When Joan and I bought our piece of ground on Lotus Island the first job was to look for water. We had the use of a jointly owned well but we needed a backup plan. We hired a witcher. There is a reason it is called witching. It may be more accurate to call it bewitching. I had some knowledge of the fruitless search for water from the movie Mr. Blandings builds his Dream House but we were on the wet coast, surrounded by water and in the drainage basin of the zone called The Hundred Hills.
Our dowser came with his witching rod of willow and dowsed in the most likely of places. I expected the process to be amusing and primitive. Sure enough, his dowser dipped here and there but these areas
were too near the surface for use other than watering plants if it were cribbed as a shallow well. More important to me than water however was the mystery of the dowsing.
I was so intrigued that I began dowsing myself as an inquiry into the internal-external process. I used forked willow, forked vine maple and a wire coat hanger, When I approached an area on the property where water was probable each of the rods I had chosen dipped easily and strongly, including the wire coat hanger of course. What was this phenomenon? Speculation is not a substitute for explanation. I reviewed the interesting literature on water witching, also called dowsing and divination. There are no studies that give credence to the process or suggest any evidence basis for it, but I had to determine if it was me that was crazy. I was convinced that though my mind said this was nonsense, my body responded as if it wasn't, Cognitive dissonance. My dipping rods seemed real including the metal one.
It was no surprise that water was noted because we had ground water everywhere and rising to the surface. It was no surprise to the skeptical that a wire coat hanger was identical to willow and vine maple. The only common factor was me and the incapacity to set aside the mind body reaction that misleads and allows reaction to supplant evaluation. Think before you act my dad used to say without having any idea he was talking about evidence based observations.I suppose it is understandable and human as dowsing for everything from gold and jewel to water has been done for 400 years and we all have a tiny bit of us that like to think that magic is really possible.