Kaz Psychic - The history of pendulum dowsing

Pendulum Dowsing 820 x 502-min

Pendulum Dowsing

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Pendulum dowsing, Radiesthesia an old fashioned divining technique and resource still used today and pendulum divination.!

Dowsing is a type of divination employed in attempts to locate ground water, buried metals, ores, gemstones, oil, grave sites, and many other objects and materials, as well as so-called currents of earth radiation (Ley lines), without the use of scientific apparatus. 

In this article written by Kaz, Kaz discusses the fascinating history and methodology of Pendulum Dowsing and other forms of Dowsing.
Rolf Gordon the managing director of Dulwich Health in London uses Pendulum dowsing to help save lives. Rolf saved the lives of Kaz and her family as is so with thousands of other people the world over.

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No scientific evidence to support the effectiveness of dowsing

There is no scientific evidence to support that dowsing is effective, however, dowsing in an ancient art which is still used today, and even by water companies apparently!

History of Pendulum Dowsing - Sepia photo

Dowsing is an ancient art.

Vining Rod or Witching Rod

An A Y- or L-shaped twig or rod, called a dowsing rod, divining rod (Latin: virgula divina or baculus divinatorius), a "vining rod" or witching rod, is sometimes used during dowsing, although some dowsers use other equipment or no equipment at all.

Renaissance Magic

Dowsing appears to have arisen in the context of Renaissance magic in Germany, and it remains popular among believers in Forteana or Radiesthesia.


Dowsing as practiced today may have originated in Germany during the 15th century, when it was used in attempts to find metals.

Martin Luther

As early as 1518 Martin Luther listed dowsing for metals as an act that broke the first commandment (i.e., as occultism).

Sebastian Munster's Cosmographia

Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia

Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia

The 1550 edition of Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia contains a woodcut of a dowser with forked rod in hand walking over a cutaway image of a mining operation.

Virgula Divina - Glück rüt"

The rod is labeled "Virgula Divina – Glück rüt" (Latin: divine rod; German "Wünschelrute": fortune rod or stick), but there is no text accompanying the woodcut.

Title page of 1556 edition of Georgius Agricola's De Re Metallica

Title page of 1556 edition of Georgius Agricola's De Re Metallica

Georgius Agricola

By 1556 Georgius Agricola's treatment of mining and smelting of ore, De Re Metallica, included a detailed description of dowsing for metal ore.

Georgius Agricola

Georgius Agricola

Father of mineralogy

Georgius Agricola (24 March 1494 – 21 November 1555) was a German Catholic, scholar and scientist. He was known as "the father of mineralogy", and was born at Glauchau in Saxony. His birth name was Georg Pawer (Bauer in modern German); Agricola is the Latinised version of his name, by which he was known his entire adult life; Agricola and Bauer mean "farmer" in their respective languages. He is best known for his book De Re Metallica (1556).

De Re Metallica

Agricola's most famous work, the De Re Metallica Libri XII long remained a standard work, and marks its author as one of the most accomplished chemists of his time.

It was published the year after his death, in 1556, though apparently finished in 1550, since the dedication to the elector and his brother is dated 1550.

The delay in publication is thought to be due to the time necessary to complete the book's many woodcuts.


The work is a complete and systematic treatise on mining and extractive metallurgy, illustrated with many fine and interesting woodcuts which illustrate every conceivable process as to how to extract ores from the ground and metal from ore and more besides.

Pliny the Elder and Theophrastus

Agricola acknowledged his debt to ancient authors, such as Pliny the Elder and Theophrastus.

'Historia Naturalis'

Until that time, Pliny's work 'Historia Naturalis' was the main source of information on metals and mining techniques, and Agricola made numerous references to the Roman encyclopedia.

Ore veins and prospecting

Agricola described and illustrated how ore veins occur in and on the ground, making the work an early contribution to the developing science of geology.

He described prospecting for ore veins and surveying, in great detail, as well as washing the ores to collect the heavier valuable minerals, such as gold and tin.

The work is also interesting in showing the many water mills used in mining, such as the machine for lifting men and material into and out of a mine shaft.

