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treblecake
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11 Jul 2013, 12:28 am

Does anybody know anything about dowsing rods? I was shown how to use them to find water when I was a kid and I tried them out recently and it still works for me.

I always thought it was to do with magnetic fields caused by particles in the water, but I just looked it up online and there is all this paranormal crap about it and apparently there isn't much scientific explanation behind it. Lots of people say it's to do with the ideomotor effect, meaning that when we're near where we think there should be water our brain subconsciously makes our fingers move to move the rods.


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auntblabby
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11 Jul 2013, 1:26 am

a lot of marines during Vietnam found they could dowse for water, my oldest brother was one of 'em. he most recently used an improvised dowsing rod [plucked off of a nearby tree] to find a septic line in the backyard.



ablomov
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11 Jul 2013, 2:07 am

during WW2 men in the desert cld find water, yes it does get wrapped up with all sorts of dubious stuff online, some interesting, some seeming more like crap.

I've tried but cannot .. so far. I think I read some ppl that dig for drains n suchlike can use it in their work.

There was a big controlled study a few years ago in Germany with hidden underfloor pipes that could be swtiched to various configurations of flow, of the 500 claimed dowsers that entered I think the final figure was three (or was it five) that cld achieve consistent exact results.



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11 Jul 2013, 10:17 am

Does dowsing work?

Some people are less interested in why the rods move than in whether dowsing works. Obviously, many people believe it does. Dowsing and other forms of divination have been around for thousands of years. There are large societies of dowsers in America and Europe and dowsers practice their art every day in all parts of the world.

Testing has been sparse, however. For one thing, it is difficult to establish a "baseline against which a diviner's performance may be compared" (Zusne and Jones 1989: 108). In 1949, an experiment was conducted in Maine by the American Society for Psychical Research. Twenty-seven dowsers "failed completely to estimate either the depth or the amount of water to be found in a field free of surface clues to water, whereas a geologist and an engineer successfully predicted the depth at which water would be found in 16 sites in the same field..."[1] There have been a few other controlled tests of dowsing and all produced only chance results.[2,3,4,5]

The testimonials of dowsers and those who observe them provide the main evidence for dowsing. The evidence is simple: dowsers find what they are dowsing for and they do this many times. What more proof of dowsing is needed? The fact that this pattern of dowsing and finding something occurs repeatedly leads many dowsers and their advocates to make the causal connection between dowsing and finding water, oil, minerals, golf balls, etc. This type of fallacious reasoning is known as "Post Hoc" reasoning and is a very common basis for belief in paranormal powers. It is essentially unscientific and invalid. Scientific thinking includes being constantly vigilant against self-deception and being careful not to rely upon insight or intuition in place of rigorous and precise empirical testing of theoretical and causal claims. Every controlled study of dowsers has shown that dowsers do no better than chance in finding what they are looking for.

Most dowsers do not consider it important to doubt their dowsing powers or to wonder if they are self-deceived. They never consider doing a controlled scientific test of their powers. They think that the fact that they have been successful over the years at dowsing is proof enough. When dowsers are scientifically tested and fail, they generally react with genuine surprise. Typical is what happened when James Randi tested some dowsers using a protocol they all agreed upon. If they could locate water in underground pipes at an 80% success rate they would get over $1,000,000.[6] All the dowsers failed the test, though each claimed to be highly successful in finding water using a variety of non-scientific instruments, including a pendulum. Says Randi, "the sad fact is that dowsers are no better at finding water than anyone else. Drill a well almost anywhere in an area where water is geologically possible, and you will find it."

References:

1. Zusne and Jones 1989: 108; reported in Vogt and Hyman: 1967.
2. R. A. Foulkes (1971) "Dowsing experiments," Nature, 229, pp.163-168).
3. M. Martin (1983-1984). "A new controlled dowsing experiment." Skeptical Inquirer. 8(2), 138-140.
4. J. Randi(1979). "A controlled test of dowsing abilities." Skeptical Inquirer. 4(1). 16-20.
5. D. Smith (1982). "Two tests of divining in Australia." Skeptical Inquirer. 4(4). 34-37.
6. James Randi's Million-Dollar Paranormal Challenge. http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html



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11 Jul 2013, 11:29 am

I don't know much about whether or not dowsing is useful in finding water, but what I do know is this:
-The rods moved when I held them, and I definitely did not do it subconsciously (and I do not expect anyone else to take my word for it). There did turn out to be an underground stream in the places where they moved for me, but I do not take this as conclusive proof of anything.
-There are natural electric currents underground which tend to be weak, but measurable, and variable in strength. Geophysicists use them as one way to explore underground. You could for example, get an underground ore body which was half submerged in underground fluid and with chemical reactions creating ions, it could act like a battery thus creating a current. You also get mineral bodies with magnetic fields, also measured and mapped by geophysicists to identify the presence of such things. Some minerals are magnetic themselves like magnetite, some are magnetically susceptible and create a secondary field in response to the Earth's primary field.
I can see that metallic rods could be made to align with such fields, and I did personally experience that SOMETHING made the rods move, but I don't know enough to specifically and convincingly connect this with underground water.
As for wooden twigs reacting to water underground - I have no clue whether this is possible - I have no reason to think it is. I would be interested in learning of a mechanism of how this would actually work, if one exists.

