Introduction: How to Find Water and Attract Sceptisism

Picture of How to Find Water and Attract Sceptisism

Here's a first - an instructable I am confident will not work.

Dowsing is a method for finding ... stuff. There are several different ways of doing it, but the most common way is "crossed sticks".

(I haven't bothered actually doing this - that would be a waste of time for an old sceptic like me - so the images are plundered from the web)

Step 1: What You Need

Picture of What You Need

The equipment is simple -

A wire coat-hanger and two tubes about as long as your closed fist.

You can use anything for the tubes, as long as they are wide enough to allow the coat-hanger wire free movement. Many people use the tubes from empty ball-points, but you can use whatever you want, as long as they allow the coat-hanger wire to fit loosely.

You also need something to cut the coat-hanger, such as heavy wire-cutters, bolt-cutters or a pair of strong snips.

Step 2: Making the Dowsing Rods.

Picture of Making the Dowsing Rods.

Cut the twisty bit off the hanger, cut the rest in half, then straighten and bend the wire into two L shapes.

Drop the short parts of the Ls into the tubes, and you're ready to go.

Step 3: How to Dowse.

Picture of How to Dowse.

Dowsing by this method is supposed to reveal unconscious movements of the body when your "sixth sense" reacts to... something.

To start, find a field to find something in. Stand near the edge, relax. Hold a dowsing rod in each hand with the rods pointing forwards.

Walk across the field, followed by your assistant.

As you walk, watch the rods. If your body senses... something, it (apparently) reacts by slightly tensing the back. This tiny movement is amplified by the rods and they move. Whenever the rods make a sudden movement, either crossing or swinging apart, stop and allow you assistant to note or mark the place.

Make several crossings of the field in each direction, noting each point where something happens.

Step 4: And Then?

Picture of And Then?

It's up to you.

There's only one way to find out what's under the markers - dig. Make sure you have the land-owner's permission before you do, and beware of what is under your feet: some dowsers claim to be able to find power lines, or you may find an underground river. Or a sewer.

Whatever, if you find something, add a comment with what you found, where and when.

If you keep getting positive results, then maybe you ought to contact James Randi.


NealL7 (author)2016-09-22

I made these and it absolutely works. You don't even need tubes. Just cut and bend the hangers into an L shape and hold the short ends in your hands loosely. There's nothing magical about it, I'm sure it's the result of a magnetic field created from the water. But I was amazed at how accurate and consistent it was.

Kiteman (author)NealL72016-09-22

Except water doesn't create a field of any kind.

It's a shame you only just noticed this "skill" - you missed being a millionaire by months:

NealL7 (author)Kiteman2016-09-28

Bah. I planned to make a video last weekend to prove that this worked, after my experience from the previous weekend when they seemed to clearly detect water lines. Sadly, being very careful not to influence movement with my hands, I discovered it did not. I guess there is something to the ideomotor effect.

NealL7 (author)Kiteman2016-09-22

Yes, I read about all the scientific studies today and was surprised to learn that it had generally been invalidated. But I can tell you this: I did not expect it to work. I had a pipe leak outside underground last weekend. I used the two coat hangers, and CONSISTENTLY every water line I crossed pulled those hangers together. Now, this is different than just looking for water, these are water pipes. But it was so consistent that there has to be some rational explanation. It certainly wasn't wishful thinking on my part and it was not the ideomotor effect. Can we post videos here? I'll even record it to show it works.

abby5 (author)2014-07-25

Blue Hawaii that was jeses

Kiteman (author)abby52014-07-25

If you want to talk to a specific person, click the "Reply" button.

Also, check your spelling and your sarcasm filters.

abby5 (author)Kiteman2014-07-25


i make shooting things (author)2007-12-18

my cuzin just had a 1000 foot well dug in new mexico and he had a dowser find where to dig the well, he was there for the dowsing and it worked

lol. I am positive you are joking. Maybe if he used a geologist he could have hit the water table in 20 feet.

rbodell (author)chainedflesh2013-11-28

Don't know anything about digging a well do you LOL It's obvious.

