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Divining for Water?!?


As I've tried to impart to all, DO NOT listen to granola-headed shrub cuddlers when it comes to survival info. They will get you killed. 

I recently had someone write to me, telling me that I am wrong on the "divining rod" subject. I'm definitely NOT trying to make fun of Sander here. He attends a VERY prominent Polytechnic Institute, and he seems quite intelligent. I am, however, convinced that his own intelligence has worked against him in this case.

Sander writes (paraphrased):

During an archaeology class I took (just for fun) the teacher had us cut up a coat hanger into two pieces, each L-shaped, with about 4-6" and 8-10" arms each. He then took us outside to the football field, which had underground water lines run every ten yards for the sprinkler system.

Holding each one so they stuck out in front of you in parallel, you'd start walking down the field. Walking along, every time a water line hit, the hangers would, without any provocation from your hands, sway inwards and cross each other. As you left the water line, and got to about 2-3 yards away, they uncross and go back to pointing out. You could accurately determine the water sources to a yard easily doing this.

It only worked for 3 or 4 people in the class of about 30, one of which was me.

M40's response:

Dear Sander,

I've heard all the most strident arguments about divining rods, but I still think they are a parlor trick. This is because every attempt to properly test this technique has failed miserably. I saw a "psychic" try to prove it out on Discovery channel against nothing but pure chance. He "divined" a field, picking 10 spots to drill, while the Discovery folks simply tossed stones to pick spots to drill. The "psychic" lost, as none of his spots were anywhere near surface water, and the random method hit on a couple aquifers by pure chance.

These folks have "proved out" divining by finding water where they saw the rod dip, but the fact remains that pretty much anywhere you dig, you'll find water if you go deep enough. I've heard of divining for water, oil, minerals, buried treasure, etc etc etc. How come the folks that make these claims are never wealthy... ?

And how come I never see the headline "Psychic Wins Lottery"? It's because these are parlor tricks. Always have been, always will be. Some of these folks are pretty convincing, but so are most magicians. Many "psychics" actually believe they have paranormal abilities, so I'm not calling them liars, I'm just saying most of them are so into the "New Age" crap that they actually believe they can perform magic. None of these have EVER proven their abilities under observed conditions.

The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) offers a one-million-dollar prize to anyone who can show, under proper (scientific) observing conditions, evidence of any paranormal, supernatural, or occult power or event. The prize is in the form of negotiable bonds held in a special investment account. All tests are designed with the participation and approval of the applicant. So far, no one has ever passed even a preliminary test.

I believe that what you experienced in your archaeology class was a simple case of your own inherent intelligence fooling you. Most "Psychics" are what I choose to call "master observers of the present facts". They are folks who observe well, and use all available knowledge when they make a judgment. It is what most folks call "insightful". Subconsciously, you knew there was a sprinkler system there, and you unwittingly dipped the rod. Please don't make the mistake of mixing simple insightfulness with copious amounts of EGO, which is what you'll find most "psychics" do in claiming special powers.

Feel free to disagree with me on this, but I have the entire scientific community on my side. Science can logically prove their findings, yet there has never been a single proven paranormal event.

I thank you for your correspondence, but would recommend AGAINST packing a divining rod in your survival kit. Stick to the proven ways to find water, and you'll do just fine!