Dowsing Skeptic

I have practiced dowsing (attempted divination of water, treasure, etc., by use of a wand, pendulum, or other indicator)-see Rhabdomancer-although I remain skeptical of this alleged paranormal phenomenon.

Among my skeptical articles on dowsing is my first (on gold dowsers in the Yukon in 1976), "Not Recommended for Serious Mineral Exploration," Yukon News, September 1, 1976. Among my other dowsing critiques are those about supposedly locating treasure (The Mystery Chronicles pp. 300-301), searching for artifacts and archaeological sites (Adventures in Paranormal Investigation, 48-58), and still others.

The phenomenon is actually due to the ideomotor effect (unconscious muscular action) coupled with lucky guessing, use of visual cues, selective scoring, and the like. It is the same phenomenon responsible for automatic writing, the Ouija-board planchette movement, and spirit table tipping.

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