The Shared Diary of a Novice Paranormal Investigator, aged 52 and Three Quar

When you believe in things you don’t understand, then you suffer.

(Stevie Wonder)

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,

Than are dreamed of in your philosophy.


Ri fol ri fol tol de riddle dee.


A Night with the Dowsers

Beards: 1.
Fleeces: 2.
Biscuits: 0.
Cups of tea: 0.
Pubs: 0
Chats in car park: 0
Minutes spent getting horribly lost in horrible places: 60
Glasses of wine on return to warm bosom of family: 2 large.

After suffering major nervous breakdowns on two motorways, I found the right town, then drove in the wrong direction for five miles twice.  Going the other way, I found myself exploring a Hogarth picture behind some dark satanic mills; driving down menacing alleyways littered with broken glass and punctured footballs.  After taking directions from a child who did not speak English and a man who did not know the one way system, I inexplicably found myself going through a modern town centre at ten miles per hour.  This was with satnav.  Without it, I may never have been seen again.

When I finally arrived, only one hour late, there was a distinct atmosphere outside the community centre.  Two men appeared to be Having Words with a group of boys, and possibly with each other.  One man had come out to tell off some naughty boys, and the second man had come out to tell off the first man for doing it wrong.  A deeply unpleasant pink and powdery old lady loomed up at me, looked me up and down and asked if I were with the dowsers.  I took this for a good omen.  She showed me how to sign in, then told me I had done it wrong.  She was delightful, and she only added to the lovely atmosphere.

I found the Dowsers.  They were clustered around a large table hunched over google earth printouts.  I felt as if I had accidentally intruded into the serious end of the Library just before Finals.

They were a little surprised to see me, since the person who had invited me had not told them about me, and had not turned up himself.  I realised that they did not quite know what to do with me, and actually they were rather busy.  I tried to make myself inconspicuous so that I could just watch without getting in the way.  Each one had a pendulum.  They were Remote Dowsing.

 This means that they were looking for an underground watercourse by studying an image of the place.  Apparently many dowsers feel that this works just as well as visiting the real place, and it prevents inconvenient encounters with mud and nature.  Each dowser hung a pendulum over the picture, gave it a little push, muttered, then started again.  Sometimes they conferred a little.  A character from a pre-raphaelite painting waved her prettily designed pendulum over the photo and told us ‘I’m getting bones, from the 5th century’.  ‘They’ve not been there long then!’ responded an older chap, rather shocked ‘this century’s only a few years old.’
 ‘No,’ said Pre-raph, ‘5th century.’ 
‘Well it’s the new century now, they can’t have been there that long…’
 ‘No, I said 5th, not ‘this’ - 5th.’
‘Oh, I thought you said ‘this century.’
 It is amazing how much entertainment can be had from a pendulum. 

‘I’m not sitting there it’s giving me headache’ growled the chap next to me.  He scraped back his chair and lumbered off.  ‘There’s a line of negative energy running just where you’re sitting,’ explained a kindly soul.  I looked around in alarm, but could not see anything.  This evening was proving to be more hazardous than I had anticipated.  ‘He’s always complaining about it, but he’s not moved it yet,’ quipped the older chap, setting off a Mexican wave of grins and chortles around the table.  ‘He can’t do it,’ he added, presumably for my benefit.  It felt like they were discussing fixing a bookcase, not detecting and influencing mysterious underground energies.  Later, I was advised that as soon as I became proficient, I should check around my bed to make sure I was not exposing myself to negative energy through the night.

‘Come on then! Get yours out!’  someone called jovially.  I was being encouraged to try my skill with the picture and the pendulum.  Shyly, I admitted that I had not got a pendulum, only rods.  I had associated dowsers only with rods, and I had not thought to buy a pendulum, as well.  I felt nervous about showing them what I had bought, in case they started chortling again, but I fished them out of my bag and waved them around ineffectually.  Some reciprocated, and I could see what a variety of designs there were.  Headache chap had a telescopic rod, which fitted into a neat little pouch.  Someone else had a huge, heavy home-made version; ‘It’s got a crystal in it’ he explained with a little grimace, ‘Some people think it makes them work better, I dunno…’ The older chap had what looked like two huge metal bars held together at one end with duct tape.  He held the loose ends apart and looked for all the world as if he were wrestling with it.  I thought it sinister.

Headache chap, not a fan of remote dowsing, and fed up with his chair, invited me to step out into the corridor with him, so he could give me a few pointers.  He advised me that I did not really need two rods and that I might do better with just one.  ‘Talk to your rod,’ he told me, without blinking.  I dug my nails into my hand.  He demonstrated how to walk with the rod – holding it steady and looking straight ahead.  A dowser does not look down, she catches the movement from the corner of her eye when the rod reacts.  Indeed, when HC glided down the corridor, his rod obediently bent at a right angle every time he passed a certain spot.  Of course, when I did it nothing happened.

He told me about currents of energy and he measured my aura.  Apparently it is a nice healthy size.  He asked me if it all sounded like ‘mumbo jumbo’.  It did not.  The way the dowsers spoke of energies and movement chimed with so much that I had felt, not just since starting my diary, but over many years.  Comparing them with the Spirit Buffs, I guessed I would be comfortable with the Dowsing belief system, and much more at home in their world.  In order to get a little closer and understand it better, it is necessary to be able to dowse.  A possible sticking point, there.  I had read that everyone can do it… almost. 

I found my way home.  Keep trying, Rifol.

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