# (How) Do divining rods work?

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#### JoeyP

##### Senior member
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.
Straighten a metal coat hanger, and then make a 90 bend about 5 inches from the end. Do this to another coat hanger. I point my index fingers toward each other and then curl them slightly. Then balance the inside of the angle over your index finger, and use your thumbnail to prevent the rods from falling forward. The rods should be parallel and face the ground at about a 10 degree angle from the terrain. Takes some practice to balance them and keep them parallel, but your thumbnail should be smooth enough to allow free rotation.

Then walk slowly, keeping the rods parallel and freely moving. I got them to spread in my parent's front lawn over the water pipe. I think a lot has to do with the pipe type, what it is filled with, the depth, your height, and the ground type.

It is an interesting phenomenon, but hardly reliable and accurate enough to do anything but the most rough estimate of some buried items.

#### Gibsons

##### Lifer
Straighten a metal coat hanger, and then make a 90 bend about 5 inches from the end. Do this to another coat hanger. I point my index fingers toward each other and then curl them slightly. Then balance the inside of the angle over your index finger, and use your thumbnail to prevent the rods from falling forward. The rods should be parallel and face the ground at about a 10 degree angle from the terrain. Takes some practice to balance them and keep them parallel, but your thumbnail should be smooth enough to allow free rotation.

Then walk slowly, keeping the rods parallel and freely moving. I got them to spread in my parent's front lawn over the water pipe. I think a lot has to do with the pipe type, what it is filled with, the depth, your height, and the ground type.

It is an interesting phenomenon, but hardly reliable and accurate enough to do anything but the most rough estimate of some buried items.
Again - there's a million dollars waiting for you if you can replicate it under controlled circumstances.

#### Mr. Pedantic

##### Diamond Member
Straighten a metal coat hanger, and then make a 90 bend about 5 inches from the end. Do this to another coat hanger. I point my index fingers toward each other and then curl them slightly. Then balance the inside of the angle over your index finger, and use your thumbnail to prevent the rods from falling forward. The rods should be parallel and face the ground at about a 10 degree angle from the terrain. Takes some practice to balance them and keep them parallel, but your thumbnail should be smooth enough to allow free rotation.

Then walk slowly, keeping the rods parallel and freely moving. I got them to spread in my parent's front lawn over the water pipe. I think a lot has to do with the pipe type, what it is filled with, the depth, your height, and the ground type.

It is an interesting phenomenon, but hardly reliable and accurate enough to do anything but the most rough estimate of some buried items.
It is a psychological, rather than physical, phenomenon.

#### tcsenter

##### Lifer
Same way that snipe hunts work. Also, there was an old gag in surgery some doctors would pull on an unsuspecting (usually new) surgical nurse, by asking him/her to get an Otis elevator. Elevators are a type of surgical instrument, but the only "Otis" elevator is the kind that move people (Otis being the most famous manufacturer). So the nurse would run back to the supply room and after not being able to locate the instrument, would usually ask someone more experienced, then come back to the surgery room with a red face, much to the surgeon's amusement.

The only difference here is, the guy isn't letting you in on the gag.

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#### WiseUp216

##### Platinum Member
My father has owned his own water well drilling business for a couple of decades in a rural area. A lot of people insist on using the rods to determine the drilling location.

The success of the rod-chosen wells are no better than any other method.

Keep in mind, he has been involved in hundreds of these dowsing scenarios and is yet to be convinced.

#### Subyman

##### Moderator <br> VC&G Forum
There are only two explanations. Either it doesn't work, or you believe in supernatural/spiritual things. There is absolutely no evidence. My grandfather was in construction. We discussed dowsing once and he said they used to pretend to dowse around the gullible workers, they would later laugh at their fascination.

For as many people that tired and found something, there are just as many that tried and dug a useless hole.

#### JTsyo

##### Lifer
To test if they work, you could build a robot, attach the rods to sensors and see if there's any reaction while crossing over pipes. This takes away the human element and it's just up to the rod.

##### Platinum Member
I have heard it has to do with a type of anaerobic, iron-consuming bacteria, that typically congregate where a trench has been formed. When these bacteria die, their "bodies" orient North-to-south (magnetic poles) due to their iron content. It is this N-S field that the rods detect. Don't know if it's true. I do know that a few weeks ago I saw a renowned engineer use this technique to locate pipes several times, in several different locations. He explained the bacteria phenomenon, and said the rods are detecting the presence of the trench (as indicated by the bacteria), not the pipes themselves.

#### Mr. Pedantic

##### Diamond Member
I have heard it has to do with a type of anaerobic, iron-consuming bacteria, that typically congregate where a trench has been formed. When these bacteria die, their "bodies" orient North-to-south (magnetic poles) due to their iron content. It is this N-S field that the rods detect. Don't know if it's true. I do know that a few weeks ago I saw a renowned engineer use this technique to locate pipes several times, in several different locations. He explained the bacteria phenomenon, and said the rods are detecting the presence of the trench (as indicated by the bacteria), not the pipes themselves.
*cough* bullshit *cough*

#### Onceler

##### Golden Member
They are like using a pendulum. They are tools from which you derive information from your subconscious mind.
Look into hypnosis with a pendulum response. That should tell you all that you need to know. It is the same thing just different tools.

#### A5

##### Diamond Member
They are like using a pendulum. They are tools from which you derive information from your subconscious mind.
Look into hypnosis with a pendulum response. That should tell you all that you need to know. It is the same thing just different tools.
No. Just no.

