Dowsing in the Falklands

#1
Dowsing doesn't work. But given that the world's militaries have tried all sorts of nonsense at taxpayer's expense, I have to wonder whether the claims I see online that the British army have used dowsing - e.g. to find mines on the Falklands might have just a grain of truth in it. Clearly they didn't actually use it in the field, because they would have been seriously injured or killed.

But is anyone aware of any EOD types being nuts enough to dabble in dowsing?
 
#2
I just used a map,and left well alone
 

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#3
big_les said:
Dowsing doesn't work. But given that the world's militaries have tried all sorts of nonsense at taxpayer's expense, I have to wonder whether the claims I see online that the British army have used dowsing - e.g. to find mines on the Falklands might have just a grain of truth in it. Clearly they didn't actually use it in the field, because they would have been seriously injured or killed.

But is anyone aware of any EOD types being nuts enough to dabble in dowsing?
Mate, it DOES work. For water anyway. I never thought I'd admit to this, but I tried it years ago, and it really does work. Two thin bent bits of metal... "advance".... wires cross.... find water.

Simples.

For mines? Woudn't like to try it, but who knows?
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
#4
big_les said:
Dowsing doesn't work.
are you sure?

'Colonel Harry Grattan, CBE, Royal Engineers was given the task of building a new Headquarters for the British Rhine Army at Mönchen Gladbach, Germany in 1952. Planning for at least 9000 people who would need 750,000 gallons of water per day was a major project.
Water supply was a big problem. Notwithstanding that the British Army preferred the security of it’s own water supply, the three local waterworks would have had to upgrade their equipment and pass the costs on in the form of water rates at £20,000 a year. A considerable sum in 1952.

Colonel Grattan knew of a nearby family with a private well, which produced better quality water than any of the waterworks. He employed a geologist with the intention of tapping this source but a trial bore produced very little water. The Colonel was a proficient dowser, however, and decided to use his skills to solve the problem. Using the traditional forked twig the colonel began dowsing and getting reactions everywhere to the west of the test bore. On the strength of this two further trial bores were executed with spectacular results.

The trials showed that the ground was mainly solid clay, but between 73 and 96 feet down there was an aquifer, which produced a copious supply of excellent quality water. The German government, responsible for site construction, were less than convinced by such surveying techniques and were adamant that the water supply would soon dry up.

Gaining the support of his superior, General Sugden, Colonel Grattan was able to continue his exploration. Dowsing from horseback, the colonel plotted out the full extent of the aquifer, which extended to within a few hundred yards of two of the waterworks. The British Rhine Army’s private waterworks were constructed providing the Army with all the water it needed and savings running into millions of pounds over the years.'

http://www.talewins.com/help/dowsing.htm
 
#5
Thanks for the replies - particularly yours maguire, just the sort of thing I was looking for.

I shouldn't have assumed that people would already be sceptical of dowsing, because it is one of those things that a lot of people assume has some truth to it, but I can assure that it's nonsense. Me included, I believed it for years.

The reaction people get with the rods (or whatever) is down to the ideomotor effect. As for underground water, it's a lot more complex than underground watercourses - water is everywhere. So if you get what you think is a hit, and dig, and find water, you'll tend to assume that you've found it by dowsing rather than luck. But if you count the hits and the misses, no dowser ever does better than chance.

Put it this way - dowsing qualifies for James Randi's million dollar challenge - and it hasn't been won yet.

http://www.skepdic.com/dowsing.html
 

maguire

LE
Book Reviewer
#6
fair enough, but I would have said the BAOR water supply thing was of pretty big sgnificance meself.
 
#7
I am not convinced that dowsing doesnt work. I was shown how to do it by a guy who was a former Sqn Leader RAF and was, when I met him, county surveyor for a county in the west country. He was a man with serious technical and academic qualifications. I was in the west country on MOD business and stayed at his bungalow in a small but famous west country town and over a few large whiskies in the study he told me a few things about dowsing. Not a Werthers in sight. A few days later I went with him to a small valley and he got me to practice dowsing with a spring contraption made of whalebone. I was very sceptical but persevered. I was shocked when the spring contraption suddenly twisted iself around in my hands as if it were alive. I dropped the bloody thing. He asked me to dig where the thing had landed at my feet and a couple of feet down I hit an earthernware pipe, a land drain, which was broken (not by me) and allowing water to flow out at right angles to the intended direction of drainage. Some years later I was SSM EOD in the FI and can confirm that, at least when I was there we didnt try dowsing for mines. But we trial GPR. When I did my first ever eod course at DEODS, the instructors mentioned dowsing and one of them could do it after a fashion. But, they told us, although the military acknowledges it as a phenomena, it is not mass produceable and difficult to teach so they never tried to use it on a large scale.
Edited to add: And I have heard that people make a living out of water dowsing in australia and elsewhere. How it works, I have no idea, but when that thing twisted itself in my hands it scared the shit out of me - it was as if it had come alive.
 
