Dowsing on photos - Test

In many places, you can drill anywhere and strike water. The fact that everywhere you drilled you hit water means nothing unless you can show that the places you didn’t drill didn’t have water. This is why you need a designed, double blind experiment that controls for these sorts of things.

I can dowse for water above my bathtub. 100% of the time. When the rods move, there is water below. 100%. 100 fucking percent of the time!!! Is this silly? Not if nearly 100% of the earth’s surface has water below it, somewhere. Your losses are overwhelmed by your successes.

I can identify “bore well” places, too. Try identifying NON-bore places sometime. Can you find a place where there is NOT water?

Back off, Peter Morris. :slight_smile: *

“I can call the spirits from the vasty deep!” “Why, so can I, or so can any man. But do they come when you call them?”

If you are so damned good, why aren’t you winning the million dollar challenge? We’re wasting valuable time here. Win the money and then you can do the “I told you so” dance. [Dom Delouise]“Ya, ya, ya. Ya, ya, ya!”[/Dom]

  • If you’re not Peter Morris, never mind.

Yes, I can. Have you studied physics? Simple mechanics? Levers?

I have never seen coconuts used for this purpose, so I haven’t the slightest idea what you are talking about.

I agree that there is water underground. Geologists tell us that “streams” exist only in certain kinds of substructures, but there is pretty much water everywhere, streams or not. Which means that is is hard NOT to find it.

I need to see a video to believe it? What is that video going to show me? That someone found water underground, in an area where there is nothing but water? Why don’t you try to find a dry hole sometime? Now that would be a challenge.

I have a bag of 100 balls. Most of them are black. Would a challenge to find a black ball be hard to meet? But that is what you are suggesting. Try to find a white ball, that’s much harder. Try to find a dry hole, that’s more like it.

I do. You are deluded or a fraud. You continue to insist that you have powers that you cannot demonstrate under fair and impartial conditions. When will you take the Challenge and prove that what you claim is not bullshit?


I’ve had this sort of discussion with many dowsers over the last decade.
Whilst it may be frustrating to you that they refuse to take the Randi Challenge, it is certainly rare to find one who will actually have a go at a test (even an online one).

Since pramanujan has been polite throughout and has co-operated with our first test, I urge you to stop using insulting language at him.
For starters, Randi (who has tested many dowsers) states that they all honestly believe in their powers. Therefore it is wrong to use the word ‘fraud’.

Musicat: I’m not sure what you mean by this, but the simple straightforward reading is that you are accusing Peter Morris of having a sock, and being pramanujan. That’s just not an acceptable accusation.

If you seriously think you’ve uncovered a sock, then please REPORT it to let the mods decide, based on evidence that you don’t have. If you’re not serious, then your comment has no place here. Either way, it’s a personal insult by implication, and you will NOT do such again.

I’m not giving an Official Warning for this because I think it’s probably meant as a joke. If so, it’s a miserable fizzle; and everyone should be aware that being funny (which this isn’t) is NOT an excuse to level personal insults at other posters. You’re escaping a Warning because I don’t want to give you two in two sequential posts.

This one is a personal insult, not permitted, and you are getting an OW (Official Warning) for it. You can go after what a person is saying (“You continue to insist…”) but not the person him/herself.

I interpreted that to mean that if Peter Morris happens by this thread, that he should ignore that comment.

I thought this was a thread about dowsing on photos and the related testing.

I see that there was a thread about water dowsing that was closed, but did the photo dowsing (aka — negative energy dowsing) idea go out the window?

I think this is part of the problem. Water doesn’t flow in streams underground, not usually anyway. It just goes through voids that are spread broadly around underground. When you dig a well and dig a little past the layer of rock that holds the water, then water will pool into that low area and that’s a well.

You have the idea that water is flowing underground in narrow streams like the streams you see on the surface, so that hitting on is difficult and not likely by chance alone. But that’s not right - water is widely available underground.

pramanujan said:

You are saying you do not believe you have any special powers, that this is doable by anyone. You do not invoke any rituals or lay claims to psychic powers, that you just perform a task and get a result that seems consistent to you. For the purposes of this thread, it is fair to say that the ability you claim to have is paranormal, without regard to whether that makes you special or different from anyone else. Fair?

We need a way to tell the difference between your explanation for what is happening (the rods or the person using the rods are affected by something that shows whether the person in the photo is currently alive or dead) and what we think is happening (unconscious subtle motions are causing the rods to move, and you are interpreting the results - when you know the status of the person in the photo, the unconscious motions react to your expectations). How are we to tell the difference?

