´The ability to find people, artefacts or substances by use of maps, pictures or physically being in a place are currently the most popular applications of Dowsing. Most dowsers use two 'dowsing rods' and/or a pendulum. The rods, traditionally known as 'Wishing Rods', are formed into an L shape and are usually made of copper although the oldest known material was wood, usually forked Hazel branches along with Apple, Beech and Alder. (It is said that metal coat hangers work just as well!). One rod is held in each hand and you have located what it is you are looking for when the rods cross.
When using a pendulum most people weight the line with a crystal, or
heavy weight. The important thing seems to be the length of the line
which the pendulum swings on. In his book, "The Power of The Pendulum,"
Tom Lethbridge explains his own experiments into pendulum lengths and
also his own theories as to how dowsing works. However, what does seem a
mystery is how diviners can dowse over a map to find people or
substances when the focus of the search can be many kilometres away.
Indeed this does suggest some sort of psychic activity.
Dowsing is reported to date back approximately 7000 years but origins
are still unknown. It is accepted, however, that the Egyptians used
images of forked rods in some of their artwork as did the Ancient
Chinese kings. In Europe, it was known for dowsing to be used in the
Middle Ages to find coal deposits. Since this time people have dowsed
for everything from lost objects to missing people, some of them are
reported to be very accurate although the scientific community as a
whole have yet to decide if they support or refute this ability. Some
people earn money by advising mining companies before they carry out
test drilling/core sample.
In 1930's there was a lot of activity in Europe with the formation of
'The British Society of Dowsers'. The term Rasiesthesia was also coined
by French priest Alex Bouly based on the Latin words for 'radiation' and
'perception', although the term dowsing has stood the test of time.
In 1986 American dowsers argued that there was a connection between dowsing and astrological links with the element Fire.