Water mills

Water mills found innumerable applications, especially in crushing of ores in order to release the fine particles of gold and other heavy minerals, as well as working giant bellows to force air into the confined spaces of underground workings.


Agricola described many mining methods which are now obsolete, such as fire-setting, which involved building fires against hard rock faces.

Thermal shock

The hot rock was quenched with water and the thermal shock weakened it enough for easy removal.

Toxic gases

It was very dangerous when used in underground galleries fbecause of the toxic gases given off by the fires, and so it was made redundant by explosives.

Fire-setting underground

The work contains, in an appendix, the German equivalents for the technical terms used in the Latin text. Modern words that derive from the work, include Fluorspar (which was later named 'fluorine') and Bismuth.

Schloßberg at Stolpen

In another example, believing the black rock of the Schloßberg at Stolpen to be the same as Pliny the Elder's basalt, Agricola applied this name to it, and thus originated a petrological term which has been permanently incorporated in the vocabulary of science.

Mining magazine

De Re Metallica is considered a classic document of Renaissance metallurgy, unsurpassed for two centuries. In 1912, the Mining Magazine (London) published an English translation.

Herbert Hoover

The translation was made by Herbert Hoover, then an American mining engineer (better known to history for his later term as a President of the United States), his wife was Lou Henry Hoover.

Gaspar Schott

Gaspar Schott

"Superstitious, or rather Satanic"

In 1662 dowsing was declared to be "superstitious, or rather Satanic" by a Jesuit, Gaspar Schott, though he later noted that he wasn't sure that the devil was always responsible for the movement of the rod.

Gaspar Schott

Gaspar Schott (5 February 1608 – 22 May 1666) (in German Kaspar Schott, in Latin Gaspare Schotto) was a German Jesuit and scientist, specializing in the fields of physics, mathematics and natural philosophy, and was well known within his industry.

Mathematics, physics and magic

Schott was the author of numerous works from the fields of mathematics, physics, and magic.

However, those works were mostly a compilations of reports, articles or books which he had read together with his own repeated experiments; suffice to say that he had done little, if any, original research.

"Chronometric marvels"

Schott is most widely known for his works on hydraulic and mechanical instruments. His treatise on "chronometric marvels" is the first work describing a universal joint and providing the classification of gear teeth.

"Magia universalis naturæ et artis"

Among his most famous works is the book "Magia universalis naturæ et artis" (4 vol's, Würtzburg, 1657–1659), filled with many mathematical problems and physical experiments, mostly from the areas of optics and acoustics.

Gaspar Schott's sketch of Otto von Guericke's Magdeburg hemispheres experiment

Gaspar Schott's sketch of Otto von Guericke's

Magdeburg hemispheres experiment

"Mechanicahydraulica-pneumatica" (Würtzburg, 1657)

His "Mechanicahydraulica-pneumatica" (Würtzburg, 1657) contains the first description of von Guericke's air pump.

"Pantometricum Kircherianum" (Würtzburg, 1660)

He also published "Pantometricum Kircherianum" (Würtzburg, 1660); Physica curiosa (Würtzburg, 1662), a supplement to the Magia universalis; Anatomia physico-hydrostatica fontium et fluminum (Würtzburg, 1663), "Organum Mathematicum" (1668) and several editions of a Cursus mathematicus.

Itinerarium extacticum of Athanasius Kircher

He was also the editor of the Itinerarium extacticum of Athanasius Kircher and the Amussis Ferdidindea of Albert Curtz.

Tracking criminals and heretics

In the South of France in the 17th century it was used in tracking criminals and heretics.

It's abuse led to a decree of the inquisition in 1701, forbidding its employment for purposes of justice.

Samuel Sheppard

An epigram by Samuel Sheppard, from Epigrams theological, philosophical, and romantick (1651) runs thus: Virgula divina -

"Some Sorcerers do boast they have a Rod,
Gather'd with Vowes and Sacrifice,
And (borne about) will strangely nod
To hidden Treasure where it lies;
Mankind is (sure) that Rod divine,
For to the Wealthiest (ever) they incline."

Otto Edler von Graeve dowsing in 1913

Otto Edler von Graeve in 1913

Otto Edler von Graeve

Otto Edler von Graeve (July 22, 1872 - January 10, 1948) was a German divining rod proponent.