#8
eodmatt - have you read up on the ideomotor effect? It explains what you experienced pretty well. Have a look at this video.

maguire - Grattan's story checks out in that he was apparently a big believer in dowsing - see a catalogue entry here for his papers including an article to the RE Journal defending dowsing.

Thing is, reading the account you posted, I don't see any difference between it and countless other anecdotes about the efficacy of dowsing. This line is key I think;

the colonel began dowsing and getting reactions everywhere to the west of the test bore.
Read - he got lots of ideomotor responses over a wide area. It doesn't mention whether he even tried to the other side of the bore.

On the strength of this two further trial bores were executed with spectacular results.
So they drilled two more bores further along and discovered the aquifer. Basically the process is the same as guesswork. It wasn't the dowsing that found the aquifer, but it was Col. Grattan, if that makes sense. The result would have been the same if he'd just pointed and said 'dig over there' without getting 'twiggy' with it.

Anyway, I'd still love to know the source of this Falklands story.
 
#9
Mmmmm yes, I just read the Randi website. Very interesting indeed. Unfortunately the grownups that run this country wont allow me to see your video link:
مشترک گرامي
دسترسي به اين سايت امکان پذير نمي باشد
در صورتي که اين سايت به اشتباه فيلتر شده است با پست الکترونيکي
filter@dci.ir

با درج نام دامنه مورد نظر در موضوع نامه و ارايه توضيحات لازم
So I have been fooling myself all these years! Still, whatever it was, it was a strange experience.

As for the FI experiment, as far as I know it was just that, an experiment to see if there was anything to it and as you would expect, it was apparently done with captive mines from a safe area. I have no other information about it.
 
#10
big_les said:
eodmatt - have you read up on the ideomotor effect? It explains what you experienced pretty well. Have a look at this video.

maguire - Grattan's story checks out in that he was apparently a big believer in dowsing - see a catalogue entry here for his papers including an article to the RE Journal defending dowsing.

Thing is, reading the account you posted, I don't see any difference between it and countless other anecdotes about the efficacy of dowsing. This line is key I think;

the colonel began dowsing and getting reactions everywhere to the west of the test bore.
Read - he got lots of ideomotor responses over a wide area. It doesn't mention whether he even tried to the other side of the bore.

On the strength of this two further trial bores were executed with spectacular results.
So they drilled two more bores further along and discovered the aquifer. Basically the process is the same as guesswork. It wasn't the dowsing that found the aquifer, but it was Col. Grattan, if that makes sense. The result would have been the same if he'd just pointed and said 'dig over there' without getting 'twiggy' with it.

Anyway, I'd still love to know the source of this Falklands story.

New service station at Pony's Pass perhaps
 
#11
eodmatt said:
Mmmmm yes, I just read the Randi website. Very interesting indeed. Unfortunately the grownups that run this country wont allow me to see your video link:
مشترک گرامي
دسترسي به اين سايت امکان پذير نمي باشد
در صورتي که اين سايت به اشتباه فيلتر شده است با پست الکترونيکي
filter@dci.ir

با درج نام دامنه مورد نظر در موضوع نامه و ارايه توضيحات لازم
So I have been fooling myself all these years! Still, whatever it was, it was a strange experience.
No need to feel daft - some very eminent people have been convinced by such things. It's actually the same effect that occurs with the Oujia board. And unless you track your hits and misses, it's easy to become convinced that you're doing something special. Like psychics with cold reading in fact.

As for the FI experiment, as far as I know it was just that, an experiment to see if there was anything to it and as you would expect, it was apparently done with captive mines from a safe area. I have no other information about it.
That's more than I could find online, so thanks. It's no surprise - the MoD did a Remote Viewing evaluation only a few years ago, and the Septics have been testing another version of dowsing called 'Sniffex';

http://sniffexquestions.wordpress.com/2007/06/23/did-sniffex-work-when-tested-by-the-us-navy/
 
#12
When working for BT (yes, I was the one that worked) We used dousing to locate buried telephone cable. Overhead insulators for the handles, and 2x 18" lengths of thick copper wires for the dowsers, bent into an L shape, the short part of the "L" went inside the insulator.

Worked every time. When immediately above the cable, the two wires crossed over forming an X. Never failed, even if the cable wasn't "live".
 
