Water Dowsing and Divination

By: Dave Hunt; ©1999
Clearly dowsing “works” for some people. Dave Hunt explains why it works, and the source of the information gained. Is it a safe practice that Christians should be involved in?

Water Dowsing and Divination:
Where Does the Information Come From?

(excerpted from Occult Invasion, Harvest House, 1997)

The Crux of the Problem

For some dowsers the wand or pendulum will, in response to questions, accurately indi­cate the depth at which the water will be found and the flow of water per minute and even the quality of the water! No impersonal force can transmit information.

Furthermore, many modern dowsers now use dry sticks containing no moisture whatso­ever, while others use metal wires and even string and plastic devices. And in addition to water, dowsers have been known to locate oil, deposits of minerals, ancient cities, buried treasure, or any number of other desirable finds. “To dowse,” writes one expert, “is to search with the aid of a hand-held instrument… for anything … subterranean water… a pool of oil… mineral ore… buried sewer pipe or an electrical cable… an airplane downed in a mountain wilderness… lost wallet or dog… a missing person….”[1] An editorial in Gold Prospector magazine states:

Dowsing is the easy way to get answers to your questions. You ask nature a question to which she (through your instruments) will answer with a “yes” or “no” …. For instance, you need to find … gold; the grade of the deposit; ounces per ton; width of deposit; length of vein; and depth of deposit below surface, and the total amount of ore in tons.[2]

Some dowsers are even able to locate these sites for drilling, digging, or diving by dowsing over maps! Henry Gross, while sitting in Kennebunkport, Maine, located three well sites on a map of Bermuda and described accurately the depth to drill, the quality of water, and the quan­tity per minute which each well would produce. At that time Bermuda had gone “three hundred and forty years without drinking water” except for the rain that could be caught by various means. A plaque on a wall in Kennebunkport, Maine, reads:


IN BERMUDA, DEC. 7, 1949,

Ted Kaufman, a retired public relations executive living in New York, has worked with New York State Rangers using his dowsing abilities to determine whether lost persons were dead or alive and to locate them on a map.[4] The first person to discover that dowsing could be done over maps was Abbe Alexis Mermet, a French priest, around the turn of the century. “Con­tacted through transatlantic mail by monks desperately seeking underground water for their monastery in the mountains of Colombia, Mermet marked a potential drilling site on a map of the monastery grounds which, when drilled, produced more than the water required.” Others have dowsed over maps to locate downed aircraft in remote areas. . . .[5]

Divination: Another Form of Witchcraft

Of particular interest is the fact that, as the Smithsonian article documents, dowsing is now being used to uncover all sorts of information—answers to virtually every question one could ask. Dowsing, then, is simply another form of “divination” (any occult technique for obtaining information and help from the spirit world through a physical device). It is strictly forbidden in the Bible. Other divination devices commonly used include crystal balls, tarot cards, Ouija boards, tea leaves, and pendulums. More occult practitioners in France are licensed to diagnose and treat illnesses by the use of pendulums than there are medical doctors in the country!

That dowsing has always been known as “water witching” is evidence that all cultures have recognized a connection between dowsing and the occult. Yet thousands of those who call themselves Christians, including pastors and other church leaders, have been involved in water witching without apparently being aware that they have been drawn into the occult. Many other beliefs and practices now acceptable within evangelical churches involve the occult. Alan Morrison tells how he was compelled to write The Serpent and the Cross because he “became convinced that there was the need [within the church] for far greater understanding and discern­ment concerning the meaning of the term ‘occult’ “[6]

The occult invasion did not begin yesterday. At the same time that the early American colonists were stamping out witchcraft, they were practicing it themselves: “Renaissance esotericism…astrology, palmistry, and magical healing.”[7] We see the same incursions in our day. Having once been involved deeply in the occult, Morrison was staggered to discover that “so many satanic influences which I had renounced on becoming a Christian were gaining increasing popularity within the Church and were upheld as valid Christian experience.”[8] This trend is increasing.

Good or Bad?

Occult powers that produce results which cannot be explained by material science are found in the practice of almost every religion, from much that calls itself Christianity to pagan­ism, idolatry, witchcraft, and Satanism. Occultism is present even in religions which are op­posed to one another. For example, it is found in the Sufism of Islam and in the Kaballah of Judaism; in aberrant Christian sects as well as in satanic and UFO cults.

