Dowsing is a form of divination used to locate ground water, buried metals, gemstones, oil and other objects, and earth radiation known as Ley Lines, without the use of scientific apparatus or methods, as such, there is no accepted scientific rationale behind dowsing and there is no scientific evidence that it is effective.
Deviners tap in to "an invisible world of energy" outside our senses using human and earth's energy fields to find geopathic stress and detrimental energies, to seek cancers and ailments and to optimise health and well being, possibly linked to extraterrestrial origin via megalithic portals and pyramids to wormholes and stargates ?
Straight, Y- or L-shaped twigs or rods, called dowsing, divining or witching rods are used. Although dowsers use other methods like dangling crystals. Whatever is at hand can be chosen to the usual hazel twigs, say, metal wires, cables, welding rods, coat hangers, chimney or drain rods, drinking straws, or any thin, long plant stalks.
Well water drillers / clients use diviners to look for the best point on a site to drill for water. A site needs to offer access for a drilling rig and a diviner has to find in a half or one acre dwelling site of the precise point where to drill for the vertical borehole to gain access to the water table often hundreds of feet below the land.
Although water tables can span hundreds of acres or square kilometres, the place to start drilling in the narrow span of say half an acre depends on access and parking of the drilling rig. Not close to buildings, or near sceptic tanks or percolation fields, or near to pipes or cables. Usually the ideal spot can be found.
The exact point of drilling can be chosen by a diviner using rods, twigs or wires, even crystals suspended on a string to indicate the right spot for access to water often hundreds of feet below the site. Most areas on a site accessible by a drilling rig can still hit the same water table, as water tables often span for miles.
Body energy, chakras or "special gifts" are used to detect underground energy flows. Divining work can be tiring on the heart, so short spells of dowsing are best to protect the body, mind and soul of a diviner. A diviner should wear stout boots and not wear a hat, or make loud humming noises and ideally should have healthy kidneys.
Diviners can be sought by word of mouth even nowadays by websites. They don't tend to quote for the planned task or hours involved, and although seen as a parascience or pseudoscience, someone you know may know of "a certain man with a certain gift" that can be contacted if you are still keen to try out this sort of thing.
Divining or dowsing was a popular Renaissance magic in Germany during the 15th century in the hope of finding metals, and remains popular among believers in Forteana or radiesthesia. As early as 1518 Martin Luther listed dowsing for metals as a satanic art - an act that broke the first commandment - i.e. occultism.
In 1662 dowsing was declared to be "superstitious, or rather satanic" by Jesuit, Gasper Schott, - he wasn't sure the devil was responsible for movement of the rod. In the South of France it was used in the tracking of criminals and heretics. Its abuse led to a decree of the inquisition in 1701, forbidding its use in justice.
An epigram by Samuel Sheppard, from Epigrams Theological, Philosophical, and Romantick (1651) runs thus :
"Some Sorcerers do boast they have a Rod, Gather'd with Vowes and Sacrifice,
And (borne about) will strangely nod, To hidden Treasure where it lies;
Mankind is (sure) that Rod divine, For to the Wealthiest (ever) they incline."
In the late 1960s during the Vietnam War, some US Marines attempted to locate weapons and tunnels by dowsing. In 1986, when 31 soldiers were hit by an avalanche during a NATO drill in Norway, the Norwegian army attempted to locate soldiers buried in the avalanche using dowsing as a search method. 16 soldiers died.
A 1948 study tested 58 dowser's ability to detect water. None of them were more reliable than mere chance. A 1979 review examined many studies of dowsing for water, and found none showed better than chance results.
In a study in Munich 1987-1988 by Hans-Dieter Betz and other scientists, 500 dowsers were tested for their "skill" selecting the best 43 among them for further tests. Over 2 years the dowsers performed 843 such tests. Of the 43 pre-selected and extensively tested candidates, 37 showed no dowsing ability.
The remaining 6 appeared to be better than chance, resulting in the experimenters' conclusion that some dowsers in particular tasks, showed a high rate of success. However 5 years after the Munich study was published, Jim T. Enright, a professor of physiology who emphasised correct data analysis procedures, contended that the study's results were merely consistent with statistical fluctuations and not significant.
He noted "the most convincing proof imaginable that dowsers can't do what they claim," stating the analysis was "special, unconventional and customized." Replacing it with "more ordinary analyses," he noted the best dowser gained 4 millimeters out of 10 meters closer to a mid-line guess, an advantage of 0.0004%.
A recent study undertaken in Kassel, Germany, by the GWUP - [Society for the Scientific Investigation of the Parasciences] in a 3-day test of 30 dowsers involved pipes through which water flow could be controlled and directed. The pipes were buried half a metre under a level field, each marked on the surface with a colored strip.
The dowsers had to tell whether water was running through each pipe. All the dowsers agreed this was a fair test of their abilities expecting a 100 percent success rate, however the results were no better than chance.
The highest rate of success for finding water by divining / dowsing technicians, is within regions where water tables are found below ground level. In Ireland, most areas of land have water tables, aquifers, or some form of water yield within a few feet to a few hundred feet of drilling, below ground surface level.
Ask a well drilling company that has spent decades drilling wells in Ireland, the chance of drilling in an arid area with no water at any depth is similar to winning the local GAA jackpot or even Rory McIlroy hitting a hole in one. So a water diviner should be grand at finding water right enough, you are unlikely to be left high and dry.
The Irish Society of Diviners (www.irishdiviners.com) are a none profit organisation run by volunteers. Weekend dowsing workshops are available for around €300 plus accomodation.
Also see www.dowsing.com and www.dowsers.com for all things dowsing and pyramids to spiritual dowsing, remote dowsing and herbal remedies.
Moving further on from Galway Water's membership of the WQA for many years, and top level Certified Water Specialist VI status, the WQA now list Galway Water as a Master Water Specialist since 1st May 2015.
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Galway Water have been a member of the Water Quality Association for several years. (The international not-for-profit trade association for the water treatment industry).