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  1. #11
    The Black Knight Domino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JivinJeffJones View Post
    Soon I will be able to too. Then you will be sooo hot for me. And I will be magnificently indifferent. Who needs women when you can find water with a stick?
    Hey! Magnificently indifferent is MY racket, bro! But as I cannot find water with a stick on perhaps the driest continent on earth, I shall refrain from much machismo and saber-rattling displays of verbal retaliation!
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  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by JivinJeffJones View Post
    1) What the hell is up with this?
    2) Is this a practice you are familiar with?
    and
    3) Is this something that happens in your part of the world?
    It's really common in rural/farming areas. My grandpa did it, and so does my dad. He uses a straight steel crowbar, however (5' long) - balances it in the palm of his hand, and it dips when there's a 'stream' underneath.

    ...and at the risk of sounding like a dick, it's all BS. There is nothing that can describe the effect. And it also shows a general lack of knowledge about the way something called the 'water table' works. Dowse ten 'streams', and drill randomly ten times and you're going to find similar/same results.

    Nice folklore, though.

  3. #13
    Senior Member JivinJeffJones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sundowning View Post
    ...and at the risk of sounding like a dick, it's all BS. There is nothing that can describe the effect. And it also shows a general lack of knowledge about the way something called the 'water table' works. Dowse ten 'streams', and drill randomly ten times and you're going to find similar/same results.
    Maybe in Canada, but good luck with that in Australia.

  4. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by JivinJeffJones View Post
    Maybe in Canada, but good luck with that in Australia.
    True, but on the other hand, I'd love to see someone try dowsing for water in the Canadian shield. With no knowledge of the geological context, I'm sure Jimmy-Bob and his stick could find numerous of 'streams' flowing through solid granite.

    Confirmation bias plays into a lot. Dowsing has its roots in a very scientifically illiterate background. If you were to actually test the method via some semblance of scientific rigor - i.e. dowsing the water running from the tap in your house - I'm pretty sure you wouldn't feel anything. And there's always a reason, too - "it's not a large enough body", or "you don't have the dowsing gift", or "it's removed from its natural environment" - but never the right one: "there's no physical attraction force between liquid water and cellulose/steel over tens of feet through soil and brecciated bedrock."

  5. #15
    It's always something... PuddleRiver's Avatar
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    Our well driller did it before he drilled our well. It was very common here, though not done as much anymore since the older people are leaving us.

    I never had much luck with it the one time I tried it, but it did seem to work for my husband and my son.
    "In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay one invincible summer."
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  6. #16
    Member MJ_'s Avatar
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    1) What the hell is up with this?

    It has no rational explanation that I can think of. I still have trouble believing in it. I have a decent scientific background, and it just doesn't make sense. But, it seems to work for some people.

    2) Is this a practice you are familiar with?

    I've done it. On a suburban lawn. At the time, I thought it was a joke, or that I would maybe pick up an underground stream (which there is in the area). Or that it would be like a ouiji board, where people just move things around and claim it's some unknown force. I was handed a pair of metal sticks by my SO's grandmother (made by great uncle the dowser), told to hold them straight in front of me, loosely between thumb and forefinger, and I started walking. And then the sticks moved so that they crossed in front of me. I stepped back, the sticks uncrossed. Stepped forward again, the sticks crossed. I tried to hold them parallel, but it didn't work. Grandma, I ask, what am I standing over? Answer- the pipe that leads from the water main to the house . (So, yes, water very removed from its natural environment.)

    Which makes me wonder. I wasn't looking at Grandma when I was supposedly dowsing- so no visual clues. I didn't know where the pipe was- no prior knowledge. Grandma knew because they'd needed the pipe fixed ten years ago. And she isn't my grandmother, and the house isn't a place I've spent a lot of time in. No clues from the lay of the land- it's a flat piece of lawn. Unless you consider that the pipes commonly lead from the water main under the street to the front of the house, which leaves a 25 foot stretch in front of the house where I could have supposed it to be, and a less than 1 foot area where the sticks crossed. Maybe a 10-15 foot stretch if you consider that the pipe would possibly connect to the house closer to the side with the kitchen and laundry room, where the water usage is greater. But I can't speak for my subconscious and what it was doing that day.


    3) Is this something that happens in your part of the world?


    Less commonly. These days you hire a 'drilling company' when you want a well dug for a cottage or home, not a 'well drilling company'. They don't guarantee you will have water. They just dig where you tell them to, or where the contractor recommends, or you hire a dowser to tell you where to put the well.

  7. #17
    Oberon
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    Quote Originally Posted by athenian200 View Post
    What evidence do you have that it isn't staged, that it isn't a parlor trick or simple coincidence? I don't mean to be a critic, but just taking something like that on faith is more than I can handle.
    When I was a teenager I tried this, using a green Y-shaped stick cut from a shrub or small tree. It's real, and it works. I used it to locate drilling spots for a couple of wells my father put in on rental properties.

    I went at it without indulging in any cultish mumbo-jumbo. I held the stick by the arms of the Y with the stem pointed upward, and walked a criss-cross pattern in the field. The guys who do it say it helps if you think about water while you're doing it, so I thought about water. I'd just read it out of a book.

    At one point during my little walk--sproing!--the stick flipped around and pointed downward.

    "Huh," I thought, backed up a few steps, and tried it again. The stick sproinged again at the same spot. So I took a few steps forward, turned around, and came back toward the place from another direction. The stick sproinged again, at the same spot.

    There were a couple of other places on the property that generated a reaction, but none as strong as this first one, so I stuck a flag in the ground and that's where the driller drilled his well. It turned out to be a good well, but water's not scarce in that area so that really proves nothing.

    I can tell you for certain, however, that some phenomenon causes the stick to move. I am certain that it is a natural phenomenon--magnetic field fluctuations?--for which the human body acts as a sort of antenna. The notion that there's anything spiritual about it is, I believe, simply poppycock.

  8. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by oberon View Post
    I can tell you for certain, however, that some phenomenon causes the stick to move. I am certain that it is a natural phenomenon--magnetic field fluctuations?--for which the human body acts as a sort of antenna. The notion that there's anything spiritual about it is, I believe, simply poppycock.
    It would have to be something odder than that, otherwise you could just use a compass to find the water, or use a good bar magnet moving around to cause sticks to move. (It might be useful to bring something for those types of measurements to work out why this would be happening, assuming the story is real.)

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by AllAboutSoul View Post
    Our well driller did it before he drilled our well. It was very common here, though not done as much anymore since the older people are leaving us.

    I never had much luck with it the one time I tried it, but it did seem to work for my husband and my son.
    I'm tempted to say my parent's well was located by divining (also called "dowsing", I think).

    Pretty' f'n wild, IMO. Hopefully Mythbusters will do an episode on it some day.
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  10. #20
    Senior Member ptgatsby's Avatar
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    This was one of my first introductions to the scientific method and all of the biases it needs to fight through. And it was in Australia that I read about the new challenges that were being brought to challenge myths, which I believe this falls into.

    A quick google turned up what I remember reading about - Australian Skeptics Divining Test

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