs ago which was enough proof for me, but scientists and the medical die-hards took even longer to accept it as fact as there wasn't, & still isn't a "satisfactory" theory as to how it functions!
I would certainly attempt any "blind "test challenge set up local to me, if it failed then what the hell!:D
Arthur the reason no-one takes up the Randi challenges is that he has to approve the design of the test, the criteria that are used to judge success or failure, oh and he has not to be able to "duplicate" the result, in respect of the test only, using stage magic or any other mechanism. If Marconi had tried to prove the existence of radio transmission by Randi's rules he'd have failed. It is true the challenger has to approve the design of the test, but if they don't then they don't get to take the test.

James Randi has produced as fine a piece of flim-flam as he ever did on stage.

In respect of divining - those who do it well earn money from some very hard-nosed business men.
So. Both the challenger and the candidate have to approve the test conditions, and Randi must not be able to duplicate the results using trickery.

What's the problem here? This seems like a perfectly acceptable arrangement to me.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The only reason I can see for not having a crack at ONE MILLION DOLLARS is that the hopeful entrant is not convinced of the veracity of their own powers.

And yes, there are some hard-nosed businessmen who use dowsers, mystics, clairvoyants etc - Perhaps that is proof of the efficiency of dowsing, but perhaps it is an indictment of the gullibility of some businessmen.

Don't be coy - what have you got to lose - take the challenge!
What have you got to lose? What, apart from your reputation, the cost of your air fare and accommodation, and the prospect of Randi using you as an internet coconut shy for years to come? Randi, in the best tradition of school bullies, is insisting that we play his game with his rules, and will take his ball away if we don't (and don't come back with the "Well it's his money" routine, Arthur: no-one told him to set this challenge up). The way he has the test configured, Yoda would fail to win the million.

If Randi's that confident, why doesn't he come over here and test a really good, proven dowser in a double blind test, as you said, at a stone circle or in a large, barren field in a location previously unknown to dowser or Randi, previously checked, in secret, by both another dowser and an accredited geo-phys team for subterranean water, etc.

And let Randi go first.

And then we'll see if the dowser can replicate what Randi picks up.

If Randi finds water, he's proved dowsing exists (unless he's worked out a way of finding subterranean water by sleight of hand...). If he doesn't find water, and the dowser does, then we'll have proved dowsing works.

Either way, he loses a million.

Come over here if you think yer hard enough!!
After reading some recent postings discussing the merits of dowsing, I posted a message urging the correspondents to visit James Randi's "Million Dollar Challenge" site
in order to relieve him of a million dollars while, at the same time, scientifically proving the veracity of their claims.

So far, no one has indicated their willingness to take up the challenge.

I long for some hard, scientific proof that dowsing works, rather than word of mouth, FOAF, unverifiable stories and mutual back-slapping that seems to abound amongst fellow dowsers.

Why won't anyone take up Randi's challenge? or can someone provide me with some links to serious scientific studies that have proved beyond doubt, that dowsing works?
Randi's test criteria state that "Preliminary tests are usually conducted by associates of the JREF at the site where the applicant lives" so there's not a problem there, and perhaps Randi would "go first". Why not send an email and ask the question?

Why should I believe your side of the dowsing story and not his?

I just want to get to the bottom of the mystery of dowsing, but it seems that most dowsers are not confident enough to put themselves to the test.
Randi and his test

Alright then: I did.

It reads:

"There has been an interesting debate on the Fortean Times Message Board regading dowsing, and the criteria under which it could be investigated by your foundation.

"As the majority of subscribers to the FTMB are British based, and as far as we can tell dowsing is more widespread in the UK than the USA, we would initially propose that such a test would be held in the UK.

"As for the test criteria themselves, may we make the following suggestions (please bear in mind at the present time this is hypothetical, and no actual challenge should be construed for now):-

"That the test area would be one of three fields,each privately and independently identified as containing sub-terranean water by an accredited geo-physical survey company: the exact location of these fields would remain undisclosed to either participant prior to the test taking place.

"On the day of the test, one field would then be chosen, at random, by an independent body, and Mr Randi and the other participant set the task of using dowsing, or divining equipment to isolate the location(s) of said underground water.

"Places identified by either participant would be noted, rather than marked, by an independent observer, until both participants had concluded their attempt.

"We would respectfully suggest that Mr Randi would be the first participant, out of the view of the other participant: failing this the participants would work on different fields, in order to prevent any suggestion of cold reading.

"The criteria for proof would be the correct identification of sub-terranean water, streams, rivers, etc by means of no more than dowsing equipment, examined and agreed upon in advance by both parties.

Would your organistion be in broad agreement that this adheres to the spirit of the JREF?

"Please address any reply to myself, and I will then notify the FTMB community.

Yours faithfully

Stuart J Neville."

And when, and if, they do, you will be the first to know, Arthur.
Au contraire.

Check out the "Magnetism, Leys and Stone Circles" thread in "New Science".

Let's await developments, shall we?
Thank you Stu, super stuff!

I hope your letter gets things moving, although, as it's Randi's money you may find it difficult to dictate terms to him.

I suppose that if both parties hit rates are the flat average dictated by chance, you will concede defeat?
I use to try out dowsing but I stopped when I realised that I was effecting the results to much subconciously ...or perhaps thats how it works? Your subconcious connecting with your concious?

