Dowsing | Dowser | Equipment Used | Questions to Ask

dowsing L rods

Guest article by ‘Antique Collector’

History of Dowsing

Dowsing is as old as time according to the research that is still available on the internet.  The term “Dowsing”, or the old version ‘Water Witches”, creates misconceptions on what this skill was actually used for in the past and now the future.

Dowsing dates back thousand of years. It was noted in many forms,  from art on a rock wall to the written word.

If one were to venture into a cave found at Tassili nAjjer, which is a part of the Sahara desert, they would discover what a group of French explorers found in 1949: A cave painting where a person was sketched upon the wall, depicted with sticks in their hands. They appear to be walking with others behind them following along. The painting is estimated at c6000BCE.

The next historical notation will be Egypt c3000BC where Cleopatra was noted for having dowsers around her at all times.  The next notation in  history will be the Hebrews c2000BC, but no explanation as to why they used their abilities.

Queen Elizabeth the 1st (1538-1603) who obtained dowers out of Germany.  She required their abilities to teach the miners of Great Britian how to locate minerals for her Kingdom during the time frame 1558-1603.  These German dowsers were later discovered teaching their trade in Wales around 1638.  The Germans referred to their sticks as “wunchelrute” also known as ‘wishing sticks’.

Present Day Dowsing

Current day dowsing can include the following areas:

  • underground utilities
  • water wells
  • minerals
  • gems
  • oil
  • IED’s

The Marine Corp used this skill during the Vietnam war for locating tunnels used by the Viet Cong. 

According to a past news article this practice was used in Afghanistan for locating buried IED’s on the roads which were heavily traveled.

This can also include checking one’s metaphysical health, which is not allowed in some states as it is considered practicing medicine. 

Master of Dowsing (Instructor)

As stated by Mr. Bracy, a master in the dowsing field: 

Rule #1:  Everyone has the ability to dowse.

Mr. Bracy was a barber by trade in a small town located in north eastern California.  He taught classes all over the United States from our conversations. 

Mr. Bracy was not only my instructor but my mentor and friend.  He had been a member in good standing of the American Society of Dowsers for many years until his passing in 2012. He was awarded the Dowser of the Year award in 2004 by the society. 

Equipment for Dowsing

L Rods:

They are made out of copper wire. Each L rod should fit each dowsers palm comfortably.  If the handle on the rods are too short they will cut into the palm of the hand.  If the handle is to long it will cause the dowser to grip the metal to tightly. The handle must be of proper fit for ease of movement.


Crystals (rocks) shaped into tear drops or rounds, metal bobs. All of these will have a chain attached for ease of movement. Crystals will come in different shapes, sizes and colors. Each dowser will have a favorite that they will use.


Instruments constructed from a piece of thin copper wire with a wooden ball attached at the end. The handle will also be made of wood.  Slightly after the handle one will notice that the wire will have a spiral coil. This enables the tool to bounce when determining the depth of a well and the amount of recoverable water.

Classroom Instruction

Instruction starts in a classroom setting where the student learns how to use the tools in the field of dowsing.  It gives them the hands on usage of the tools and learning how to form questions on dowsing. The instructors will give each student additional hands on training until they are comfortable with these items.

If you should require someone of this skill set please ask the following questions.  That way you will know if they were trained by someone with years of experience who was also trained by an American Society of Dowser.

1) Did they attencd a class taught by a trained dowser?

2) Are they able to dowse using a property map without being at that specific location?

3) Can they determine the purity of the water the well will produce?

4) Did they check the area in question for earthquake faults?

5) Do they know how to move water back in to a well?

Dowsers are the locator of water for the well. The well drillers are the guarantee of the water. Remember we can all dowse, but there are dowsers, and there are trained dowsers.  

~ Antique Collector

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    1. alfie
      This just barely scratching the surface of what a student must learn in this field of study.

      If I can condense additional information into another article will try to ship it off to Ken while I wait for dh to heal.

  1. Antique Collector;
    Interesting Info. Thanks for sharing.

    I personally can dowse and have done so on 3 of my home properties.
    All came in with water, happy to say, of course the Driller also did a dowse, and unknowing to him I had marked 2-3 spots where I had results. All of which he confirmed with his dowse and a “good well” on the best.
    I only used 2 bent welding rods for my equipment, and yes it does work, just takes some practice and patience.

