It was with interest that I read in the community section (4B, May 16) of the newspaper that a group planned a meeting to hear about the use of the dowsing rod.
The meeting was organized by the Metaphysical Enlightenment Group of Trumbull County. It had a guy by the name of Keith Harmon of London speak May 19 at the Warren SCOPE Center on West Market Street in Warren. His topic was âJust Divine Energy Dowsing.ã Harmon is chief executive officer of the British Complementary Medicine Association. He taught dowsing in many parts of England, the Channel Islands, and in North Carolina, Nebraska and Ohio. He says, according to the article, dowsing can be used for archaeology, health, tracking earth energy lines both good and bad, making decisions, making choices and many other things. He even has a website.
There is a reason this particular article caught my eye. At about the same time the article appeared in the paper, I actually had been experimenting with dowsing. My wife and I had been on a trip to Tennessee to visit her father, Bill Scarbrough, and step-mother Joy for a few days. Somehow one day we got on the subject of how people determine where to dig water wells, and I was introduced to the method called 'water witching' which, come to find out, also is known as dowsing.
I was even told by Bill he could show me how it works. I have to say I was more than a little skeptical, and was assured I was setting myself up to be on the receiving end of one of the best practical jokes of all time. Reluctantly, I agreed to give it a try. When the camera came out to record the activities, the practical joke meter went off the chart.
Here is how it works. You take two of what Bill called No. 9 wire, bend an L into the end of each one, so that it looks like you are holding a 16-inch-or-so wire pistol in each hand. The wire is similar to the little rods that hold up real estate for-sale signs in people's yards. Elbows in, fists forward with wire pistols pointed straight ahead horizontally, you begin walking slowly and when you come across water the tips of the rods -- or the end of the pistol -- are supposed to turn out, or away, from each other.
Still wary of the practical joke possibility, I told Bill to show me. He did it, the rods turned out, and he said 'there, see? Nothing to it.' Yea, and I've seen magicians pull rabbits out of hats and cut women in half, too. Against my better judgment, I decided to give it a try. My wife Kim, Bill and Joy were anxiously awaiting my attempt, and that made the practical joke meter go up another notch.
Elbows tucked, pistols pointed, I began walking. After about five steps, nothing. Five more steps, nothing. I was in the same location Bill had just made it work. Five more steps, still nothing. I heard Bill say, 'slow down a little.' In the back of my head I heard another voice, and it was saying 'Frank, you idiot, you really have fallen for one of the best practical jokes of all times.' Another sound I was hearing was the practical joke meter alarms going off as if a nuclear plant had just gone into metdown.
But there were no laughs from the three. Bill said we needed to try another spot. So we went to the front yard, tried it again, and still nothing. On the third try -- at this point I was wondering when the practical joke would be over, they could have their laughs and this would be over -- I started walking and behold, the rods moved. It was an amazing thing to witness. I was then told they moved because there was a water line under where I was standing.
Good, I thought. That nuclear-plant noise in the back of my head was getting annoying. Now it was easing a bit. It worked. I wouldn't have to listen to the teasing the rest of the visit or even the rest of my life (remember, there was a camera clicking away.
So call it dowsing, water witching or whatever. It worked. I asked Bill why, and he put it simply: 'Just because.'