Geologists can predict the presence of water without drilling because geophysics can identify layers, and the shape/slope/thickness/density/magnetic susceptibility/electrical conductivity/seismic wave transmission properties of these layers. All rock can contain water, but only rock that can accommodate flowing water is useful for water supply, usually porous sandstone, and geophysics techniques give enough clues about the underground bodies that geologists can give a pretty darned good guess, without drilling, about what they are. Drilling is very expensive and often done after geophysical investigation anyway. One job of geologists is to work out where to drill to give the most useful information with the least cost.



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11 Jul 2013, 11:32 am

Dowsing is utter and complete balderdash.



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12 Jul 2013, 4:09 am

It's pseudoscience and not supported by empirical testing. As posted, it's efficacy is indistinguishable from pure chance.



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12 Jul 2013, 10:01 am

Dowsing is total bollocks.



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14 Jul 2013, 12:04 am

BlackSabre7 wrote:
I don't know much about whether or not dowsing is useful in finding water, but what I do know is this:
-The rods moved when I held them, and I definitely did not do it subconsciously (and I do not expect anyone else to take my word for it). There did turn out to be an underground stream in the places where they moved for me, but I do not take this as conclusive proof of anything.
-There are natural electric currents underground which tend to be weak, but measurable, and variable in strength. Geophysicists use them as one way to explore underground. You could for example, get an underground ore body which was half submerged in underground fluid and with chemical reactions creating ions, it could act like a battery thus creating a current. You also get mineral bodies with magnetic fields, also measured and mapped by geophysicists to identify the presence of such things. Some minerals are magnetic themselves like magnetite, some are magnetically susceptible and create a secondary field in response to the Earth's primary field.
I can see that metallic rods could be made to align with such fields, and I did personally experience that SOMETHING made the rods move, but I don't know enough to specifically and convincingly connect this with underground water.
As for wooden twigs reacting to water underground - I have no clue whether this is possible - I have no reason to think it is. I would be interested in learning of a mechanism of how this would actually work, if one exists.

Geologists can predict the presence of water without drilling because geophysics can identify layers, and the shape/slope/thickness/density/magnetic susceptibility/electrical conductivity/seismic wave transmission properties of these layers. All rock can contain water, but only rock that can accommodate flowing water is useful for water supply, usually porous sandstone, and geophysics techniques give enough clues about the underground bodies that geologists can give a pretty darned good guess, without drilling, about what they are. Drilling is very expensive and often done after geophysical investigation anyway. One job of geologists is to work out where to drill to give the most useful information with the least cost.



Ahhh! the conflict between experience and experiment.

I, too, have had the experience you are describing. I, too, did not fake anything. The rods did move without my assistance.
But I know the work of James Randi and his associates and he would follow the Scientific Method to the letter.
Serious Science would destroy his reputation if he didn't.

So what is really going on?

I assure you, I err on the side of experiment, but I cannot explain my experience.

I'm open to suggestions.


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14 Jul 2013, 5:24 am

This is why I brought up the electrical currents and magnetic fields that can exist in the ground. Flowing water also exists underground, but I don't know if it is necessary to assume that water is the reason for the rods moving. Plus human bodies conduct currents. I have not thought about this much - how the rods move. I will eventually look into it, I am curious. If I cannot find any real information, I might experiment myself, informally.
There is flowing underground water on my property as well as on my parents property, and I did do the rod thing and get the movement on both properties, with very different geologies (just trust me on that) and in both cases, over flowing water. But I have seen some outrageous claims regarding water divining, cases where there was no water, or water was too deep - the electrical currents and magnetic fields are not strong, so I question the claims of the diviner who said water was there. I did not try these myself so don't know whether the rods would have moved. The water on my and my parents properties was very shallow - a metre or less underground. Even if it caused the rods to move, I don't know how so have to remain skeptical.
I can understand that diviners might want to make money so exaggerate claims about the presence of water, but this is dishonest.

I just want to know the truth. I don't care what that truth is, but I am curious also about what made the rods move.



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14 Jul 2013, 6:55 am

BlackSabre7 wrote:
This is why I brought up the electrical currents and magnetic fields that can exist in the ground. Flowing water also exists underground, but I don't know if it is necessary to assume that water is the reason for the rods moving. Plus human bodies conduct currents. I have not thought about this much - how the rods move. I will eventually look into it, I am curious. If I cannot find any real information, I might experiment myself, informally.


Without proper controls your experiment will be worthless.

