Dowsing on photos - Test

This has reference to the various threads on “Water witching” and the test I had undertaken on the 50 photos sent by RJKUgly.

Let’s start a fresh thread on this.


Link to column: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/159/does-dowsing-for-water-really-work

Good idea. We were hijacking the other thread far too much!

However, this one might be in the wrong forum, as it is not about one of Cecil’s columns anymore.

Since we came to here by way of your original claim to be a “water diviner”, I hope you will set up a test of that claim, perhaps with the protocol I suggested earlier. Unlike the photo test, which IMHO is fraught with uncertainty, the possibility of error and manipulation, a test of 10 jugs, only 1 of which has water, would be less subject to these flaws.

And if you can succeed in a water detection test repeatedly, the MDC is yours for the taking. Why not apply? What have you got to lose?

Here is the “other” thread.

The position so far is that you claimed a 96% success rate, fully accepted the test, scored 84% (i.e. failed the test) and then said there were problems with the test.

If you’d like to try again, I suggest the following protocol:

  1. You restate your % ability to spot dead people from pictures.
  2. You get sent some pictures (say 20), with a statement saying whether each one is alive or dead.
  3. You state whether the picture quality is good enough and also give us your %score.
  4. Repeat steps 2-3 until you are happy.
  5. You get sent some more pictures (say 20), this time with no clues.
  6. You give your answers.
  7. We look forward to the results.

Let me have some more photos. I shall confirm the quality and state % age. No clues please.

What glee is saying that before doing the final test, we want to make sure that the photos we send you will be of good enough quality that you won’t have problems with their size, fuzziness, etc.

To do that we would send you at least one set of test pictures, and the answers that show which people are alive and which ones are dead. You dowse the test photos and confirm for yourself that your reading is correct for each picture.

If you have any problems with any pictures in the test set then you tell us what it is about the picture that gave you trouble, and we’ll try to come up with another set of test pictures where none of the pictures have that problem.

We do that as many times as needed until you are satisfied that the pictures we are sending are all good enough so that you to feel as confident as possible about your results.

We can now create a set of pictures for the final test which we know will be as good as possible for your test because they will conform to the same set of specifications that you approved for the last test set.

Then we send you the final test pictures. Of course this time we will not send the answers. Then you test them and send your answers. Somebody figures out which were identified correctly and which were not, and we’re done.

I would like to see such a test. I hope you agree to try, and that together we can make it work.

From the other thread:

It is fair enough. Let us make it a try.

Let me once again say “I am not paranormal”. I do not claim to have any special abilities. Dowsing on the photos happened by accident. Consistent pattern was seen during the observations. I am skeptic. Hence this search. My intentions were to use this forum to get to the truth, if any. I have also seen that this can be done by most people.

But I still stick to the stand the divining for water is possible only by a few. By water divining, I do not link it to searching for water buried in bags etc. It is just underground natural source of water.

As RJKUgly mentioned "I would like to see such a test… together we can make it work. "

On water divining please follow the thread I posted on “Water divining - It is real”

pramanujan: one thread on a topic is enough. I’m closing the other one.

You are claiming that a) there is some difference between photos of dead people and photos of live people, and b) you can detect that difference with dowsing rods. How is that not paranormal?

Or, to put it more specifically: In what scientifically plausible way would the nature of a photograph change at the moment of the subject’s death? And how could that nature be unaffected by digitization? And how could that nature be detected by rods?

What I said was that " I" am not “paranormal” or “psychic” or “religious”. May be the phenomenon displayed by the dowsing rod can be classified under “paranormal”, if you wish to include “unexplainable” as a meaning of the word “paranormal”.

What happens on the dowsing rod is REAL. No one may be able to explain or scientifically analyze the reason for such movements. I am seeking possible explanations. This is precisely why I joined this forum for discussions and took up the test.

But I find that people are more interested in analyzing the statistics than the subject itself.

I never said there is some difference between photos of dead people and photos of live people. All I said was that the dowsing rod moved differently on the photos of dead and living, with of course an exception already explained earlier. Since the movement of the rod was different on the photos and was giving a typical pattern, I wanted to explore more on this subject.

