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Old 04-10-2012, 12:00 PM
dwb3 dwb3 is offline
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douser

I encountered a water douser three days ago on my property in South Texas. Most of what you say is true, except for two things I cannot account for: 1. Neither me or my brother had any "success" when we tried the forked stick. 2. (and I would not have believed this if I hadn't seen and heard it for myself), the douser's grip was so tight, I could actually hear the bark on the stick twisting off in his hands as he supposedly found water. In fact I checked his palms immediately after that moment. They were red and covered wtih bits of the stick.

Granted, the property is on top of a major aquifer and pretty much anywhere you drill 450 to 500 feet down you'll hit water. The key is whether you have a "good" well producing at least six to 10 gallons a minute, or a "bad" well generating three or less. Most of my neighbors - all drilled by this same guy - have bad wells. The douser says I'll have a good one. We'll see; he starts in a few days.
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Old 04-10-2012, 12:08 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Welcome to SDMB.

You're in the right forum, but it's always a good idea to tell us what column we are talking about.

Perhaps this is the one.

The phenomena you observed with the bark twisting off the stick is a simple physics application of a lever. If you hold a typical forked stick tightly in the "conventional" dowsing manner and squeeze, it will rotate in one direction or the other; the direction of least resistance. If the friction between your hand and the bark is greater than the bond between the bark and the internal parts of the stick, the bark will separate.

If you practice this, you can get any stick, of any substance, to do it anytime. I can, whether there is water nearby or we're in a desert.

It's all levers, not mysterious and not paranormal. If it didn't work for you, you might not have squeezed tightly enough.

Hopefully, you read the rest of the column. Did you?

Last edited by Musicat; 04-10-2012 at 12:11 PM..
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Old 04-10-2012, 04:28 PM
gamerunknown gamerunknown is offline
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The Amazing Randi goes into the precise effect (ideomotor) here too.
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Old 04-11-2012, 12:46 AM
JBDivmstr JBDivmstr is offline
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I'll concede that 'dousing', 'witching', 'wishing' (or whatever the hell else you care to call it) is probably a dump truck load of bovine soil enhancer.

On the other hand, FWIW, I've personally observed someone locate underground water pipes with the 'pair of wires' technique, (and as far as I know) with no prior knowledge or visible clues, (that I could see) of the presence of said pipes.
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Old 04-11-2012, 07:10 AM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Originally Posted by JBDivmstr View Post
On the other hand, FWIW, I've personally observed someone locate underground water pipes with the 'pair of wires' technique, (and as far as I know) with no prior knowledge or visible clues, (that I could see) of the presence of said pipes.
No, you haven't. You've observed, under non-scientific conditions, an exhibition of trickery, fraud, or delusion, and, like Cecil says, you were suckered in. It's a very human trait, no need to be embarrassed!

Objective tests where the dowser did not know in advance where the water was have shown the success of finding it is only random chance. There is no mysterious force here, indeed, no force at all except wishful thinking and self-delusion.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:20 PM
Irishman Irishman is online now
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I generally do all my dousing with water. Occassionally, I will douse with dirt, but that isn't as complete a result as with water.

I hear that Carbon Dioxide is pretty good at dousing, and some systems use halon gas. But water is still the most common method.
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Old 04-11-2012, 03:24 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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Originally Posted by Irishman View Post
I generally do all my dousing with water. Occassionally, I will douse with dirt, but that isn't as complete a result as with water.

I hear that Carbon Dioxide is pretty good at dousing, and some systems use halon gas. But water is still the most common method.
Ever been a football coach? Getting doused with ice-cold Gatorade isn't as much fun as it looks.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:50 PM
JBDivmstr JBDivmstr is offline
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Originally Posted by Musicat View Post
No, you haven't. You've observed, under non-scientific conditions, an exhibition of trickery, fraud, or delusion, and, like Cecil says, you were suckered in. It's a very human trait, no need to be embarrassed!

Objective tests where the dowser did not know in advance where the water was have shown the success of finding it is only random chance. There is no mysterious force here, indeed, no force at all except wishful thinking and self-delusion.
Well, FWIW, in the incident that I referred to, the person doing the 'dousing' wasn't known to be a great 'trickster', nor had I any reason to suspect that he was attempting to be fraudulent, and I'm certain that I've never been 'delusional', although there was that time that I was kind of disillusioned when... but I digress.

After the gentleman (my great-Uncle) 'doused' the location of the underground water pipe, it was confirmed with the use of a metal probe and the subsequent uncovering thru strenuous and prolonged digging (and sweating and cursing, etc.).

A lucky/educated guess? It's certainly possible, but it sure looked/seemed real enough at the time. (And he did find the pipe that we needed to locate.)
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:56 PM
Inner Stickler Inner Stickler is offline
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In order to end what appears to be a cascade of terrible wordplay, I'm going to point out that the paranormal phenomenon this thread is ostensibly about is 'dowsing' not 'dousing'.

JB, every single con man, trickster, fraud, charlatan and mountebank in history has been described as honest, forthright and of great moral character. Without such an image they can't scam their marks. I'm not trying to say your great uncle was a liar. I expect he truly thought he could dowse. But confirmation bias makes it very likely that you and he remember the times that he was successful and not the times he failed.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:08 PM
Telemark Telemark is online now
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Originally Posted by JBDivmstr View Post
A lucky/educated guess? It's certainly possible, but it sure looked/seemed real enough at the time. (And he did find the pipe that we needed to locate.)
It certainly wasn't performed by actual dowsing, that much is pretty certain.
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:29 PM
JBDivmstr JBDivmstr is offline
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Originally Posted by Inner Stickler View Post
In order to end what appears to be a cascade of terrible wordplay, I'm going to point out that the paranormal phenomenon this thread is ostensibly about is 'dowsing' not 'dousing'.

JB, every single con man, trickster, fraud, charlatan and mountebank in history has been described as honest, forthright and of great moral character. Without such an image they can't scam their marks. I'm not trying to say your great uncle was a liar. I expect he truly thought he could dowse. But confirmation bias makes it very likely that you and he remember the times that he was successful and not the times he failed.
Dowsing, not dousing... Got it. Thanks.

Upon retrospection, "confirmation bias makes it very likely that you and he remember the times that he was successful and not the times he failed" would seem to be correct.
(It was a very long time ago.)
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Old 04-11-2012, 10:45 PM
Czarcasm Czarcasm is online now
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You say your uncle was experienced at this sort of thing...which means he learned over time where the pipes usually came from and where they usually went to. This would give him a better than average chance of finding them, don't you think?
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  #13  
Old 04-11-2012, 10:55 PM
Musicat Musicat is offline
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Originally Posted by JBDivmstr View Post
Well, FWIW, in the incident that I referred to, the person doing the 'dousing' wasn't known to be a great 'trickster', nor had I any reason to suspect that he was attempting to be fraudulent, and I'm certain that I've never been 'delusional', although there was that time that I was kind of disillusioned when... but I digress.
The trick may have been how he fooled himself, and he may have fooled you. The fraud was the claim that dowsing has any scientific validity, and the delusion is when anyone who claims to be able to find anything by waving a forked stick or pendulum can't prove it under proper observing conditions, not to mention winning the million dollars that is waiting for a few hours' work.
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