How Do Dowsing Rods Work for Ghost Hunting, Finding Water and Hidden Objects?

How Do Dowsing Rods Work for Ghost Hunting, Finding Water and Hidden Objects?

Did you know that dowsing rods can help locate buried treasure, find hidden artifacts, locate energy and water lines and even facilitate communication with the supernatural world?

In this post, we'll cover what are dowsing rods, how do dowsing rods work, how to use dowsing rods safely, and aim to answer the ultimate question — does the practice of dowsing actually work?

Table of Contents

What are Dowsing Rods?

Dowsing rods, also known as divining rods, are used to locate underground water, minerals, ores, oil, gemstones, hidden treasure, archeological sites, energy lines, unmarked graves and more recently — paranormal activity.

The practice of dowsing has been around for centuries, and is said to date back to ancient Egypt and China, and was also popular in Europe during the Middle Ages.

Traditionally, dowsing rods were called Y-rods, as a branch or stick in the shape of a “Y” was used for detection. Most commonly used woods included willow, hazel, rowan, peach and witch-hazel.

Over the years, people turned to wires and even twisted coat hangers as dowsing rods, however, modern dowsing rods today, are most commonly made of metals such as copper or brass.

History of Dowsing

Source: Wikipedia

Dowsing has been around for centuries, and can be traced back to medieval Europe. In the 1500s, there are records describing how this practice was used in different ways, such as for finding metal deposits or groundwater.

The image above depicts the dowsing for metal ore and is from the Latin book De re metallica (On the Nature of Metals) published in the year 1556.

In those days, dowsing was still relatively new in Europe, and many people were suspicious of its validity. The writings by German priest, Martin Luther, identified this process as breaking one's Christian faith because it relies on intuition rather than scripture or religious ceremonies, which made the practice controversial during this time.

By the 1600s, dowsing was looked upon as an occult act by certain religious groups, and even though people were not sure about how it worked, many swore that it did work.

The practice continued into the early 20th century, with farmers in midwestern United States using dowsing to find water veins to dig wells.

Soldiers in the Vietnam War, have also been known to use dowsing to find underground mines, weapons and tunnels.

Enter the late 20th century and dowsing had a newfound use — being used as a tool for ghost hunting and paranormal research.

Types of Dowsing Rods

The oldest known type of dowsing rod is the Y-rod, which is literally just a forked branch or Y-shaped stick. This was the first type of dowsing tool identified in the 15th Century. 

The dowser would hold the stick on the two ends, and slowly walk through the area they were searching in.

If the rod moved downward or dipped, it indicated a find — either water, ore, minerals, oil or a hidden object.

Although Y-shaped or T-shaped rods can be used, today most dowsers prefer using L-shaped rods.

Shaped like the letter “L,” these rods are made of metal, with copper being the most popular.

Copper Dowsing Rods

Copper can be expensive, but it is very effective for dowsing, as it is highly conductive, making it excellent for detecting energy sources.

This makes copper rods one of the best conduits into the paranormal world.

How do they work?

Most commonly used for finding groundwater or communicating with spirits in paranormal investigations, copper L-rods, like the ones in the image above, are held apart in each hand, on the shorter ends.

The dowser then scans the area as they walk or ask questions, and the rods move in response to yes/no questions.

But, how does this actually happen?

How do Dowsing Rods Work?

Dowsing rods are believed to work by detecting minute changes in the earth's magnetic field, and move in response when hidden objects are detected.

It’s important to note that the interpretations, and how the rods move, largely depend on the person dowsing.

Dowsing rods work on a simple “yes/no” mechanism, based on what the movement of “yes” or “no” is for the dowser.

For example, the rods may turn towards you to indicate that you are above a water vein or an object you are seeking, and out towards your shoulders to show that you are not.

In most cases, the dowser holds the rods in each hand, with the tips pointing downwards.

As the dowser walks, the rods will supposedly cross if they detect a change in the magnetic field. This is thought to indicate the presence of water or other underground objects.

Dowsing remains popular today, with established water companies working with dowsers to trace the course of underground pipes, or with farmers in California who look to dowsers to find water for them to irrigate their land.

But dowsing is not just for locating water, today it is also part of the paranormal arsenal of ghost hunters looking to connect with the spirit world (more on how to use dowsing for ghost hunting below).

Do Dowsing Rods Work?

Whether or not dowsing works is up for debate, with each side strongly believing that it either does work, or has no scientific basis.

Everything in the universe has its own energy field — every atom, living being, object and emotion.

Those who have faith in dowsing say that the practice enables one to simply tune into the frequency of this cosmic energy to get answers.

Skeptics say that dowsing is convincing because the rods do actually “move,” but not because of any magnetic fields or energies dowsers are picking up on, but rather due to what’s going on in their subconscious mind.

There’s also a term for this; it’s called the ideomotor effect.

The ideomotor effect refers to the subconscious mind causing slight muscle movements that appear to be involuntary, so you don’t even realize that you are doing them.

Many say that it’s the same reason people feel that a Ouija board is actually communicating with them and their friends.

However, with dowsing being used successfully over the centuries, it’s hard to believe that all of it is just mumbo jumbo.

