Dowsing is looking for underground water – springs, wells, etc. – by magical means.

Many dowsers use a split twig, which looks like a slingshot. They hold the two split ends like handles, and walk. When there’s water below their feet, the twig will tell them so. It will tug at their hands, and draw the twig to earth.

When I was growing up in southwest Washington state in the 1960s, dowsing was a fact of life. A family friend named Ruth was a water witch; she made good money dowsing wells for people.

My father did it himself, but he had his own method: he filled a ketchup bottle with water, and suspended it from a thick piece of twine, and carried it around the field, looking for water.

(Here’s the thing: in those days, in southwest Washington, the water table was nearly level with the ground. There was water everywhere. After a heavy rainfall, you could put a stick in the ground, and water would gush out.)

(So how hard was it to be a water witch? Not very.  And how often did they succeed? A lot.)

This doesn’t mean that I disbelieve in it. A lot of animals can smell water; why shouldn’t people be able to do that?

But finding water below ground, in southwest Washington, in those days, was just too easy.

I believe in all kinds of crazy crap, but in this case, I’d like to see a bit more proof.


About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to

One Response to Dowsing

  1. starproms says:

    That’s funny and made me smile! I’ve never tried dowsing but it does sound fun.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: