A Divining Experience

Water, Water, Is it there?

Wolf Summit, Wv.

July 22, 1999

After checking Map namein, the owner explained that he was having water problems, and as there was a leak somewhere underground the water had been turned off. These things happen, and we had some water on board so we didn't think too much about it. We went to dinner and returned in late evening just as the sun was going down. The owner was standing with another man I had not yet met. I turned and busied myself with some menial task as Laura wandered off to talk. The next thing I noticed was that the man held two cut off pieces of coat hangers bent in L's, in his hand and was slowly walking across the grass. Nah, I thought, divining rods and dowsers were in the same league as gremlins and trolls under the bridge. I grabbed the camera and headed over. "Blacky", as he said, was the only name he went by. A steel worker for many years, he traveled the country walking the girders for a living, He looked part of the rough and ready beer drinking construction world. The Armstrong Steel symbol proudly tattooed on his right shoulder. "I've done it all my life" he responded to my onslaught of questions. "There's no secret image-02to it, some people have it and some don't." He took a swig on the beer bottle he was holding and looked out across the field he had been testing. "I'm just looking for where the water pipe broke." He reached over and handed the coat hangers to Laura. "hold 'em light now, don't try to control them. Walk over toward that puddle and see what happens." Laura balanced the wires in her hands and slowly approached the puddle several yards away. As she reached a point where she was about to step into the water the rods suddenly swung in symmetric motion in toward each other until the wires were crossed. I had to smile, not that Laura was prone to the power of suggestion. She backed off and did it again with similar results. Blacky read the skepticism on my face. "You ought to try it", he offered. "Yah, sure", I smiled back, not wanting to be the butt of some joke I had yet to figure out. "It's something to do with the body's chemistry", he insisted. "I don't know how it works, and not every body can do it". Laura handed me the coat hangers. "No way!", image-01I exclaimed. " Oh, try it", she coaxed placing the rods in my hand. There was nothing unusual in them, just bent pieces of coat hanger. The ends bobbled around as the rods sought a point of balance in my loose grip. I checked the angle of my hands and elbows to make sure they were straight and even, then slowly stepped forward toward the puddle, expecting at any moment to hear the laughter over whatever the joke was that I missed that allowed me to be talked into such an antic. As I reached the puddle, the rods swung together and crossed. I stopped and stared at the rods as if they were aberrations conjured up before me. "If that isn't the damnedest thing I've ever seen" came from my lips, as I stood there, still staring at the rods in disbelief. "I saw it and I still don't believe it", I exclaimed as image-03I walked back. Blacky stepped up and through a large right arm around my shoulder. "You've got it" he shouted in glee, as if he had found a rare jewel among the common folk. You both have it. Not every body does" he continued on giving me a series of grasps and shakes as if I had just passed some initiation to a very special club for which he was a proud member. In time the conversation went back to the water leak and I had time to experiment. No mater what I did, I couldn't cause the rods to move by moving my fingers, or shifting positions. The phenomenon of rods crossing over water remained a constant. It never failed. Within the half hour to 45 minutes of experimenting, I convinced myself that there was indeed something to this dowsing. I returned to the cool air conditioning of the trailer to contemplate my findings and nap. Emerging several hours later I stepped out to find the owner, Blacky and several others, a few sites away next to a backhoe, a very large pile of mud and a very large hole in the ground. I had to know. "Hey Blacky, did you do it?", I asked, walking up on the group. He just smiled as the owner exclaimed, "Damn right", pointing to the now exposed, and badly broken shut off valve several feet down in the hole. "I'm convinced", I responded with a resigned voice. "I'm convinced".

*** THE END ***