Thursday, 26 January 2012

I Found One!

Some weeks ago on a blog (although I have sadly forgotten which it was) a challenge was put forward to find 10 things we could do that were totally free of EU influence or control. At the time I couldn’t think of any but recently I thought of one!

An activity which anyone can attempt, that requires no licence or authorisation, is not the subject of any nannying advice from government or health quangos, is free of emissions and needs no protective clothing.

So why not try water divining.

OK, I hear it – “but that’s stupid it doesn’t work”. Except that actually it does work and I know this because…

Years ago, when renovating our house, we had a problem locating the water main. The house being on a rural bend and a junction there were plenty of possibilities but no sign of an external stop tap anywhere in either the front or the side road. Our Builder jokingly said we needed his old boss who could always find water pipes. I asked how, was he suggesting a hazel twig? And was told no, he used a couple of bits of wire.

Our builder, a sensible down to earth local tradesman, said it never worked for him. But he could show me how he had been told. Anything for a laugh, I went in search of some stiff steel wire.

Thus a short while later I found myself with two bits of chopped up wire coat hanger walking slowly back and forth across the front and side lawns feeling a complete and total idiot and hoping the neighbours weren’t watching. That was until I found three lines of ‘activity’ leading away from the house. One was the main drain, a giveaway because of the manholes, but the other two were completely concealed. One turned out to be a disused drain running to a long disused septic tank on the boundary and the other, diagonally across the lawn, was indeed the water supply pipe!

My background is down to earth scientific: physics, electronics and computing. I don’t get excited about ley lines or alien power grids or any of that stuff. In my book water divining should not work. It can’t work can it? There is no scientific process to allow it. But yet it works. I have since shown a few other people how to do it, and seen it work for some of them too. I don’t claim it’s reliable, and I don’t pretend to understand how it works. It’s certainly a weird emotion when it does.

It’s nice to know that there are some things that are outside the control of the PTB and that also suggest the world contains a lot more than politics, lies and corporate finance.

For my reader, hello Mum, who probably won’t believe a word of the above here are the instructions, why not give it a try?

Take two pieces of stiff steel wire, a wire coat hanger is ideal.  Make 2 lengths, each about a foot long, and bend each into an ‘L’ shape with a short 4 inch piece and an 8 inch piece. The bend must be sharp and exactly a right angle (a vice is good!) and the lengths must be absolutely straight, actual lengths do not matter  much but they must be identical.

The short piece is the ‘handle’ and I’ll call the long piece the pointer. Hold the handle by curling your fingers into the palm of the hand so the ‘handle’ rests in your hand (like a pistol but gently). Support the bottom on your little finger so the bend and pointer is clear of your hand and free to rotate.  You are not trying to control it or twist it, you can’t in that hold because the wire has no grip, you just support it with the handle vertical and the pointer horizontal and free to rotate.

Then, one wire in each hand, hold your hands in front of your chest a couple of inches apart, the pointers will swing around with any movement of your hands. Grip just hard enough to add a tiny bit of friction. 

You need the pointers horizontal, parallel with one another and pointing ahead. In that grip you can’t twist them so tip them slightly away from you, let gravity swing them down, then gently bring them back to horizontal and parallel to one another.

Now start surveying. You need to walk very slowly and gently and evenly to keep the pointers just resting parallel and horizontal and free to swing. They will wobble a bit randomly as you move but if they go far out of place just stop and reposition them. 

As you cross water (or electric cables) the pointers will either swing together and cross or they will repel, pointing along the run of the pipe. It’s fairly easy to tell their synchronised movement from any random wobbling caused by movement.

Think I’m joking? Just try it!


  1. Woodsy42,
    At last, a genuine and completely regulation free response.

    It was I who set the question, which you can see here.

  2. W42: And it was I that repeated IPJ's question - and actually only 6 were asked for, not 10......

    This method is on youtube:
    as a matter of interest and there is also a professional body offering courses:

    Interesting article on Wikipedia too:

  3. I though it was you IanPJ, but failed to find it, sorry about that - probably longer ago than I thought. I didn't think to search back at WfW. And was it indeed only 6, I couldn't think of any at the time!
    I would still like a believable scientific explanation, it's an uncanny experience when it happens.