Prussian army

Otto Edler von Graeve was born on July 22, 1872 to Emil Edler von Graeve (1826–1904). He was a Major in the Prussian army. In 1913, he published a manuscript on dowsing.

USS George Washington

Otto Edler von Graeve came to the United States on January 27, 1914 aboard the USS George Washington through New York City on his way to Vancouver to divine for radium.

Dowsing with Rods

Dowsing with Rods - South Dakota

South Dakota

Dowsing was conducted in South Dakota in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to help homesteaders, farmers, and ranchers locate water wells on their property.

United States Marines

In the late 1960's during the Vietnam War, some United States Marines used dowsing to attempt to locate weapons and tunnels.

Soldiers buried in an avalanche

As late as in 1986, when 31 soldiers were taken by an avalanche during an operation in the NATO drill, Anchor Express in Vassdalen, Norway, the Norwegian army attempted to locate soldiers buried in the avalanche using dowsing as search method. 16 soldiers died.

1942 George Casely uses hazel twig to attempt to find water on the land around his Devon farm

1942: George Casely uses a hazel twig to attempt
to find water on the land around his Devon farm

George Casely - dowsing rods

In 1942: George Casely used a hazel twig to attempt to find water on the land around his Devon farm.

Y-shaped branch

Traditionally, the most common dowsing rod is a forked (Y-shaped) branch from a tree or bush.

Some dowsers prefer branches from particular trees, and some prefer the branches to be freshly cut.

Hazel twigs

Hazel twigs in Europe and witch-hazel in the United States are traditionally and commonly chosen, as are branches from Willow or Peach trees.

The two ends on the forked side are held one in each hand with the third (the stem of the Y) pointing straight ahead.

Willow witching

Often the branches are grasped palms down. The dowser then walks slowly over the places where he suspects the target (for example, minerals or water) may be, and the dowsing rod dips, inclines or twitches when a discovery is made. This method is sometimes known as "willow witching".

Copper Dowsing Rods

Copper Dowsing Rods


Two L-shaped metal wire rods

Many dowsers today use a pair of simple L-shaped metal rods. One rod is held in each hand, with the short arm of the L held upright, and the long arm is pointing forward.

X marks the spot!

When something is found, the rods cross over one another making an X over the found object. If the object is long and straight, such as a water pipe, the rods may point in opposite directions, showing its orientation.

The rods are sometimes fashioned from wire coat hangers, and glass or plastic rods have also been accepted.

19th-century New England

Straight rods are also sometimes used for the same purposes, and were not uncommon in early 19th-century New England.

Unstable equilibrium

In all cases, the device is in a state of unstable equilibrium from which slight movements may be amplified.

Metal Dowsing Pendulums

Metal Dowsing Pendulums

Other equipment used for dowsing

A pendulum of crystal, metal or other materials suspended on a chain is sometimes used in divination and dowsing.

Crystal Dowsing Pendulums

Crystal Dowsing Pendulums

Yes or no answers

In one approach the user first determines which direction (left-right, up-down) will indicate "yes" and which "no" before proceeding to ask the pendulum specific questions, or alternatively, another person may pose questions to the person holding the pendulum.

The pendulum may also be used over a pad or cloth with "yes" and "no" written on it and perhaps other words written in a circle.

The person holding the pendulum aims to hold it as steadily as possible over the center and its movements are held to indicate answers to the questions.

Dowsing charts

There have been many books published on Dowsing, and many containing dowsing charts created, which are very helpful, charts like the one below:

Chart for Dowsing

In the practice of Radiesthesia, a pendulum is used for medical diagnosis.

There are also Pendulum Dowsing Boards too like this one below made from wood:

Pendulum Dowsing Board

Wooden Pendulum Dowsing Board

Scientific appraisal - James Randi

Skeptic James Randi at a lecture at Rockefeller University, on October 10, 2008, was photographed holding an $800 device advertised as a dowsing instrument.

58 dowsers tested

A 1948 study tested 58 dowsers' ability to detect water. None of them was more reliable than chance.

