Dowsing, sometimes called divining or water witching, is a generic term for practices which proponents claim empower them to find water, metals, gem stones, sex of unborn children, hidden objects over a piece of land or a map (unmarked graves)and even ghosts, usually through fluctuations of apparatus including a Y-shaped twig, rods or pendulum. Some have even claimed to be able to sense the reactions without an apparatus but tests have not supported these claims.

Dowsing has existed in various forms for thousands of years and is considered the oldest form of divination known to man. The original may have been for divination purposes in order to divine the will of the gods, to foretell the future and divine guilt in trials. During the Middle Ages dowsing was associated with the Devil. In 1659 dowsing was declared Satanic by the Jesuit Gaspar Schott. In 1701 the Inquisition stopped using the dowsing rod in trials. Dowsing as practiced today may have originated in Germany during the 15th century, when it was used to find metals. The technique spread to England with German miners who came to England to work in the coal mines.

Many use simple brass rods bent in an "L" shape also known as divining rods but many also use the wooden Y-rods and even bent wire coat hangers. According to some dowsers who use divining rods, brass allows the rod to attune to magnetic fields emanated by the target without the earth's EM field interfering, as would be the case with a metal such as steel. The end of the rod to be held by the dowser is often encased in a material that provides a constant electrical impedance, to prevent the dowser's own conductivity from interfering with the dowsing process. However, it is undetermined as to how it exactly works. Basically, a person concentrates on what they are looking for and when they find the right spot, the rods will either bend downwards or will cross over one another. They are supposed to point in the direction of any energy (ghosts, anomalous energy and even dimensional portals) they detect.

Pendulums (these may be a crystal suspended on a chain, or a metal weight) can be used in divination and dowsing. In one approach the user will first determine which direction (left-right, up-down) determines "yes" and which "no," before proceeding to ask the pendulum specific questions. In another form of divination, the pendulum is used with a pad or cloth that may have yes and no, but also other words written in a circle. The person holding the pendulum aims to hold it as steadily as possible over the center. An interviewer may pose questions to the person holding the pendulum, and it swings by minute unconscious bodily movement in the direction of the answer. In the practice of radiesthesia a pendulum is used for medical diagnosis.

A Few Dowsing Organizations:

International Society of Dowsing Research (ISD)
International Digital Dowsers Forum Board
American Society of Dowsers (ASD)
British Society of Dowsers (BSD)
Canadian Society of Dowsers (CSD)
Dowsers Association RSD
Global Spiritual Dowsers

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