(How) Do divining rods work?

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Jun 17, 2005
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Wished I lived near Texas
Well, I'm sure there is one near you since the Wikipedia page has a long list of them, international even. The funny thing is no one has ever won any of them. You would think that in a city of 7 million (with a 3-4 more million in a few hours drive) someone would be able to do it.
 
Jul 20, 2001
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Well, I'm sure there is one near you since the Wikipedia page has a long list of them, international even. The funny thing is no one has ever won any of them. You would think that in a city of 7 million (with a 3-4 more million in a few hours drive) someone would be able to do it.
There's too much electromagnetic interference in urban areas.
 

LurchFrinky

Senior member
Nov 12, 2003
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And too much interference from Ley lines everywhere else.
 
Jul 20, 2001
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Set up a demonstration wherever you think it might work.
Oh, I don’t think it works at all. I was just trying to help a guy out by providing an excuse for why no ones taken the prize money yet. :)
 
Oct 9, 2002
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Oh, I don’t think it works at all. I was just trying to help a guy out by providing an excuse for why no ones taken the prize money yet. :)
I know. Just shooting down the excuse. I'd be really excited if someone could actually prove it works. Maybe they just need some motivation :p
 

HeXen

Diamond Member
Dec 13, 2009
7,776
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Working in utility construction, there has been times where we were forced to use this method. I once witnessed my foreman find a 3 inch clay tile from the 1800's using two locate flags which were metal.

We had to plow some fiber down this county road stretch. This farmer told us about an old tile and we were required to dig up any estimated field tiles that land owners tell us about. So he has a hand drawn map from like 1880 or something that shows a tile. However, everything on the landscape has changed since then. The road has changed, houses not there, etc.

So basically we had over 3000 ft of area to cover in a ditch line along a plain corn field. The map was useless, only providing us that within that 3000ft stretch, there is a tile. Normally the owner has to pin point it but my foreman was nice enough that he would at least attempt to narrow it down and test dig a spot, otherwise we would have to plow through and just fix it later after the hole sunk in.

I often make fun of his "witch sticks" method but I can't take away his credit for his years of accuracy. He walks back and forth, like 4 times and keeps getting a hit over the same spot. I shit you not and be damned if two feet deep, at that exact spot, I found and exposed a 3 inch clay tile. Say whatever the hell you want but that's quite a feat. Him and other guys are not always 100% of course but after 20 years of doing this work, I would say they are 90% being dead on with 10% not finding anything at all. We use these during times when the utility locator has marks on the ground, but nothing is found or when there are no locates period for whatever reason. Statistically these are pretty large areas to cover so getting it right and hand digging on a spot is similar to hitting the lottery and it's rare that we don't find it on the first try....as long as certain guys are doing it. I don't have much luck with it but it's not like there is some secret to knowing exactly where a single line underground is. There is no blueprints or anything with accuracy enough to hit it on the first dig attempt like that. All blue prints will show, if they do at all, is that a line travels x direction from this utility termination point to another. Field tiles are worse, most farmers can't remember exactly unless they have a air vent above ground, good memory or defined map but in all cases where we divine rod it's always because we have nothing else to go on other than knowing something is within point A to point B.

And don't think construction companies won't ever use devine rods. BS, they ALL do if they can't find something. I see them do it often in my 20 years.

While it seems like there would have to be a repeatable and reliable method for science to prove or disprove divine rods, I don't think anyone has actually setup a real world example. Running water into a pipe on the lab floor with 20 empty pipes is not a very good method IMO plus some people like me just can't make them work. Some people can make them work with generally favorable reliability and others can't. I can't do it for jack but have witnessed a few guys at work do very well. Granted everyone here is likely heavily biased against anything that science can't measure but really no one ever done any in depth analysis and research, likely due to poor funding for such things.

In science, you have to get grants to perform research and often a convincing reason for a University or entity to give you one. Scientists want a paycheck so they often go where the money is, which is not going to be anything that has a hint of stigma associated to it. Often that stigma is feared to get attached to whoever is providing funding so what we're left is nothing but chump change for research into anecdotal evidence
 
Oct 9, 2002
26,654
225
136
Working in utility construction, there has been times where we were forced to use this method. I once witnessed my foreman find a 3 inch clay tile from the 1800's using two locate flags which were metal.

