How Does Dowsing Work?

How does Dowsing Work?

Arthur Bailey, an electronics engineer and scientist in the truest sense of the word, had plenty to say on the subject – especially in response to all those sceptics out there! This is a fairly long, but very readable and quite funny article. The following quotes from the article give a broad outline:

“My initial experiences and experiments in dowsing proved to me, without any possible shadow of doubt, that dowsing was a fact – it worked.”
“The antagonistic “scientists” who attack such things as dowsing are not scientists (in the true sense) at all. They are just opinionated bigots and so it is best not to tangle with them. You stand as much chance of proving the reality of dowsing to them as you would of convincing the Pope that he should become a Jehova’s Witness.”
“So how about dowsing – what is fact and what is fiction? What is science and what is nonsense?”
“So how do Radionic machines work?”
“Dowsing is intuitive mind based and is not limited by such trivial things as time or distance!”
“All too often people have come up with ideas that dowsing is due to magnetism, or electro-magnetic radiation.”

by Dr Arthur Bailey
Past President and Past Scientific Advisor to the BSD

It is now over 40 years since I discovered that I could dowse, and found dowsing a severe challenge to my scientific beliefs. It was only later on that I realised that beliefs and science should not go together. Beliefs are things that we passionately cling to and are not necessarily true at all. The word Science comes from the Latin and it means to know. If we know something from our own experience, than that is a truth – whether we can explain it or not. Unfortunately what passes for science can sometimes be based on beliefs rather than fact.

Scientific orthodoxy is riddled with dogma and beliefs, as can be seen when the “statutory scientist” is trotted out on television to contradict such things as dowsing. Nearly always they state that dowsing, healing, etc. are impossible because they contradict the laws of science. This of course assumes that the “laws” of science have been dictated from above and are immutable. This is frankly balderdash! These “laws” are merely human constructs that try to codify observed facts and these laws change over periods of time. They are just theories and are inevitably limited by the experiences of the people who create them in the first place.

My initial experiences and experiments in dowsing proved to me, without any possible shadow of doubt, that dowsing was a fact – it worked. It worked time after time against impossible odds of it being due to chance. It was therefore a scientific fact, a truth. Sure, I could not explain it on a basis of current scientific theories, but that was annoying, nothing more. Those initial experiments proved conclusively that scientific theories could not explain all aspects of the universe.

The antagonistic “scientists” who attack such things as dowsing are not scientists (in the true sense) at all. They are just opinionated bigots and so it is best not to tangle with them. You stand as much chance of proving the reality of dowsing to them as you would of convincing the Pope that he should become a Jehova’s Witness. I have never yet come across any of these professional “witch-hunters” who have done any personal unbiassed research of their own. Their ideas are based on their own personal ideas, they are not formed from extensive personal work in the field.

I have never come across any of them who are in any way qualified in these areas that they criticise. Mind you, as they know that they are right, why should they? They are after all SCIENTISTS! On just that same basis I have been reading a bit about brain surgery and I am sure I could do it. Any takers?

So how about dowsing – what is fact and what is fiction? What is science and what is nonsense? Here I realise that I am treading on dangerous ground, but nevertheless here goes!   What are the facts, the things that have been proved time after time? The list that I am giving is based on things that I have experienced many times over the years.

1. We can accurately dowse for the presence of minerals and water – giving depths, quality and flow rates where applicable.

2. We can locate objects and people, as well as minerals and water, at a distance – including working from maps.

3. People’s health can be adversely affected by “Geopathic Stress” and by dowsing such stress can be located and neutralised.

4. The healing properties of flowers, plants and minerals can be determined by dowsing.

This is by no means a full list, but it gives some idea of the diversity of the uses of dowsing, uses that have been proved to be accurate time after time after time.   Now we come to areas that may be contentious. I have no wish to trample on anyone’s pet theories, but we must remember that theories are man-made and change over periods of time.   Let us start with Geopathic Stress as a typical example.

There is no doubt that it exists – I have proved its existence many times, including once when the neutralisation was proved to work by its effect on two electronic instruments – the Vega machine and the Segmentelektrograph. But what causes Geopathic Stress and are there more than one possible cause?

