First, I will say that I am a believer and as a matter of fact, I had an uncle who “had the gift.” Having said that, I am not sure what it is I am believing.
In an article entitled Ancient art of water witching survives the centuries, M.L. Lyke reports the earliest records of water witching are 6,000 to 8,000 year-old cave paintings in Africa. Water Witchers or Dowsers are primarily used to find underground water for wells. Practitioners use metal rods, wire coat hangers, or pliers. Others require a certain type of tree such as apple or peach. The “tool” is held with both hands and as the water is located the tip either pulls down or up. Some claim to enter into a trance like state or have a metal picture while for others, it just happens.
Dowsers have different thoughts on who actually has the gift. The American Society of Dowsers maintains everyone is born with the gift while others will say only one in a thousand can do it.
As one might imagine with the voodoo like name, there is much controversy surrounding the practice. It has been almost unanimously condemned by Geologists. Lyke says “many modern-day critics call dowsing a superstitious relic.” Although there are a lot of people who don’t believe, dowsing remains very much alive because, basically, what is there to lose. If it costs $2,000 to $20,000 to dig a well, maybe it is best to cover all the bases.
Witching for a well was a common practice where I grew up. I remember well the day my uncle came over with his stick when Dad decided to dig a new well.. He walked back and forth over the area. Sure enough, the stick pulled down hard in one certain area. The well is there to this day.
Years later, Dan and I were visiting with my uncle. When we asked how he did it, he did not know. However, he said he would demonstrate. He got a pliers from the shop and started walking around the kitchen. He had a very tight grip and we could hear the rubbing on his hands as they pulled down. I took the pliers and also experienced the pull. I wonder if I have the gift or if his transferred to me.
What ever one might believe on this subject, perhaps this quote from an article entitled Dowsing, Science or Humbug says it all
Simple truths about nature can't choose to hide from the skeptical minds and be seen by the gullible at the same time.