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(How) Do divining rods work?

sao123

Lifer
May 27, 2002
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The other day at work, we needed to find several buried empty 4 inch PCV conduits which go between several of our buildings on our complex.

One of the structural engineers who was assigned to the project had these 2 L shaped rods which he called divining rods. he held them loosely in each hand, and then would walk a straight line, and when he walked over top of this empty conduit they would turn and straighten pointing opposite parallel directions showing the lay of these underground conduits.

He reliably located several underground gas lines, water lines, sewage pipes, and the empty counduits we were looking for, and i know he wasnt cheating, because, this guy was only ever here a few times before... no blueprints, no outside knowledge, some of these things were installed 15 years ago.

it ovbiously worked, as we found that where he marked the location, he was within inches of the spot.

Looking it up on the internet, all i can find is a bunch of spiritual mumbo jumbo... it isnt magnetism, as PVC isnt magnetic. How are these rods able to locate such underground features so reliably.
 

PottedMeat

Lifer
Apr 17, 2002
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He reliably located several underground gas lines, water lines, sewage pipes, and the empty counduits we were looking for, and i know he wasnt cheating, because, this guy was only ever here a few times before... no blueprints, no outside knowledge, some of these things were installed 15 years ago.
he's lying and has the building plans, they shouldn't be hard to get
 

p0nd

Member
Apr 18, 2011
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0
71
There is a reason you will never, ever find a reputable (or even not reputable) environmental or engineering company that uses divining rods for site characterizations.

Your "diviner" probably has some old building plans.
 

sao123

Lifer
May 27, 2002
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he's lying and has the building plans, they shouldn't be hard to get
By easy to get, you mean next to impossible. State government does not hand out its building blueprints to contractors. That would be a violation of several laws codes and policies.

we dug trenches and broke pipes in the last few years...
Given that i have seen what blueprints we have, and know they are innaccurate and incomplete (the reason for the search), I know he cannot have the knowledge of where these pipes were.
 

PottedMeat

Lifer
Apr 17, 2002
12,365
471
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By easy to get, you mean next to impossible. State government does not hand out its building blueprints to contractors. That would be a violation of several laws codes and policies.

we dug trenches and broke pipes in the last few years...
Given that i have seen what blueprints we have, and know they are innaccurate and incomplete (the reason for the search), I know he cannot have the knowledge of where these pipes were.
maybe he scouts out the location with his own ground penetrating radar?
 

Cogman

Lifer
Sep 19, 2000
10,274
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How do they work? They work because you could dig almost ANYWHERE and eventually hit water. (look up "water table").

Anything else is just pure luck or someone messing with you.
 

Gigantopithecus

Diamond Member
Dec 14, 2004
7,665
0
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By easy to get, you mean next to impossible. State government does not hand out its building blueprints to contractors. That would be a violation of several laws codes and policies.

we dug trenches and broke pipes in the last few years...
Given that i have seen what blueprints we have, and know they are innaccurate and incomplete (the reason for the search), I know he cannot have the knowledge of where these pipes were.
Then there's only one explanation: MAGIC!
 

sao123

Lifer
May 27, 2002
12,598
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Then there's only one explanation: MAGIC!
Magic? Thats the best you can come up with?

i cant debate the results of the facts which we found.

I spoke with the guy briefly about them. Hes no religious nut, theres no mystical belief, no mason or undergroud religion, no hokus pokus, ...

He is just a PE whose focus is structural engineering, he believes this rod is a tool, much like a hammer or a metal detector, or a screwdriver, and after 15 years, he's gotten quite adept at using them for his profession.

Regardless, there must be a rational scientific explanation for how the device works. If you guys dont know it, just say so and move on.
 

Gigantopithecus

Diamond Member
Dec 14, 2004
7,665
0
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Magic? Thats the best you can come up with?
No, the best I can come up, and the correct answer, is that you're asking the wrong question. You should be asking yourself how you've become convinced that this guy's divining rod act has lead you to believe that there is a rational, scientific explanation for how divining rods work. As others have said, they don't. But if you want to believe that they do, knock yourself out!
 

sao123

Lifer
May 27, 2002
12,598
157
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How do they work? They work because you could dig almost ANYWHERE and eventually hit water. (look up "water table").

Anything else is just pure luck or someone messing with you.
We werent looking for the water table... we were looking for 3 inch gas lines, 50 pair phone cables, 4 inch water mains, 18 in drainage pipes, 4 inch pvc pipes with data & fiber optic cable, and 4inch empty pvc pipes all which go between 12 office buildings, fleet maintenance garages, storage buildings, and an IT datacenter on several acres of ground.
 

sao123

Lifer
May 27, 2002
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No, the best I can come up, and the correct answer, is that you're asking the wrong question. You should be asking yourself how you've become convinced that this guy's divining rod act has lead you to believe that there is a rational, scientific explanation for how divining rods work. As others have said, they don't. But if you want to believe that they do, knock yourself out!

we have many field theorys and applications, we have the entire electromagnetic field spectrum... and gravity...

What makes you think that such a device is impossible to work? just because something is called divine, what makes you think it has to be some faux spiritual device?


if you can find 1 or 2 things correctly, that could be considered coincidence. But a dozen? two dozen? At what point do you believe in the reliability of results?
 
Sep 7, 2009
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Assuming this isn't a trollpost...


I do believe it's possible for some people to pick up on very very specific magnetic fields, similar to how birds etc etc navigate. Many of these underground lines interrupt magnetic fields causing other issues.