When I started dowsing there were no such things as Curry and Hartmann grids! Dowsing for geopathic stress was simply carried out by dowsing for the source of the stress. These sources proved to be quite simple – underground water flows, sometimes rock faults, and the occasional Ley Line. These could be sorted out by tracing them out on the surface of the ground. Ley Lines were very obvious as they could be followed for long distances and ran in a dead straight line. Rock faults and stresses tend to run in irregular straight lines and underground water flows are usually more curved. Also water flows give positive answers when checked for such things as flow rate and purity.   Over the years I have concluded that about 95% of cases of geopathic stress in the North of England are due to underground water flows that carry, for reasons unknown, geopathic stress energies.

If however we change our question, when looking to geopathic stress, to “Indicate where there are areas of geopathic stress”, then we get a totally different picture. Dowsing round a house that is suffering from geopathic stress from an underground stream we will then get a totally different answers. We will get a confused picture of peaks and troughs, some places being free and others badly affected. These are the patterns that sometimes appear in books. Such patterns are typical of “standing waves” and indicate that the geopathic energies are being reflected by the materials that the house is built from. At least that is the most reasonable supposition. You can get just such an effect with sound, where a hum from a sound source will be louder and quieter at different places in a room. These peaks and troughs are due to reflections, they are not the source of the problem.

If we dowse round a town looking for geopathic stressed areas we can equally get such complex patterns. Could this be the source of Curry and Hartman Grids? Certainly in the open country I get no such effects and my dowsing fails to locate any grid patterns. I have met other dowsers who also fail to find these grids.   Could it be that we find these grids if we believe in their presence?

In dowsing we are working with the intuitive mind, and wishful thinking can seriously affect our dowsing. Do some people find these grids because they have been told that they exist?   I deal with Geopathic Stress in the advanced dowsing courses that I run. I demonstrate how to locate geopathic stress and then let the course loose on an outside site. Sometimes this is a large garden or field, sometimes an open wood. I never mention grids and so far no-one has found anything but water and the occasional rock fault and ley line (energy leys if you prefer the term). No repeating patterns such as grids at all.

The only way to be absolutely sure would be to test out beginners who had never heard of grids and see if they find any – and if they do find grids, see what alignments and spacings those grids might have. Like Abbé Mermet’s Fundamental Rays and Solar Rays, their properties might exist only in the mind of the dowser. It is here where rigorous scientific methods come into their own and can establish what is fact and what is fiction.

The point that I am trying to make is that we believe in things at our peril. We need an open mind so that our results will be as accurate as possible.   Exactly the same problems arise when considering Radionic type instruments. The fact is inescapable that in skilled hands people can diagnose and treat other people (and animals) with these devices. Often the results can be very impressive.

De La Warr grey box

De La Warr grey box

So how do Radionic machines work?   Originally the instruments used a “stick pad”, such as the one shown below on the left. This is a De La Warr instrument, made quite soon after the War, that I bought at a local auction sale. The idea was that stroking the thin rubber pad gently would give a “stick” when a positive answer was obtained to a question. It was, of course, a dowsing device. Nowadays practitioners tend to use a pendulum. The concept behind these instruments is that everything radiates at different frequencies. The instrument knobs are adjusted in turn by dowsing to “tune in” the instrument to the sample of the patient provided (usually a small tuft of hair). The settings of the dials will then indicate the problem that the patient is suffering from. This “rate” will have a corresponding treatment rate shown against it in the reference book. The knobs are then set to that new setting and the treatment will then be broadcast to the patient.

Photo of Grey Box inside lid

Inside lid of De La Warr grey box

There is one problem – the inside of the box I bought contains very little indeed as can be seen in the photographs below. The wires and knobs that you can see are simply there to help the knobs on the outside of the box move. The box I bought was fitted with two anti-opening devices – obviously built in to prevent curious people discovering just what they had bought. Considering that at that time, shortly after the war, these boxes sold for what would be about £2000 at today’s prices, you can see that someone might well be upset to see just how little was in the box. Indeed a lady in the USA was prosecuted for selling boxes that contained nothing but sawdust! The interesting thing was that people had used her boxes very successfully.

To prove the point I made what I called my Grey Box (which was the colour of the case I put it in). This works very well in spite of the fact that it contains absolutely nothing, not even sawdust!   In other words the magic lies within the practitioner, not the box. Indeed the Radionic instrument makers Malcolm Rae and David Tansley both came to that same conclusion shortly before they died.

