Divining Rods
Detect and Speak with Spirits

Ghost Hunting Equipment - Divining Rods
Detect and Speak with Spirits

Although dowsing has never been scientifically proven to work in a controlled setting, the practice remains popular in many parts of the world.

It's been suggested that humans may be able to sense electric and magnetic energy that's invisible to the eye (as many animals can) and subconsciously manipulate the dowsing rods or pendulum to reflect that information.

Dowsing is a type of divination employed in attempts to locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, gravesites, and many other objects and materials, as well as so-called currents of earth radiation (Ley lines), and it is also used to detect and speak with spirits without the use of a scientific apparatus.

Dowsing is also known as divining (especially in reference to interpretation of results), doodlebugging (in the US), or (when searching specifically for water) water finding or water witching.

A Y- or L-shaped twig or rod, called a dowsing rod, divining rod (Latin: virgula divina or baculus divinatorius) or witching rod is sometimes used during dowsing, although some dowsers use other equipment or no equipment at all. 

Dowsing appears to have arisen in the context of Renaissance magic in Germany, and it remains popular among believers in Forteana or radiesthesia although there is no accepted scientific rationale behind the concept and no scientific evidence that it is effective.

Like most tools used in the field of ghost hunting and the paranormal, the dowsing rods have believers and non-believers. Many people are happy with the experiences they have with dowsing rods, while skeptics believe that dowsing has no science behind it other then it is a placebo effect.

Believers will generally believe that dowsing has to do with energy and magnetic fields, while skeptics believe that dowsing has to do with your subconscious mind controlling the rods which is known as the ideomotor effect (people's subconscious minds may influence their bodies without consciously deciding to take action).

How to use Divining Rods

Using Divining Rods for Ghost Hunting

Leading ghost expert Richard Felix tells you everything you need to know about how to become a successful ghost hunter.

Richard uses dowsing rods to find a spirit.

Dowsing as practiced today may have originated in Germany during the 15th century, when it was used to find metals. As early as 1518 Martin Luther listed dowsing for metals as an act that broke the first commandment (i.e., as occultism).

The 1550 edition of Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia contains a woodcut of a dowser with forked rod in hand walking over a cutaway image of a mining operation.

The rod is labelled "Virgula Divina – Glück rüt" (Latin: divine rod; German "Wünschelrute": fortune rod or stick), but there is no text accompanying the woodcut. By 1556 Georgius Agricola's treatment of mining and smelting of ore, De Re Metallica, included a detailed description of dowsing for metal ore.

In 1662 dowsing was declared to be "superstitious, or rather satanic" by a Jesuit, Gaspar Schott, though he later noted that he wasn't sure that the devil was always responsible for the movement of the rod.

Besides dowsing, divining rods were also used as revelatory devices. Sometimes a rod would be held up in the air, and the rodman would ask a question. If the rod moved, the answer was "yes". If it did not move, the answer was "no".

The source for this was believed to be either magical spirits or God; sometimes these types of rods were referred to as a "Mosaic rod" or "rod of Aaron", referencing the Old Testament prophet Moses and his brother Aaron, who both used rods (presumably straight ones).

How to use a Pendulum

Basic information on how to use a pendulum (dowsing).

A pendulum of crystal, metal or other materials suspended on a chain is sometimes used in divination and dowsing.

In one approach the user first determines which direction (left-right, up-down) will indicate "yes" and which "no" before proceeding to ask the pendulum specific questions, or else another person may pose questions to the person holding the pendulum.

The pendulum may also be used over a pad or cloth with "yes" and "no" written on it and perhaps other words written in a circle.

The person holding the pendulum aims to hold it as steadily as possible over the center and its movements are held to indicate answers to the questions.

In the practice of radiesthesia, a pendulum is used for medical diagnosis.

Dowsing Rods at a Haunted Hotel

A Ghost Hunting team uses diving rods to speak to the spirits at a haunted hotel location.

A 1948 study tested 58 dowsers' ability to detect water. None of them was more reliable than chance. A 1979 review examined many controlled studies of dowsing for water, and found that none of them showed better than chance results.

In a study in Munich 1987-1988 by Hans-Dieter Betz and other scientists, 500 dowsers were initially tested for their "skill" and the experimenters selected the best 43 among them for further tests.

Water was pumped through a pipe on the ground floor of a two-story barn. Before each test the pipe was moved in a direction perpendicular to the water flow.

On the upper floor each dowser was asked to determine the position of the pipe. Over two years the dowsers performed 843 such tests. Of the 43 pre-selected and extensively tested candidates at least 37 showed no dowsing ability.

The results from the remaining 6 were said to be better than chance, resulting in the experimenters' conclusion that some dowsers "in particular tasks, showed an extraordinarily high rate of success, which can scarcely if at all be explained as due to chance ... a real core of dowser-phenomena can be regarded as empirically proven."

Five years after the Munich study was published, Jim T. Enright, a professor of physiology and a leading skeptic who emphasised correct data analysis procedure, contended that the study's results are merely consistent with statistical fluctuations and not significant.
Dowsing as practiced today may have originated in Germany during the 15th century, when it was used to find metals.

He believed the experiments provided "the most convincing disproof imaginable that dowsers can do what they claim," stating that the data analysis was "special, unconventional and customized."

Replacing it with "more ordinary analyses,"he noted that the best dowser was on average 4 millimeters out of 10 meters closer to a mid-line guess, an advantage of 0.0004%.

The study's authors responded, saying "on what grounds could Enright come to entirely different conclusions? Apparently his data analysis was too crude, even illegitimate."

The findings of the Munich study were also confirmed in a paper by Dr. S. Ertel, a German psychologist who had previously intervened in the statistical controversy surrounding the "Mars effect", but Enright remained unconvinced.

More recently a study was undertaken in Kassel, Germany under the direction of the Gesellschaft zur Wissenschaftlichen Untersuchung von Parawissenschaften (GWUP) [Society for the Scientific Investigation of the Parasciences].

The three-day test of some 30 dowsers involved plastic pipes through which water flow could be controlled and directed.

The pipes were buried 50 centimeters under a level field, the position of each marked on the surface with a colored strip. The dowsers had to tell whether water was running through each pipe.

All the dowsers signed a statement agreeing this was a fair test of their abilities and that they expected a 100 percent success rate, however the results were no better than chance.

Some researchers have investigated possible physical or geophysical explanations for alleged dowsing abilities. One study concluded that dowsers "respond" to a 60 Hz electromagnetic field, but this response does not occur if the kidney area or head are shielded.

Build Your Own Divining Rods

Pastor Lucy Baker shows how to make and program your own dowsing rods using two wire coat hangers and a pair of wire cutters.

Make your own divining rods in three easy steps:

Acquire two lengths of wire, each about 20 inches long. Alternately, you can straighten two wire coat hangers.

Bend each wire about 5 inches from one end. This short end will be the handle.

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