We had to plow some fiber down this county road stretch. This farmer told us about an old tile and we were required to dig up any estimated field tiles that land owners tell us about. So he has a hand drawn map from like 1880 or something that shows a tile. However, everything on the landscape has changed since then. The road has changed, houses not there, etc.

So basically we had over 3000 ft of area to cover in a ditch line along a plain corn field. The map was useless, only providing us that within that 3000ft stretch, there is a tile. Normally the owner has to pin point it but my foreman was nice enough that he would at least attempt to narrow it down and test dig a spot, otherwise we would have to plow through and just fix it later after the hole sunk in.

I often make fun of his "witch sticks" method but I can't take away his credit for his years of accuracy. He walks back and forth, like 4 times and keeps getting a hit over the same spot. I shit you not and be damned if two feet deep, at that exact spot, I found and exposed a 3 inch clay tile. Say whatever the hell you want but that's quite a feat. Him and other guys are not always 100% of course but after 20 years of doing this work, I would say they are 90% being dead on with 10% not finding anything at all. We use these during times when the utility locator has marks on the ground, but nothing is found or when there are no locates period for whatever reason. Statistically these are pretty large areas to cover so getting it right and hand digging on a spot is similar to hitting the lottery and it's rare that we don't find it on the first try....as long as certain guys are doing it. I don't have much luck with it but it's not like there is some secret to knowing exactly where a single line underground is. There is no blueprints or anything with accuracy enough to hit it on the first dig attempt like that. All blue prints will show, if they do at all, is that a line travels x direction from this utility termination point to another. Field tiles are worse, most farmers can't remember exactly unless they have a air vent above ground, good memory or defined map but in all cases where we divine rod it's always because we have nothing else to go on other than knowing something is within point A to point B.

And don't think construction companies won't ever use devine rods. BS, they ALL do if they can't find something. I see them do it often in my 20 years.

While it seems like there would have to be a repeatable and reliable method for science to prove or disprove divine rods, I don't think anyone has actually setup a real world example. Running water into a pipe on the lab floor with 20 empty pipes is not a very good method IMO plus some people like me just can't make them work. Some people can make them work with generally favorable reliability and others can't. I can't do it for jack but have witnessed a few guys at work do very well. Granted everyone here is likely heavily biased against anything that science can't measure but really no one ever done any in depth analysis and research, likely due to poor funding for such things.

In science, you have to get grants to perform research and often a convincing reason for a University or entity to give you one. Scientists want a paycheck so they often go where the money is, which is not going to be anything that has a hint of stigma associated to it. Often that stigma is feared to get attached to whoever is providing funding so what we're left is nothing but chump change for research into anecdotal evidence
Why can't they prove it?

Why does it find water AND tiles AND basically anything you could pretend to be looking for?
 

Sgt. York

Senior member
Mar 27, 2016
394
127
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Has there ever been a peer reviewed scientific study of this phenomenon? If so, where is it? If not, why not?
 
May 24, 2003
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www.uovalor.com
I wonder if some of this stuff sorta works at the subconscious level. Someone with experience can more or less guess pretty well where utilities are without using anything special but the rods somehow help. Like before I got cable locates on my property I pretty much had a very general idea of where all my utilities would be as well as the main ones. When I got the locate done I was pretty much within 1-2m of my guesses, and that's probably good enough for someone that said they found with divining rods.
 

Sgt. York

Senior member
Mar 27, 2016
394
127
71
I wonder if some of this stuff sorta works at the subconscious level. Someone with experience can more or less guess pretty well where utilities are without using anything special but the rods somehow help. Like before I got cable locates on my property I pretty much had a very general idea of where all my utilities would be as well as the main ones. When I got the locate done I was pretty much within 1-2m of my guesses, and that's probably good enough for someone that said they found with divining rods.
I believe you are on the right track and the 'rods' are just for drama.
 

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