How long is a piece of string?

Here is an article entitled. “The point depth method” by Elvan:

In the earlier years of BSD, members were often keen to improve the practices using in dowsing. Once such invention was “the point depth method” devised in 1936, by Major R. Creyke, (a.k.a. Elvan), who has been described as “an extremely painstaking and reliable English amateur dowser”. This was a new and simple method to find the depth of underground streams through dowsing.

It appears that the method was at least inspired by an earlier method devised by the French dowse M. Probst. This fellow seems to have been motivated by the idea that underground water emitted some form of electromagnetic radiation and he called his device the “radio-capteur”. It comprised a simple metal spike, rounded at one end, and pointed at the other, which was then stuck into the earth. The curved tip which remained protruding above the ground, was placed between the poles of a horseshoe magnet mounted inside a box. A wire was then attached to the box and, isolated from the earth by a series of stakes topped with porcelain fixtures, extended in a straight line away from the spike.

To quote from the book “Divining” by Christopher Bird, (M&J publishing Group, London 1980 ), “Probst considered that ‘waves’ emitted from an underground water source or metal ore deposit were in some way “captured” by the spike and, assisted by the magnetic field, propelled along the wire. A dowser would then straddle the wire and frog-walk along it until he got a reaction. The length of that portion of the wire from the ring to the spot between his feet was supposedly equivalent to the depth of the water vein or any other object being sought. Deeper water veins would be ascertainable further along the wire.”

Probst’s approach however was quite unwieldly and Creyke’s method was much simpler to use. He retained some elements of the original idea. He used a thin Mumetal rod (Mu-metal is a nickel-iron soft ferromagnetic alloy), and a wire connected to this rod, but now with no insulation between wire and ground. The road was inserted in the ground, immediately over an underground stream. The dowser then simply walked along the direction of the wire with their back to the spike, until they obtained reactions with their chosen dowsing device. The distance at which these reactions occurred, measured from the rod gave the depth of features relating to the stream.  In his original account, he makes no reference to e.m. radiation, but he asserts that Mumetal gave a better dowsing response than a copper rod.

However, at a later time, the self-appointed scientist to the BSD, Cecil Maby, in his book “Physics of the Divining rod” (Bell & Sons Ltd. London, 1939), concluded that all kinds of metal rod gave satisfactory results. For instance, he had successfully employed the method with iron, steel, brass, copper and zinc rods. He also made the observation that then longer the ‘point’ rod, the stronger the depth reactions. The difference between the experience of Creyke and Maby is interesting. It may suggest that unconsciously, or otherwise, Creyke considered the dowsing effect dependent on magnetism in some way. It was not uncommon at this time, or even today, for dowsing to be associated with magnetism in some manner.

Creyke cites several examples of actual depth estimates made in the field and how they related to the actual depth of water in the final bore hole, with quite remarkable accuracy. Some other interesting points are noted. While following his method to depth a stream, he was able to block out any reactions from nearby parallel streams, which one might consider would interfere with the process. This tuning in ability, seems to rule out any physical explanation as to the effect. Instead it rather appears that the dowser is mentally programming their reaction, although apparently on an unconscious level,  to coincide with what they seek, The wire simply acts as a prop, or aid, to focus the mind on the distance to the object dowsed. The material of the wire, the magnetism is being irrelevant. In principle then, it seems no different from map dowsing, where the map is represents the reality of the area being searched.

However, the article contains a final interesting observation. It describes how he introduced his method to a seasoned water diviner, who himself had no reliable way to estimate the depth of underground streams accurately. Although not familiar with Creyke’s method, it worked for him unintentionally, which on the face of it, appears to contradict the idea of unconscious programming. But in this case, the old dowser was being watched by Creyke, and there is the possibility that the former was being influenced unconsciously by the latter. This has been shown to be possible. It is difficult to say. Futhermore one could speculate on more radical possibilities. Perhaps the idea of the point depth method, once conceived of by Creyke, (or for that matter of Probst), might itself be capable of directing unconsciously the dowsing actions of dowsers, who otherwise have no conscious knowledge of the idea. (Well it’s just a speculation).