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Mid-Atlantic Geomancy - Dowsing: A Technique
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by Dudley H. Wheeler M.A.

"The answer I like to believe is that by doing so, the results will provide evidence for physical fields that science is so far reluctant to accept, give clues towards a new theory of quantum mechanics, yield more information about the ability of brain waves to initiate automatic reflex actions, a new view on the impact of blinking the eyes, and suggest to biologists the possible generation of attraction and repulsion effects between cells purely related to their shape. Such new information will hopefully contribute towards gaining a better understanding of how the conscious and sub-conscious minds interact."


Dowsing first became a serious interest for me after I read a newspaper article explaining how Professor Reddish (Emeritus Professor of Astronomy, Edinburgh University) walked over a linear object ( eg. a pole or wire) with two dowsing rods in his hands (see Fig 1) and they rotated to cross over in front of his chest. He subsequently showed that walking under a suspended wire gave the same reaction. If a plastic tube was put down on the ground under the length of the wire, the rod crossing did not take place under the wire, but at intervals on either side of the plastic tube. For Professor Reddish1 this represented an example of a classical wave interference pattern, but for me it showed that dowsing was real physics in action.

Fig 1

Fig 1

Trying to measure the interference patterns from multiple linear objects (wooden poles) in a field, I found that walking between two trees caused the dowsing rods to rotate. So, walking over a linear object causes a rod rotation and so does walking between two trees. Associating the trees with circular bases, I placed dinner plates on the floor of my living room and obtained the same rod rotations. Diagrammatically, the rods turned from to.

It then transpired that any object with a circular base (eg. a wine bottle or saucepan) would initiate the crossing of the dowsing rods. From this point onwards, I conducted a variety of experiments with linear and circular objects in different configurations to try and establish some basic patterns or reactions from the dowsing rods that would help lead to a better understanding and could be duplicated by others.

Linked to our Consciousness

Nobody has yet been able to come up with an explanation of the dowsing phenomenon, but the dowsing fraternity are very firmly convinced that the mind is involved. Besides the paranormal ability called Map-Dowsing, which remotely locates missing objects like keys and people, I have come to accept that the mind is able to carry out some sort of tuning function that enables it to concentrate on the job in hand and exclude all the other extraneous background signals (eg. from other linear and circular objects around) that would otherwise be expected to cause some interference. The mind seems to be able to pick up these tuned signals and trigger a response that enables the dowsing rods to rotate.


Practically all my experimental evidence has been obtained in the home using linear objects (eg. wooden poles, plastic tubes, wire, golf clubs) and circular ones (eg. dinner plates, plastic bowls, wine bottles). It is estimated that at least 80% of people can dowse, so readers have the opportunity to confirm the results for themselves in the comfort of their own living rooms.

Observations and speculations on what can be measured are noted below. I do not pretend to understand all of them, but they are included in the hope that others may note something of interest, which I may have otherwise ignored in a brief summary.

General Observations on what can be measured.

  1. Materials. The dowsing phenomenon occurs both with ferro-magnetic (eg. steel, iron) and non ferro-magnetic materials (eg. wood, bone, plastic).

  2. The shapes or boundaries of objects are important in determining where the dowsing rods rotate and the locations seem to follow the rules of Euclidean geometry. That is, rotations occur when the dowser arrives :

    1. At the boundary of a linear or circular object.

    2. At the line connecting the centres of circles

    3. Where the line of a linear object or perpendicular from it, intersects with the centre of a circle.

    4. Where linear objects either face parallel or perpendicular to one another and their line extensions also overlap one another

I term these the Euclidean Locations for Rotation.

  1. All objects can affect all other objects. A pressure effect?

Linear and circular objects are found to interact with one another in producing dowsing rod rotations. As everything can be considered to be made up from lines and curves, it is but a small step to consider that all objects can potentially interact with any other object. As a speculation, this interaction can be regarded as being similar to Einstein's second component of gravity, the pressure that matter exerts upon its surroundings (lambda, the cosmological constant), which can be positive or negative.

  1. The dowsing zone where rod rotations commence and end is quite narrow; inches rather than feet wide.

  2. The strength of the rod rotation (as felt in the hands) is generally very similar for all experiments, but has been known to vary. It can be particularly strong when dowsing with Y-shaped twigs rather than L-shaped rods. Adding one object to another does not increase the strength of the rod rotation, but the effect may possibly alter the shape of the combined object and its Euclidean Locations for Rotation.

  3. Electromagnetic Association. Walking through a light beam will initiate a dowsing rod rotation. Other researchers findings2,3,4 show that electromagnetic fields such as radio waves, ionising radiation, electric fields and electrostatic shocks either affect, or are affected by, dowsing zones. This evidence suggests that there is a dowsing field (D-Field) present, which can co-exist with electromagnetic radiation, although it is not electromagnetic itself.

  4. D-Fields (Dowsing Fields)

There are many dowsing experiments that provide further indications of the existence of D-Fields whilst dowsing.

