8 thoughts on “How do dowsing rods work?

  1. Basically the ideomotor effect (same as ouijas and pendulums).

    Dowsers claim to really be able to detect underground water because they have a lot of success finding it using their dowsing rods but in most places there is water there anyway and you would have as much success throwing your hat into the air and drilling where it landed.

    When tested in controlled conditions …. blah blah … it really doesn’t work.

  2. They are used to point at things in the ground, mainly water. If one digs far enough into the ground, one can find all sorts of random things, thus rendering him or her “psychic.” Or, if one can’t dig deeply enough, one can just say “I know (blank) is down there, I just can’t dig deeply enough,” and can still claim to be psychic.
    In short: It’s a stick that anyone can point down.
    In short(er): It’s a crock.

  3. Dowsing rods are used to find sources of water, ores, gem deposits, etc., under the ground where no indication of their location exists on the surface. A dowsing rod is a Y-shaped or pair of L-shaped rods that exhibit movement when passed over the water or mineral deposit. The Y-shaped rod dips down (it’s held with two hands on the “handles” of the Y, with the base of the Y extended outward). The two L-shaped rods are held in each hand, such that the long leg of each L points outward and are parallel. When a deposit is found, the two rods cross over each other.

    The way the rods are held in the hands of an experienced dowser, they balance in position such that a minute, almost imperceptible motion of the hands will cause them to move. So, a dowser will walk along the ground and, at some randomly chosen point, actuate the rods, claiming that the particular location is where the water or minerals are.

    Testing done on many different dowsers over time has concluded that dowsing doesn’t really work. And, the times it appeared that a dowser was actually able to locate any resources was simply luck.

  4. Dowsing is used to locate water, mineral deposits, missing items, missing persons, drugs being smuggled in boats, and explosive land mines in Vietnam, Iraq and other locations, all well above chance expectation.
    I have included links below that will provide you with the actual scientific evidence.

    Psiexploration

  5. Ideomotor effect. Dowsing is flam-flam, I’m afraid. To date there hasn’t been a single water-diviner or water-dowser who has been able to pass a controlled test for detecting hidden water. Dowsers certainly have plenty of unsubstantiated stories of finding water in uncontrolled conditions, but such stories have no value if you want to scientifically investigate this supposed phenomenon.

    Moreover, there is a certain myth about underground water which seems to go along with dowsing. The myth is that water exists in underground streams. This is false except in areas where the underying rock is primarily limestone. Instead, underground water tends to exist in very expansive “aquifers” consisting of porous, cracked rocks and gravel. Water flows very slowly in these aquifers, on the order of a meter a day or less. If you drill a well into these aquifers, you will strike water. So when a dowser uses his sticks to determine a well location and he strikes water, it’s not evidence of his water-dowsing ability. It’s just the fact that there is underground water nearly everywhere.

    And in contrast to some misinformation posted by another answerer, his links actually didn’t provide any credible evidence of dowsing at well above chance levels. Such evidence doesn’t appear to exist. I would love to review any such studies if I am wrong about that.

  6. Ideomotor effect. Dowsing is flam-flam, I’m afraid. To date there hasn’t been a single water-diviner or water-dowser who has been able to pass a controlled test for detecting hidden water. Dowsers certainly have plenty of unsubstantiated stories of finding water in uncontrolled conditions, but such stories have no value if you want to scientifically investigate this supposed phenomenon.

    Moreover, there is a certain myth about underground water which seems to go along with dowsing. The myth is that water exists in underground streams. This is false except in areas where the underying rock is primarily limestone. Instead, underground water tends to exist in very expansive “aquifers” consisting of porous, cracked rocks and gravel. Water flows very slowly in these aquifers, on the order of a meter a day or less. If you drill a well into these aquifers, you will strike water. So when a dowser uses his sticks to determine a well location and he strikes water, it’s not evidence of his water-dowsing ability. It’s just the fact that there is underground water nearly everywhere.

    And in contrast to some misinformation posted by another answerer, his links actually didn’t provide any credible evidence of dowsing at well above chance levels. Such evidence doesn’t appear to exist. I would love to review any such studies if I am wrong about that.
    Source(s):

  7. Dowsing is a means for your subconscious to communicate information available to it that is not otherwise accessible to your conscious awareness. The critics who responded to your question are correct that the ideomotor response plays a role. The ideomotor response involves subconscious micro-movements of one’s muscles in response to subtle impressions one experiences.

    Dowsers take advantage of this by holding a balanced instrument of some kind (L-rods, pendulum, etc.) to amplify these subtle movements as indicators, much like a needle on a gauge. Where critics are incorrect is in claiming that dowsing is ineffective. Dowsing doesn’t work every time, but with practice, most people can have some success at it, and some folks do amazingly well — some people I know have used it to find missing objects and people, make decisions, win a lottery (I’m not kidding), and so on.

    I’ve had some surprising successes myself. While working in the military remote viewing program, for example, I used dowsing techniques to correctly identify which of six container ships was carrying contraband, and pinpointed which among the hundreds of cargo containers it was carrying held the contraband. This is documented in the official CIA archives released in 2004 (and most easily found in my book “Reading the Enemy’s Mind,” which is out of print so I stand to gain nothing financially from you looking it up; I suggest a public library).

  8. Many of the those who don’t believe dowsing works say that as water is everywhere and just by drilling down far enough anywhere you will hit water. The question I would like answered by these people is if this is true why is it that the dowsers rods are not indicating water all over the place all of the time?

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