Doug Proctor: Dowsing and Divining the Direction of Debate

Posted: September 4, 2013 by tallbloke in solar system dynamics

dowsingOur good friend Doug Proctor has left a thoughtful and provocative essay on the suggestions page, which I think worthy of debate. Doug is a geologist by profession, and like most geologists, he is keenly aware of how much we don’t know, and has developed a keen eye for plausibility. His previous posts at the Talkshop reveal a breadth and depth of understanding most of us aspire to, so I’m giving him the floor. Just to back him up on the introductory section of his essay, my dad, a lifelong water engineer and senior member of the institute of civil engineers, used to employ a dowser when the corporation maps let him down on locating water mains and underground streams. He rated him with a 90% success rate. He told me the dowser he employed on an occasional basis could not only locate the line of travel, but also the depth, from the strength of secondary waves parallel to the watercourse. Over to Doug.

I am a dowser, you know, the type who can locate water pipes, underground streams etc. with a rod or something. It actually has some scientific merit, the human body being sensitive to movement through weak electrical fields. There is an unconscious, but programmable muscle sensitivity to the change in electrical field: by focusing on it, somehow you can cause an unconscious, unnoticeable muscle movement. What you do with a pendulum is concentrate on making the pendulum rotate clock-wise or otherwide, and, lo and behold, it will. Then you focus on “asking” this response when a certain feature is noted, i.e. you are crossing the electric field of a MOVING water body or standing metal pipe.

Once you have got the response down, you find a personally useful magnifier, i.e. the pendulum or a rod etc. that extends your hand or arm and by extension, increase the physcial response to a noticeable level. (The rod “pulling” the user down is bogus: it is all self-induced at an unconscious level.) About 85% of people have some sensitivity to it. Research was done at the University of Calgary back in the ’80s, double-blind experiments in the back of a closed van, looking for the water-bearing major thrust faults of the Rocky Mountains near Banff. The effect was noted real, though the kinesiology behind it was not understood. Such as it has been in the field of science: first the observation, later the explanation.

Perhaps you accept dowsing as real, perhaps you don’t: but my story here brings us to the Chemtrail story on WUWT the other day:

As a result of my learning through farmers in Southern Saskakatchwan that I had the “skill”, I became involved with the Calgary Dowsing Society for a number of years, during which I served as President for four years. To say it was an interesting time is no great stretch.

Although dowsing was the common factor, the society supported a lot of side-beliefs in things that were perceived as real but not recognized by the mainstream as real – physically, but also socially. I investigated “orbs”, the strange circular objects that CCDs pick up on that some adherents claim to be free-floating lifeforms (real, 3D-spinning, electrical dust phenomena, to the best of my study), a crop circle in Saskatchewan (product of a university-level educated fraternity of some sort), and disabused as best as I could the “Butterfly Effect” when it came to one person’s thoughts changing the course of the universe. Chemtrails was one phase of our review.

The part about chemtrails – injected chemicals into the combustion byproducts of jet aircraft, with the connivance or ignorance of aviation authorities – part was strong in some members. What the chemical is, is never said, but whatever it is, it drifts down, we breath it, and it is supposed to make us anxious, feeling under mild threat. By our induced feelings of threat, we are thereby open to government assurances that, if we only give them the power, they can make us feel safe. This means governmental control of our behaviour and a strong support for the police and military, essentially any totalitarian action that makes Us safe against Them.

Chemtrails are supposed to show themselves by the ability of one small contrail being able to cover the entire sky. Relative humidity and dew-point factors are not considerations: whatever the chemicals used has a special ability to produce high altitude clouds. The other key to chemtrails is the 90* crossing (or near 90*) of contrails. Different routes and E-W vs N-S patterns of incoming and outgoing flights are not considerations. The believers are always looking to the sky for unusual contrails, but also to unusual cloud formations, sunset or sunrise colours. All of these things are considered a part of or result from chemtrail production.

Who are these people?

Chemtrail believers are, from my experience, non-technologically conversant and threatened by organizational capabilities of any group, especially those of a high technology. I would not even say they are neo-Luddites. Luddites understood the machines they destroyed: their was an attempt to keep social structures from degenerating into the inhuman world of factories and the assembly lines. The chemtrail followers, however, have a view of modern technology more akin to the witchcraft believers of old. They don’t understand how things happen, but they “know” evil intentions when they see them.