(i) Interference Patterns

By varying the height of his suspended wire above the plastic tubing on the ground, Reddish1 found that the intervals between the dowsing zones on the ground increased as the wire height decreased ( and vice-versa).

These variations in the interference patterns suggest field effects.

(ii) Rod Angles

The angles rotated by the rods vary, but are commonly found to be 0° (upup), 45° (nenw), or 90° (lr).

Other intermediate values and negative values are found (eg. downdown,lr).

(iii) Attraction and repulsion

One situation causing what looks like fields of attraction and repulsion between an object and a single dowsing rod [as defined by the closing (left) or opening (right) of the rod], happens whilst walking alongside a linear object (eg. a wooden pole).

Fig 2

Fig 2

Putting down a series of parallel wooden poles and walking between them, the single dowsing rod describes a curved path that simulates a repeated attraction and repulsion effect (see Fig 3)

Fig 3

Fig 3

Such patterns also occur whilst walking between parallel gravestones or down the aisle of a church, where the rod turns opposite the straight bases of the pews and traverses across in the blank entry spaces between them.

(iv) Universal Field

The rods rotate back to their forward direction after leaving the dowsing zone.

Objects are found to leave imprints or memories of their position long after they have been removed1,4,6. This imprinting can last for minutes, days or years.

Both of these effects suggest the presence of a Universal Dowsing Field (UD-Field).

(v) Motion / Inductance

Raising the dowsing rods quickly into the horizontal search position, and/or walking briskly into the dowsing zone seems to enhance the sensitivity of the dowsing rod reaction. Such a result brings to mind the concept of 'cutting lines of force'. The same type of result was obtained by Tromp4 using a changing magnetic field, which could be detected and a static one, which could not.

If the D-Field can exhibit effects normally associated with electromagnetism, it is intriguing to speculate on where are the induction effects both on earth and the cosmos.

  1. Energy

Where does the rod rotation energy come from?

Opinion is divided upon whether it is a field effect or whether the rods rotate under the action of gravity and involuntary muscular action. I favour the field effect, because I cannot see or feel the muscular activity and some dowsers using the Y-rod have experienced the bark

stripping away from their wooden rod as a result of their efforts to resist the twisting action in their hands. But even if this is a field effect, is the energy supplied externally or from the human body or mind?

  1. Receptors, Vision and Blinking.

The human body has receptors for the external D-Fields, of which the feet and hands are important. For me, the eyes and vision are essential as I cannot dowse in the dark or with my eyes closed. Experiments provided intriguing results where, for example

  1. Using two rods to dowse over a linear wooden pole, if the left eye was kept open only the left rod rotated and the right rod stayed pointing forward. Similarly if only the right eye was kept open.

  2. No dowsing reaction was obtainable unless the rods were kept in view. Looking up in the dowsing zone to view the rods caused them to rotate.

  3. (c) Using a single rod, it crossed in towards the chest at the dowsing zone. Gazing slightly off to the side of the rod's tip and blinking deliberately, the rod moved off to the side as if it was being sucked into a vacuum.

Opportunities for Measurement

There are many physical measurements that can be made related to dowsing. But why should anyone bother to carry them out? The answer I like to believe is that by doing so, the results will provide evidence for physical fields that science is so far reluctant to accept, give clues towards a new theory of quantum mechanics, yield more information about the ability of brain waves to initiate automatic reflex actions, a new view on the impact of blinking the eyes, and suggest to biologists the possible generation of attraction and repulsion effects between cells purely related to their shape. Such new information will hopefully contribute towards a better understanding of how the conscious and sub-conscious minds interact together.

The dowsing phenomena is one of the easiest para-normal effects to measure and investigate, whilst only requiring low technology and simple facilities to carry out the research work. Unfortunately it seems to have been ignored because of scepticism and disbelief, inspite of the highly convincing evidence from professional dowsers5 making a living from discovering underground water on a 'no water, no pay' basis and other impressive published accounts6.

Reproducibility Experiments on the Web site.

Science demands that experiments should be reproducible before the results can be considered to have any value. To this end, I have arranged for seven simple dowsing experiments to be put on the Scientific & Medical Network Web site.

I invite readers to try these for themselves and send their results back by e-mail or letter under the heading 'Dowsing Experiments'. These experiments only require the dowser to comment on the rod rotations at specified locations using simple poles, golf clubs, tubes, plates, or discs on the floor. Instructions are given for beginners. This is a serious request and the results will be put into a database for future reference.


  1. Reddish, V.C., The D-force - A remarkable phenomenon Jane Street Print Co, Edinburgh (1993)

  2. Maby J.C. and T.Bedford Franklin Physics of the Divining Rod ( Bell 1939)

  3. Maby J.C., Radiographic Prospection for Underground Water Congress of Radionics and Radiesthesia, London 16-18 May, 1950

  4. Tromp S.W Psychical Physics (Elsevier Publishing 1949)

  5. Applegate, George The Complete Guide to Dowsing Element Publ 1997

  6. Bird, Christopher , The Divining Hand Whitford Press 1993

Issue No. 9 >>