Actually, my interest was rekindled when we watched a History video in School where some archeologists were using dowsing to find ancient artifacts. I couldn't beleive my eyes when I saw it but oddly no-one else in the class, including the teacher, noted the significance of being taught a Fortean skill in class.
I once bought a 'Teach yourself dousing' kit from a book shop in Wakefield. It was reduced to a fiver and contained 2 metal dousing rods, a book, and lots of little wooden pegs which you have to scatter around the house and then look for with the rods.

It was great but I did get the same impression as Adam Rang, in that I felt I was cheating in some way. The book actually said that to begin with it was ok to 'manipulate' the rods in order to get the correct results as this would teach your sub conscious what was expected of it..... or something like that.
I've done dowsing for fun

I've tried dowsing. Saw a show on TV some years back and decided it would be fun to try. My husband took a coin and hid in the backyard while I was in the house not looking. I also tried to find the water pipes in the backyard.

It worked pretty darn well. It could very well be the subconscious doing it but it befuddles me about the coin thing because I didn't know where the coin was and my family members didn't give me any clues as to where it was and I found it each time (three times).

As for the pipes you can pretty much tell where they would be but I was trying to figure out how the dowsing rods worked.

I used metal clothes hangers bent in an elongated "L" shape and held them loosely in my hands. They crossed when I was over the coin or the pipes and when I went away from them they went apart.

Just talking about it makes me want to try it again. Maybe this time I'll figure it out. *grin*
Randi challenge update

The story so far....

Our hero, the chiselled Fortean Stu Neville, has challenged squat villain and skeptic "The Amazing Randi" to a test of the veracity of dowsing by means of a test, the critaeria of which are listed in an E-mail copied on the thread "Magnetism, stone circles and leys" in the New Science forum. This E-mail was sent a week ago; our hero awaits the Nemesis's response: wil there be a Final Conflict?? Now read on...

I've heard sod all.

Tune in to the next gripping episode, same time, same place! Be there, or be somewhere else!!
I thought it was generally accepted that dowsing works,water companies use it , and pipelaying companies ( I have read this somewhere ) . You can find underground pipes by dowsing . Interesting thing , my mother can't dowse at all but if I stand behind her and hold her elbows she can!
Patience is a virtue Stu :)

Perhaps Mr Randi is busy exposing a misguided person or a charlatan somewhere else. There are a lot of them about you know... :madeyes:
Hi Marion,

Perhaps the problem with dowsing IS that many people "think" it works.

It appears to me that science supports the sceptical view.

Please check the web on dowsing - both pro and anti, and judge for yourself. My web journey left me with the impression that the pro side is full of friend of a friend (FOAF) tales, and mostly unsupported by links to learned papers.

Proof.....I must have PROOF :eek!!!!:

Happy hunting.
Arthur, why not try it for yourself? Surely personal experience is more important and rewarding than reading other's opinions of it. Problem is, it seems you have already made up your mind...

There seems to be quite a few comments from people who have tried it that they felt they were 'cheating' or that 'it must have been my subconscious' like that makes it somehow wrong or invalid! Surely if it get's the desired results then that's all that matters.
At the uncon I tried some dowsing experiments. I got some rods and had to walk past several wires, two had electricity flowing through, one was clearly marked as having it the other was not. As I walked accross my rods crossed twice, once at the wire clearly marked and another time at a different wire. I was quite aware that in both instances it was me subconsiously crossing the wire and its worth noting that at the same time I was consentrating on the word 'electricity'. They said they would post all the results on the web soon so I'll have to wait to find out if I was correct or not.

August, I stopped doing dowsing becuase I found it to easy to simply think of a direction for the pendulem to swing and before my eyes it would do that without me even conciously swinging it in that direction. I do believe that the succes experienced during dowsing is a result of the subconcious mind moving the pendulem/rod to show you where the electricity/water etc. is.

This raises its own questions however, for a start it implies that our sunconsious mind has the ability to know where the target is. I can't explain that, although I have read up about a 'sub space mind' that we supposedly all posses which is all knowing of the physical.
Why did that stop you from dowsing though? I know the effect you mean - 'thinking' a pendulum to move in a certain way - but did it prevent you from getting the results you required or did you simply feel that you would be 'interfering' with those results if you could decide which way the pendulum would move?
Well, I felt that when I was searching it was far to easy for me to think conciously 'the water is here' and the pendulem would then start indicating it as well.

I might start it again as I'm sure I could get great results if I train my mind to have more patience when I do it and to just consentrate on the question 'Is it here?'.
Dowsing Renaissance?!

Is dowsing undergoing a mini-revival?!

Recently, I have come across several people who have had 'the dowsers in'! This involved dowsing their gardens and metal rods being placed under the ground to divert 'black energies' from the household...
...or is this a version of the trendy Feng Shui?

This reminded me of the people in Tom Graves's 'Needles of stone' who travel the country 'healing the land' in a very similar manner but on a regional/national level... is it the new vogue in 'Ground Force' make-overs, or the continuation of an older tradition?!
...just found this thread...

I've posted a related thread on the Earth Mysteries section; 'Dowsing Renaissance', but I ain't technologically advanced enough to give a link...sorry!...

D 'Luddite' Raven...:rolleyes: