Register to reply

Dowsing

by Ivan Seeking
Tags: dowsing
Share this thread:
skywise
#19
Feb11-04, 02:32 AM
P: 42
I read awhile back a small blurb in some science magazine about a group of scientists at MIT, I think it was, working on a theory that consciousness was the electromagnetic field of the brain. Aparently everyone's is unique.. Like a fingerprint. I don't know amything beyond that. Have any of you heard of this?

It seems to me that if this could be so determined, it would have rather far reaching ramifications regarding all sorts of areas like dowsing and other psychic or metaphysical matters.
zoobyshoe
#20
Feb11-04, 03:29 AM
zoobyshoe's Avatar
P: 5,630
Originally posted by skywise
I read awhile back a small blurb in some science magazine about a group of scientists at MIT, I think it was, working on a theory that consciousness was the electromagnetic field of the brain.
This is the 64640000 dollar question: how does the action of neurons lead to the phenomenon of consciousness?
zoobyshoe
#21
Feb11-04, 03:50 AM
zoobyshoe's Avatar
P: 5,630
Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
Also, at least in the case of my father and uncle, I would imagine that all applications involved buried pipes. This may be significant. A steel pipe will definitely affect local fields.
A steel pipe would merely amplify the earth's magnetic field as is.
I'm recalling what dhris said in the geology forum about magnetohydrodynamics to the effect that turbulent water can twist and jumble a magnetic field provided it can conduct electricity. (I hope I'm recalling that correctly). If this is the case it might be fruitful to investigate dowsing in terms of an hypothesized ability in humans to sense the difference between an oriented and a disorganized magnetic field. An ability along these lines would account for why dowsing would work both for finding springs and things laid in a trench.
Ivan Seeking
#22
Feb11-04, 09:33 PM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
Ivan Seeking's Avatar
P: 12,500
I called my uncle and asked about his use of dowsing. I will just tell you what he said. I believe his story but I don't mean to imply that it must be true beyond any other story; I'm hardly an impartial observer.

He has used this perhaps twenty times with only one failure. [As with my dad, this answer really shocked me. I expected a much lower estimate of success]. The failure occurred while he was running a large construction project and when it became necessary to trench a large field that was covered with an unknown matrix of buried pipes. The original “AS BUILTS” [documentation that shows what it says] were apparently never filed with the city. In this case he was unable to get any definitive response from his rods. He said that on the average, the pipes turned out to be about ten feet apart. Incidently, in the end they opted to hire a repair crew to follow the trencher and repair the pipes as they went.

He claims that in all other cases he was able to locate steel and clay pipes with a high degree of accuracy; he says to within a foot.

He went into some detail about the relative angle of the pipe and the direction that one walks. It seems that optimum results are found when the pipe runs perpendicular to one’s direction of motion.

He also feels that it is also necessary that water is in the pipe, but that it doesn't have to be running water.

Not everyone can do this. It seems to have something to do with body chemistry.

I asked him how certain he really is about this. I suggested ninety percent certainty. His response was "100%". He said that he knows it works. Personally, I don't feel that it is logical to completely dismiss someone who, even when pressed for details and with nothing to gain still expresses absolute certainty about a claim.

Could he be fooling himself somehow; could he be inadvertently exaggerating his successes? Sure. Also, even if it really works, not only would I expect that the success and accuracy are not as good as he thinks, but also that he could have a lot of bad ideas about the criteria for success. He may really have no idea about when it should work or not.

Unfortunately, the steal pipe divining business has really tapered off with the advent of the modern divining machine – the electronic pipe finder.

So, that’s what the man says.

I'm really buried with work right now so I might be a bit scarce from time to time.
Evo
#23
Feb11-04, 10:32 PM
Mentor
Evo's Avatar
P: 26,527
I tend to agree with dowsing being real, at least for those that truly are capable.

Some people are more susceptable to things than others.
zoobyshoe
#24
Feb11-04, 10:58 PM
zoobyshoe's Avatar
P: 5,630
Ivan,

Your uncle's report that he can find clay pipes with standing water reaffirms my suspicion that what the dowser is sensing is the disorganization of the magnetic alignment of the ferrous particles in disturbed earth.

