For the record, I am a dowsing skeptic. Add to the record that I know well that anicdote<>data.
My dowsing story:
A few jobs back I was working at a company that went through a large growth phase. We were able to rent space in the adjacent building in our office park area. Phone and data lines needed to be run across the parking lot and under the driveway.
The contracter doing the work rented a pneumatic powered “mole” designed to tunnel under driveways and such. I’m not sure what the real name is, but you dig a hole on each side, place the thing in one hole, carefully aiming at the other hole, and it hammers it’s way across, dragging the airhose behind it. When it arrives at the other hole, you use the air hose to pull the wires or whatever through the tunnel it left.
And you are two idiots, and then you don’t aim carefully. And you wait untill the entire 100’ supply of airhose has been used up before it occurs to you that maybe the thing isn’t ever going to appear in the second hole. Then if you are REALLY dumb, you let it run untill that 100’ air hose breaks. And if you are REALLY REALLY dumb, you then pull the entire hose (which you could follow to find the device) out of the hole.
So the contractor starts digging with a backhoe where they think the thing probably is. After digging a hole large as large and deep as they can with a “normal” backhoe, they have not found the device.
So the contractor goes back to the rental place…“I guess I own that thing now, how much?” Turns out it is aroune $50,000 in early 90s dosh.
About this time, one of my coworkers (he was actually a contractor) who is into every crackpot pseudoscience known to mankind, and activly developing a few of his own, goes out there with his l-shaped dousing rods. and plants a flag where he says the thing is. “standard” technique with two L-shaped wire metal rods, not a forked stick.
This is obviously wrong, as they measure from the compressor and it would require about 20-25’ more than the 100’ of hose that was known to have been used. A metal detector (T-R type) is rented but nothing is located. Must be deeper.
So they cut a ramp, run the back hoe down into the hole, and dig as deep as the backhoe is able to lift dirt from the hole. Still no joy.
So they rent a bigger backhoe. and dig as deep as that one can go. Still no joy.
Oh, did I mention that this in the middle of the parking lot of the contractor’s customer? That would be the front parking lot where only customers and the two owners are allowed to park, not the one where the pions have to park. Did I mention that the primary owner developed a tic which got pretty noticeable every time he walked past that hole?
Once the hole was as deep as the large economy-sized backhoe could lift dirt from (the hole was big enough for IT to drive into now) they started expanding the search horizontally.
You know where this is going:
The thing was about 4’ under ground. Directly below the spot where the wack job had planted his flag. It turns out that 100’ of pneumatic hose will stretch about 20-25’ before it breaks.
It didn’t make a believer of me, but while still a skeptic, I am not a vocal one when it comes to this particular flavor of hokum.