An illustrated guide to divining.

In my quest to find out if water witching really works, I came across Norman Fitzgerald, LS, the senior survey technician for Fairfax County Water Authority. Norm is a believer in water witching "because it works," he says. He demonstrated his divining technique for me in the parking lot outside his building.

There are several methods for performing dowsing: the use of a "Y" shaped branch, two "L" shaped wires or a pendulum. I photographed Norm's technique using "L" shaped wires to create this illustrated how-to guide.

Fig. 1

Step 1

We began with some coat hangers found in a closet. See Figure 1.

Fig. 2

We clipped the hangers into an "L" shaped configuration as shown in Figure 2.

Fig. 3

Step 2

We then went outside and Norm demonstrated how to hold the rods in their initial position. There are two ways to hold them. The first way is to hold them essentially straight out from your body with your hands about 2 feet apart. See Figure 3.

Fig. 4

When taking this approach the rods will tend to rotate toward each other when influenced by the underground "forces." See Figure 4.

Fig. 5

The second way to hold them is within about 6 inches of each other. If one takes this approach, then the rods rotate away from each other. See Figure 5.

Fig. 6

Step 3

To test out the divining rods, we walked across a painted utility mark that had been identified at some point prior and independent to our trip. A blue paint stripe can be observed in the photograph about two feet to the right of Norm's right foot in Figure 6. Note that the divining rods rotated parallel to the blue stripe when he began to cross the mark.

Fig. 7

Step 4

For a final test of the Norm's water witching method, we used the divining rods in an area where there was little doubt that a pipeline existed. There is a water meter in the asphalt and a fire hydrant nearby. The meter controls the hydrant. Therefore it should be clear that a line exists between them. So the ultimate test was whether the rods would cross accordingly when the dowser passed over that underground line. The rods did. See Figure 7.