Dowsing was found to be no better than mere chance when tested

Studies of dowsing for water, and found that none of them showed better than chance results.

Human burials

A 2006 study of grave dowsing in Iowa reviewed 14 published studies and determined that none of them correctly predicted the location of human burials, and simple scientific experiments demonstrated the fundamental principles commonly used to explain grave dowsing were incorrect.

Society for the Scientific Investigation of the Para sciences

More recently a study was undertaken in Kassel, Germany, under the direction of the Gesellschaft zur Wissenschaftlichen Untersuchung von Parawissenschaften (Society for the Scientific Investigation of the Para sciences).

The three-day test of some 30 dowsers involved plastic pipes through which water flow could be controlled and directed.

The pipes were buried 50 centimeters under a level field, the position of each marked on the surface with a coloured strip.

The dowsers had to tell whether water was running through each pipe.

No better than chance

All of the dowsers signed a statement agreeing that this was a fair test of their abilities and that they expected a 100 percent success rate. However, the results were found to be no better than chance.

Suggested explanations

Early attempts at a scientific explanation of dowsing were based on the notion that the divining rod was physically affected by emanations from substances of interest.

William Pryce's 1778 Mineralogia Cornubiensis

The following explanation is from William Pryce's 1778 Mineralogia Cornubiensis:

The corpuscles ... that rise from the Minerals, entering the rod, determine it to bow down, in order to render it parallel to the vertical lines which the effluvia describe in their rise.

In effect, the mineral particles seem to be emitted from the earth; the Virgula (rod), being of a light porous wood, gives an easy passage to these particles, which are also very fine and subtle; the effluvia is then driven forward by those that follow them, and pressed at the same time by the atmosphere incumbent on them, they are forced to enter the little interstices between the fibres of the wood, and by that effort they oblige it to incline, or dip down perpendicularly, to become parallel with the little columns which those vapors form in their rise.

Such explanations have no modern scientific basis.

A 1986 article in Nature (a British multidisciplinary scientific journal), included dowsing in a list of "effects which until recently were claimed to be paranormal but which can now be explained from within orthodox science."

Specifically, dowsing could be explained in terms of sensory cues, expectancy effects and probability.

Diviners subconscious knowledge

Skeptics and some supporters believe that dowsing apparatus has no power of its own but merely amplifies slight movements of the hands caused by a phenomenon known as the ideomotor effect: people's subconscious minds may influence their bodies without them consciously deciding to take action. This would make the dowsing rods a conduit for the diviner's subconscious knowledge or perception; but also susceptible to confirmation bias.

Soviet geologists

Soviet geologists have made claims for the abilities of dowsers, which remain unverified by any credible scientific means.

Some authors suggest that these abilities may be explained by postulating human sensitivity to small magnetic field gradient changes.

Betz Controversy

In a study in Munich 1987–88 by Hans-Dieter Betz and other scientists, 500 dowsers were initially tested for their skill and the experimenters selected the best 43 among them for further tests.

Hans-Dieter Betz

Professor Hans-Dieter Betz

Hans-Dieter Betz - fFields of research

Beside atomic physics Betz searched on Sferics, where he leads a science-group on the Munich Ludwig-Maximilians-University.

Radiesthesia and Dowsing

Betz also investigates Radiesthesia and Dowsing, ten years in order by the German Government, for example the extensive Munich Scheunenexperimenten.

Water was pumped through a pipe on the ground floor of a two-story barn. Before each test, the pipe was moved in a direction perpendicular to the water flow.

843 tests

On the upper floor, each dowser was asked to determine the position of the pipe. Over two years the dowsers performed 843 such tests.

Of the 43 pre-selected and extensively tested candidates, at least 37 showed no dowsing ability.


The results from the remaining 6 were said to be better than chance, resulting in the experimenters' conclusion that some dowsers "in particular tasks, showed an extraordinarily high rate of success, which can scarcely, if at all, be explained as due to chance ... a real core of dowser-phenomena can be regarded as empirically proven."

