Dowsing For Underground Water

    Dowsing Rods – At Starr & Bullock Hardware

    At first glance I have discounted a lot of things that later in life I figured out were 100% true. I would not put dowsing in that class, because I have never seen it in person. But I do believe there is something there.

    My reasoning is a book from 1983 called The Home Water Supply, published by Storey Publishing. If you are not familiar with Storey, they were one of the leading publishers of the beginning of the “back to the land” movement. Many of us in the late 70s and early 80s wanted to “homestead,” as it is called today, but we had not been taught anything of use by our parents and grandparents, who had fallen into the trap of modernization and convenience.

    I learned a ton of basic skills from Storey books, and put many of them into practice. This was before the internet of course, so books were the only way you could learn how to raise and care for chickens, or keep a family milk cow, or even how to make soap. I’ve done all of those things and many more, starting with a Storey book.

    I recently put in a back up well, and it made me remember this book, and the author’s first experience with a dowser to find water on his property. He was a doubter like most of us, but he came around pretty quick. I was thinking that I should share this revelation with you guys, and let you be the judge.

    I really thought Storey was still going today based on that same back catalog. And most of the now dated books are still in print, but in looking up Storey for this article, I found that they are still going strong, with new books on butchering chickens, welding and all kinds of other useful skills, boiled down to those of us who start out knowing nothing. I also found that many of their classics on things like raising sheep are now in their updated 5th editions. Great stuff. They even have an author who copied my Prepping 101 title. I knew I should have just written a book darnit.

    So, back to my reasoning, when I found a chapter on dowsing in The Home Water Supply (which appears to not have been updated yet), I took it seriously. The author had started out as a skeptic, but then he worked with professional dowsers, and was convinced very quickly that these people had a skill that was not tangible, but that was nonetheless real.

    I bought that book 20 years ago, but in that time I have not had a personal need for dowsing. And now in South Florida, there is water literally everywhere. It isn’t the best quality in a lot of places, but you can pretty much poke a hole anywhere with a drilling rig and get serviceable water.

    What makes dowsing even more believable to me is that the American Society of Dowsers, mentioned in the 1983 book, still exists today, and still has an annual convention.

    I had a difficult time getting these rods to stop going around and around. Could be that south Florida has so much water that they go crazy. Could be that I’m just such an unbalanced individual that finding an equilibrium in anything is nearly impossible.

    So though I don’t know anything about dowsing personally, I figured that I would share with you one of those back pocket pieces of knowledge that I have held onto all of these years.

    Dowsing is most likely a very real ancient art that never gets any credit. And if you are stuck on city water, a dowser may be able to help you find a water source that you can drill. I just put in a back up well myself, because my existing well was old and had been sleeved with galvanized pipe.

    Or just try dowsing yourself. From what I have read, it is undeniable when it works for you. And there are many many books on Ebay that will explain how to get started. The ASD also has a local club list, and dowsers you can hire from many areas of the US.

    And of course, I had to find dowsing rods if I was going to talk about dowsing. Some dowsers can use a forked stick, the classic method, but many use these rods, and some even use a pendulum. If you find you have the gift, dowsing could even become a side hustle. My task in this column, since the Prepping 101 days, has been to introduce you to new concepts that you probably had not thought of yourself. And in this case, that you probably would not have believed regardless. Check out dowsing. I think it’s a little creepy, but real.

    Dowsing Rods – At Starr & Bullock Hardware

    Paul Helinski

    Leave a Comment

    • Pop LeCorque November 14, 2022, 8:36 am Reply

      I’ve never used dowsing rods to find water but as an electrician and farmer I’ve used them to find underground piping and wires. I’ve done it and seen it done many ways and one way that had worked for me is to take the tubes from cheap pens like you get at a hotel and wire coat hangers cut and bent so you have 2 sections each in an L with the long leg about 18” and the short leg about 6”. Place the wires in the tubes and hold one tube vertically in each hand trying not to influence the swing of the wires. Walk slowly over the area keeping the long legs of the wires parallel to the ground. I’ve done this many times and when you cross over the area where the wire or pipe is buried the wires will swing in the tubes either outward in line or swing inward to where they are in line. I’ve always suspected that maybe this works because it is either breaking or creating a magnetic field. Regardless of how it works, it has always worked to some degree. I know there are folks who will attest that it is all being controlled by the user subconsciously but in blind tests I’ve found that to not be the case. Whatever, it is fun and cheap to give it a try.

      • Paul November 14, 2022, 2:34 pm Reply

        I’ve used the same (without the pens) wire hangers, just cut the curly ends off after unwrapping the hook, leaving about 5-6 inches as a vertical handle, and about 18 inches for the horizontal ends.
        For anyone who doesn’t believe this works, simple take a plastic basin or bucket fill with water, stand back 10-15 feet and walk toward the basin slowly, as you get closer to it the horizontal ends start twitching, bouncing…
        as you reach the water the rods cross, then if you walk past the water source the rods point back ward eventually uncrossing.

      • Matt November 18, 2022, 5:50 am Reply

        I too have done this many times. Still have my retired copper rods bent into an L shape that I used. I worked in construction for about 40 years. When I was in my late twenties one of the Contractors on a site was using these two copper rods walking back and forth across a site. I asked him what he was doing and he said finding a waterline. I didn’t laugh at him but watched. The rods would cross from time to time and he would mark the spot. Turned out to be the route of the water line about three feet deep. Have been laughed at several times using those rods And made several eat crow. We used this as a method for locating underground utilities and pipes. It basically worked for me on water lines, underground electric and even some empty pipelines. I have never used it to locate water deep underground. But the idea is plausible.

    • Frank November 18, 2022, 9:24 am Reply

      I wouldn’t consider myself a dowser, but I too, have located underground pipes (mainly water lines) by using the coat hanger method. After crossing the line perpendicular to how it runs in several places, and leaving a marker each time the wires cross, it’s pretty easy to see how the underground line runs. I remember using copper wire as well, which is non-ferrous, like wood. It seems to produce a stronger response if the water is flowing through the line, so if you can open a spigot somewhere on the line, that will likely help locate it… but I’ve found dry lines as well. I don’t have a clue as to how/why it works… but it does.

    • Griz326 November 20, 2022, 11:33 pm Reply

      I paid an ol’ timer to dowse for my well; he didn’t find it. That was $100 that I would have preferred as cigars.

      At the cost of well drillers today, you’d be foolish not to give them a shot. Actually, DIY. I’ll be drilling a new well at a cabin in the forest. Wells are 600-700 feet if you hit a seam. My intention is to hire a hydrologist and to do some dowsing on my own.