"Black sand" which is pretty much ubiquitous, is primarily FeO3, if I recall correctly, and this has all the properties of hard steel, not soft steel. It is permanently magnetizable.

Over time the black sand content of any soil would slowly take on the orientation of the earth's magnetic field. Digging a hole or trench and filling it back in would cause all the black sand to be magnetically disoriented relative to the surrounding earth.

Your uncles inability to locate the pipes in the case where there was one every ten feet could have been the result of the general, massive disturbance created when the backhoe went over and over the same ground digging these closely spaced trenches, such that the background, uniform field was ruined.

Concerning his belief that there must be water in the pipe, even if not running water, did he explain why he thought this? Did he, for instance, say he'd never located, or been able to locate, a dry pipe?
Ivan Seeking
#25
Feb12-04, 06:11 AM
Emeritus
Sci Advisor
PF Gold
Ivan Seeking's Avatar
P: 12,500
My take is that he is repeating what he was told when taught how to do this. Also, he did express a little reservation about finding a clay sewer pipe in his own yard. This was apparently more difficult to locate than most pipes.

Do you know anything about claims of human sensitivity to very weak magnetic fields? I keep thinking that this claim has been made by someone reputable. If this is true then we might have something concrete to work with here. No time for me to look right now.

Finally, one concern that I have with your one idea is that the soil has often been undisturbed for a very long time. I don't know anything about how the presense of water effects local fields. When I get a chance I will review the equations for auxiliary fields and see if anything makes sense in this respect. This might be a good question for Chroot or others. I would expect the conductivity of most water sources to be very low. Only highly contaminated supplies should provide any significant conductivity. IIR my chemistry correctly here, in clean water with a neutral PH, we expect to find about 10-7 moles of free hydrgoen ions per decimeter of water. Typically, magnetohydrodynamics deals with salt water [shhhhhh] or good conductors such as mercury or liquid lithium.
zoobyshoe
#26
Feb13-04, 03:47 AM
zoobyshoe's Avatar
P: 5,630
Originally posted by Ivan Seeking
Do you know anything about claims of human sensitivity to very weak magnetic fields? I keep thinking that this claim has been made by someone reputable.
Google turned this up:

Neuroethology: Magnetic information in animal orientation
Address:http://soma.npa.uiuc.edu/courses/phy...reception.html

Which says there is no evidence, just the suspicion it might be possible. The animals that can orient themselves by the earth's magnetic field are found to have small crystals of Fe3O4 in their brains, which is magnetite The same crystals have been found in human brains. This leads to the suspicion that humans may also have this ability. Actual tests, though, demonstrate that humans don't seem to have enough talent for this to write home about.

These test seem to be about the ability to be able to point to home after having been blindfolded and taken some distance away.

I think this is different than being able to sence the difference between a uniformly oriented magnetic field and a disorganized one.
Finally, one concern that I have with your one idea is that the soil has often been undisturbed for a very long time.
Yes, we would have to find out how tenacious the magnetic orientation of black sand actually is. I don't know exactly, but I think you'd be surprised how long it can hold its original orientation when challenged only by the weak magnetic field of the earth. I'm thinking hundreds of years.
I would expect the conductivity of most water sources to be very low.
I agree, this doesn't seem as plausible. It's hard to say, though. Underground springs may in fact be loaded with dissolved minerals that make it more conductive than one would expect.

But the magnetohydrodynamics idea may be the wrong tree altogether. It could be that springs are always shifting enough black sand around to create the same disturbance in the magnetic field as a ditch.
Evo
#27
Feb13-04, 09:09 PM
Mentor
Evo's Avatar
P: 26,527
Here is an interesting paper on electromagnetic fields and dowsing. I will look for more.