The standard scientific practice is to set up a test where you think the conditions are proper for the effect to work, but that you do not know the status of the people in the pictures, and we have eliminated any potential sources of information other than the dowsing rods. Then we identify the ability to make correct determinations by random chance, so we can compare your results to something to measure how successful you are. The way we make these comparisons is via statistics. Unfortunately, some of us are not well-versed in statistics, which is why we want to simplify the test conditions as much as possible to make the ability to determine chance performance easy. However, one person has demonstrated some working knowledge of statistics and performed a calculation for us.

Now if you could propose a mechanism for how the pictures transfer the information about the current status of health, or a mechanism for underground water to convey it’s location and depth to the rods, then those proposed mechanisms could potentially be studied. However, most of us are of the mind that there is no need to look for a mechanism when the effect itself has not been verified to actually exist. So let us look at the test and see if there is an effect that is real, or if it is a misinterpretation on your part.

You say the dowsing rods move differently depending upon the current status of the person depicted in the photo. How would that be so? Somehow the photo is acting as a link between the rods or rod operator and the person. The mechanics of that hypothetical link are irrelevant until we prove there is in fact an actual effect and not some other process at play, such as subconscious knowledge effecting the results.

Many of us accept that you are sincere in your beliefs. We just feel that you are mistaken about the cause of the rod movements and the significance of that. We are endeavoring to help device a test that can demonstrate whether your effect is really as you state or something else – not just demonstrate to you, but demonstrate for us as well.

That is why we are scrutinizing the process. You may be entirely sincere that you will not try any form of cheating, because you want a real test. But the problem is not just to convince you the results are valid, it is to convince us the results are valid. What experience tells us is that people are prone to many kinds of interferences that prevent a good scientific test. These can be outright fraud, or they can be psychological tendencies and mistaken observations and all sorts of things that prevent the test actually being meaningful. Science is about trying to establish and follow the best practices possible to eliminate all sources that interfere with a good, valid test. That is why we are so stringent on the process for the testing. We are attempting to use the best practices possible to ensure that the test is meaningful and the results valid. Not just for everyone participating, but potentially to share with outsiders afterwards and let them scrutinize what we did. Eliminating the means for cheating is not just to keep you from cheating, it is so we can show other people that you couldn’t have cheated. It is as much to protect your reputation as it is to help ensure the results. They can’t accuse you of cheating if we eliminate the means for cheating.

We think we have the valid explanation. Rather than have an unproductive discussion about possible explanations that have no way to validate them, let us start by proving there is a real effect that is different than we believe. Then we will have better grounds for a productive discussion.

Musicat said:

“Fraud” would be appropriate if we had proof he was intentionally misrepresenting results. We do not have that proof. We have no reason to doubt his sincerity. Ergo, “fraud” is an inappropriate description. “Mistaken”, “misguided”, and “wrong” are all acceptable.

Where has pramanujan said he won’t try? He has stated he would look in to it. We are talking about this test as a preliminary investigation. If he is successful, he may well apply. You seem to be jumping to conclusions.

pramanujan said:

You misunderstand. No one is stating that the rods barely move. Rather, the rods are held in just such a way that very minor motions can cause dramatic movement. It is the instability in the method of holding that allows the rods their ease of movement.

Think of this - if there truly were a strong effect moving the rods independently, why would it only work when the rods are held loosely and precariously without being gripped? Why wouldn’t that effect pull the rods even if they were held firmly in your hands? Why wouldn’t it pull your hands and arms around? If I tie a leash to my dog and hold on to the leash, I don’t need to hold the leash loosely to know where the dog wants to go - my whole body feels it. If I use a fishing pole and hook a fish, I don’t have to see the fish to know it is there or where it is going. It pulls the line, the line pulls the rod, and I feel that. Why doesn’t whatever is causing the effect pull you around? Why does it require you to not grip tightly and not actually resist the motion?

That interpretation of my remark was not one that ever occured to me. It certainly is unique. The reason for my comment, besides perhaps a lame attempt toward humor, is that we have one poster who refuses to accept that there is water nearly everywhere and it is difficult to find a dry hole. That poster has a personal vendetta against James Randi and insists that Mr. Randi has made errors he won’t admit.

Thanks, CurtC, that’s exactly what I meant.

Since we had opened the discussion on water/no water hole, it seemed likely that that poster might show up and hijack the thread.

What would you call someone who can’t do what they claim to do, failed the test, but keeps insisting they can? A super-duper nice guy?

