Friday, April 16, 2010

Fun Fact Friday - Well, well, well.

Melissa and I were watching an episode of 'Holmes on Homes' the other day, and if you're not familiar, it's the kind of show that will make you second-guess ever hiring a contractor again.  Especially if you live in Canada, apparently.

They were replacing the entire septic system on the house in this episode, and the contractor was using dowsing rods to find the pipes.  Walk over the pipe, the rods cross.  Oooh, dowsing, it's some cool, magical stuff, lemmie tells ya.

I was all set to post about the science of dowsing, a form of divining (like throwing chicken bones to predict crop yields, and such.)  Sounds science-y to me. 

Turns out it's all just hooey.  Dowsers with rods or bendy sticks have the same success rate as anyone with dumb luck.  In some cases, it's even less accurate than dumb luck.  This is just compounded by people using the same method of dowsing or 'witching' to find just about anything.  Looking for gold?  Try dowsing.  Rubies?  Dowsing.  Water?  Dowsing.  They probably even use the same stick for all of it.

However, there is some science involved in the process.  In our brainy subconscious, we can cause things to happen just by thinking them.  Like the Ouija board pushes to 'No' every time you ask your dead grandma if she loved you best.  For experienced dowsers, knowing the lay of the land and where water typically appears, minute muscle twitches can cause the branch to turn, a slight twist of the wrist can make rods cross when your brain is convinced this is where water should be.  

And even then, you could be wrong.

When I was in college, I had a bit part in a play called 'The Diviners'.  It was about a young boy with 'the gift' of divination, using a rod to find water so critical in depression-era Indiana.  And of course, there are skeptics.  We were all small-town rubes in the play, especially me, my role called for it.  But it calls to mind the following movie quote.  Since we didn't have a Monday quote this week, I'll let you guess on this one instead.

"You've got to remember that these are just simple farmers. These are people of the land. The common clay of the new West. You know... morons."


It shouldn't be difficult. 

9 comments:

MtnMama said...

Wow. And how often do I get a legitimate chance to say "Here I stand, the goddess of desire..."

okay, don't answer that!

Bev said...

Interesting! The town of Danville, VT is next to my hometown and it is apparently where the American Assoc. of Dowsers is headquartered. Every year we'd see them out there at their annual meeting, holding their sticks.

And that concludes the depth of my knowledge about divining rods etc.

Mary said...

Hold your fire men...he's not bluffing.
Won;t somebody help that poor man?
Hush Harriet- that's a sure way to get him killed!

tracey said...

Great quote, great movie.

Dowsing was pretty legit back in Cape Breton when I was a kid. I had an aunt that was kind of a local celebrity for her dowsing skills. Of course, back then having me walk on a person's sore back was also supposed to be good for you since I was a breech birth & babies born feet first have "healing" in their feet.

That seemed a lot less inbred/Deliverence/hocus pocus when I was a kid. : )

Elliott said...

Let's face it, MtnMama, you're tired.

Bev, I've never wanted to visit Vermont more than at this moment. Wait, that's not true...

Mary, hep me! Hep me! Hep me! Shut up!

Tracey, I'm glad you came to that conclusion without us having to do it for you. Nothing wrong with folkisms, but really...magic in your feet????

LiLu said...

Can I just say that I love that "5 reasons to quit sniffing glue" is one of your post tags??

dogimo said...

I've been trying to dowse for lighting for years.

NOTHING.

Nej said...

Badges? We don't need no stinking badges! :-)

Put that movie in and my dad will laugh himself silly every time.

Nej said...

I wonder if they'll let me join the Dowsing club? I mean, I bet they're fun at parties. :-)

Be nice and share!

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