http://www.sb.luth.se/~bon/projects/Dowsing88%20eng.pdf
zoobyshoe
#28
Dec21-05, 03:20 PM
zoobyshoe's Avatar
P: 5,630
Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking
The technique is very simple. My dad used two pieces of wire fashioned from clothes hangers. Each wire should be straight and about 18" in length, with another six inches bent at a 45 degree angle as a handle. All of the approaches to this that I have seen indicate that ease of movement of the rods is the key [hence the ball bearing in dlgoff's example]. The rods much be held level with the long portions pointing directly forward and able to cross each other; and they must be able to rotate within your hands with even the slightest perturbation. In effect they are held in a state of unstable equilibrium. Then, just walk slowly while trying to keep your hands steady and even. When the wires "insist" on crossing, mark the spot and continue. Again though, I never have gotten serious about testing this myself. Knowing my dad I have little to no doubt that it works...at least for some people. I don't know if everyone is supposed to be able to do this. I suspect not.
I'm digging this thread up because I happened to find this site:

http://path.berkeley.edu/~singyiu/ve...c/magnetic.htm

which shows the distortion in a general magnetic field created by the presence of magnetic materials. It makes me wonder to what extent the coat hanger dousing rods as described by Ivan would react when encountering such a distortion created by a buried iron pipe, or simply from dirt that's been dug up and replaced with the magnetic fields of the ferous particles now all misaligned with the earths field.
Aether
#29
Dec21-05, 06:54 PM
PF Gold
P: 717
When I was a teenager my parents built a new house and had to drill a water well. The flow-rate of water from the well wasn't satifactory, so they drilled another deeper well; but the flow-rate of water wasn't great from that one either. As they were considering drilling a third well, someone suggested that they use a dowser to find where to drill. They did, and got a nice flow-rate of water from the third well. My mother and I were intrigued by this, and set out to test dowsing for ourselves. There was a country road/driveway that ran about 200 meters down the side of our yard, and my mother walked down that road with a dowsing rod and made small piles of rocks where the dowsing rod indicated that it was detecting something. Then I walked down the road with the dowsing rod, blindfolded, and only lifted the blindfold when the dowsing rod indicated that it was detecting something. There was a 100% correlation between the locations of mine and my mothers points where the dowsing rod indicated that it was detecting something. Of course, we didn't dig-up the ground to see what lay underneath, but we were impressed by the correlation of our results. The detections were not subtle at all as I recall, and the dowsing rod felt almost like it was going to be yanked out of our hands a number of times! I would like to see that experiment repeated using a differential GPS to mark the spots where the dowsing rod indicates that it is dectecting something.
zoobyshoe
#30
Dec21-05, 07:44 PM
zoobyshoe's Avatar
P: 5,630
That's a very cool story, Aether. What material were your rods made of?

You can see in the illustrations in the link how a magnetic field is "pinched" together when a ferrous metal is present with areas of rarefaction on the outsides. That says that there is, at least potentially, something real and authentic to detect. An underground flow of water might somehow have the same effect on a field, or it may just be the presence of the water cavity itself is enough to distort the field.
Aether
#31
Dec21-05, 08:42 PM
PF Gold
P: 717
Quote Quote by zoobyshoe
That's a very cool story, Aether. What material were your rods made of?
Thank you, zooby. The rods were thin forked "green" and very flexible sticks cut from saplings. The dowser recommended one type of tree, but we just used whatever was handy.

Quote Quote by zoobyshoe
You can see in the illustrations in the link how a magnetic field is "pinched" together when a ferrous metal is present with areas of rarefaction on the outsides. That says that there is, at least potentially, something real and authentic to detect. An underground flow of water might somehow have the same effect on a field, or it may just be the presence of the water cavity itself is enough to distort the field.
That seems like a plausible-enough explanation to warrant a careful examination assuming that there is still a repeatable dowsing signal present after steps have been taken to eliminate subliminal cues entering through the normal five senses..
zoobyshoe
#32
Dec21-05, 10:08 PM
zoobyshoe's Avatar
P: 5,630
Quote Quote by Aether
Thank you, zooby. The rods were thin forked "green" and very flexible sticks cut from saplings. The dowser recommended one type of tree, but we just used whatever was handy.
Hmmmmm. I've never liked the fact it could be done with forked sticks. No matter how green they might be they can't conduct as well as metal, and there's no reason I can think of for them to have any response to any magnetic field.
That seems like a plausible-enough explanation to warrant a careful examination assuming that there is still a repeatable dowsing signal present after steps have been taken to eliminate subliminal cues entering through the normal five senses..
My first idea for a test was to see if the rods did this themselves, or if a rod-human configuration was the only one that worked. I figured once you found a spot where the rods responded strongly with a person, you could mount the rods by themselves on an all wood or all plastic rolling cart and pull them over the spot to see it they responded. Whatever the outcome it would tell you alot.
PIT2
#33
Dec22-05, 05:12 AM
P: 904
Last week there was a TV show about an institute in America called "the body farm", where they research and document the rotting process of corpses. They have about 50 corpses laying in the woods there in different positions, some buried, some clothed, etc.