#13
I've given you the alternate explanations - with copper wire there's also a good chance you were picking up cues from the ground itself, or making educated guesses based on a known starting point. In which case it's luck. How many times did the rods cross when there was no wire below them? How many times didn't they cross, when there was?

If you don't think any of those apply in your case, you'll be wanting to apply for that $1 million;

http://www.randi.org/site/index.php/1m-challenge.html

Past tests have included finding copper wire, so you should be a dead cert. Although so far, no-one's even got past the first stage.

This involves water, but old Dawks featured a test with Chris French (sceptic/parapsychologist) in his 'Enemies of Reason' prog;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i4MPz8h9gYY
 
#15
Some one explain the scientific reasoning behind dowsing...............
 
#16
It doesn't bother me as such - I'm just a fan of reason and science. Neither of which support dowsing. I actually find it fascinating as a subject. That said, I didn't post the thread in order to rail against dowsing, so I should have been a bit less emphatic about the fact that it doesn't work. But ho-hum, in for a penny..

If you think you have evidence, by all means show me - I'm interested.

It isn't a case of dowsing 'working' for one person and not another. If it's a real phenomenon, it either works, or it doesn't. And not one properly controlled test has shown that it does.

And thegimp, many different mechanisms have been proposed by many different proponents - magnetism, psychic powers - but no evidence for any of them exists. The human body isn't sensitive enough to detect any magnetic fields of the strength we're talking about even with electrical wire that's carrying a current.
 
#17
thegimp said:
Some one explain the scientific reasoning behind dowsing...............


I was extremely sceptical until I tried it. It does work and as rightly said not just for water. I don't know of any scientific reason. If as suggested by some it is all in the mind then fine, but it still works practically. I read an interesting paper on I ching not too long ago. A list was presented of possible explanations as to how the I Ching system worked. (For those who don't know I Ching is a system originating in the Eastern Mystery traditions. Wiki give a reasonable account of the system and if you’re interested it’s worth a look). Anyway, one of the suggestions was that discounting any 'fanciful' reasoning it could simply boil down to acting as a tool to concentrate ones mind and allow one to draw their own conclusions and answers to a problem. By believing in the system one could 'block out' other doubts and thoughts that had been obscuring their thought process. Perhaps dowsing allows us to connect a corporeal facet that may otherwise lay dormant. In layman’s terms perhaps you could dowse for water without rods if you could tune you pysce finely enough. With all the distractions of modern life it can be pretty hard to devote ones mind fully to something. Perhaps dowsing rods remove some negativity.

Much megalithic building took place on 'Ley Lines'. Indeed most of our large religious constructions of 'recent' years can be traced along these lines. And I mean most; ranging from Druid and Pagan through to Christian buildings. I doubt that it is all coincidence and I also doubt there is a simple scientific explanation as why all these buildings were constructed geographically as they were.

Ley lines are found through dowsing incidentally.


Sorry to bore.

Slayer.
 

Schaden

On ROPS
On ROPs
Book Reviewer
#18
"Two thin bent bits of metal... "advance".... wires cross.... find water. "

Same as quoted - however observers wait for the loud BOOM!! and then say to one another "He's found one!"
 

rampant

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#19
theslayerofmen said:
Much megalithic building took place on 'Ley Lines'. Indeed most of our large religious constructions of 'recent' years can be traced along these lines. And I mean most; ranging from Druid and Pagan through to Christian buildings. I doubt that it is all coincidence and I also doubt there is a simple scientific explanation as why all these buildings were constructed geographically as they were.

Ley lines are found through dowsing incidentally.
There is no real evidence for the existence of leylines, even the originator of the idea, Alfred Watkins, only posited that the straight lines were just trading routes, quickest point from A to B is a straight line after all, the Romans built straight roads but these aren't associated with leylines in the same way as the Stone Age to Early Iron Age constructs, why is that? Because we know more about Roman History perhaps, due to the written record, whilst the more unknown pre-Historic constructs allow us to project our own fantasies and conjectures on them.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leylines

http://skepdic.com/leylines.html

http://witcombe.sbc.edu/earthmysteries/EMLeyLines.html

The human mind has a propensitiy to seek patterns, and find them, where there are none, and the nature of those patterns will more often than not coincide with pre-concieved prejudices and beliefs: the Templar's Laundry List at Reins Le Chateau, the Feminist Therapist who views past events as symptomatic of abuse, the spiritualist who interprets the old plumbing as a restless ghost, the Marxist Politician who sees all history as purely class struggle, and on and on and on.
 
#20

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