Kiteman (author)chainedflesh2007-12-19

There are many places where the water table is much more than twenty feet below the surface, especially in heavily-populated (by humans or farm animals) areas with low rainfall (few people seem to realise that fresh water is a dwindling resource).

chainedflesh (author)Kiteman2007-12-20

That much is true. Big populations place a depression in the water table very easily. And it is only going to get more scarce that much quicker with our glaciers vanishing. People debate global warming left and right, but regardless of what the cause is, the fact is that our our glaciers are disappearing and taking most of our water sources with them. We need to do something for the long haul. Desalinization may soon wind up being our only option left.

at least thats what he told me but i theres a good chance he was just messing with me

See, now if you actually did the dowsing you could claim credit. My Dad says he did some dowsing (which makes me think my Dad's a little weirder than I previously thought). But even that doesn't count.

dsman195276 (author)2008-04-03

i have the reason why this works and why it only works with water. the wood you have to use is ferrous, and if i rember correct they have to have been cut down recently(like 10 min from when you start dowsing) why this works: the roots on ferrous trees have addapted to living in the desert by learning to find water instead of waiting for it to come to them, so when you hold the sticks over water they try to move to the water. i will get a link that supports this.

rbodell (author)dsman1952762013-11-28

I use coat hangers and brazing rod. Beleive it or not, I have never seen a coat hanger tree or brazing rod tree.

Kiteman (author)dsman1952762008-05-20

I missed this comment...

Ferrous wood??

"Ferrous" means "to do with, or made of, metallic iron".

What you are talking about is tropism - the variation in a plant's growth triggered by external stimuli. Geotropism makes shoots grow up and roots grow down. Phototropism makes leaves turn towards the sun, and hydrotropism makes roots (not branches) grow into damper soil (they have to actually touch the water, they cannot sense it at a distance).

Tropisms are only exhibited during a plant's growth - they do not occur once the plant is dead.

dsman195276 (author)Kiteman2008-05-20

hmm, well i forgot the name of the plant and i was hoping that the person down there was right. anyway that was what i was told. it might be wrong but i don't think so. um , i will just find a link, that will be easier because i don't want to give you wrong information.

Kiteman (author)dsman1952762008-05-20

Sorry, it makes me giggle to see you defending one of the classic witchcraft skills...

Nando_Kommando (author)Kiteman2009-03-10

Witchcraft? How about an "animal magnetism" instructable, now that I'd like to see!

dsman195276 (author)Kiteman2008-05-20

I have heard that it works and why, but i never checked if that was true or not.

dsman195276 (author)Kiteman2008-05-20

i looked at that link and found out, it does not really matter what the rods are made of. you just have to read it for your self.

!Andrew_Modder! (author)2007-12-18

i have done this, and seen it happen :-). I no it finds water somehow, but you say **A genuine ability would earn a dowser millions.** what would i find that could be worth money, i thought it can only find water :-\? help! :-P

Dowsing always finds water, because if you dig deep enough you will hit the water table, no matter where you are.

rbodell (author)chainedflesh2013-11-28

The water table is not everywhere,

lol. but what im asking is why can you make money off this?....?.................(other than mabe having a personal water well.)

Kiteman (author)!Andrew_Modder!2007-12-19

If you can find water close enough to the surface to reach, saving people days or weeks and thousands of dollars drilling bore-holes, that is how you make money as a dowser.

Some dowsers make money by claiming that they can dowse for whatever ails you, or finding people on a map, or communing with spirits etc.

Noodly0ne (author)Kiteman2008-05-20

I always thought that it was considered unethical to charge or accept payment for dowsing. Like it is a skill you are supposed to share, or something...

!Andrew_Modder! (author)Kiteman2007-12-20

oh........... :-\.....

Yep, in other words they scam people out of money.

rbodell (author)!Andrew_Modder!2013-11-28

I often get called by a couple of plumbers to find PVC water pipes. I teach them how to do it but they keep calling me back ($20 each time). I have found a gold and diamond ring ($800), 3 $20 gold pieces ( value unknown), 100 ft of 3/8 galvanized chain (used $200), coins, When I go metal detecting I use it to go to an area, usually within a foot or so rather than search a whole area. My TV remote about three times a week, 5 lost wedding rings, a silver chain is that enough?