Possible?
 

wuliheron

Diamond Member
Feb 8, 2011
3,536
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Its area 51 technology. I'd have to kill you and anyone who reads this post if I told you how they work.
 

sao123

Lifer
May 27, 2002
12,598
157
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Assuming this isn't a trollpost...


I do believe it's possible for some people to pick up on very very specific magnetic fields, similar to how birds etc etc navigate. Many of these underground lines interrupt magnetic fields causing other issues.


Possible?

I dont believe in the ideomotor effect... I dont believe this is some subconsious paranormal reflex.

i'm not trolling, from the explanation the guy gave me, it sounded as if these rods would do their job regardless if he was carrying them, or the mars opportunity rover.
 

Ferzerp

Diamond Member
Oct 12, 1999
6,435
106
106
What makes you think that such a device is impossible to work? just because something is called divine, what makes you think it has to be some faux spiritual device?

Because they *always* fail controlled, double blind tests.
 

p0nd

Member
Apr 18, 2011
139
0
71
I dont believe in the ideomotor effect... I dont believe this is some subconsious paranormal reflex.

i'm not trolling, from the explanation the guy gave me, it sounded as if these rods would do their job regardless if he was carrying them, or the mars opportunity rover.
If dowsing worked, construction/engineering/geotechnical/environmental companies wouldn't be spending 1,000's of dollars on high tech radar/magnetic equipment. They would be using divining rods.
 

PsiStar

Golden Member
Dec 21, 2005
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If you don't believe us, ask your weegie board ... same principles involved.

Then there is also the crazy 8 ball.
 

C1

Platinum Member
Feb 21, 2008
2,262
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I think the OP means "dowsing rod". Dowsing is a particular type of divining.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dowsing

Wkipedia discussion is that there really has been shown no evidence that dowsing works. However, there are all kinds of people (some I take seriously in other matters) that maintain that some people are able to dowse successfully on a regular basis plus they have personally witnessed people successfully perform this phenomenon.
 

Modelworks

Lifer
Feb 22, 2007
16,240
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We werent looking for the water table... we were looking for 3 inch gas lines, 50 pair phone cables, 4 inch water mains, 18 in drainage pipes, 4 inch pvc pipes with data & fiber optic cable, and 4inch empty pvc pipes all which go between 12 office buildings, fleet maintenance garages, storage buildings, and an IT datacenter on several acres of ground.


How large was the area he was in where he was looking for those items ? If you divided that area into a grid how many areas would there be that contained something you wanted vs areas that did not ?
Probability often is at work .


Of those things I know for a fact that the gas lines and the water lines are on file with county records. It is a federal offense to have gas mains buried and in use and not have them mapped.

I would hope someone involved in construction would know about these people:
http://www.call811.com/state-specific.aspx
 

Aluvus

Platinum Member
Apr 27, 2006
2,913
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By easy to get, you mean next to impossible. State government does not hand out its building blueprints to contractors. That would be a violation of several laws codes and policies.
In many areas, blueprints (of some type) and utility lines are a matter of public record.

i'm not trolling, from the explanation the guy gave me, it sounded as if these rods would do their job regardless if he was carrying them, or the mars opportunity rover.
Then it should work when you hold it, and he is not present, no?

The short answer, as already stated, is that they simply do not, in any way, work. Honestly if I were you and a PE told me this I would consider contacting whoever licenses PEs in the area.
 

herm0016

Diamond Member
Feb 26, 2005
7,876
656
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i have done it. they worked. we had a fountain of water coming out of our yard, a previously unknown water main going to a private drive behind our property. the city said there was no line there and it was our problem. we used 2 pieces of coat hanger and found the line, traced it to the street and found the shutoff before the city would even send someone to look at the fountain. Our neighbor was an old farmer and showed me how to do it. I am the one who was holding the rods and i thought he was crazy. i did not think it would work.

i am no super natural nut, but i could not argue with results. I figure it is something to do with the magnetic feild. I make all kinds of interesting measurements that seem crazy using induction tools in oil wells.
 
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Humpy

Diamond Member
Mar 3, 2011
4,463
595
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I've experienced dowsing rods twisting in my hands. It was pretty creepy.

I was at a new jobsite and the plumber handed me the rods and told me how to use them. He had me walk around for a minute while he unloaded his truck. At some point they crossed, I could feel a force being applied to them, and I marked the spot on the ground with a piece of lumber.

He took me about a hundred feet away to an open trench and showed me the end of a 1" PEX water line that headed directly to the spot I marked and continued directly on to the water meter cover at the street.

I had no idea what I was looking for or if there was even anything there to find. It was in a freshly graded area that I had never seen before. For some reason the rods crossed on there own at a spot over a water line buried 4' below the surface.

I don't know what any of it means other than I experienced something that many other people think is BS.
 

sao123

Lifer
May 27, 2002
12,598
157
106
In many areas, blueprints (of some type) and utility lines are a matter of public record.

Public utility lines may be public record... however:
1)Try finding a blueprint with ALL the water, gas, electric, lines on it.

2)Internal Phone, data, fiber optic, cable tv, and security lines are not public record.


Then it should work when you hold it, and he is not present, no?

The short answer, as already stated, is that they simply do not, in any way, work. Honestly if I were you and a PE told me this I would consider contacting whoever licenses PEs in the area.
i did not try them. but I did watch the guy use them, and they worked perfectly well. i also know he said it took him years of practise to perfect the technique.
 

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