Dowsing 101
By Sarah Harrison
Dowsing has been practiced for centuries and is used to find water,
minerals, pipes, cables, etc.  It is gaining popularity as a ghost hunting
tool.  Dowsing has been shrouded in secrecy for many years because of
association with witchcraft.  The church has consistently condemned
Dowsing until quite recently.  In 1853 the Academie des Sciences of
France appointed a commission to look into the art of dowsing.  The
clerical side of the commission attributed the dowsing rod as a tool of the
The best method for the beginner is to use two thin L shaped rods.  
These can be purchased or made from coat hangers.  Both rods should
be the same size and length.  Many dowsers use handles on their rods.  I
personally do not approve of handles, they block the feel of energy
through the rods.  Hold the short part of the rods loosely in your hands
and relax.  Avoid looking at the rods and move forward.  The rods will
either cross over each other or swing open wide.  Everyone who
practices dowsing refines their own technique. For me, the rod swings
open wide when I've found a water line or underground spring.  The rods
cross when I've found a deeper water source such as a site for a well.
Strength of reaction will vary, from a slight crossing of the rods to a
complete crossing. There may be a slight opening of the rods to a
complete 180 degree opening.  One problem for the novice is auto
suggestion.  The person is so enthusiastic that he will unconsciously
make the rods move.  The beginner must repeat his finding, telling himself
the rods WILL NOT move.  It takes practice, practice, practice.
Another popular dowsing tool is the Y shaped branch.  The branch
chosen must be supple, easy to bend.  Young, but not green wood, is
best.  The best woods are hazel, apple, birch, willow, and beech.  Hold the
branch so that the palms are facing upward.  The branch will move
upward or downward.  There is no significance in the different reactions.  
Sometimes, with a particularly strong reaction, the branch will bend back
to point at the body.
The pendulum is also used for dowsing, but can be difficult to use,
especially for the novice.  Wood is the best substance for making a
pendulum.  The string must be held between thumb and forefinger and
with arm outstretched, the dowser begins walking.  The pendulum will
begin to rotate.  The stronger the reaction, the faster and higher the
pendulum's rotation.
Now I will discuss dowsing for objects other than water.  This technique
requires a great deal of practice for the novice and even professionals
can have difficulty due to the powerful influence of water.  The dowser
must clear his mind and concentrate on the object or substance he is
looking for.    If the dowser is looking for pipes, that is what he must
concentrate on.   A good way to start out is to use sampling.  Hold a small
object of the same material that you are looking for in your hand,
touching both skin and the dowsing rod.  If you are looking for a steel
pipe, hold a piece of steel in your hand.  An excellent exercise for the
beginner is to have someone hide a penny in the yard.  Hold a penny in
your hand and try to find the hidden penny.  You may find the water line
before you find the penny, so it takes much practice.  
There is an article in the Winter 2000 issue of
American Dowser about a
man in Canada who found the body of a murdered girl using dowsing.  
He held a lock of hair from the murdered girl in his hand and found where
she was buried, several blocks from her home.
When dowsing for graves, it is important to remember that most graves in
the United States are set up in the Christian manner. The bodies are laid
to rest with the head pointing west and the feet pointing east. If it's
another type of grave, such as an Indian burial ground or that of a murder
victim, the east/west directions will not hold true. When dowsing for
graves, the rods will cross when you walk over a grave. They will open up
as you step off the grave. You can walk over the site from different
directions to determine the outline of the grave. If it's an abandoned
cemetery, with no markers, the graves are typically two to three feet apart.
 Ley Lines are straight lines that travel over the land for many miles and
some say follow certain earth forces or energies.  Ancient stones circles,
monoliths, and Judaculla Rock in Cullowhee, are said to be built on Ley
Lines. ( I visited Juaculla Rock in 2005, it is indeed located on an
intersection of Ley Lines.)  Ley Lines' strong energies are said to interfere
with the dowsers ability to find what he is looking for.  For fun you can try
dowsing for Ley Lines in your neighborhood and finding out the direction
that they run.  Because some areas have abundant underground water, it
can be difficult to dowse for Ley Lines.
Map dowsing is another popular method.  This technique requires the
use of the pendulum.  Spread the map on the table and hold the
pendulum over the map, scanning small areas at a time.  The pendulum
will react when the object or substance is found.  Then the findings must
be confirmed in the field.
Dowsing rods are said to react to the electromagnetic energy given off by
ghosts.  In tests with skilled dowsers, the rods reacted favorably
compared with an electromagnetic meter.  In the Winter 2001 issue of
American Dowser, it is suggested that a friend snap a picture using a
flash camera when the rods react.  It is a good way to pick up orbs and
other interesting phenomenon.  The rods can also be used to contact
spirits.  Using yes or no questions, ask the spirit to cross the rods for a
yes answer and open them up wide for a no answer.
In this article, I discussed ways for the beginner to get started in this
fascinating field.  I hope you find it as rewarding as I have.
How To Make Dowsing Rods

Dowsing or Divining Rods can be used to find underground water sources, metal deposits, lost
objects, the earth enegy lines or to converse with the deceased.

Acquire two lengths of wire, each about 20 inches long. Alternately, you can straighten two wire
coat hangers. (You can make them shorter if you want to)

Bend each wire about 5 inches from one end.(Or 1/4 of the length for a shorter rod)  This short
end will be the handle.

For handles, a length of 1" dowel rod, with a hole down the center, or several cotton thread reels
glued together will do very nicely. Some people even use Biro pens/felt pens with the centers