Some of their feelings of distrust are really those of the economic outsider. Economically they are not successful, partly because they do not work well within mainstream companies. They see mind-control everywhere. They distrust “the man” everywhere. They run small businesses, massage, “reiki”, “energy work” and the like: using the power of their life energies, which they believe extends beyond their bodies with enough power to modify ongoing physio-chemical processes (including those of their fellows who are ill, but who, oddly enough, seem to be ALWAYS ill, requiring clearing of noxious energies on a regular basis). They strike me as 17th century individuals trapped in the 21st.

It is not just the technology of organic chemistry or neurochemistry (through the contaminated air they make us breathe) that bothers them. Radiowaves of all sorts, but in particular, those of cellphones. They go beyond the general use of cellphones to say that there is another government conspiracy in the distribution of cellphone towers. All of us have noted the proliferation of radio/cellphone towers, and their multiple, bristling antennae: it does seem a wonder that one building would have so many on them. This is part of the “proof” that something underhanded is going on. And what that is, is, again, about mind-control: the radio waves again stir us up so we support police and military action, are more aggressive with each other, and in general are anxious and fidgety. The idea is that a mildly anxious population displaces its anxiety (Displacement Theory) through extra consumption, and supports more control. The capitalist-military-industrial complex thrives. (HAARP, in their view, was a global attempt to exert mind control, not weather control, on the planet: once more, make us aggressive and twitchy, and we’ll do what they want us to.)

Now here, though, is a telling thing: the cellphone/chemtrails people believe they can make simple devices out of aluminum shavings, a copper coil and epoxy. These things are called “cellphone tower busters”. I went to a workshop and built a couple (never say I won’t go the extra mile to understand something).

What you get is a paper cone, the type you make an ice-and-syrup drink in. Turn it upside down, put in some aluminum shavings. Then a copper coil that is skinny at the top and wide at the bottom. The handedness doesn’t matter. Put that on top of the aluminum shaving, pointy end down. The coil comes up about 3/4 of the way to the top (bottom) of the inverted cone. Fill the cone etc to the top of the coil with epoxy. Then put a layer, about 1 cm thick, of aluminum shavings on top (it will “float” on the epoxy). Finally, fill the remaining space with epoxy, with a smooth top. Tap gently to get the air bubbles out. Let harden,

Some first wax the inside of the cone so that the epoxy won’t stick, others simply wet the paper, scrape it off and then sand the outside to glossy smoothness. If polished enough, you can see the two layers of aluminum shaving sandwiching the copper coil.

Yep, they have created a primitive culture “transistor”. With these scattered around the city on a 1/sq mile basis, they are said to destroy the neurotranmission negative effects of cellphone towers.

I kid you not: the group(s) organized the distribution of these things, thrown onto the ground, semi-hidden so they wouldn’t be found and destroyed. They considered themselves groundswell, anti-government operatives viewed as eco-terrorists by Them, i.e. the distributors felt that if they were caught, the “government” would punish those who sought to negate the powers of cellphones. Distribution was to be done at night and from a moving vehicle, or at least into a place with bushes etc. to hide your actions from view.

Margaret Mead, where are you on this subject?

Last century societies from Africa made crude wooden airplanes or boats or what are really “fetishes” of the white-man’s culture. These all are attempts to capture the power or magic of technology and harness it to protect or project the power of, essentially, a powerless people. This cellphone buster is no different from the voodoo doll you use to thwart the actions of your enemy.

(Strangely, very large ‘busters were supposed to negate the power of chemtrails. I think the concept was that groups of people of one mind could channel their common thoughts through these things, now transmitters, not just modulators of background energy, to disrupt the chemistry of the polluted atmosphere.).

We live in the most primitive of times along with the most sophisticated of times. It is no wonder that we are having such trouble getting reasonable climate science to the table: several of those I dealt with argued vehemently that the US government had built a 6-lane, blacktop superhighway across the ice shelves of Antarctica for rapid access to and from a secret, beneath the ice base that housed ……. a recovered alien spaceship. This was a belief like the belief an apple falls down from a tree not subject to a tornado-strength up-welling of wind.

