Saturday, 28 January 2012

THE ART OF DOWSING - A USEFUL TOOL FOR PARANORMAL INVESTIGATION?

Dowsing employed to find water
Here is an article from Fortean Times on Dowsing.
I`ve actually practised this art in the past for finding energy spikes around ancient sites, and even for metal and water detecting!
My rods were always a cut wire coat hanger which serves the purpose admirably. I actually find this a more reliable and accurate method of detecting spiritual energy than any modern gizmo that works (I feel) with less predictable results. 
This article more or less covers everything on the cause and effect of this most useful paranormal detection aid, and best of all it is free! I will probably make a video on this in the near future.

As anyone with a passing interest in the pursuit of ghosts will know, the ghost-hunter of the last 60 years has tended to go armed with a barrage of technical equipment and gadgetry. For example, here’s a report about members of the Paranormal Research Organisation staking out an old Cornish Manor House in 2008: “They will use an array of hi-tech equipment including night shot video cameras, laser thermometers, dowsing rods and pendulums, digital voice recorders, motion detectors, negative ion detectors, ultra-sound devices and digital cameras” (Western Morning News, 25 Jan 2008).

Amongst this impressive array of equipment, two items stand out like witchdoctors’ wands on an NHS ward – pendulums and divining rods. Yet their inclusion in a ghost-hunter’s kit bag is far from unusual. Many, if not the majority, of the UK’s psychic investigation groups, entertainment companies and spiritual development circles who carry on ghost-hunting will deploy them. Many sincerely believe divining rods and pendulums may be used for spirit detection and communication, readily identifying gyrations and movements as proof of contact.


Nor is it just believers who are impressed. Take the case of Selina Maycock, a reporter for the Grimsby Telegraph who encountered “a strange force” while using dowsing rods at the reputedly haunted Skipworth Arms in Moortown, Lincolnshire. Strange incidents have included a pint glass exploding, the sensation of being seized by the arm, noises and the apparition of “a little lad or lass in a baby walker”.
Accompanied by two members of ‘Night Owls Paranormal Investigations’ (Sue Drury, a medium, and Steve Dinsdale, described as an “audio-video researcher”), Ms Maycock was keen to try divining for herself. 


The NOPI team had previously held five vigils inside the pub, claiming to have variously contacted a deceased friend of the pub’s landlady, an entity called “Jimmy” believed to be a former landlord, and a third presence, a boy going by the name of “Billy”. Taking up the divining rods, Ms Maycock admitted to scepticism, but her disbelief evaporated with what happened next. 

Dowsing has been practised for centuries
“Jimmy was asked to use the rods to point to where he was in the room and with that instruction, my heart almost leapt into my mouth. The rods swung round from pointing forward to touching my shoulders facing behind my back. But they didn’t stop there. They continued until they crossed my neck in a headlock. At that point, I could sense something behind me and was in no doubt the spirit had moved the rods.” 

The experiment continued with the astonished Ms Maycock asking for ‘Billy’ to make himself known. In response, the rods crossed. 

“My arms were a good 30cm [1ft] apart, so I knew I wasn’t crossing them. But the motion was a softer one, as you would expect for a young child.” She then tried to cross the rods but found she could not because of a “strange force” keeping them apart. Ms Maycock states her scepticism was duly shaken (Grimsby Telegraph, 13 Sept 2010). 

But was this really evidence of a ghost or spirit being present? Divining and dowsing for water and other substances is a huge area, but anyone with the slightest knowledge understands that such movements are not those of the rods themselves; they do not move “of their own accord”. 

There is no intrinsic detecting power within a rod or pendulum to move it – in every case it needs to be held by a living being to show any react-ion. A wide variety of instruments have been made or adapted for use by dowsers, including the traditional forked twigs (hazel, willow or peach), coat hangers, whalebones, copper wires, walking sticks, pitchforks, bakelite strips, surgical scissors and even – it has been claimed – a German sausage. Some of the best dowsers dispense with any prop, working with their hands alone. 

Personally, I think there is a lot of interesting evidence for a dowsing ability that detects water and probably other material substances. Intriguing results occur even under the basilisk glare of arch-sceptics such as James Randi on televised showdowns (Editions of Arthur C. Clarke’s World of Strange Powers, Yorkshire TV, 1985, and “James Randi Psychic Investigator” on Channel 4, 1991). But whereas dowsing for water, a mineral deposit or a dead body is open to verification (you either find it or you don’t), there is no way of objectively confirming any claim by a psychic or medium that says a ghost is moving a dowsing rod. Unfortunately, there is no settled opinion on how pendulums and rods behave (“For each dowsing aid there are as many different ways of holding it and interpreting the way it moves” – Lyall Watson: Supernature, 1973). 

Beliefs that pendulums and rods can be used for contacting the spirit world are not founded upon any controlled and reported experiments (despite many ghost-hunting groups claiming to be “scientific”). While mediums have long used planchettes and Ouija boards to supposedly contact spirits (or the subconscious mind, depending on your point of view), dowsing to talk with the dead is a modern notion. 

A rare critic of divining rods as ghost-detectors is John Fraser in his Ghost Hunting: A Survivor’s Guide (2010). His view is that at worst, movements are caused by no more than unconscious muscular action by anyone holding the rod or pendulum, interpreted as signals from the beyond, a view encouraged by the organisers of events who are either principally concerned with entertainment, making money, or confirming pre-existing beliefs. At best – assuming some dowsing ability is operating – twitches by the rod or swings of the pendulum are still being generated by muscular actions, as a subconscious reaction to any manner of things present. Even presuming that movements are a response to a ghost, how would one distinguish this from the reaction to water? Most buildings will have running water or a supply of electricity somewhere, so is it not possible these may be the cause? 

Source: Fortean Times

 
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