A veteran dowser

Here is an account by a self-styled “veteran dowser”, of 44 years, of his experiences as a dowser in South Africa before WW2.

“Water and mineral divining experiences in South Africa “, by Mr  J. J. Morton.


In his article, he simply narrates some of his experiences, working mainly as a water diviner. It is typical of many down to Earth accounts submitted to the BSD journal in the earlier years of the society’s existence, often by members working in many countries across the World, often dowsing in very tough environment. The society acted as a means of linking these people together, to exchange information. They illustrate how important dowsers were in past days and how practical the activity of dowsing was back then; in contrast one feels to the more spiritual direction it has gone in more recent times.

Mr Morton seems to have been another dowser of remarkable sensitivity, for he describes how he could sense water up to ten miles away. The reaction of his Y shaped dowsing rod seems to have been considerable, which makes one wonder whether some form of psychokinesis was at work here.

He was intrigued by the harmful effects attributed to subterranean water flows. He remarks how trees appeared to be weakened when growing over such flows. And indeed, his own is sensitivity to water, seemed to have a deleterious effect on him, if exposed for some time.

For much of the BSD’s existence, the effect of underground water flows on health, has been of considerable interest to many dowsers. Maybe this effect is real and is mediated by one’s sensitivity to water? But something that has puzzled me often, is that the claims that underground water is causing some ailment, is never substantiated by actually drilling down to the supposed flow. And rather interesting, Mr Morton observed that in his experience, mineral deposits could be interpreted by many dowsers as underground streams, though he himself had a certain “gift” to differentiate between the two. It just makes me wonder.