To do the experiment someone should provide sever parcels of land. Some with water underneath, some without. Further more you should know nothing of the presence or absence of the water. This will eliminate observer bias.

There should be a sufficient number of sample parcels so that chance correct guesses can be eliminated statistically. In short you would have to be right well over half the time and your negative answers would count just as much as your positive answers.

ruveyn



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14 Jul 2013, 9:58 am

ruveyn wrote:
BlackSabre7 wrote:
This is why I brought up the electrical currents and magnetic fields that can exist in the ground. Flowing water also exists underground, but I don't know if it is necessary to assume that water is the reason for the rods moving. Plus human bodies conduct currents. I have not thought about this much - how the rods move. I will eventually look into it, I am curious. If I cannot find any real information, I might experiment myself, informally.


Without proper controls your experiment will be worthless.

To do the experiment someone should provide sever parcels of land. Some with water underneath, some without. Further more you should know nothing of the presence or absence of the water. This will eliminate observer bias.

There should be a sufficient number of sample parcels so that chance correct guesses can be eliminated statistically. In short you would have to be right well over half the time and your negative answers would count just as much as your positive answers.

ruveyn


Doing a legit, publishable study is not possible for me. Drilling is expensive, and you would have to do that to know what's really going on under there.
The best I can do is first, hunt through the literature and learn whatever I can first. I may find enough there.
If not, then I can still do some deductive work and come up with an hypothesis. I can get rods that move when I think I am over running water, or whatever. The I can learn about the properties of the rods, and find out what strength of magnetic field would make them move, for example. I can borrow a magnetometer from the Uni, and test the magnetic field in the area, and work out the direction of the field, and so on. I can test for currents in the earth. I can find some clues like this and rule out some things, and then maybe one day, I would be in a position to precipitate the kind of study you are talking about - even if I suggest it to some researchers at Uni, after I accumulate enough data to make it look worth investigating.
I believe water might correlate with the moving rods, but I am not interested in proving divining is real. I am interested in understanding what made the rods move. Certainly, finding water is a useful skill, but so is finding a lot of other things underground like ore bodies and old pipelines. This could be useful. Or not. We'll see.



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14 Jul 2013, 2:55 pm

BlackSabre7 wrote:
ruveyn wrote:
BlackSabre7 wrote:
This is why I brought up the electrical currents and magnetic fields that can exist in the ground. Flowing water also exists underground, but I don't know if it is necessary to assume that water is the reason for the rods moving. Plus human bodies conduct currents. I have not thought about this much - how the rods move. I will eventually look into it, I am curious. If I cannot find any real information, I might experiment myself, informally.


Without proper controls your experiment will be worthless.

To do the experiment someone should provide sever parcels of land. Some with water underneath, some without. Further more you should know nothing of the presence or absence of the water. This will eliminate observer bias.

There should be a sufficient number of sample parcels so that chance correct guesses can be eliminated statistically. In short you would have to be right well over half the time and your negative answers would count just as much as your positive answers.

ruveyn


Doing a legit, publishable study is not possible for me. Drilling is expensive, and you would have to do that to know what's really going on under there.
The best I can do is first, hunt through the literature and learn whatever I can first. I may find enough there.
If not, then I can still do some deductive work and come up with an hypothesis. I can get rods that move when I think I am over running water, or whatever. The I can learn about the properties of the rods, and find out what strength of magnetic field would make them move, for example. I can borrow a magnetometer from the Uni, and test the magnetic field in the area, and work out the direction of the field, and so on. I can test for currents in the earth. I can find some clues like this and rule out some things, and then maybe one day, I would be in a position to precipitate the kind of study you are talking about - even if I suggest it to some researchers at Uni, after I accumulate enough data to make it look worth investigating.
I believe water might correlate with the moving rods, but I am not interested in proving divining is real. I am interested in understanding what made the rods move. Certainly, finding water is a useful skill, but so is finding a lot of other things underground like ore bodies and old pipelines. This could be useful. Or not. We'll see.


If you find anything, pls let me know.
:)


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Since the birth of civilization, small sets of dominant individuals have controlled the numerical majority. Even a cursory reading of world history will substantiate this claim. Kings, Pharaohs, Emperors, Sultans, Czars, and Dictators have imposed their will upon their subjects. This pattern has not changed over the millennia and it remains so, today. Our Masters rule over every nation and no one can defy them. They will attain Absolute Power as we reach the Singularity. All those who oppose their will, will be destroyed. Given the obvious futility, I will not resist. 2+2=5.


ablomov
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14 Jul 2013, 3:53 pm

Surely .... reach out to ppl that have done it.



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14 Jul 2013, 8:14 pm

It's because of the ideomotor effect and many who claim that they can find water by dowsing, use the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy. They fail to realize that they found the water because they dowsed where they subconsciously expected to find water, not realizing that holding nothing at all in their hands would lead them to the same place.