#### SMOGZINN

##### Lifer
I have heard it has to do with a type of anaerobic, iron-consuming bacteria, that typically congregate where a trench has been formed. When these bacteria die, their "bodies" orient North-to-south (magnetic poles) due to their iron content. It is this N-S field that the rods detect. Don't know if it's true. I do know that a few weeks ago I saw a renowned engineer use this technique to locate pipes several times, in several different locations. He explained the bacteria phenomenon, and said the rods are detecting the presence of the trench (as indicated by the bacteria), not the pipes themselves.
If this is true then a EM meter should be WAY better at it then a couple of rods. It also brings up the problem that there is widespread disagreement on what the rods should be made from, some say wood, some iron, others say it doesn't matter and any properly shaped (there is disagreement on this too) rods will do, even plastic.

If there was any truth to this then it would be trivial to test.

#### dkozloski

##### Diamond Member
Have the well dowser find a place where they'll guarantee that you WON'T find water.

#### colonelciller

##### Senior member
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.
Diving rods are classic pseudoscience. Don't feel bad for falling for it, but for the love of all things rational... watch this vid: http://youtu.be/b_6-iVz1R0o

then some books:
flim flam - randi
why people believe wierd things - shermer
demon haunted world - sagan
subscription to Skeptic magazine

#### colonelciller

##### Senior member
If only i had no conscience... a solid science background is all you need to create pseudoscience fixes for just about anything imaginable... damn shame... there's money to be made \$\$\$\$ in tricking people

#### bryanl

##### Golden Member
Divining rods are classic pseudoscience.
Then how do you explain my divining rod, which is real good at finding lady parts in the dark?

#### colonelciller

##### Senior member
Then how do you explain my divining rod, which is real good at finding lady parts in the dark?
:biggrin:

#### Jeff7

##### Lifer
If only i had no conscience... a solid science background is all you need to create pseudoscience fixes for just about anything imaginable... damn shame... there's money to be made \$\$\$\$ in tricking people
And the successes can be remembered more readily than failures, especially if you're good at playing the part.

Didn't work? I'm getting unusual vibrations and interference from bad juju in the ground.

Worked? I'm really awesome! (Oh, and there's water all over the place on this planet.)

#### LoveMachine

##### Senior member
A lot of psuedoscience has its roots in very ancient behaviors that kept us alive before civilization. You hear a rustling in a bush near you, our primitive midbrain that all of us modern humans still have immediately says "It's a snake!" and we hop away. Most of the time it's a ground squirrel and is only rarely really a snake, but occasionally it saved our lives. Better to get scared and flee than calculate the chances and actually get bitten on that rare event. Same thing in modern days with "old wives tales". When my wife was pregnant, her mom said she shouldn't drink orange juice, because her neice had a miscarriage a few hours after drinking OJ. Did the OJ actually cause a miscarriage? I don't think so, but we are conditioned by cause and effect. We think we are making rational judgments when we really aren't. The belief that autism is caused by vaccines follows a similar line since it usually manifests at around 1 year old, just after a big round of shots at the 1 year appointment. Nearly all the respected studies debunk the reasoning, but the belief persists.

#### Jeff7

##### Lifer
A lot of psuedoscience has its roots in very ancient behaviors that kept us alive before civilization.
...
Exactly. Or how many behaviors are just evolutionary in nature? Loss aversion, for example; my take on it, anyway: Give someone \$100. Ok, that's good. I can buy fun stuff now. Thanks! Now take \$10 from someone else, and either get beaten up, shot, or otherwise injured.

100,000 years ago, if someone gave you something like a piece of food, hey, that's nice. And you go on with life.
If someone's taking food from you though, they're directly attacking your ability to continue to exist. Defend yourself at any cost!!

So many of those threats are no longer present, thanks to our freakishly-large brains, but the rest of our biology simply can't catch up as quickly.

#### Onceler

##### Golden Member
I thought it wasn't the size of the brain but the surface area that determined intelligence.
Are the two different?

#### SMOGZINN

##### Lifer
I thought it wasn't the size of the brain but the surface area that determined intelligence.
Are the two different?
At least when comparing between humans neither the size nor the surface area of the brain seems to be directly linked to level of intelligence. I think we can say that intelligence is a function of a lot more variables then simple size or surface area.

#### colonelciller

##### Senior member
At least when comparing between humans neither the size nor the surface area of the brain seems to be directly linked to level of intelligence. I think we can say that intelligence is a function of a lot more variables then simple size or surface area.
True, but there is some truth when comparing various animal species (humans included here). I'll write the following with very general conceptual ideas... nothing too specific:

• the outer surface of the brain pretty much = the cortex
• the cortex is where a crap-ton of the information processing is in the brain.
• cortex is where consciousness is thought to happen
• folding in the surface of the brain is a great way to increase brain surface area and thus the total amount of brain cortex
• more cortex, more intelligence (sort of)
smogzinn is correct however, there is no correlation between brain size and intelligence within humans. This probably has something to do with the fact that "intelligence" is a pseudoscientific nonsensical notion... specifically that the abstract concept of intelligence can be reified into a quantifiable thing and numerical scale... and those #'s arrayed side by side in increasing order (IQ)... or arrayed into a 4 unit square... or some other measuring rubbish pulled out of someone's nether regions - far far from the cortex . That's just bad unsupported idea (pseudoscience) turned into a multi-million (billion?) dollar industry of profiteering.

ah well.

what is intelligence? ask neurosicentists at your nearest university... you'll get as many different answers as the # of scientists you ask.

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