Jim T. Enright, a professor of physiology

Five years after the Munich study was published, Jim T. Enright, a professor of physiology who emphasized correct data analysis procedure, contended that the studies results are merely consistent with statistical fluctuations and not significant. He believed that the experiments provided "the most convincing disproof imaginable that dowsers can do what they claim", stating that the data analysis was "special, unconventional and customized". Replacing it with "more ordinary analyses", he noted that the best dowser was on average 4 millimeters out of 10 meters closer to a mid-line guess, an advantage of 0.04%, and that the five other "good" dowsers were on average farther than a mid-line guess. He further pointed out that the six "good" dowsers did not perform any better than chance in separate tests.

Continuing use of dowsing

Regardless of the scientific experiments, dowsing is still used by some farmers and in some instances the British water companies still use dowsing rods to locate water under land!

Rolf Gordon managing director of Dulwich Health in London UK

Rolf Gordon Managing Director Dulwich Health, 
Dowses accurately for Geopathic Stress Radiation

Rolf Gordon - Dulwich Health

Rolf Gordon at Dulwich Health in London, England, United Kingdom, uses a Pendulum to dowse for Geopathic Stress, a subject on which Rolf has written several books. Dulwich Health Rolf has saved thousands of lives by dowsing to see if people are sleeping in a Geopathically Stressed bed. Sleeping in a Geopathically stressed bed can kill you.

To read Kaz's article on Geopathic Stress go here.

Commercial and "high-tech" dowsing devices

A number of devices resembling "high tech" dowsing rods have been marketed for modern police and military use: none have been shown to be effective.

The GT200

The more notable of this class of device are ADE 651, Sniffex, and the GT200.

A US government study advised against buying "bogus explosive detection equipment".


Sandia National Laboratories tested the MOLE programmable system manufactured by Global Technical Ltd. of Kent, UK and found it ineffective.

The ADE 651 is a device produced by ATSC (UK) and widely used by Iraqi police to detect explosives. Many have denied its effectiveness and contended that the ADE 651 failed to prevent many bombings in Iraq.

On 23 April 2013, the director of ATSC, Jim McCormick was convicted of fraud by misrepresentation. Earlier, the British Government had announced a ban on the export of the ADE 651.


SNIFFEX was the subject of a report by the United States Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal which concluded that "The hand held SNIFFEX explosives detector does not work."

The GT200 Global Technical Ltd

The GT200 Global Technical Ltd

Global Technical

Global Technical GT200 is a dowsing type explosive detector which contains no scientific mechanism.

Fraudulent "remote substance detector"

The GT200 is a fraudulent "remote substance detector" that was claimed by its manufacturer, UK-based Global Technical Ltd, to be able to detect from a distance various substances including explosives and drugs.

The GT200 was sold to a number of countries for a cost of up to £22,000 ($36,000) per unit, but the device has been described as little more than "divining rods" which lack any scientific explanation for why they should work.

UK Government - bombs and explosives

After the similar ADE 651 was exposed as a fraud, the UK Government banned the export of such devices to Iraq and Afghanistan in January 2010 and warned foreign governments that the GT200 and ADE 651 are "wholly ineffective" at detecting bombs and explosives.

Gary Bolton

The owner of Global Technical, Gary Bolton, was convicted on 26 July 2013 on two charges of fraud relating to the sale and manufacture of the GT200 and sentenced to seven years in jail.

Perhaps the good old Pendulum or dowsing rods as primitive as they may seem, are far more accurate?!

I will leave you to draw your own conclusions on this!

Happy Dowsing!

Thanks for reading!

I hope you will have found this article enlightening.

Bright Positive Blessings,

Kaz xx

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Call Kaz now for the reading of your life! Kaz promises you that you will be so glad you did!

Telephone Kaz Psychic for the psychic 01704 822 919 | +44 1704 822 919

Call Kaz for love problem solving

& Psychic readings over the phone:

Credit/debit card Psychic readings £20.00 (GBP)

- 20 minutes + £1.00 (GBP) each additional minute

Love problem solving bespoke to your own personal needs & budget.

Kaz cares because you matter

Pay over the phone using your credit/debit card

(Sorry Kaz does not offer psychic readings on your phone bill)

All major credit/debit card accepted.

Open 7 days per week: 12.00 pm - 12.00 am (GMT)

No appointment necessary - first come first served!