The origination of dowsing dates back about 7000 years. It is known to have been practiced among the Egyptians and Chinese. The druids of the celtic cult used it to discover leys. During the Middle Ages it was use extensively in Europe to discover coal and water. The form used today probably originates in Germany during the 15th century. Then it was used to find metals. The technique spread to England with German miners who came to England to work in the coal mines. An extensive book on the history of dowsing was published by Christopher Bird in 1979 under the title of The Divining Hand.
Martin Luther condemned the practice as witchcraft which was equated to Devil-worship. Nevertheless, dowsing continued as a popular form of divination until the 19th century when science cast a dim light on it by proclaiming it invalid, “occult.” In 1897, Sir William Barrett, of the Royal College in Dublin, stated the “few subjects appear to be as unworthy of serious notice and so utterly beneath scientific investigation as that of the divining rod.”
Within this past century dowsing has been applied in archaeological and geological work. Some dowsers are so sensitive that they can predict the depth at which the well or reservoir lies underground and the amount of water or material that it is capable of supplying. Between October 1925 and February 1930 Major C. A. Pogson served as the Official Water Diviner for the Government of India. He traveled thousands of miles finding wells and bores. All during these years he was consulted on every matter relating to underground water.
In 1930 the term “radiesthesie” was coined by Abbe Bouly in France where the rod gave place to the small pendulum used as an indicator. L’ Association de Amis de la Radiesthesie was established in 1930 and the British Society of Dowsers was founded in 1933. In the late 1960s during the Vietnam War, some United States Marines used dowsing to attempt to locate weapons and tunnels.
Sometimes the dowser does not even physically go to the location that he is being questioned about. A map of the location is brought to the person. The he sets up small pendulums over the maps which assists him in answering the inquirer’s questions. Such a procedure has became known as teledowsing, with the theory behind it that there is the establishment a telepathic link between the location and the map.
Dowsing is still viewed by some with skepticism, James Randi’s 1982 book Flim-Flam! devotes 19 pages to comprehensive double-blind tests done in Italy which yielded results no better than chance. However there seems to be sufficient evidence to show that the practice has some merits. Dowsing is a psychic ability that every human is supposed to possess to some extent so try for yourself !