Flashback Friday: Dowsing • High Times

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From the “Planet” section of the July, 1980 issue of High Times comes an interesting take on the practice of dowsing.


Dowsing—the art of locating underground water—has been vindicated as an applied science, after thousands of years of hotly condemned, albeit successful, practice. The secret of the dowsing procedure doesn’t lie in the Y-shaped sprig of wood held by the operator, it turns out, but in the body of the dowser. Recent research suggests that special cells in the adrenal and pituitary glands of at least some humans are sensitive to changes in the local electromagnetic flux of the earth and atmosphere; when the electromagnetic field changes, as it does in the vicinity of underground water deposits, these glands seem to subtly alter a sensitive individual’s blood pressure. A slight congestion of blood in the capillaries of a dowser’s fingertips, it’s speculated, may account for the characteristic vibration of the dowser’s stick over a subterranean…

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