A case of clairvoyant dowsing

Here is  a reprint from the Quarterly Transactions of the British College of Psychic Science. Entitled “Water divining at a distance”.


It is based on a letter from Mr Frank Hives (F.H.), a member of the college. His cousin, Mr Chas V. Hives (C.V.H.) had a property in Australia. The property had an existing well, but he wanted to improve it by sinking a new borehole. To ensure that this borehole provided water, he decided to enlist the psychic abilities of F.H. and sent him a rough sketch plan. Note that F.H. had never visited the location, and that throughout, it appears that he was living in Africa.

F.H. divined using a crystal. Upon making his mind blank, the crystal turned “cloudy”, then two numbers appeared, 250 followed by 585. The latter remained until he removed the crystal from the plan, only to reappear when he replaced it on the plan.

It seems he also divined using copper wires in some manner, not well described. But these wires usually behaved by “going down” over water, and “rose up” over mineral deposits (“usually iron”). When he passed the wired over the chosen position of the new borehole, the wires rose up, and he saw 250 in the crystal, but the number changed to 585, when the wires went down.

Later, as he moved the wires over the plan, they “vibrated” over a spot very near to the borehole, but under a nearby road. F.H. considered that this was the place where the bore should have been sunk, to a depth of 383 feet.

Later with the crystal in the plan, he observed “a thin blue line, increasing in width as it continued,  as if drawn by an invisible hand, started from a place on the plan, a few yards below the spot where the figures 385 had appeared under the road] and continued right off the plan, passing the present site of the well by about 20 yards…”. He concluded that the well was not on the underground stream.

The position of the new borehole was suggested by a driller.  He appears to have divined the spot, and predicted that water would be found at 180 feet, although he had advised that a better site would have been under the road as per F.H.. A description of the layers encountered during drilling, showed a lot of clay, but basalt at 180 feet and no water, which then gave way to “dolorite” [sic] at 250 feet,  “a very hard igneous rock”, that can contain iron compounds.  The description does not say whether water was eventually found in the borehole, perhaps at 585feet, but the intention was to stop drilling at 500 feet, and so we might infer that it was a failure.

Focussing only on the bore-hole, C.V.H. ignored F.H.’s advice about the underground stream, until after an accidental conversation, discovered that two water diviners working for a previous owner of the property, had located a stream in “much the same direction” as F.H. The article does not confirm whether the stream actually existed, but does show F.H.’s remarkable remote abilities to replicate the findings of three diviners.

At the time this article was written, remote dowsing was still largely considered to be a rare ability for a dowser. Of course, it is extraordinary, but dowsers now consider it to be an ability accessible to most, with practice.  The use of a crystal, and the visualisation of depth information, is I believe, unique in the BSD accounts. While visualising the course of the stream, might share some parallels with reports of several individuals, who could “see” underground water, while walking over land. But still, F.H. truly had exceptional abilities.