(How) Do divining rods work?

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AD5MB

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Nov 1, 2011
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Originally Posted by JoeyP
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.
do this. walk around a fire hydrant - you know there is a charged high pressure system feeding that hydrant. if the hydrant is in a row of hydrants, with more hydrants upstream and downstream, the rods should cross twice as you walk around the hydrant. observe closely the manner in which they cross, and report the results here. snide remarks will be ignored.
 

mpo

Senior member
Jan 8, 2010
447
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do this. walk around a fire hydrant - you know there is a charged high pressure system feeding that hydrant. if the hydrant is in a row of hydrants, with more hydrants upstream and downstream, the rods should cross twice as you walk around the hydrant. observe closely the manner in which they cross, and report the results here. snide remarks will be ignored.
Which proves the streetlight effect works.
 

colonelciller

Senior member
Sep 29, 2012
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do this. walk around a fire hydrant - you know there is a charged high pressure system feeding that hydrant. if the hydrant is in a row of hydrants, with more hydrants upstream and downstream, the rods should cross twice as you walk around the hydrant. observe closely the manner in which they cross, and report the results here. snide remarks will be ignored.
what we have here is a failure at designing a blinded experiment.
 

philipma1957

Golden Member
Jan 8, 2012
1,714
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Can anyone disprove the movie "Matrix"? The answer is no. Since disproving the idea of Matrix is impossible you can't prove or disprove anything at all. That said I pretend that the idea of the Movie matrix is false as an act of faith or quite simply a matter of choice.
Once you choose the Matrix to be non-existent why not do the same with divining rods? One thing about the universe is it does allow us to pick that the rods work or don't work.
 

TheVrolok

Lifer
Dec 11, 2000
24,069
3,791
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For a "highly technical" forum, you guys sure are not providing any actual technical support for saying the do not work. Mocking someone does not count as "highly technical".

Those who say they do not work, and say studies show they do not work, please link to the studies. You really cannot expect people to just blindly believe your mocking posts in a highly technical forum.


Note: I have no dog in this race, just looking for the highly technical part of this thread.
That's like asking for studies that disprove the existence of unicorns.
 

dkozloski

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
3,005
0
76
For those who have faith in divining rods; "Faith is believing what you know ain't so".
 

Jeff7

Lifer
Jan 4, 2001
41,599
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what we have here is a failure at designing a blinded experiment.
It could be more fun if you go to the trouble of removing the pipes, or else add in some extra ones. For more fun: Put water in some, but not in others. :D

And of course, don't tell the diviner or the test-giver about the work.
The freshly torn-up ground might raise some questions though...
 

who?

Platinum Member
Sep 1, 2012
2,327
42
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Divining rods are a way for the dead to help the living without God getting too pissed off about it.
 

Rifter

Lifer
Oct 9, 1999
11,522
750
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People say they don't work, however ive seen them work first hand on farms a few times with no records of underground pipes(we checked with the city first) and the rods were over 90% accurate, and the guy using them had no way to find out before hand where the pipes were as we called him and he showed up a few hours later and we were in the field the whole time so no chance for him to bring in underground sonar or anything.

Hard to disbelieve something you have seen work flawlessly with your own eyes.
 

jaqie

Platinum Member
Apr 6, 2008
2,472
1
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*sigh* paramagnetics is part of it.

This stuff was used for centuries and always worked when done right, and always will. It's one of those things that just works(tm) about nature and is very difficult to explain to laymen.
 

intx13

Member
Apr 3, 2013
33
0
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Hard to disbelieve something you have seen work flawlessly with your own eyes.
Is it really? I've seen many card tricks that I can't explain, but I still don't think they're actually magic.

The information that my eyes report to my brain is just one piece of evidence to consider when analyzing an extraordinary claim. Other things to consider include the physical laws of the universe and the motivations of the claimant. In the case of dowsing rods and card tricks, I find the latter to be far more convincing than the former.
 

