# 37 19-Oct-86 0156 MST Sb APin 10/14 Dowsing Rods Fm Executive News Svc. [72135,424] To 7
19-Oct-86 01:56 MST
Sb: APin 10/14 Dowsing Rods
Fm: Executive News Svc. [72135,424]
BROWNSTOWN, Ind. (AP) -- Joe M. Peters is not alone when he shows
faith in dowsing rods' ability to help locate water, coins, gas
lines and stone artifacts beneath the earth.
Old Fort Dowsing Rods, the little business that Peters runs on
the side, has sold several hundred of the devices at $49.95 a pair.
"I've got kind of a joke I tell," Peters said. "People ask me,
`How do they work?' I say, `Real good."'
People have claimed for ages that dowsing rods, also known as
divining rods or witching wands, can find water or treasures buried
underground. Despite the skeptics, Peters believes it has something
to do with the interaction between the earth's magnetic field and
the electricity in the human body.
"I am not a snake oil salesman," he said.
To prove his point, he gave a demonstration in his backyard.
Pacing slowly, smoothly and straight ahead, Peters moved forward,
his hands gripping the copper-and-plastic swivel handles of two
brass welding rods pointing ahead of him and held about parallel to
When the two rods crossed, Peters stopped. "I've got a coin
buried here," he said.
In a second demonstration, he laid a dollar bill on wet grass and
walked across the spot. Again, the rods crossed.
Peters said he started making dowsing rods in 1981, after
watching someone locate buried Indian relics with two plain welding
Using old pieces of plumbing and other scrap parts, Peters
attached welding rods to hollow handles into which "bait" could be
inserted. Coins with silver content would lead to silver, pieces of
paper money would find paper money.
"Some people claim you don't need to bait 'em, that you do it
with your mind," he said. "That gets into spooky stuff, as far as
But Darrell Leap, a professor in the Purdue University Department
of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, said the mind has a lot to do
"I put most water dowsing in the same league as faith healing
and television evangelism," Leap said. "You can make people
believe anything you want to."
Leap would not rule out the pssibility of a "special
sensitivity" on the part of some people to such pulls as
geomagnetic forces or low-level radiation.
"I've yet to see it proven," Leap said. "I'd like to see a
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank