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 A Brief History and Background of Dowsing  


The process of dowsing has been in use for thousands of years.  People in ancient China, Egypt and other early civilizations used the dowsing process to locate underground water sources, mineral deposits and other buried items and elements.  Historically the primary target of dowsing has been that of searching for underground water.

Currently there are many people who use the dowsing process to locate unmarked graves, buried utility lines, water sources and other.  A cemetery caretaker is one profession that I have observed using the dowsing process to determine if a given cemetery plot area is free of old unmarked burials so that new burials can be made.  Occasionally I have observed an older utility worker who has continued to use the dowsing process (rather than newer electronic buried utility line locator equipment).

Devices that have been used in the dowsing process have included Y-shaped tree branches, necklace-type pendulums, a variety of wire rods and spring-type items.  Terms often associated with the process of dowsing include divining, doodling, radiesthesia, radionics, water finding, and, of course, witching.

There are modern tools that are increasingly used instead of the dowsing process. These tools include the buried utility line locator equipment,  ground penetrating radar, magnetometer, infrared sensing devices and various types of probes.

I use the low cost and effective L-rod dowsing process in my historical searches.  This process has worked quite effectively for me over the past several years.

My focus in dowsing work is on the historical clues that can be obtained from using the process.  One example: I am often called upon to determine if there are other persons buried in an old family graveyard plot who lack identifying headstone markers and adequate burial records.

Using old maps, written logs and narratives in my initial research effort, I have been able to locate old Indian trails and wagon trails and plot their paths across the landscape using the dowsing process.

Similarly I have dowsed old building foundations and utility line paths to/from those structures.  I have determined that  a capped vertical pipe of an abandoned oil well was located in an urban area.  With my dowsing rods, I have located the metal corner stakes of a plot of farmland.

Thus dowsing has helped me to plot out the presence and paths of various buried historical artifacts and  has reinforced my historical research.

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