Jeff7

Lifer
Jan 4, 2001
41,599
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*sigh* paramagnetics is part of it.

This stuff was used for centuries and always worked when done right, and always will. It's one of those things that just works(tm) about nature and is very difficult to explain to laymen.
If it was metal all the time...maybe that could be something. Though you do of course have a wide range of magnetic properties in metals - ferromagnetic, paramagnetic, nonmagnetic, diamagnetic...take your pick.

Any kind of stick-like object is used for this activity, including dry wood.
Water is at least diamagnetic, though it's a very weak effect. A strong neodymium magnet will only slightly warp the surface of still water when put close by, or affect a trickling stream of it from a faucet. And, any magnetic effects will drop off exponentially as you get farther away.
Those effects would then need to be capable of generating adequate force in one of these rods to cause it to move against its own inertia, and against the gentle grip of a person holding them. If there was a magnetic disturbance being generated with that magnitude, I'd expect any simply compass to be far more effective.



I'd attribute it more to luck, cognitive bias, and just the fact that it's a pretty watery planet.

There are also numerous other things that have "worked" for a long time, when they actually haven't. We just remember the "works" better than the "fails," and are extremely prone to see patterns where there is simple randomness.
Just one example: Rain dances.
Keep dancing long enough, and on this planet, eventually it is probably going to rain. (Some places in Antarctica might be an exception to that.) So you dance 500 times and nothing happens. Dance that 501st time and it does? Amazing! It worked!!! That quick, the 500 do-nothing dances are forgotten.



Is it really? I've seen many card tricks that I can't explain, but I still don't think they're actually magic.

The information that my eyes report to my brain is just one piece of evidence to consider when analyzing an extraordinary claim. Other things to consider include the physical laws of the universe and the motivations of the claimant. In the case of dowsing rods and card tricks, I find the latter to be far more convincing than the former.
Or any simple optical illusion, for that matter. As a species, we are very easy to deceive, and even easier to distract - which is exactly why those card tricks work so well. So many of them amount to the magician saying "LOOK OVER THERE!" while he stealthily performs the key(s) to the trick.


Divining rods? Their method of operation would even need to be known to be able to demonstrate how well they work. And thus far, controlled studies show that they're effectively random.
 
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skyking

Lifer
Nov 21, 2001
20,312
2,016
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do this. walk around a fire hydrant - you know there is a charged high pressure system feeding that hydrant. if the hydrant is in a row of hydrants, with more hydrants upstream and downstream, the rods should cross twice as you walk around the hydrant. observe closely the manner in which they cross, and report the results here. snide remarks will be ignored.
That is incorrect. fire hydrants are not installed in-line, each is a tee from the main. Look out in front of it for the shutoff valve box required for servicing the hydrant.
The valve box is shown in the picture here, painted blue.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-19/emanuel-ends-cheap-water-era-s-drain-on-chicago-finances-as-pipes-burst.html

Walk around that box in front of the hydrant and your dowsing rods should indicate 3 lines :)
 

silverpig

Lifer
Jul 29, 2001
27,708
11
81
I can't believe this thread is still going on. Add this to the list of dumbass threads in AT history.

0.9r = 1?
Plane on a treadmill
Dowsing rods
 
Feb 25, 2011
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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.
Wouldn't work on optical conduits like OP claims.
 

Carson Dyle

Diamond Member
Jul 2, 2012
8,174
523
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I've experienced dowsing rods twisting in my hands. It was pretty creepy.
So have I.

Years ago I worked in a brewery. One of the older guys there was a (water) well driller who claimed he dowsed for water before drilling for his customers. I was more than a little skeptical. We went out into one of the halls with a couple of brass rods, about 1/4" diameter and 2 feet or so long, bent at a 90 degree angle into an L shape. And he showed me. Still skeptical, I then tried it and was blown away. I can't say what it was indicating, as a brewery has miles of stainless steel piping, drains and water lines running through it. But it was pretty amazing to feel the rods moving toward each other with a very real force behind the motion.
 