    1. NRP
      Ok,,, you are my next student, don’t forget to bring you welding rods with you.

  2. Antique Collector
    Good article. I thought dowsing was only used to find seraphs water. I didn’t know it could also be used to find well water, minerals, gems, etc.

  3. Thank you for the history lesson! All things I did not know. We are in the desert, and we hired an older gentleman who dowsed our property and found water, a “river” running underground. The dowser let me try the dowsing rods and they worked – I was thrilled to find the rods moving on their own in my hands (tho I did not know what that meant). The well drillers found water at 120 feet and drilled down to 300 feet to get us a really good supply. When we listen at the well, it does indeed sound like the water is running down there!!

    Prior to this property, I lived in Northern Cal, and I tried using dowsing rods on my own. I used metal clothes hangers (very amateur!) and found them to move on their own as well. It was exciting. In the next few days we will try our hand at dowsing again, trying to find a water line that we need to add on to so that we can have landscape/orchard irrigation. We know where to look but not the exact point to dig. I am excited to try again.

    I have also heard that dowsing can be used to find lost objects. Is that true? Thanks, AC, for all the information! It is very interesting.

    1. Pegasus
      Yes, the rods can give you a general location of a lost article. Here is the catch make sure you think and phrase your question before you ask for the objects location. Otherwise you will receive a general answer to a general question.
      One needs to be very specific when asking, something I have learned in the 20+ years of doing this as a profession. Even I can mess up so I am very careful when using this ability.

  4. Remote dowsing works as AC did for me and we hit water with 15 gal a minute. It might be Sulphur but over a 24 hour period the ‘stuff’ settles and there is no more smell. Clear as a bell. Just made out a general map of property, emailed. With a phone call I walked with her as she told me which way to walk and set down my bucket. At 80 feet we hit water which was NOT what the driller was expecting. Funny the guys had just started their lunch! I am very happy to have water of any kind. Purchased an old time hand pump and an Amish man put in in. He makes the pumps in Indiana. This pump can also work on a windmill. So dowsing works. There is so much human kind has lost with our materialist view of the world.

    1. Mrs. USMCBG
      If you are still having issues let me know at the private email. Will check the streams that infiltrate that water source again. May have lost a diversion that I placed on one of the 7+ streams that carry that nasty stuff.

      1. AC, you have enough to do right now with DH recuperating. Put on back burner for now.
        We are ok.

  5. I am not sure this dowsing thing works as described. Almost every time I hire a person to dowse for water I do not get water; I get crude oil ( sometimes a natural gas well instead). Now, there was one dowser that did find water but had he had a secret chant that he would not teach anyone. He professed that to really effective finding water you had to walk the land bare footed and carry a lightening rod for good grounding.

    I just refuse to hire a geologist to survey (dowse) the ranch. There is no place for science when looking for water (or oil).

    1. Ha ha ha Texas Boy

      That’s how Kuwait became one of the richest little countries on earth. It was growing as a regional crossroads. Everywhere they dug for water they found oil. Lived there once upon a time.

    2. Texas Boy
      I hope you have those oil/natural wells capped..;-)

      Dowsers that have attend classes under the guide lines of a master instructor will know if you have oil, natural gas or dawg gone…a true live stream of water for a well. Do not know about the chanting(lol), it was not a part of our classroom and outside instructions.

    3. Texas Boy,
      IF you need a well dowsed… I highly recommend to get AC to do it. reasons?… does it from her location…will not be waiting on someone to come to your location. is completely confidential.Accurate.
      She is good, not only did she tell me info we did not have on property (well we purchased) but removed a stream of methane gas from the well. It returned after a few months and has now been stopped for about a year and a half… without a return and a couple of “dowsers tricks”.
      She also gave us info on well at parents property, stopped a mud stream from entering it, clearing the water of red clay.static water level,(needed for future pump JIC,.).. and info on purity of water.

  6. Antique collector,

    I’ve piddled with dowsing rods some (shaped mine out of 10 gauge romex wire stripped of insulation). Located underground water, sewer, and electrical lines easily. Never tried for water, but located an area, about 30-40 feet in diameter as near as I can tell, some 100 feet behind my home. Marked it by approaching it from all directions and staking were the rods first start reacting. Since I’m in mountainous terrain (the anomaly is under fairly level ground). I’m thinking possibly an underground cavern. Any thoughts.

