I like most of you have, for the most of my life thought that dowsing was complete and utter nonsense, with the sometimes positive outcomes explainable for luck or happenstance. I remember as a youth seeing a well driller dowse "the perfect spot" on our farm and low and behold there was water a plenty. Wow.
Higher education and techinical college led me to knowing this was just pure luck that I had witnessed and a ruse. As a engineer in my forties while overseeing a large property that I managed for the company that I worked for at the time, I spoke one day to a young man trying to locate a water leak on a 50 year on buried water pipe running across the property. He had already dug down with is backhoe where the water was surfacing and located the pipe and started working his way slowly back the length of the 3 " pipe as the leak was back somewhere up the pipe and running lengthwise within the aggregate that the pipe was originally buried in. He has probably dug 25 - 30 foot along the pipe when his father arrived on the site to lend a hand. I talked with him for a few minutes and he explained that he was going to use witching stick to locate the leak and save them time. The educated part of me just knew that was utter BS yet I watched as the old guy bent a pair of brazing rods into L shapes and walk up the roadway and away from the backhoe and nearly 40 feet further up the road they abruptly crossed. The educated part of me was saying ...yeah right. The old man made a series of cross movements then to dial in where the source was and planted his heel in the dirt and scuffed a mark and then motioned to his son to bring the backhoe and dig there. His son moved to the spot and within 5 minutes had dug straight down and located the hole where the 50 year old pipe had rusted through. I won't repeat the words that I said when I looked down int he hole and and saw the rusted hole in the pipe before the old fellow welded a patch on it and the son closed the hole and then the ditch back up. This was the first time that I went OK, this is interesting.
Jump forward a decade to a different large property on the east coast that I was managing for the same tech firm. I had spent some years developing the property with large radio frequency assets and electrical infrastructure. lots of buildings and such. Through all of this development a key player for the excavators is the guy that shows up about the same time as the surveyors to complete a study of underground pipe, electrical conduit race ways, grounding systems and halos, all of the stuff you don't want the back hoe and bulldozers to find. Several years ago after much development had taken place on the property, he was back to do his bit and while I was out on facility looking at other items located up on a high perch above the ground I happened to watch him for about 40 minutes as he worked his way around the area of another building using different strange looking detectors, and then eventually returning to his truck and pulling out a wooden with, you guessed it- divining rods. The other two engineers on the structure that we were perched on performing the task at had pretty much said "what a crock of BS" in unison. I watched for a bit as he went over the area again and saw the rods cross a couple time and he do a dance and dial in the location and park it with a small plastic flag on a wire rod pushed into the dirt. I didn't get a chance to talk with him due to all of the activity going on but one of engineers did chat him up a bit and he explained to the engineer that the site was very noisy in that area around that building and the electrical noise was causing him a great deal of interference with his detectors. I did talk to the foreman of the excavation company while the digging was starting up and explained that some of the pink flags were placed there by diving rods and that he may want to be careful digging. He laughed and said that the fellow that did the buried line survey could probably do the whole field and be spot on. I did watch them dig on one of the positions that had been divined by the old surveyor and low and behold, about 4 foot down was a crossing for a ground line made out of 4/0 stranded. Once again, I went hmmmm this is interesting.
Most recently, about 2 year back I was on may way to work one morning and sitting in a road constructing traffic stop backed up from a intersection of two 4 lane roads. There was a pair of DPWW trucks parks on the medians at opposite corners. The flagger let some traffic go and stopped me at the front of the line and the DPWW folks stepped back out into the road and quickly set back to work. In front of my me a older fellow walked back and forth in a zig zag across the middle of one of the out lanes while a younger fellow walked behind him spraying pink X's on the road every time his divining rods crossed as he located the pipes that were under the pavement in the intersection. This time, I just kind of smiled and shook my head. There was a nice new 4 foot ditch there the next morning.
Each one of these could be explained away. Maybe the old guy finding the water leak in the pipe could feel the vibration of the water down in the trench as it exited the pipe into the aggregate gravel beneath his feet. Maybe the professional buried line surveyor saw us up on the back of the structure and wanted to have a good joke on us. That there is some funny sh#t, I don't care who you are. Maybe the DPWW guy was having a huge chuckle messing with the early morning yuppies on their way to work. Again, hugely funny if it was that.
I do know that I have run my Nox on the site I mention above and the interference is very nasty around the buildings. Pretty much coincides with what the surveyor told my engineer.
Maybe, I'll spend some of my time in retirement investigating folks that use dowsing in their everyday job requirements. When I'm not metal detecting. I got a couple years to research. //R
Sorry I got long winded Steve.