# 37 19-Oct-86 0156 MST Sb APin 10/14 Dowsing Rods Fm Executive News Svc. [72135,424] To 7

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#: 37 19-Oct-86 01:56 MST Sb: APin 10/14 Dowsing Rods Fm: Executive News Svc. [72135,424] To: 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 the ground. 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 rods. 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 I'm concerned." But Darrell Leap, a professor in the Purdue University Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, said the mind has a lot to do with it. "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 scientific test."

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