John Werner (author)2010-08-19

Hello, In the summer of 1975, A farmer in NH. showed my Father a dowsing method of an apple Y branch which worked to find a good flow of water to drill artichin Well, only 100 ft down clean water, and most lots had to drill 350ft or greater , Note I tried the method and found out I had the inner energy flow, even with a metal coat hanger, I would like to learn to find gold i feel in my heart it is possible, poeple say animals cant communicate I begg to differ, I feel connected to nature the living planet which the lord created, prayer and an bieng honest and open works and going to church I believe works, comment if you will . JW.

Kiteman (author)John Werner2010-08-20

(You are aware that water dowsing falls under the biblical classification of "witchcraft", are you not?)

Blue Hawaii (author)Kiteman2012-10-24

Kinda like turning water into wine. Now who was it that did that?

Cooldeal (author)2011-07-10

The earth puts off magnetic fields of strength. Water disrupts that flow of magnetism and dowsing rods find it just like a magnet finds the earths' poles. I can find my septic tank that way. It does work and it is just a physical phenomenon.

I merely finds disruptions of the earths' natural magnetic field currents and when used together they counteract upon one another. Your body is the ground. I've seen dowsers do it barefooted and it does work. Just h ave to understand what you want them to do when you step over a body of water that redirects the magnetic current. I can find metal pipes underground too.

Kiteman (author)Cooldeal2011-07-10

Lots of people believe they have seen dowsers perform "for real", yet, whenever they are tested under reproducible conditions, they never perform any better than a random hunch or guess.

If you know better, get in touch with the Randi Foundation, because there is a fortune waiting for you.

instructableuser2009 (author)2009-07-27

I know dowsing works for a fact. Here in Southeastern PA there are several well drilling companies that use dowsing before drilling wells. It really does work! A friend once used dowsing to find a nearly 100 year old drain field line made of clay pipe. It was for a church and the line had been black topped over. He found it on the first try and was able to follow the pipe for more than 300 feet before it opened up to an underground cavity.

Awesome, just go to file for the 1,000,000 challange and prove it via a double blind test. Go to youtube and type in Randi dowsing test and you can see it performed. Failes EVERY time. Nothing better than chance when the person has no idea where the water/gold/silver/dead body etc is.

gadget1961 (author)Subfightr2010-06-08

why do you have to be the person that just dosnt see it ,, take the diper off and do it your self, its been around longer than your grand dad , its called water witching , and i bet you dont go to church, dont beleive what you read must be your in your mind haha think again

James (pseudo-geek) (author)2008-01-14

no, dowsing is a method for finding water, and only water, and yes, it DOES work, I know some very honest people that have used it and it works.

Simply because someone is honest and believes this does work does not make it true. If they say it works they are not lieing, they are just wrong and are fooling themselves. By all means test this out. Have a friend lay out like 20 boxes and under one of the boxes put bottles of water, have the friend walk away and call you in with your rods when ready, if it works you should find the water with your rods no matter how many times you repeat the test.. Right? make sure your friend can not be seen by you when you do the test, he knows where it is and can give slight clues via body language that you unknowingly pickup on. Good luck, LET US KNOW WHAT HAPPENS PLEASE!

gadget1961 (author)Subfightr2010-06-08

why do people have to be know it alls , this works , and it does work , it sounds like you dont beleive as for body clues guess what i am holding up

oh and yeah, it will find power lines too (if your rods are ferrous...which they have to be anyway to find water) because the power lines put off magnetic fields.

Evidence, please james, evidence.

Just because a person is honest does not mean they are correct - they may have honestly deluded themselves.

Subfightr (author)Kiteman2009-08-12

oh... I see you answered this a year before I did lol, good answer :)

Kiteman (author)Subfightr2009-08-15


iq_abyss (author)Kiteman2008-03-14

Dowsing is valid, my grandpa digs wells for people--I have seen him dowse many times with a willow branch (in the shape of a Y) and when he moves over the water, the branch will twist down with such force as to peel the bark off of the branch. He will then precede to drill the well, never-NEVER, have I seen him fail to find the water on the first drill.

Nando_Kommando (author)iq_abyss2009-03-10

Put it up on youtube!

ok ok fine I'll check it out more throughly. I know for sure that it ruins drywall knives (large metal putty knives).

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