    1. Dennis
      Due (edit: Do) I have your permission to dowse this location you are referring to, it will be that site only. I do not go beyond what is agreed upon, believe I know what you found.
      Will await your reply.

      1. Antique collector,

        Dowsing on location or remote? What would you need, GPS coordinates? I do have fracked gas wells in the area, but I know the direction and location of all horizontal drilling, all going away from my property, the closest vertical shaft is about quarter mile away and the horizontal goes the other direction from my property.

        1. Dennis
          Remote, I do not need to be present to find out exactly what it is, I have a suspension what ITcould be but like to make sure before I give an answer.

          Also I will not violate a persons opsec, I have the ability do work from my home on a paper map drawn by a client for those who are require well locations.

          I am going to check this out for you right now and give you an answer to your question.

  7. Dennis
    It is what I suspected, in dowsing terminology you have found a “Water Dome”. They are the pressure valve for the underground water ways, these keep the water flowing for a live stream.

    What ever you do, do NOT drill into a dome, if one were to do so they could collapse the entire water system which feeds neighboring wells.

    Welcome to the special group, not many can find these. high five!!

  8. Interesting information. The metal rods would definitely resonate with different materials in different ways. Water resonance would have a different frequency.

    It makes sense that some people are inexperienced enough that they can’t tell different types of liquid apart. : )

    The closest I’ve come to attempting this is a bit of sleight-of-hand with a ball on a string, making it spin or stop or swing toward different people.

  9. Old man and I dowsed our well. We used coat hangers and they worked great. I did it first and old man didn’t believe in it until he tried it. When it worked he turned to me and said, I’ve got the gift! Out here in NM there isn’t a lot of water. Ours is 270 feet deep, we went to 300, and had 7 gallons a minute. Old man calculates it in flushes!

  10. Many times I have used my dowsing rods (made from metal clothes hangers) to find buried water pipes and other items. It does find a wide array of items, as I once found a buried muffler pipe.

  11. We used a dowser service to locate both our wells! Terrific show if nothing else, but successful wells as well.
    We recommended him to our neighbors…one ng used and placed well where suggested and was successful… used and relocated his driller…..less than succesful!

    1. Pioneer Woman
      What did you mean by ” one used and relocated his driller….less than succesful”?
      Are referring to the driller moved his equipment away from the site location? Or the dowser moved the sight to accomodate the driller?

      IF is it fixable, it can be done. I have come across those who did not have their well dowsed but they along with the driller picked a spot and missed the live stream of water. It came in with 3 gallons of water per minute. Since I knew the driller for many years went up the property and fixed the problem for his client. Left the instrument in the ground which I used for this proceedure. With a warning to keep their hands off of it, or it would revert back to the low production of water.

  12. Circa 1915 my great-grandparents hired a dowser to locate water on their property that was strictly for dry land crops; they struck water on their first effort. As of this year our well is still producing pure, sweet, ice-cold water for 104 years.

  13. AC, my husband learned utility dowsing basics from his father. My husband has dowsed for piping around our home and has always been successful.

    On the large construction projects that are located in rural settings where my husband worked, the wells that were planned out began with a professional dowser who was retained by the contracted well companies. The dowsers were always very accurate and the wells that were drilled always yielded good flow. Can’t get any better proof than that!

    I look forward to your next article!!

  14. Why does dowsing work for some and not others? I worked for a utility in a small community. I tried it several times, but I always was confident in my friend who could find water lines, communication line, gas lines, & etc. He was always closer than the commercial locator who we called.

    1. two bits
      Best answer I can give you is body chemistry.

      In the beginners class of 20 plus students I was the only one who hit upon a water dome where the class was being taught. Even the advanced dowsers who were assisting the master in this outside exercise were totally confused. Yet Mr. Bracy knew exactly what I had come across. He then turned the rest of the class over to the other instructors and worked with me just to make sure it was my actually ability.

      Do not feel you are unable to locate what you were searching for. That is why I always recommend those who are interested in taking a class. They will instruct students in the proper phrase for asking and being able to search those locations. Besides you will be with a group of like minded folks, who are there to learn just as you are.

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