It was an interesting time. The group were, as individuals, very nice, very considerate and very accepting. They were far more pleasant company than a bunch of stockbrokers, engineers or varsity football players. Ultimately, though, the inability to understand rules of logical thought – if A, then B etc. – lead me to end the association. When your ability to connect the dots doesn’t exist, there is no disconnect when the dots end. When your lack of understanding how a computer works – but you accept that it works – is equaled to accepting that chemtrails put up by someone to somehow control you, there is no more common ground for discussion.

There is a whole world of speculative thinking, magical thinking, that exists just below the surface of even our “educated” society that Watts et al clearly have never noticed. The science is certainly not “settled” for a large part of our population, but of course that is why we still have priests, Doctor Phil, Al Gore, David Suzuki and Paul Ehrlich, to explain the unexplainable to the uncomprehending and nervous.

  1. Have you thought of having a go at James Randi’s Pigasus Prize?

  2. tchannon says:

    Good bet this is related to the individuals who believe they have been abducted by aliens.

    This is a fair explanation

    It takes little imagination to start drawing conclusions about strange beliefs.

  3. Roger Andrews says:

    During my professional career I’ve practiced both as a geologist and as a geophysicist, and sometimes as both at the same time.

    So what do I think about dowsing? Well, I can’t do it myself (although to be honest I’ve never really tried) but as a geologist I don’t have too much trouble accepting that some people can detect weak electric fields above aquifers and buried water pipes. I also remember reading somewhere that Roman miners had considerable success in “dowsing” for copper deposits through barren limestone caprock two thousand years ago at Rio Tinto, Spain, although the penalty for failure (execution) might have had something to do with the high success rate.

    But dowsing becomes harder to accept when I put on my geophysicist hat because we geophysicists are in the business of detecting weak electric fields above aquifers and water pipes using expensive equipment and sophisticated computer algorithms, and it’s bad for job security if there are people around who can do it at a fraction of the cost with a hazel twig Maybe this is why we like to point out some of the more obvious dowsing scams, such as how you can find oil by filling a bottle with crude, dangling it on a string and waiting for it to swing around and point towards the undiscovered reservoir in the ground. (Why would the bottle do this? Lust. Oil on the surface is male and oil in the ground is female.)

    On the other hand I remember the case of a fellow geophysicist who built a house in the backwoods of Colorado, personally carried out an EM survey, picked his spot and drilled a water well that came up bone dry. In desperation he called in a dowser, redrilled his well a few feet away and came up with a gusher. But you won’t find that reported in “Geophysics” magazine.

    Now onto chemtrails. I’m not sure how we get from dowsing into chemtrails, but the subject has been raised so here goes.

    H. L. Mencken once said: “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary.” This is fine as far as it goes, but what happens when the politicians run out of hobgoblins, which they have? Nuclear winter and the Communist menace are distant memories, the growing might of China is so far at least only a concern to its immediate neighbors, we obviously aren’t all going to die of AIDS, the world didn’t end when the Mayan calendar ran out, the Ice Age hasn’t come back (yet) and the global warming scare never really got off the ground to begin with. So what do people do? Well, hobgoblins seem to be something that we humans can’t live without (which explains why kids like scary bedtime stories), so we make them up all by ourselves, hence chemtrails. And how scary are they? Well, do you prefer the health impacts version?:

    “Steps need to be taken now to prevent an impending health disaster of enormous proportions if (the chemtrail) project is not stopped immediately. Otherwise we will see an explosive increase in neurodegenerative diseases occurring in adults and the elderly in unprecedented rates as well as neurodevelopmental disorders in our children. We are already seeing a dramatic increase in these neurological disorders and it is occurring in younger people than ever before.”

    Or the Star Wars version?;

    “We are dealing with Star Wars. It involves the combination of chemtrails for creating an atmosphere that will support electromagnetic waves, ground-based, electromagnetic field oscillators called gyrotrons, and ionospheric heaters. Particulates make directed energy weapons work better. It has to do with “steady state” and particle density for plasma beam propagation.

    “They spray barium powders and let it photo-ionize from the ultraviolet light of the sun. Then, they make an aluminum-plasma generated by “zapping” the metal cations that are in the spray with either electromagnetics from HAARP, the gyrotron system on the ground [Ground Wave Emergency Network], or space-based lasers. The barium makes the aluminum-plasma more particulate dense. This means they can make a denser plasma than they normally could from just ionizing the atmosphere or the air.

