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Dowsing is a controversial method of divination used to find water, metals and hidden objects by carrying some form of stick and watching its motion. Some people use no pointing device at all.

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History of Dowsing

Dowsing has existed in various forms for thousands of years. The form used today probably originates in Germany during the 15th century. Then it was used to find metals. The technique spread to England with German miners who came to England to work in the coal mines.

How to Dowse

Dowsing can be done with a forked branch of a tree, a bent piece of metal, a plastic wire or a small pendulum.

Map Dowsing

Some proponents claim to be able to find water or minerals by dowsing a map. Unlike dowsing by walking, this method is unsupported by any scientific hypothesis, proven or unproven, which lead most to classify it as pseudoscience. Unlike ordinary dowsing it can only be explained as some kind of extra-sensory perception.

Theories of Dowsing

Dowsing is often explained as being due to the human body having a sensitivity to electric or magnetic fields (the senses of electroception and magnetoception[?]), though these effects have not yet been verified.

A skeptical theory of dowsing is that the seemingly involuntary movements of the piece of metal or wood are due to the idiomotor[?] reaction. In other words, the dowser inadvertently creates such movements him/herself. James Randi is one proponent of this theory. Dowsing is the most common claim to Randi's offer of one million dollars for the demonstration of something paranormal.

Dowsing is in the borderland between pseudoscience and protoscience.

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