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Need water? Get a Witcher


Witching for water may seem a bit outdated in an age of technical instruments hooked to computers. Possibly some of you reading this would say it is down right ridiculous.Ridiculous or not, I believe. And, my late uncle had the gift.In an article entitled Ancient art of water witching survives the centuries, M.L. Lyke reports the earliest records of water witching are 6,000 to 8,000 year-old cave paintings in Africa. Then, as now, a water witcher or Dowser is primary used to find underground water for wells, although some say they are able to find graves. Practitioners use metal rods, wire coat hangers, or pliers. Others require a certain type of tree such as apple or peach. Holding the instrument of choice with both hands, water is located when the tip pulls either down or up. Dowsers have different thoughts on who actually has the gift. The American Society of Dowsers maintains everyone is born with the gift while others will say only one in a thousand can do it.There is much controversy surrounding the practice. Geologists almost unanimously condemn it. Lyke says "many modern-day critics call dowsing a superstitious relic." Although there are many people who do not believe, dowsing remains very much alive. Why? Because what is there to lose. When it costs $20,000 or more to dig a well, why not?Witching for a well was a common practice in the rural area where I grew up. I remember well the day my uncle came over with his peach stick when Dad decided to dig a new well. Gripping the Y shaped branch with a sort of backward grip, he walked back and forth over the area. Sure enough, the stick pulled down hard in one certain area. He kept walking around, always going back to the same spot. The well is there to this day.Years later, we were visiting with my uncle. When asked how it works, he said he did not know. We pressed for a demonstration. No peach branch was available but he thought pliers from the shop would do. Although he had a very tight grip, we could hear the rubbing on his hands as they pulled down while walking around the kitchen. He said the pliers were reacting to the water lines in the house. That sounded crazy so I held on to the pliers over his hands and, sure enough, I also experienced the pull. I discussed Uncle Lawrence's witching gift with his son not long ago. He agreed his dad had this ability. He saw him use it many times. When asked if he too could witch, he said, "Hell no." What ever one might believe on this subject, perhaps this quote from an article entitled Dowsing, Science or Humbug says it all"Simple truths about nature can't choose to hide from the skeptical minds and be seen by the gullible at the same time."


Ronda Miller 9 years, 11 months ago

This is an interesting blog, Linda. I have witnessed this done myself as a young child growing up in western Kansas - where water seems to be very hard to find.Thanks for more information about a special gift some people seem to possess.

David Lignell 9 years, 11 months ago

Hey, Linda.I found water in our house awhile ago, a lot of it in the wrong place. Our upstairs toilet had a leak in the pipes and it soaked down the walls through to the basement. What I wouldn't have given for your Uncle's witching talent to let us know ahead of time.

oldvet 9 years, 11 months ago

Many years ago I worked on a crew that repaired natural gas lines. There was a foreman on the crew who could witch up the location of the lines and the direction they ran using two long wires bent into an L shape. He would hold the short ends with the long ends pointing straight ahead. Then he would walk the area until the long ends moved apart and into a straight line, aligning with the pipes we were seeking. I had to dig too many dry holes (no pipes where we thought they were) when he wasn't around, and dug up too many in the locations he pointed to for me not to believe that he had some gift.

Linda Hanney 9 years, 11 months ago

Multi, you bring up good points. Uncle Lawrence believed he could find water. Did that make the difference? I have never read where this ability is based on anything scientific. Of course, it is too late, but I wish I could ask him when he discovered he had this ability. I can only speculate, but my guess is it involved someone else who also had the gift.

beeline 9 years, 11 months ago

I have the gift. My brother does not. So did my grandfather. I found water for some people who were having trouble once. Some geologists say you can find water if you dig deep enough. I don't know. It is quite a tug on the old willow branch when there is water. Fun to watch and fun to do. LOL

George_Braziller 9 years, 11 months ago

Laugh if you must, but in the mid 1980s I was working for the city department of my hometown over my college summer break. The maps for the water and sewer lines weren't really that accurate so we did do exactly this before digging. It's strange but it does work! Bend two coat hangers or some other heavy wire into an "L." Hold your hands like they were on a steering wheel (and keep the same diamater in mind" and put the short end of the "L" in each hand, walk slowly around the area, and when you cross the area where the water line, or sewer is the wires will move on their own and create an "X" over the water source.My grandfather first showed me this in the mid 1960s. I was suprised that it was still being used in the "modern" age of the 1980s.

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