And that is exactly why the test was created in the first place. What does it tell you about someone who claims, and continues to claim, impossible powers but cannot perform when challenged? The MDC was created as a “put up or shut up” I-dare-you, and the more that someone refuses to take it, the less credible their claims become. And this is something I think needs to be repeated, frequently.

At some point below the surface, the ground is saturated with water. If you create a cavity to that depth, the water will seep into the cavity. We call this cavity a well.

There are underground rivers and streams, but 99% of wells rely on the saturation of the ground a.k.a. the water table.

Basically, dig anywhere and you will create a well. The trick is just to dig deep enough.

Yes, but pramanujan is working with us, being reasonable, and we stand a real chance of fighting ignorance here. It serves no ones interests to start throwing accusations and being antagonistic here. Let’s all be polite, produce our own little MDC, and see where it goes. At some point you may be justified in throwing accusations of fraud but not yet.

Just let things work out as they will.

Quite clearly this means that pramanujan attests to being normal, something that should be celebrated in song, and possibly also in verse, unless we desire to dowse the flames of creativity.

I agree in principal. However, as Telemark says, we have someone who has agreed to an online test and who has been cooperative. And as someone else pointed out, I think pramanujan has said he will look into the MDC. We do have a chance to fight some ignorance here.

I think pramanujan has agreed in principal to a another test using the basic protocol glee outlined early in this thread. I’d be willing to again find pictures or help in some other way in such a test.

And if anyone else has any good source of pictures that are private (i.e., not celebrities, public figures, or searchable on the web) and for which the current status (alive or dead) can be verified, that would help immensely.

pramanujan, what is the smallest size picture that you think you can reliably work with? In the previous test, I cropped head shots out of larger pictures to make them all similar and the same size. This meant that some of them turned out a little fuzzy at a fairly normal viewing size. Since you indicated that might have been a problem, we need to know what size will work for you.

Also, in any set of 10 pictures, how many do you think you can reliably identify as alive or dead?

Thanks Irishman for the efforts taken for a very lengthy detailed comments.

Let the size be reasonably big, say, 4" x 6". What matters, may be, the quality of the image. Send them to me and I will look at them.

Can we make sure that the “dead” and “alive” photos are reasonably matched for the age of the people in the photographs at the time they were taken?

As a suggestion, there could be a photobucket or similar account set up where we could all look at the photos… at least in the test design phase.

And again, the photos must not be from the internet, or previously available through any internet search engine.

On these Message Boards, outside the Pit, I wouldn’t call them anything. I would talk about their claims, about what they said, about what they did or didn’t do, but not about them as a person. There is a huge difference between “Your post reflects ignorance” and “You are ignorant.”

[Waxing philosophically]I think that’s a problem with modern-day politics. One can’t just oppose someone’s ideas, one has to demonize the person. It’s the devil-theory of politics and economics, and it makes me very uneasy.[/philosophy]

Ok, we’ve got some suggestions, let’s see what we can do.

pramanujan says a size of 4"x6" with reasonable clarity will work for him. That seems doable.

I like the idea to post them on a publically available site where we can all look at them during the design phase.

Uncertain, do you mean it would be best if the photographs were all taken when the subjects were of a similar age, regardless of their age now? For example, all the pictures would be high school yearbook photos, even if some were recent and some graduated high school 40 years ago? Or do we simply make sure that the apparent age in the picture of each person now dead is matched by the apparent age in the picture of a person still living, even if some of the pictures are of young people and some are of old people?

And what should be the mix of dead/alive? If I understood some of the discussion in the previous thread, it shouldn’t matter if pramanujan knows how many are dead and how many are alive in each batch as long as we account for that in determining whether he has scored above chance or not.

For example, if I’m doing this correctly, we could send three batches of ten pictures each. In each batch one person is now dead and the rest are still alive. The odds of picking the single dead person by chance three times in a row are 1/10 x 1/10 x 1/10, or one in one thousand. And if we did four batches of ten it would be one in ten thousand. It seems to me this is easier to judge than a random mixture of dead/alive pictures. But it may also obscure a talent that is only slightly above the level of chance, and it may mean more pictures are required.

And again, does anyone know of an easy way to come up pictures that meet the criteria we’ve set? Namely (and please chime in if I’ve missed any requirements):

  • They apparent age of the people in the pictures does not give clues
  • The current status of the individuals can be reliably determined
  • The pictures are not of recognizable celebrities or public figures
  • The pictures are not searchable on any internet search engine
  • There are no legal implications to using the pictures (i.e. the people pictured are not going to object)

I can probably come up with at least some pictures, and if we don’t need as many dead as alive it does make it simpler for me.

Comments? Suggestions? And who else can find pictures?