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How does dowsing (water witching) work?

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How does dowsing (water witching) work?

Old 06-07-2015, 05:58 AM
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Default How does dowsing (water witching) work?

Yesterday I'm sitting in my office eating lunch and reading the thread about how easy it is to dig a well, when one poster mentions dowsing. I had heard of dowsing and really never thought much about it and dismissed it as either luck or some particular power or sense that a few special people might possess. After watching a couple videos, I thought I would look stupid out on my front lawn and try it.

I didn't have any wire coat hangers, but I remembered I just picked up a pack of RG-45 welding rods. These are 1/8" mild steel rod with a copper coating. I bend them into a couple dowsing rods and outside I go.

I have buried electric and water running up the side of my house, so this will be quick and easy to find out it doesn't work. WRONG. As soon as I walk over where the lines are buried, the rods cross. I could feel them move in my hands. The hair on the back of my neck stands up and I'm a bit freaked out. I'm holding these rods with a focus of putting zero influence on how they move, but yet they indicate pipes in the ground. WTF? Cable TV wires buried in my front yard, sprinkler pipes, electric lines to my pole lamp out front... all found easily.

I decide to try it inside the house and I find something crossing my living room, but it stops right in the middle. I can't imagine what it could be and then I remember. Damn if there isn't an electric floor outlet under a table in the middle of the room I had long forgotten about.

The electric lines I can understand. I'm still surprised though that they put out enough energy to move the rods, but it worked on PVC sprinkler lines. I was a complete skeptic until I tried it. How can two rods find a plastic pipe?

Last edited by debugger; 06-07-2015 at 10:38 AM.
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Old 06-07-2015, 06:46 AM
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The rods don't locate pipe or wires they locate the ditch line where the magnetic field was broken due to trenching. Before I fire my excavators I'll walk the property Only takes one rod but keep in mind it's not a failsafe way of line locating
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Old 06-07-2015, 07:06 AM
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Yeah, but these pipes were put in some 20 years ago. You would think things would have settled and gone back to normal by now. I'm sure all these homes had a bunch of fill dumped where the house was built as well.

Interesting.


Edit. It's not the trench. I just stretched my garden hose in a straight line and the rods found it easily.

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Old 06-07-2015, 07:56 AM
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I'll go with ideomotor effect for 1000 Alex.
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by jrolin1 View Post
I'll go with ideomotor effect for 1000 Alex.
Then you wouldn't get the prize.

For whatever reason, it works. Just because something works for an unknown reason, doesn't mean it doesn't work.
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by jrolin1 View Post
I'll go with ideomotor effect for 1000 Alex.
Well, we're gonna find out. I have a little test. First, we're gonna draw a little bit of everybody's blood.... No wait, that's the test for "the thing".


I will stand across the yard blindfolded and with my shooting muffs on. My buddies will move the hose to a distance of their choosing in my walking path. They will tell me to stop if the rods cross at the hose.
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:22 AM
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Here's how it works, you grab your rods, walk around property until you step on a soft patch and til the rods down to indicate this is a muddy spot and most likely to have water.

I have no idea if it works or not, but would love for a trusted member to tell us the truth.
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:56 AM
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Finding water in the desert, I'm not so sure about. But is seems to find pipes and wires pretty well. Were going to test myself deaf and blindfolded soon.

This would make for a good science project. I wish I would have thought of it for a college project 25 years ago.
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:11 AM
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You guys are dosing alright.
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Old 06-07-2015, 09:53 AM
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Yes it works.

I've even found railroad tracks buried 6' deep with my wires. I thought it was BS til I tried it. I use real fine stiff steel wire, way lighter than a coat hanger. Can't be windy. Don't let anyone see you or they'll think you're crazy. Been doing it 40 years..had an old time electrician show it to me.
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Old 06-07-2015, 10:23 AM
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I went to lunch one day and there was a bunch of construction equipment by the road. I saw a guy dowsing and another guy spray painting spots on the road. When I left work for the day they had excavated a trench with a pipe in the bottom about 5 ft down, right where the guy marked. It seems to work.
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Old 06-07-2015, 10:26 AM
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I do a lot of work on the large underground water mains. When the city has to come out to isolate valves and cannot find the road caps due to being covered during the last repaving, there is a guy that jumps out with his rods and starts tracking pipes. The kid with him will hook up an electric toner to a nearby hydrant and catch up with the old timer. The guy will stop and say "dig here". The kid will wave the toner over the spot and it always squeals.
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Old 06-07-2015, 10:35 AM
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Whoops, dowsing not dosing. Corrected the thread title.

Anyway. As strange as it sounds, it works. Blindfolded and deaf, I can find my garden hose stretched across the lawn. I didn't even need to take the blindfold off to know I had found the hose. I could feel the rods swing together.

I even tried it with welding gloves on and it worked perfectly. Completely unreal to me how two metal rods can sense a garden hose.
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Old 06-07-2015, 02:15 PM
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Haven't tried the metal rods. A fresh cut willow or quaking aspen forked branch works.
It's a damn strange thing when the branch turns downward with a will of it's own.
Some old time prospectors claimed to have had results too.
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Old 06-07-2015, 03:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Milehog View Post
Haven't tried the metal rods. A fresh cut willow or quaking aspen forked branch works.
It's a damn strange thing when the branch turns downward with a will of it's own.
Some old time prospectors claimed to have had results too.
I probably couldn't find the Alaskan pipeline with a twig, but I can damn sure find a garden hose, or any conduit, blindfolded with welding rods.

I'm not quite sure what to think at this time, but it appears to work reliably.
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Old 06-07-2015, 03:41 PM
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Originally Posted by debugger View Post
I probably couldn't find the Alaskan pipeline with a twig, but I can damn sure find a garden hose, or any conduit, blindfolded with welding rods.

I'm not quite sure what to think at this time, but it appears to work reliably.
Yes it does! (But keep it a secret)
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Old 06-07-2015, 04:21 PM
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How much force do the rods turn inward? I would think the friction of the rod in your hand would create some resistance that would have to be overcome for the rods to move....right?

I want to try it, are the rods supposed to be made of copper? I've seen the ones where the rod sits inside of another rod that works as a handle, there would be no friction using this style, do these work the same way as holding the rod in your bare hand?

There is a clay field tile in my yard I would really like to find so I want to give it a try.
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Old 06-07-2015, 04:53 PM
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Originally Posted by RussH View Post
How much force do the rods turn inward? I would think the friction of the rod in your hand would create some resistance that would have to be overcome for the rods to move....right?

I want to try it, are the rods supposed to be made of copper? I've seen the ones where the rod sits inside of another rod that works as a handle, there would be no friction using this style, do these work the same way as holding the rod in your bare hand?

There is a clay field tile in my yard I would really like to find so I want to give it a try.
I use very thin steel. Can't have any wind. Don't pinch 'em, just let them balance. Don't let anyone see you.

Y'know, some turn in, some turn out. Who wants to explain THIS phenomenon??
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Old 06-07-2015, 05:40 PM
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My wife's cousins husband was a plumber and he and his helper used them to locate underground lines.
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Old 06-07-2015, 05:51 PM
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You can do it with 1 rod. I locate irrigation lines with a marking flag. Just pull the flag off the rod and bend it 90 degrees. To carry it a step further turn the water on, it will turn to the direction the water is traveling.
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