    “More density [more particles] means that these particles which are colliding into each other will become more charged because there are more of them present to collide. What are they ultimately trying to do up there — is create charged-particle, plasma beam weapons.”

    Or the “we’ll kill all the plants” version?

    “The Natural Earth’s biological systems are slowly beginning to fail. Rhizobacteria-endomycorrhizae, a critical microbial organism, is slowly becoming extinct in soils due to Barium and Aluminum heavy-metal toxicities. This microbe is responsible for the transfer of nutrients from soils-matrix to the plants/trees feeder-root system. The Barium/Aluminum heavy-metal salts are alkaline, i.e. Barium Hydroxide, and are shifting the base-line pH of surface soils and waters to new highs – elevated enough that certain plant species cannot survive. According to our experts in this field, without this microbe, natural plant growth is impossible. The ChemTrails are spoiling our Infinite Natural Eco-System and no one is watching, albeit the evidence for microbial extinction events abound.”

    Maybe what we we need is a U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Chemtrail Control.

  4. Tenuk says:

    Without any doubt, governments do use clandestine aerial spraying for a variety of purposes, even here in the good old UK. Some of missions are for attempted weather control, some are tests to find out dispersion patterns for chemical/biological weapons (both for offence and defence), and some to model how air currents disperse nuclear fallout from both commercial and military sources.

    However, the current fear of chemtrails is much over-hyped and most of what are observed to be chemtrails are in fact simply harmless contrails. A balanced approach to these sorts of topics is essential as nothing is ever black and white.

    As for dowsing, I’ve seen it being done and know it can work. Explaining how it happens is more difficult and, as far as I’m aware, little serious research has been done to find the mechanism.

  5. tallbloke says:

    A documentary I saw many years ago said there is a muscle in the back between the shoulder blades which spasms when crossing electric fields.

  6. Craig M says:

    Reminds me of the time in a phone shop a decade or so ago and a man had what can only be described as a wad of lead around his mobile phone to ‘protect’ him (he was getting the phone repaired if I recall). Considering not everyone had a phone back then, it would have been easier to not have a phone but what would I know 😀

    Having said that I overheard a human ‘goldfish’ today saying the current warmth was a sign of global warming – because it never was warm before in early September let alone later in the year like November (*coughs*). The confusion was palpable when I mentioned warm patches in 1868, 1880, 1899, 1906, 1919, 1933. Then again he could be right as Trenbath’s ‘wandering hotspot’ is currently over my head as it obviously was back then 😉

  7. J Martin says:

    Reading this article the IPCC sprang into my mind. Can’t think why.

  8. Peter Miller says:

    I am also a geologist and a dowser. I am not sure its electrical fields that are detected, but rather abrupt small changes in the Earth’s magnetic field. A couple of times I went out looking for water well sites with geo-hydrologists armed with proton magnetometers. Every time I got a strong reaction, the magnetometer showed a distinct weakening in local magnetic intensity, which is what you wouid expect over an open fracture or fault.

    I have sited approximately 2,000 water wells and used to have a drilling business. My success was largely dependent on the rocktype beneath your feet, the toughest were granites with around 70% success, while limestones and lavas was almost 100%.

    I never charged anyone for doing this and I agree that most, but not all, people have some kind of latent ability. The best dowser I ever met was a senior geologist from a major mining company, his success rate was phenomenal, close to 100%.

    Few people are aware that most of the world’s water wells are sited by dowsers and not by professional geo-hydrologists. Unfortunately, there are a lot of third rate dowsers and many are outright frauds.

  9. Roger Andrews says:

    @Peter Miller

    A zone of saturated rock creates a zone of low resistivity, and telluric currents generated by lightning strikes, which occur globally at the rate of about 40 per second, will generate anomalous electric and (orthogonal) magnetic fields above this low-resistivity zone Maybe what you’re measuring when your iron rod starts twitching is a combination of both.

  10. catweazle666 says:

    For an interesting and somewhat thought-provoking take on such matters track down on YouTube the 1970s Nigel Kneale (of Quatermass and the Pit fame – the original B&W version is awesome!) video “The Stone Tape”.

    Well worth watching.

    As to dowsing, I was taught by the maths master at school – of all people. I can attest that it works with considerable accuracy.