Human beings possess remarkable properties that cannot be explained in any way by present day orthodox science. This just goes to prove that orthodox science is far too limited in its logical mind concepts.   I am not having a go at Radionic practitioners, far from it. They do a valuable service for others. For many people having a logical way of working will provide a support structure that they need. After all, many people will find it hard to believe initially that their own mind can heal others at a distance. What I am trying to do is to sort out what is fact and what is not the whole truth. We also need to use methods that are as simple as possible and to avoid the temptation to go for complexity. A simple rod or pendulum can work just as well as the many complex devices that some people have created. The power is in our own mind – not the device we are using.

Dowsing with hands

Lady dowsing with hands

Many years ago, at a BSD Congress at Oxford, on a field exercise on the Saturday afternoon, a lady lost a valuable gold bracelet. It was a very large field and the bracelet could have been lost anywhere. There were dowsers with a variety of dowsing tools from simple to complex who started looking for the missing bracelet. It was an elderly lady (whose name I do not know) who found the bracelet, just dowsing with her bare hands. A photograph of her dowsing, before she found the bracelet, is shown on the left. Maybe it was the handbag that was the essential part of her dowsing ability! I was sorry I missed it, but apparently she gave a virtuoso performance, going straight to the bracelet, hidden in a tussock of grass, using nothing but her bare hands as dowsing implements.

That then is my philosophy, keep it simple. Beware of complex ideas and Radiation Theories. No one has satisfactorily explained to me what radiations they are talking about as all known radiations can be excluded and dowsing still works. It m ight be due to Dark Energy, who knows? The main thing is to avoid using pseudo-scientific jargon as this only muddies the waters and makes us vulnerable to attack from “scientific experts”.   The late Major General Jim Scott-Elliott, when I was taking over the BSD presidency from him, told me that he had failed in getting dowsing accepted by the scientific community and hoped that I would be able to do better. I failed in that as well, because dowsing does not work from logical linear principles.

Dowsing is intuitive mind based and is not limited by such trivial things as time or distance! We need to be up-front and say that it is an art that uses the powers of the non-logical right brain. The fact that dowsing cannot be logically explained is unfortunate but irrelevant. The key fact is that it works and has been proved to work many many times under strictly controlled conditions. These are the points that we need to stress.

To orthodox science, with its dominant left-brain approach, we will inevitably be treated as suspect – the black sheep of the family. I feel that we just have to accept that, and that we must not try to find pseudo-scientific explanations just to please orthodoxy. Such “explanations” can always be exploded as myths and are therefore dangerous. All too often people have come up with ideas that dowsing is due to magnetism, or electro-magnetic radiation. The problem is that when it is proved that these ideas are false, the opposition than say “That proves it, dowsing is a myth!” It is far far safer to admit that, so far, all attempts to discover the mechanism of dowsing have failed.   It is our results that matter and that is the only sure ground that we have when dealing with people wedded to the idea that everything should have a logical explanation.

Dowsing still cannot be explained in any orthodox scientific language and it is far safer not to try to do so. The only way credence can be obtained is by our results.   Here I feel that I need to include a final warning. Be very, very careful before accepting an invitation to take place in a television dowsing program! You need to be very sure about the producer and the ethics of the people involved, otherwise disaster may well beckon! I was once pre-warned that I might be asked to take part in a television program on dowsing. A fortnight later I received a ‘phone call asking me if I would be prepared to take part in a dowsing program. I said “Yes” providing that certain conditions were met. The first was that I would be filmed dowsing in my normal situations, not a set-up in a studio. The second was that I was not prepared to work with the brooding presence of a professional skeptic, like James Randi,. “Oh, we had thought of asking James Randi to take part” they answered.   My presence was not requested, and when the show was broadcast it was “The James Randi Show”! Television often looks to find controversy and make people look foolish. I was very grateful that I had been forewarned and had not been tempted by the flattering idea of appearing on television. Pride so easily comes before a fall.

So my forty years in dowsing has finally taught me

1. Keep it simple
2. Don’t make exaggerated claims
3. You can’t necessarily be competent in every area of dowsing
4. Don’t try to explain the inexplicable!