Divining Rod and Other Divination

THE MOST familiar use of the divining rod, and the one most people know something about through reputation if not through actual observation, is that of locating underground water. The divining rod of late years, however, has greatly extended its usefulness. In its different forms it is known to oil and metal prospectors as a “doodlebug.” And although the claims of those using “doodlebugs” for such purposes should be taken with much caution, such “doodlebugs” at present are in rather common use, and at times with outstanding success, in the effort to locate mines, and in locating oil.

They have been employed, with varying degrees of success, in the development of the newer oil fields of the southwestern United States. Instances of their successful use in this region might be cited at considerable length, but as these have not painstakingly been investigated by men of academic standing as scientists, such citations would carry little scientific weight. Yet before explaining this form of divination and how to practice it, irrefutable evidence should be presented that it can be done. And, as more convincing than the experience of any layman, I shall call upon one of the greatest scientists of our times, Professor Charles Richet, who investigated the subject exhaustively, to present the necessary proof. In his noteworthy book, Thirty Years of Psychical Research, on page 230 he says:

The bending of the rod over water-springs or metals is incontestably true. It has recently been fully verified, with all possible care, and the phenomena can no more be denied than any fact of chemistry or physiology.

There was a series of trials published in 1913 by H. Magar, at the Forest of Vincennes at which it was clearly proved that masses of metals buried in the ground could be discovered equally well as moving water. The discovery of moving underground water has almost become a trade and cannot be doubted; the government engineers in different lands use the faculty of dowser {one who uses a divining rod is called a dowser) to discover water; this is done in various districts of France, in Tunisia, Algiers, the United States, and in German Africa. Differences of skill in dowsers are not due to the rod not turning in their hands, but to unequal ability in interpreting its movements as to the extent, depth, and direction of flow.

On page 231 he gives the results of still other investigations:

Summing up his results, M. Vire has sent me an unpublished note in which he give the figures below from fully verified trials since 1913 by Messrs. Pelaprat, Probst, Jouffreau, A. Vire, Colonel Vallatin, and the Abbe Mermet:

Subterranean water, number of experiments 19, successes 89%.

Subterranean cavities, number of experiments 23, successes 87%.

Metals and metallic veins, number of experiments 11, successes 80%.

Coal, number of experiments 9, successes 55%.

Calculation by percentage underrates the successes, for a remarkable positive result greatly outweighs many failures. The probability is not 1 to 2, but very much less.

For instance, M. Pelaprat and M. Vire (in an unpublished experiment) showed Mr. A.C., councilor of state, where to sink a well on his property at Juillac (Depart. Lot.). Several borings had been made without results. Messrs. Pelaprat and Vire indicated a thin stream of water thirteen metres below the surface; a well was sunk, and water was found in sufficient quantity for the purpose required.

These quotations from a book written by a man recognized throughout the world for his scientific attainments will, I believe, be sufficient to indicate not only that the divining rod actually may yield information regarding underground substances, but that in the hands of an expert diviner it may prove of great practical value.

In the past such divination has been practiced mostly by the ignorant. It has systematically been discouraged as a mere superstition. In consequence, it is an ability which has been cultivated by the few indeed, and this cultivation has not been approached in an intelligent manner. Therefore what has already been accomplished in this line is probably inferior and unreliable in comparison to what may be accomplished under intelligent training based upon a more thorough knowledge of the principles that must be utilized.