Dowsing HistoryAlthough the word dowsing is relatively new, the practice of psychic scrying in this manner has been going on for thousands of years. Cave paintings have been found which appear to show dowsing with a forked stick - these paintings have been dated as 8,000 years old.
Pictures that appear to represent dowsing have been found on ancient Chinese carvings and Egyptian artwork. Artefacts that appear to be dowsing tools were found in the pyramid of King Tut.
Modern DowsingModern dowsing begins to appear in records around the fifteenth century. During this time dowsing sticks were used by European miners, especially in Germany.
The first known use of the term dowsing rod was by philosopher John Locke in the seventeenth century. The word appears to be inspired by the Cornish words "Dewsys" (Goddess) and "Rhod" (branch of tree).
During this period of time dowsing was closely associated with witchcraft in the minds of many. It was frowned on by the Church and dowsers were known as "water witches".
Because of this, it became unpopular if not actively dangerous to practise dowsing. The practice went - excuse the pun - underground. Dowsing never died out completely but certainly disappeared from public view.
During the Victorian era dowsing became popular once again, possibly tied in with the Victorian interest in spiritualism and associated topics. From Victorian parlour games dowsing spread once more into the wider world and was embraced again by mining companies amongst others.
The records of the last hundred years or so are full of well documented examples of impressive feats of dowsing. Even Albert Einstein was reputed to be a supporter of dowsing. Perhaps the most recent high profile use of dowsing was reported to be by the British army during the Falklands war.
The Skeptics, of course, dismiss it all as coincidence.