Dowsing Archaeological Features;
An empirical study at Cressing Temple, Witham, Essex.
3. How does dowsing work?
There are many theories;
1. Divining rods and all common dowsing devices, are the simplest forms of electroscopes. The divining rods are charged with static electricity from the dowser's own body. This static electricity can be measured empirically with a simple millivolt meter.
2. Dowsing uses a few simple tools to emphasise small movements in the hand. These movements occur automatically as our bodies sense the subtle energies emitted by everything around us.
3. Dowsing instruments act as interferometers and detect wave radiation. (Reddish. 1998)
4. The dowsing reaction is caused by moving the electrically charged body of the dowser over a magnetic anomaly. The bundle of nerve endings in the wrists causes a rotating flux, just as in an electric motor, which rotates the rods or twitches the hands.
5. Dowsing is "The ability to use a Natural Sensitivity which enables us to know things we cannot know by the use of the day to day brain or by learning, by experience, or by the use of the five physical senses." Scott Elliot. J (1990), (Figure. 3).
6. Dowsers are psychic.
7. Dowsing is a fraud and the findings are actually based on close research of history, geology and human nature.
8. Vilchko (1993) reported his experiments with migratory birds. Magnetite is found in birds near the brain, in the flight feathers and in the beak. His experimental birds when released flew out of the cage in the migratory direction. He found that birds use white, green or blue light to magnetise the retina of the eye, while red light disorientates them. This magnetic orientation therefore uses magnetite, the retina of the eye and light, and a similar mechanism could also apply to humans. (Willcock, 1994)
It is beyond the scope of this work to try and discuss the merits of all of these viewpoints but it must be stated that the author does not believe that items 5 to 7 above have any place in an empirical study and is inclined to place them on one side for others to debate. The authors own viewpoint for the record is that items 2 and 4 are the most likely explanations and are closely allied to each other. However the study questionnaire will investigate viewpoints 4 and 8 by asking for details on eyesight and wrist jewellery.
Barry Hillman-Crouch. MSt PA, Dip FA, BSc, HND. Written 1999 Published on the web June 2005.