Jeff7

Lifer
Jan 4, 2001
41,599
18
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"The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you've not fooled yourself, it's easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that."
Richard Feynman


It's just another Ouija board.


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.
Wouldn't work on optical conduits like OP claims.
And if that's the case, dowsing rods should also detect iron filings, or any ferromagnetic material.
Besides that, a genuinely ferromagnetic material can indeed pick up some magnetism from Earth's magnetic field. Really weak magnetism. (Which still wouldn't come close to explaining how nonmagnetic materials, such as wood or plastic, have "successfully" been used as divining rods.)

What other channels of water would these things find? How about a tree? Those things contain quite a bit of water.
Or a lake or puddle? Would those trigger dowsing rods?

Does it need to be a person holding the rods, or would a (highly repeatable) machine be able to do it?



Hmm...looking around, apparently dowsing can also be used to find gold, other valuable minerals, buried stone walls, buried people, and ghosts. Then there's talk of what else allegedly makes it work: Psychic phenomena, spirits, and "auras." Ok then.
 
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Onceler

Golden Member
Feb 28, 2008
1,264
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There really is something behind it. It is like the pendulum test in hypnosis. It is a projection of the subconscious, a way of interacting with it. The subie doesn't know everything but it knows a lot more than you do(it is able to detect subtle clues which your conscious mind could never hope to pick up), and if forced may deliberately give wrong answers.
A machine would not be able to do it because it has no subconscious mind.
 
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dkozloski

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
3,005
0
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It's possible to find a multitude of testimonial/anecdotal letters concerning crop circles, oil additives, alien abductions, energy savers, and divining rods. The problem is that they are all written by the same people.
 

Jeff7

Lifer
Jan 4, 2001
41,599
18
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I saw an example of biased memory just today. I made the same left turn I make every day on my way home from work, but for some reason, I thought "I'd better get in the left lane."
Ahead, there was a car parked in the right lane with its door open, and then ahead of that, a slow-moving car making a right turn. Good thing I was in the left lane! Maybe there's something to it....

Right?

Oh wait...there have been plenty of other times when I didn't get into the left lane, and was met with similar (minor) obstacles in the right lane, and needed to slow down or stop.

But this one time stood out more than those times did, because the random chain of events paid off.




It's possible to find a multitude of testimonial/anecdotal letters concerning crop circles, oil additives, alien abductions, energy savers, and divining rods. The problem is that they are all written by the same people.
Homeopathic "medicine." The placebo effect is quite impressive.

"This will make you feel better."

"Wow, that's amazing! I do feel better! What was it?"

"Nothing. I haven't done anything yet, and this injection is an inert solution."



Your own mind is quite exceedingly proficient at playing games with itself.

A lot of us can even remember some nightly hallucinations. (Dreams.) Your brain does wacky things at night, just because that's what it does, as a result of many years living on a planet which experiences regular periods of darkness, and thus we experience these regular periods of dormancy. In the process, memories are called up in no particular sequence, and the crippled snippets of your conscious mind that do remain active try their best to make sense of the bizarre and fractured information that's being served up. In the process, some new memories may be formed, and eventually, you can wake up with some fresh information that you hadn't had the night before. But just because it's fresh, that doesn't mean that it's inherently valuable.

Our computers and machines can also come up with random outputs, but we don't try to find "higher meaning" in them. We instead try to repair the problem that caused it.

(Point is, I'd put the notion of "dreams have hidden meaning" under that same heading. Your brain shuffles through a lot of information at night, quite possibly things that are familiar to you. You can then pick and choose from the remaining memories things that are merely coincidental, and attempt to rationalize meaning into them.)



For those who have faith in divining rods; "Faith is believing what you know ain't so".
But what rational reason is there to believe something if you know that it is either untrue, or even impossible? Or even, what value is there in that kind of thinking?
 
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