Friday, December 4, 2009


There's no such thing as the paranormal. It's all normal to me. Science may not do a very good job of explaining it sometime, but that may be a shortcoming of science. I'm not one of those anti science and technology people. Computers are fun. Hot showers and cold beers are enjoyable. There are some benefits from the system of thought known as science.

Here's my problem: even though science has "proved" certain things to be impossible, I find those things too useful to discard. The blind can "prove" there is no such thing as sight, but for those of us with eyes, it's pretty darn handy to keep them open.

My approach to the paranormal is pretty nuts and bolts. At a young age I discovered I could douse for water. Call it water witching if you prefer. Call it bunk if you are blind. My introduction to this world of strangeness was from an old timer with a forked wooden stick. He encouraged me to try it. Reluctantly, I did. I walked across the ground with the idea of water in my mind and the forked wooden stick twisted powerfully in my hands, ripping the bark right off the stick. From that point on, I spent a considerable amount of time and effort studying everything I could about the phenomenon.

Dowsing is a funny thing. It starts easy. There's water flowing underground and the human body is sensitive to it. Makes sense to me. Sounds like a practical human sense. Doesn't sound too strange -sort of like a bird's sense of direction. You can even make a good scientific case for an electrical/mechanical explanation. The dynamic tension of holding a dowsing rod under tension may allow the muscles to have involuntary contractions in the presence of magnetic fields caused by flowing water. Yeah, that could work.

Things get harder to explain. With training and practice, a dowser can tell the depth of the water, it's direction of flow, the amount of water. Okay . . . But it gets worse. Before you know it, he's dowsing wells using a map representing property many miles away. Sure blows holes in the electromagnetic theory. Then the dowser turns around and gets information about the availability of water during the worse drought in the next hundred years. Pulling information from the future? Sophisticated extrapolation from past conditions? Self delusion?

Then dowsers started using the technique for things further and further removed for the simple act of sensing water. Some dowsers are sensitive to electrical lines, minerals, oil, and other energies, some of which we currently lack the physical devices to measure. Some dowsers use their talents in the healing arts as they can sense the energy fields of the human body. Then there is just out and out information dowsing -seeming plucking information right out of the universe itself. Many dowsers dispense with the dowsing rods completely and just tell you what you want to know.

Let's get back to earth here -earth as in dirt. A number of times in my past I've moved a lot of dirt with a shovel. Nothing like testing one's dowsing abilities by digging a well with hand tools. Hard as that may be, it's more comfortable than watching a flinty eyed Yankee farmer pay good money to hire an excavator to dig a hole where I pointed. You'd better know your stuff. Nothing removes that cold pit in your stomach like when the excavator hits good water at the depth predicted.

Dowsing is a prosaic skill. It's not perfect, as people aren't perfect. However, it's good enough often enough to be of use.

That's my take on the paranormal. It's it useful? I'm not too concerned if it's impossible, as long as it's useful.

Think I'll just get another cold glass of water from my well. That dowsing stuff is pretty handy to know out here in the woods.


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