One of the researchers also found out that it was possible to use dowsing to locate buried corpses. He said he thought it was the rotting meat that released chemicals and salt or something, which made the sticks move. He let a visiting woman try and find a corpse this way, and it worked both times she tried.
Aether
#34
Dec22-05, 07:38 AM
PF Gold
P: 717
Quote Quote by zoobyshoe
Hmmmmm. I've never liked the fact it could be done with forked sticks. No matter how green they might be they can't conduct as well as metal, and there's no reason I can think of for them to have any response to any magnetic field.
My first idea for a test was to see if the rods did this themselves, or if a rod-human configuration was the only one that worked. I figured once you found a spot where the rods responded strongly with a person, you could mount the rods by themselves on an all wood or all plastic rolling cart and pull them over the spot to see it they responded. Whatever the outcome it would tell you alot.
There is no way that a local distortion of the geomagnetic field is going to be able to directly apply a sensible force to either a metal rod or a stick. I think that whatever the mechanism, it has to be the central nervous system (CNS) of the dowser that directs their muscles to move the rod/stick. The question is, what is it that the CNS is reacting to?
SGT
#35
Dec22-05, 12:25 PM
P: n/a
Quote Quote by Ivan Seeking
My best guess: I saw a science program about a study of this. High speed video shows that dowsers react before the rods - the muscles in the arm can be seen to flex before the dowsing rod responds. In other words, the dowser causes the action of the dowsing rod, not the water or power lines. At a glance this implies that dowsing is a bogus skill, but I think this relates to some primitive, natural ability within us to find water. It seems to me that the dowsing rods only act as motion amplifiers that alert us to our own subtle reactions.
This is called ideomotor effect
The ideomotor effect refers to the influence of suggestion or expectaton on involuntary and unconscious motor behavior. The term "ideomotor action" was coined by William B. Carpenter in 1852 in his explanation for the movements of rods and pendulums by dowsers, and some table turning or lifting by spirit mediums (the ones that weren't accomplished by cheating). Carpenter argued that muscular movement can be initiated by the mind independently of volition or emotions. We may not be aware of it, but suggestions can be made to the mind by others or by observations. Those suggestions can influence the mind and affect motor behavior.
It is not bogus, as you already know, since your father and uncle do it. Most dowsers are sincerely deluded people. They are normally very knowledgeable of their surroundings and have several unconscious cues or the presence of water.
The dowsing rod is normally held in such a manner that imperceptible muscle movements are amplified, making the rod bend.
The Australian Skeptics tested 52 dowsers in a controlled experiment, obtaining results consistent with chance.
If your father and uncle want to try it, The JREF offers one million dollars for a successful controlled dowsing demonstration.
zoobyshoe
#36
Dec22-05, 12:46 PM
zoobyshoe's Avatar
P: 5,630
Quote Quote by Aether
There is no way that a local distortion of the geomagnetic field is going to be able to directly apply a sensible force to either a metal rod or a stick. I think that whatever the mechanism, it has to be the central nervous system (CNS) of the dowser that directs their muscles to move the rod/stick.
I agree it seems impossible. I think that particular experiment has to be done, though, to clearly establish that it isn't the rods. Faraday used to exhaustively test any possible explanation whether or not he thought it had the slightest promise.
The question is, what is it that the CNS is reacting to?
Yes, this is the direction my thinking has started to take. There is an apparent requirement that the hands be held in a fist and slightly ahead of the torso. Does that posture somehow cause an amplified reaction to what's being sensed?


Register to reply

Related Discussions
A review of dowsing: Evidence for and against General Discussion 11
Dowsing confirmed as real ? General Discussion 157