How pop star Hozier made me believe in divining rods

Originally published at: How pop star Hozier made me believe in divining rods | Boing Boing

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Enjoy a good story, told well, by all means. But haven’t we had enough of people believing nonsense that flies in the face of all evidence, over this past year?

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Agreed. Treat claims of magic the same as with election tampering evidence: Put up or shut up. (or at least stop taking money from the credulous.)
I hear the Randy foundation prize money is still available and has welcomed diviners and dousing before.

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And, to be fair, the idea of banging two metal sticks together in order to find water based on some vague vibrational wavelength theory does sound pretty ridiculous on the surface. But Hozier relays his experience—of which he, too, was initially skeptical—with such an endearing sense of open-mindedness that, dare I say, it left me curious to learn more about the tradition.

Yeah. If he’s willing to throw out 500 years of empirical science on the basis of someone else’s anecdotal experiences, the least we can do is be willing to throw out 500 years of empirical science on the basis of some one else relaying some else’s anecdotal experiences.

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(@alphaxion the “woo” is that you already know where the water source is before you start dowsing.)

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It’s not difficult to find water in Ireland, even without dowsing rods.

Pick a spot, dig a hole (or not) and you’ll find water.

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Was literally writing the exact same thing.

It’s called the water table, if you’re standing on soil you just pick any location and dig down. Water will be there.

You don’t need the woo to find water.

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But that is where the money is!

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Exactly. The whole concept of a “water vein”, imagined as a sort of underground beck, is bogus, unless you live in an area with Karst.

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And you can’t build on the karst in Ireland!

The real trick here is finding somewhere without water to build.

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… … is this still Boing Boing I’m reading?

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I watched my grandfather dowse once. He believed completely that he was finding water using nothing more than a forked stick. I loved that man, who taught me so many things that weren’t utter nonsense. When I learned that dowsing was quackery, I took solace in the fact that he was at least (unconsciously) using his knowledge of the terrain around him to locate the best spot to dig.

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We’re supposed to (at least all empirical evidence over the last 15 years or more of reading here points to) NOT be promoting pseudoscience, especially after the damage done by Trump. Or so I thought.

We have people who don’t believe the sky is real out in the open working as pharmacists now, we don’t need to give people literally claiming to find water by rubbing sticks together airtime :persevere:

If it were presented as a tall tale, or an interview with people who believe this and trying to find out why, sure.

Otherwise I’ve had enough of things like this from a 4 year human dumpsterfire

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My great uncle taught us to dowse as kids.

He used to make good money dowsing for wells around Maine.

He also paid rent while trying to make a run at being a Broadway performer by cheating at poker and hustling pool.

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I’m willing to believe in dowsing IF someone can prove it, and can provide an actual scientific explanation, obviously both go hand-in-hand.

martingrippe

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Yeah, this was in Vermont. I don’t think there’s a spot anywhere in New England you’d dig and not find water. I did consider taking it up, I’m a pretty good bullshitter, and I know the lingo, but I don’t think I’d be able to live with myself for long.

In one of Adam Savage’s patron Q&As he talked about why MythBusters never covered dowsing and it’s basically what others here have said - dowsing has never survived empirical testing and relies on institutional knowledge of reading landscapes. Stay for a nice rant on that company who sold fake bomb detectors.

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My uncle mostly did it to fuck with people. We were taught to dowse to find buried treasure. Because sending kids to search for something that’s not there is hilarious, and drawing a bullshit map is fun.

In terms of the wells, he legitimately knew the proper way to place and dig them. So it was more of a sales tactic. It’s not like he was out there dowsing for missing kids and having visions. People digging their own wells in the shit end of Central Maine were more likely to hire a dowser than some guy who knows wells.

My mom still thinks it might have been real because he located our cesspool real easy. But my brother does that sort of thing too, and he just works in excavation and installs a lot of cesspools. There are a pretty limited number spots they could be in when they’re done right.

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You two were obviously on the same vibrational wavelength.

The American Society of Dowsers has a convention most every year
https://dowsers.org/convention-and-conferences/

I went one year to the convention in Danville, VT and found I can dowse, although I don’t rely on it. It’s an interesting and intriguing group of people. I fondly remember the older gentleman in a suit telling about how he accessed the Akashic Records by driving up to them in his astral Cadillac.

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Perhaps I was too generous and sloppy with putting “believe” in the headline. More that, it was an interesting story to hear, which had a surprisingly happy ending. I know there are all kinds of traditional/indigenous/folk practices that are at least somewhat reliable, even if they haven’t been tested, so I found it worth sharing.

I certainly didn’t mean to promote it as a fully legitimate pseudoscience! My bad.

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