Dowsing has been used for centuries as a method for finding water, treasures, gold, metals, people, animals and to tell the past and the future. In fact dowsing has been used for nearly 7,000 years and probably even longer.

It was used by both the ancient Egyptians and Chinese. In the middle ages it was used in Europe to find coal deposits and water.

In the 20th century dowsing has been used in archeological and geological work, and by utility companies in locating damaged pipes and cables.

The traditional tool of the dowser is a forked rod made of wood. Certain wood such as Hazel, Willow, Ash and Rowan are the best.

Many dowsers prefer to work with a pendulum on a string. The dowser attunes themself to what is being sought usually through visualization.

The dowser holds the forked end of the rod making sure palms are turned upwards. The dowser walks until the rod trembles and dips down marking the spot.

In the case of dowsing with a pendulum the dowser hangs the pendulum over a map.

Dowsing, sometimes called divining or water witching, is the practice which dowsers say permits them to detect hidden or buried water, metals, gemstones, or other such objects without the use of scientific apparatus. A Y- or L-shaped twig or rod is used during dowsing, but some dowsers use other equipment or no equipment at all. Dowsing is widely practiced despite a lack of scientific evidence for its efficacy.

History of dowsing:
Dowsing has existed in various forms for thousands of years. The original may have been for divination purposes to divine the will of the gods, to foretell the future and divine guilt in trials. Dowsing as practiced today probably originated in Germany during the 15th century, when it was used to find metals. The technique spread to England with German miners who came to England to work in the coal mines. During the Middle Ages dowsing was associated with the Devil. In 1701 the Inquisition stopped using the dowsing rod in trials. In the late 1960s during the Vietnam War, some U.S. Marines have used dowsing to attempt to locate weapons and tunnels.

Dowsing equipment:
Traditionally, the most common divining rod was a Y-shaped branch from a tree or bush. Some dowsers prefer branches from particular trees; hazel twigs in Europe and witch-hazel in the United States were commonly chosen. Some dowsers prefer the branches to be freshly cut. Many dowsers today use a pair of simple L-shaped metal rods; some even use bent wire coat hangers. One rod is held in each hand, with the short part of the L held upright, and the long part pointing forward. Some dowsers claim best success with rods made of particular metals, such as brass. Pendulums such as a crystal or a metal weight suspended on a chain are sometimes used in divination and dowsing, particularly in remote or "map dowsing". In one approach, the user first determines which direction (left-right, up-down) will indicate "yes" and which "no," before proceeding to ask the pendulum specific questions. In another form of divination, the pendulum is used with a pad or cloth that has "yes" and "no" written on it, and perhaps other words, written in a circle in the latter case. The person holding the pendulum aims to hold it as steadily as possible over the center. An interviewer may pose questions to the person holding the pendulum, and it swings by minute unconscious bodily movement in the direction of the answer. In the practice of radiesthesia, a pendulum is used for medical diagnosis.

Possible explanations:
Both skeptics of dowsing and many of dowsing's supporters believe that dowsing apparatus have no special powers, but merely amplify small imperceptible movements of the hands arising from the expectations of the dowser. This psychological phenomenon is known as the ideomotor effect.

A divining rod (also known as dowsing rod) is an apparatus used in dowsing. There are many types of divining rods: two brass "L" shaped wire rods (commonly made of brazing or welding rod, but glass or plastic have also been accepted) that are to be held one in each hand. When something is found, they cross over one another making an "X" over the found object. If the object is long and straight, such as a water pipe, the wires will point in opposite directions, showing the direction the object is pointing. Brass is commonly used. A forked (or "Y" shaped) branch of a tree or bush. The two ends on the forked side are to be held one in each hand with the third pointing straight ahead. Often the branches are grasped palms down. The pointing end turns up or down when water is found. This method is sometimes known as 'Willow Witching'. Hazel or willow branches were commonly used; these were called virgula divina. Divining rods are used in dowsing, a type of divination that claims to be able to find ground water, oil, and other mineral resources by non-scientific means. Expert dowsers are allegedly capable of dowsing exact depth measurements of water veins, electromagnetism, currents and telluric phenomena. They are also allegedly capable of measuring blood toxicity, white cells, and sugar levels, and detecting human illness and health. Expert dowsers are allegedly not limited to any specific time and space, claiming the ability to dowse any material at any given time from any location.

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Virgula divina:
Virgula divina, or Baculus divinatorius, was a form of divining rod created from the forked branch of a hazel tree, used in the discovery of underground mines, springs, etc. The claimed method of using this Y-shaped branch involved the following: the user walks very slowly over the places where he suspects mines or springs may be; effluvia would then exhale from the metals or the water, impregnating the branch's wood, making it dip or incline. Such motion was supposed to indicate a discovery. Many experiments alleged on its behalf, authors searched for the natural cause. The corpuscles, they said, rising from springs or minerals, entering the rod, force it to bow down, in order to render it parallel to the vertical lines that the effluvia created as they rose. In effect, the mineral or water particles were supposed to be emitted by means of subterraneous heat, or of the fermentations in the interior thereof. The virgula, being of a light, porous wood, gave an easy passage to those particles. The effluvia, driven forwards by those that follow them, and driven backwards by the atmosphere incumbent on them, are forced to enter the tiny regions between the fibres of the wood, and by that effort oblige it to incline, or dip down perpendicularly, to become parallel with the little columns which those vapors form in their rise.

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