Of course, the Roman Catholic Church would argue that the apparitions of “Mary” and other “saints” and the mystical experiences of “saints” in trance have nothing to do with the occult but come from God. The same argument would be made by Pentecostals and charismatics (whether Catholic or Protestant), who attribute their mystical experiences and seemingly miraculous healings to the Holy Spirit. What is the truth? We shall see.

In Christian Science and the other Mind Science religions, where God is “Universal Mind” and the biblical gospel of salvation by God’s grace through Christ’s death and resurrection is denied, the connection to the occult becomes more obvious. And when it comes to the mysteri­ous powers manifested in voodoo, macumba, Candomble, and other native and nature reli­gions, the occult connection is even clearer.

That “spiritual” powers which can neither be affirmed nor denied by materialistic science (because they are beyond its reach) do indeed exist has been amply demonstrated among all cultures, peoples, and religions throughout human history. The acceptance and proliferation of all aspects of the occult are increasingly viewed as perfectly legitimate and desirable in today’s world. Whether this is beneficial or detrimental to the best interests of society and the church is another question.

A Widespread and Growing Phenomenon

The proliferation and popularity of psychic networks is evident by the commercials on TV and in newspaper ads. Occultism is one of the growth industries of our time. In November 1996 USA Today reported: “Kabbalah is the rage in Tinseltown…. ‘It’s the kind of thing Jews don’t talk Diane Ladd says, ‘but I’m on a spiritual journey….’ She was introduced to Kabbalah by comedian Sandra Bernhard… Jeff Goldblum took the basic course. Barry Diller and Dolly Parton attended a private class. Roseanne explains. . . , ‘[Kabbalah] is about connection between mind and body, astrology, Atlantis, reincarnation and computers.”’

The universality and persistence of a belief in mysterious powers that exist in a realm beyond the material dimension has been dramatically demonstrated in the former Soviet Union. For more than 70 years, Marxist atheistic materialism was forced on the entire populace. At the same time, believers in any religion, from Christianity to witchcraft, were the objects of relent­less persecution.

Once the Iron Curtain came down, and with it the repression of diverse opinions, belief in the occult suddenly exploded. As of this writing early in 1997, one of the most popular television programs in Russia is the “Third Eye,” aired each Saturday. Its guests include witches, para­psychologists, healers, and Orthodox priests, who mix their peculiar application of the Bible with crystal balls and all manner of occultism.

One psychic popular on Russian television claims to be able to tell from a photo whether the person pictured is alive or dead, his or her state of health, where the person (or dead body) is located, and other data. A Russian woman “healer” teaches how to use occult power to restore health. Another popular psychic claims to have raised the dead in a mortuary and to be able to lower the level of toxins in food and drink through ritualistic motions of his hands. Then he infuses the food or drink with his occult powers and sells it. Purchasers throughout Russia swear by the benefits they have received in this way.

In America, Daerick and Nedrra Lanakila are the inventors of “energy medicine and quan­tum healing… healing products designed for direct interaction with the body/mind intelligence.” Through their organization, Y.A.T.O. Enterprise, they distribute the “Li.F.E. Energizers System for Vibrancy.”[9] It consists of vials filled with “spiritual energy in an aqueous solution of distilled water” designed to “work on all four systems—physical, emotional, mental and spiritual… “[10] Many other examples could be given.

A visit not only to large cities but to small rural towns across America reveals a staggering variety of occult shops, some on the main thoroughfares. There is no denying that in spite of the skepticism one would expect in an age of science, interest and even belief in the mysterious is growing. Nor is there anything new about the occult. “New Age” is a misnomer. In spite of computers and space exploration and communication satellites, neither the gods nor the rituals have changed.


  1. “Interview: Dowsing, The Divining Hand in Action,” in Acres USA., August 23, 1984, p.24.
  2. P.F. Kuypers, “Dowsing,” in Gold Prospector, April 1987, p.15.
  3. Kenneth Roberts, Henry Gross and His Dowsing Rod (Doubleday & Co., 1953), pp.256-57.
  4. New Realities, March 1982, p.56.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Alan Morrison, The Serpent and the Cross (Birmingham, England: K&M Books, 1994), Preface.
  7. Howard Kerr and Charles L. Crow, eds., The Occult in America (University of Illinois Press, 1986), p.2.
  8. Morrison, Serpent, Preface.
  9. Li.F.E. Letter, December 1996.
  10. Testimonial letter of user on file.

Leave a Comment