The Technology Benchmark

December 2006

Just finished reading the long awaited sequel to your December 2005 dowsing article. The doubters don’t know what they are missing. We were surprised, however, that your paraphernalia photo omitted the earliest witching rod, namely, a fresh cut willow branch in a “Y” shape. This was used in the Midwest in the early part of the 20th century. We heard about it and saw it done first in the 1930s. We did not see the welding-rod-copper-tubing-two-handed rod arrangement until the 1950s. The Indians used the willow rod, passing it onto ancestors of the farmers that we saw using it. Use at that time was location of a sire for a new well, which then meant hand digging [and] hard, time-consuming [and] sometimes dangerous work. As we said previously, every rural area had one of two really accomplished witchers, for money was scarce during the Depression, and wells had to be dug.

We, too, believe that it is more of an art than a science, but so is engineering if one is honest about it. We have met many people who got greater response than we did--some found structures that we failed to locate. It is most important that the rods be free to move, and wind does hamper witching. Welding rod and other “modern” gadgets probably came into use as land became more densely developed, and willow trees disappeared or were hard to find. We still prefer willow rod.

As for the skeptics, there is a lot of doubt about psychics also, but the records are full of police and missing person cases that have been solved by them when other methods met a brick wall.

Thanks for a couple of interesting articles.

Henry Boesch Jr., PE


On page 38 of the Advanced Total Station Technologies in the February issue, the angle accuracies for the Pentax R Series total stations were inaccurately reported. The correct angle accuracies for the Pentax R-300DNX and R-800 total stations are 2-, 3- and 5-seconds.

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