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 Weekend with the Dowsers

Dowsing tools include: the bobber, the Y rod, the L rods, the pendulum and the aurameter.  Dowsing readiness requires a short ritual, a particular state of mind and clarity of focus.  Dowsers follow a strict code of ethics.   Dowsing has myriad applications, and a long, long history, but nobody knows, or indeed cares, exactly how it works.  In some societies it is simply accepted as pragmatically useful.  Some industries use dowsers more than we casual observers may realise.

I had a wonderful weekend on my dowsing course, and I even have a certificate to prove it.  I am pleased to report that the standard of buffets, which appeared only at bona fide mealtimes and featured fruit and vegetables, was very high.  We had only one misplaced apostrophe in two days of power point presentations.  We did have the obligatory sensitives suffering from the vapours.  The difference was that this time they were reacting to geopathic stress, rather than to spirits sucking out their juices. 

I have always loved being taught.  I will learn anything for a while, as long as it does not involve handicrafts.  It is delightfully irresponsible to say ‘I just do not know’ and to cast yourself gleefully into whatever comes your way.

There were many aspects of dowsing to be learned, and the course had attracted an interesting variety of people.  Some of my fellow students were very interested in health and healing.  There were the white-clothed Mr and Mrs Yoga, who floated a few inches above the ground, radiating calm and a hint of marijuana.  There were one or two reiki types and the tutor was mostly interested in plants and gardens.  There was a couple from Birmingham who had made a group booking with some friends.  It was refreshing to observe that the burly man with close-cropped hair was the enthusiast, while his wife kept a wry, sceptical distance.

The course took place in a long, low room overlooking an uninspiring shrubby patch of garden.  There were about a dozen of us, seated at tables arranged in a large rectangle.  The tutor had a huge collection of rods and sticks, all looking well used.  At the back of the room, the organisation had a stall offering attractive, shiny new equipment for sale at high prices.  We spent nearly all weekend in that room and bit of garden, and by the time I went home, my fellow students felt like family.

I learned many things over the two days, some of which will take me a long, long time to process.  My most vivid memory from the weekend is the moment our tutor leaned through the window into the garden and yelled after us: ‘Don’t forget your protection if you’re working with trees!’  What would a tree do to me if I did not wear my imaginary bubble of white light?  I do not know and I do not like to think too deeply about it, in case it is nasty.  Where is Tom Bombadil when you need him?  Anyway, I have been taught to give myself an imaginary protective layer, which I see as a kind of light, and it feels right and proper to me.  I have taken to putting it on whenever I remember it. 

To start dowsing, you need to programme your pendulum before you can interact with whatever arcane mechanism it is which makes dowsing possible.  The pendulum enables you to prepare for dowsing and to ask and answer questions.  It is involved in rituals you may choose to perform, such as balancing a person’s chakras or building power centres.  Notice what an esoteric vocabulary I have acquired.  Most of us had pretty pendulums sprouting crystals and curly bits, which the tutor looked upon with indulgent cynicism.  He told us that anything could be a pendulum, and demonstrated with a bunch of keys.  For people who had no pendulum, he had a supply of greasy nuts threaded on to dirty cord.  He used to be an engineer.

Dowsers can use L rods or a Y rod to trace water, minerals, archaeological features, auras and flows of energy.  You can use a pendulum to trace the same features on a map if you do not want to go out of doors.  There are all kinds of invisible lines of energy in operation, but different sources give them different identities, which is terribly confusing. 

To my mind, dowsing generates the same doubts met in all the areas I have been exploring.  Bluntly expressed, the important questions are: ‘Is somebody kidding me?’ and ‘Am I kidding myself?’  Poking about in the paranormal requires we attempt answers to these questions. 

There was no secret method to be taught.  We were given an overview and some time to try out different contexts for dowsing.  I do not know what I was expecting for my money; a key to a hidden volume control?  A magician arriving, to put a dowsing spell on my wrists?  I think I was hoping to be told something I could not have guessed, but that did not happen.  The weekend worked because we were all of us concentrating and learning together, away from all other business with a guide to help us.  The way into dowsing, as far as I can make out, appears to lie in preparation and the development of the right frame of mind.  It is easier to make this kind of change in yourself when immersed in a different world.  It is more difficult to continue building the skills back in your real life.

During the weekend, we new dowsers had a few opportunities to put our budding skills to these kinds of tests.  I passed some and failed others.  I watched, with detached emotion, a tiny, seemingly honest woman visibly shaking her fist to make her pendulum move the way she chose.  I felt, very strongly, a strange heat flowing as Mrs Yoga sucked through me the energy she required to balance her heart chakra.  In the final half hour of the course, I watched with amazement as ten people out of twelve, including myself, all made the correct choice when asked which of three envelopes contained godetia seeds.  This, dear diary, was without a clear understanding of what a godetia might be.  I failed miserably when I tried to identify which of three playing cards was the king of diamonds.  I had no idea where anything was when we used pendulums to locate features on a sketch map.

I remain puzzled about the way my rods react to underground water.  Once I knew the location of the water under the training venue, I could not be sure if the rod reaction was happening naturally or if I was making the rods cross.  Similarly, if I tried again, I could not be certain if the rods were not reacting or if I was holding them back for fear of forcing them.  If I try this at home, I get the same problem, since I know exactly where the water pipe is.  If I tried somewhere else, how would I know if I was right or wrong?  I am not going to know the answers to these questions until I have had a lot more experience.  The important thing, I understand, is to keep investigating what the rods can tell me, without trying to predict what they will do.  A dowser has to keep a mindset of mildly disinterested curiosity, murmuring ‘I wonder what the answer will be?’

Two days later, I find I am influenced by the world view I encountered through dowsing.  I move in my protective bubble of white light, but I produce growing and shrinking fields of energy which move with me through a web of other energies which touch me and are touched in return.  I feel alive, connected and actually rather tired.  I try out my new skills, with mixed results.  Sometimes, I think I can see auras around people, but I try not to look, as it seems too personal.  I balance chakras for CMS, and she tells me she feels rather better.  I try looking for geopathic stress in our house, but the rooms are only a few paces wide, and I am confused.  I wander off to the seaside and select beach pebbles for constructing power centres.  My personal journey feels less of an aimless wander and more like a purposeful train ride.  Dowsing good, séance bad

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