But it seems people here refuse to accept the fact and to recognize my intentions. They frown upon it and declare it as fraud.

Why not have some healthy discussions to find possible explanations?

Let us have more photos, belonging to different years or age.

Believe me, I do not wish to search the internet for any clues. My intentions are clear. It is not to claim any special abilities in me. It is to test more and more so as to arrive at some possible conclusions, based on the pattern formed. I am ready to upload video recordings to show the effect to others.

Once again, it is no challenge or any sort, as some try to distort.

On the contrary, we know exactly why the movements happen. It’s called the ideomotor effect, and it is well studied and understood. The dowsing rods amplify very small unconscious movements of the hands and body, making it appear that motion is coming from the rods when it is completely coming from the person holding them. This is fairly basic science.

The question left is can you do anything useful with this phenomenon. You say “yes”, most everyone who has studied the it says “no”. That’s why double blind tests are important, and every one so far has shown that there’s no additional information provided by the dowsing rods. Claims like yours have never been upheld, but there’s always that possibility, so we continue to test.

All right, then. It’s pretty well established that people can unconsciously move objects, without really intending to–that’s what makes Ouija boards and the like work. Someone else can expound on that if needed. So, hypothesis: you’re picking up cues from photographs about the subject’s current age and overall health. Combined with some reasonable knowledge of life expectancies, you can make an educated guess whether the person is alive or not. Your subconscious then influences how the rods move. Not much different from carnies guessing people’s weight, except it’s done subconscoiusly If you already know whether the subject is alive or dead, then the explanation is simpler yet, because no guessing is involved.

Clearly there must be some reason for the different motion of the rod. If there’s no difference between pictures, then it’s something you’re doing, which makes my hypothesis above seem pretty reasonable.

No one here doubts that the dowsing rods really move. Let’s make that clear.

We’re pretty confident in our explanation of why they move. You have a different idea, and are confident in that. How then do we go about telling the difference, something that will clearly give a different answer if you are right from what you’ll get if we are right? That’s what we’re after. We think the rods move because you are unconsciously moving them, based on whatever may be going on in your head, and this effect has no actual connection to whether the people in the photos are dead or alive. The way to test this is to have you dowse pictures of people you don’t know their alive/dead state and compare the result to the predictions of our hypothesis and of your hypothesis. That’s why you need statistics.

Has anyone here accused you of being a fraud? We just think you’re mistaken. From what I’ve read, the vast majority of dowsers are not frauds, they really do believe they have those powers. It’s just that they’re mistaken.

In that case, let me be the first to say you are a fraud, at least if you claim to be able to interpret a physical movement of an object as meaning something ridiculously unconnected, such as indicating water or the status of a person’s picture.

Especially if you refuse to use your powers to earn an easy million dollars. Hells Bells, Martha, you won’t even try.

No one doubts that your rods move. My rods move. We differ only in why they move or what the movement indicates. You say it’s for a paranormal or psychic reason, I say it’s a conscious or unconscious action you yourself are doing and there’s nothing paranormal or psychic about it.

I can prove my claim that physics is involved (ask any high school science teacher). Can you prove yours?

Of course. It is statistics that determines whether a paranormal activity, be it water dousing, clairvoyance, or anything else is reasonably attributable to chance.

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  • Bonzo Dog Band

Perhaps you thought you were posting in this thread?

Otherwise, color us :confused:

If you say it is conscious or unconscious action that makes the dowsing rod move, what do you say of the number of times I have dowsed for undergound water? It was 100% success till date. I have identified bore well points at many places.

During this process, the rods move only at certain places. It is not just minor movements. They just swing outwardly. You cannot not term it conscious or unconscious action by the person. How about the coconut when used for water divining? It just stands upright at the right spot. Normally the coconut cannot be held upright on the palm. You just cannot balance it that way. Would you agree that there are water streams underground? Unless you hit the spot, you will miss the stream and end up with a failed well. I think you must see one of the videos to believe it or more preferably see it in person.

I do not have any explanation for this phenomenon.