The video below is an excellent example of modern day dowsing and shows why demand for dowsers or “water witches” is currently so high in California today:

When it comes to paranormal investigations, many ghost hunters also swear by their dowsing rods, saying that they respond to people’s questions with answers that the dowsers could no way have unconsciously known themselves.

How to Use Dowsing Rods

If you're still on the fence, the best way to know if dowsing rods work is to give them a go on your own!

Below, we’ll cover the basics of how to use dowsing rods, including how to hold the rods, being in the right frame of mind, and practicing your dowsing skills to get better at this ancient art.

Get Associated

Just like with any tool, getting familiar with your dowsing rods is key. We recommend using copper dowsing rods, and the first thing you need to do is simply hold them and see how they feel in your hands.

Posture and Grip

Next, practice your posture and grip. You need to stand or sit still, with your arms close to your sides. Try to relax and not be rigid. Relax your arms and legs, and breathe slowly. To get the best readings, it is important not to be stressed.

Start by holding the rods parallel to the ground, and in a way that they won’t fall and are loose enough to move freely on their own. Once in position, you can start asking questions to first establish your Yes and No positions.

Establish Yes and No

You’ll need to ask some simple “Yes” and “No” questions to establish how the rods move for a Yes or No answer. This can differ from person to person.   

Watch the video below, to learn how to establish your own Yes and No answers:

 In the video above, a Yes answer is established with the rods crossing into an “X” and a No is the rods swinging open. For you, this could be the opposite, so it’s very important to do some test runs and see how the rods respond uniquely to you.

Don't Set Expectations

Keeping the mind relaxed is as important as keeping your body relaxed. When you’re dowsing, it’s important to not set any expectations when you ask a question. So, don’t expect to hear a particular answer, or don’t have any preconceived notions of what reaction you might get.

Keeping your head clear, along with being confident in the practice, is essential to getting the best results.

Now that you’ve acquainted yourself with the rods, it’s time to start practicing your dowsing skills.

How to Use Dowsing Rods to Find Water

Go near streams or wells and see how the rods react near water sources.

In this video, you can clearly see that the rods cross when going over a water source and swing open when no water is near:

How to Use Dowsing Rods for Ghost Hunting

When using dowsing for ghost hunting, the key is to focus your questions and energy on what’s around you, rather than the earth beneath your feet.

Similar to dowsing for water or hidden objects, you’re looking for any disruptions in the electromagnetic fields surrounding you.

If you’re a beginner, it’s best to go to a place where you know there is definitive ghost activity.

Walk around and see what reaction the dowsing rods give you when they detect a strong energy source. You can also use a REM pod to help confirm any paranormal activity.

Watch the video below to learn how to use dowsing rods for paranormal work:

Begin by asking some simple Yes and No questions to encourage a potential spirit to communicate with you through the dowsing rods.

If the answer is Yes, ask your questions respectfully.

You might also want to keep a Spirit Box handy, to record any spirit voices.

The Dangers of Using Dowsing Rods

Is it safe to use dowsing rods? If you use them properly, absolutely!

Dowsing tends to be very safe, but there are a few dangers of using dowsing rods you need to be aware of.

Physical injury

Any strong solid metallic rod can hurt you or those around you if you’re not careful. That is why it is important to know how to use and carry your rods properly, so you don’t accidentally poke someone in the eye!

Also, make sure to never use a metal rod that is rusty, which is why copper rods are preferred, as they never rust.

Spiritual threat

It is thought that dowsing rods may present a risk to those who are religious, and threaten their soul.

The danger comes especially when using dowsing for ghost hunting, which is seen as tampering with supernatural beings.

However, quite a few religious people have used dowsing rods, without any complaints or problems, so this theory may purely be based on speculation, but still important to keep in mind.

Lack of experience

Beginner dowsers may not be aware of just how reactive or strong spiritual energies can be when ghost hunting.

Some people are more sensitive and susceptible to the presence of paranormal beings, and they may be caught off-guard, especially when it comes to facing undesirable forces. Therefore, it is always best to ghost hunt with a partner or a group and not alone.

When starting out, it’s also important to take it slow. As this is energy work, it can be depleting and you may feel exhausted.

Doing it for fun

Experienced dowsers always stress that to be good at dowsing, requires practice, confidence and a strong belief that dowsing works.

Dowsing should certainly not be done for amusement, and should be taken seriously.

When using dowsing for paranormal investigations, its important to ask for protection through prayer or visualization before you begin.

When communicating with a spirit, ask actual yes or no questions. It can be dangerous doing it like a game, especially when ghost hunting, as you don’t know what kind of spirits you will encounter.

So, respect this ancient art, as it can be invaluable to communicate with the other side.

Finding the Best Dowsing Rods for Sale

There are all kinds of dowsing rods available in the market, but there are a few things you need to look out for when you see dowsing rods for sale.

Natural materials work okay, but copper is an amazing material to go with, and if you can afford it, why not choose the best.

When looking for copper dowsing rods, make sure they are 99.9% copper through and through — the last thing you want is to choose cheaper dowsing rods coated with copper. These can be highly toxic, as many contain lead, so you want to avoid these at all costs.

Copper dowsing rods are also incredibly lightweight, so they cause less fatigue than heavier materials.

Dowsing has been tried-and-tested for centuries, and if you're interested in learning how it works or want to expand your paranormal equipment collection, you should definitely think about investing in a good pair of dowsing rods!

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