Brontovox Publications


I am intrigued by the possibilities that dowsing has to offer. Being new to it, I find that there is much to learn, and like any skill, it is apparent that it will take some time and patience, and considerable practice to become proficient.

Nobody really knows how dowsing works. This may be a little worrying for those who like certainty in their life. But the universe itself is not formed in a way to give comfort to those who grasp for certitudes. It is strange, and interesting at the same time, even more so at the small scale of atoms and sub-atomic particles. Who understands dark matter or dark energy, or quantum entanglement, or gravity? Who understands the principles upon which dowsing appears to work?

Do we need to worry too much about how it works? It is interesting to be able to make discoveries, of which there have been numerous quite unexpected ones made over the years, with research ongoing. It has utility, and maybe that should be sufficiently satisfying in itself.

It does appear that there are several modes, or mental states involved with dowsing. In one state, it is necessary to focus, or tune in (like tuning a radio) to the particular type of object being sought. But then it is necessary to change state, in order to mark it with a flag, or by taking notes, or logging a point into a GPS. Having done that, then to return to the seeking mode again.

The traditional tool for dowsing was a forked stick, held under tension in the palms of the hands. When the dowser walked over the location of an item of interest, the stick would respond, often with a powerful and rapid movement! There is now an equivalent, made of plastic. However, the equipment that is now popular comprises a pair of L shaped rods, one held in each hand. The longer limb of the rod is held nearly horizontal, with the shorter limb held in the hand, so that it can rotate easily. There is nothing particularly magical about the rods, and they can be made of anything suitable. Typically they are made of thick wire.

What the L rods do, is to act as very sensitive indicators of the minute, barely perceptible, movement of the hands. Somehow, by some mechanism, the hands are moving in accordance with ... something! If you are of a skeptical frame of mind, as I was, then just try it, and see for yourself.

I have been developing some electronics hardware, and software, which I am using to assist with recording my dowsing results. It comprises an L rod with an electronic angle sensor, a lap-top computer, and a GPS receiver; computer leasing companies provide alternatives to buying a laptop if you don't already have one. The angle value is passed to the lap-top computer, together with the latitude and longitude position from the GPS receiver. The computer displays the results straight away, in real time, on a chart. The data is also stored, for later reference.

My own area of interest is to better understand ancient archaeological sites. There is an active group within the British Society of Dowsers, which is making great use of dowsing to study and map such sites. I am hoping that my developments will be of some use for this endeavour.

Here is a short video, which introduces this device. Note that it is still very much at the prototype stage. There are a number of further improvements that I would like to make, before I would feel comfortable with making it generally available. Watch this space!

The first prototype was made in a hurry. There was going to be a magnetometry survey made, with support from English Heritage. I worked quickly to get something available in time. The first prototype electronic dowsing rod comprises a modified games controller, wired to the rod. One of the variable resistors of the joystick was disconnected, and the circuit instead wired to a variable resistor in the handle of the rod. This variable resistor has a spindle which rotates, and is just the same type of component used as a volume control in a hi-fi.

There were a few problems, notably, the spindle turned fairly stiffly, and so the rod did not move very sensitively. The other problem was that it WAS sensitive to the strong wind that was blowing. A third problem was that the game controller had a very coarse (few steps) resolution. I was quite surprised to discover that. Nevertheless, this first prototype was used, to good effect, at a site at Hambleden, near Henley on Thames.

The second prototype took lessons from the first. The rod turns much more easily and smoothly, with at the same time far less sensitivity to being disturbed by the wind. A far better interface to the lap-top was also developed, and the software was also improved. Some initial results are show of the Trundle, near Chichester.

I was somewhat puzzled by a problem with the GPS on the Trundle. Initially, the GPS was just tied to the top of the rucksack. On occasion it had slipped down, with the antenna then not having a good view of the sky, hence degrading the positional accuracy. (It is now mounted securely on a pole.) I was puzzled by the rather wavy line of the route that I appeared to have walked, particularly as I was sober! It was only on a subsequent visit, after I had put together the video below, that the true reason became apparent. My initial assumption that the GPS had slipped was wrong.

The GPS signal is being interfered with by transmissions from the communications towers that are within the banks of the Iron Age hill fort. As I was walking along the top of the bank, and also within the banks on the higher areas, I was receiving a blast of microwave energy, sufficient to disturb the GPS. I need to find a way to shield or filter out these microwaves, before they reach the GPS. The Trundle is a fascinating site, so it will be worth doing this.

Here is an introductory video, which describes the progress to date. If your browser supports HTML 5, you should be able to play the video straight away. If not, then upgrade your browser, and return here!

Note to Firefox users: Have not been able to get this to work directly on this web page. Move the cursor over the video, right click, and select "View Video". It should then play.

For Chrome users: Right click on video, and select "Open video in new tab".

It works OK in Opera and Internet Explorer, although it is necessary to click twice. "Standards are great, so let's have lots of them!"


Copyright 2006 - 2009.     All Rights Reserved. Brontovox Publications.