Skip to comments.X marks the spot: Walter Elliot on his use of ancient art of divination
Posted on 09/17/2012 11:50:46 AM PDT by Renfield
Ive been considered nuts, speaking to two bits of wire and expecting an answer from them, admitted local historian Walter Elliot as he published his new book on dowsing, called Divining Archaeology, but I do get an answer from them! Ive found so much stuff now, they cannae say Im nuts.
The amateur archaeologist, who lives in Selkirk, has used divining rods to locate underground objects for more than 50 years, at first hunting for buried field drains and fence posts while working as a fencing contractor.
If you were unlucky enough to burst a drain while digging a fencepost, water would flood up and you had to bail it, he remembered. There would be a lot of bad language, and you lost half a days hard work. The divining rods were practical tools, which were able to detect soil disturbances. I just used a couple o bits o L-shaped fencing wire.
Ive always known about divining, he added. I was brought up in Ettrick and all the farms up there used divining rods, usually Y-shaped hazel twigs. When you held them over a drain, they pointed back towards your chest. It was just accepted. They didnae ken how it worked: it just worked.
My grandfather, he had the Y-shaped hazel twigs, which he held very gently in his pinkies, and he had a cushion on his chest, because it came back with such a force it could have broken his ribs. It was phenomenal how fast that thing whipped back, as soon as he went over a drain.
While Walter was assisting the excavation of the Roman fort of Trimontium, it dawned on him that, a Roman defensive ditch was only an over-sized drain, and a pattern of former postholes could indicate a house.
I began to find houses, people, everything more or less like where there was a male or female in a grave. People think you can only look for water but you can look for everything. Divining is like x-raying the ground.
Demonstrating to TheSouthern how he uses his divining rods, Mr Elliot explained: When Im looking for things, I just say, for example: Where is the nearest drain?. And the rods point that way. Ill go over there, and the rods will cross when I walk over it.
I can tell what is under here, by asking: Is it a water pipe?. The wires cross, so yes it is. Is it iron? Is it copper? Is it plastic? The wires crossed again, so its plastic.
Seeing the reporters amazement, he added: Im no kidding. Im no just pulling your leg. Im holding the rods very lightly and carefully. I just go the way the rods are pointing, and there it is. Its impressive.
The difficulty is telling what the object is, and what year it belongs to. Its a matter of persuading folk that this is one way you can find archaeological stuff, and pinpoint them, without great expense. But archaeologists, being scientists, just simply dont want to know. Ive found loads of archeology in the Borders, if only I can get somebody to come to dig it and prove it. Asked how he convinces people to believe him, he responded: I dont bother. Its no a case of belief. Its a case of: it happens. As I fencer I couldnae have cared less, I just knew it happened. And everybody did. It was just something you did. Theres no scientific explanation that Ive been able to find. And its no a case of me trying to twiddle anything. Archaeologists, being scientists, simply dont want to believe something they cant explain.
Does he think he perhaps sees external signs, like humps and bumps, and he subconsciously moves the rods?
Most of the finds in the book, theres nothing you can see on the ground whatsoever, he responds. The only explanation I can give is that, when you have a drain or a post, water comes into it and gets held there because the soil is less dense than the surrounding soil. Its a change in soil density. Im finding things they cant see with aerial photography or geophysics.
Asked what motivated him to write such a controversial book, Mr Elliot replied: Im getting on Im 77, Ill be 78 next month, and I dinnae have much time left. I want to get it all on paper, so that somebody else can run with it. Ive got a lot of information in my head. If youve got information, youve got to spread it about, and let others get the benefit of it. I dont mind being wrong. But I know Im right.
Scottish Borders Councils archaeologist Dr Chris Bowles cautiously supported some of Walters claims.
He said: Were excavating a bishops palace near Ancrum in October, and the guy who told us it was there was a diviner. We tested his claims with geophysics, and it was broadely similar to the plans he got with divining rods. Thats why I say there could be something in it: Im 50/50 on it. The jurys definitely out.
If it works, it detects differences of water retention in the soil. Anything buried in the soil is going to retain water differently, like walls or ditches. The biggest issue is how diviners interpret these findings, because theres so much buried under the ground: geological features like natural fissures can retain water, and all of that can look like archaeology. Its great diviners are finding this stuff, but we need to test their claims physically. The problem is archaeology is expensive, so you cant test every single one.
Walter Elliot is giving a talk about his new book at the Selkirkshire Antiquarian Society in Selkirk Parish Church Hall at 7.30pm on Wednesday, September 19.
My wife's uncle used to help out at old cemeteries, divining for lost grave sites. Apparently it worked.
Silliness, i can walk around half of the great plains with two sticks and say “dig here”. Guess what? They’ll hit the water table.
This is about as scientific as using a pocketwatch pendulum over a pregnant woman to guess the sex, or reading tea leaves.
My well was witched. He was off by 5’ in dept,spot on in gallons per minute. Fascinating.
I can remember my grandfather deciding where to put the new well for his house using a “Y” from a willow.
when he hit the spot where the well actually ended up the ends in his hands twisted the bark off as the “witch” bent to the ground.
he could find a water or sewer pipe anyplace.
My well was witched. He was off by 5’ in dept,spot on in gallons per minute. Fascinating.
And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.
It’s hocus pocus nonsense, like a ouija board.
I have seen scientific studies. When the “diviner” is blindfolded, the results are at best random.
If it really works, then it should be easily proven by having the practioner walk over a few test surfaces,,including one or two control beds with nothing in them at all.
Of course, then we’ll be told it was a prepared course, and the rods can only discern natural situations, not the others or some such excuse. This is New Orleans crystal ball fortune telling for old geezers. This is ESP.
This sounds like global warming science. Absolutely no requirement to follow the scientific method. Add in a compete denial of physical science, and just say “it works”.
Needle and thread? I want to believe you are not serious. Please say you are not serious.
Not at all nonsense. Almost ANYONE can do it, except, I think, you. Myself, I dowsed an entire old lost water system. Accurately. I use metal coat hangers.
I have used metal witching sticks to find underground lines. It works. Have you tried it?
By all means bring your skills to the Amazing Randi and a check for $1 millioin dollars awaits you
I don't know why a wood stick would work though. And definitely talking to the stick is weird.
“This is about as scientific as using a pocketwatch pendulum over a pregnant woman to guess the sex”
The pocket watch pendulum works. Only deniers would say otherwise. Every time it’s tried it works, with 100% accuracy. Every pregnant woman it’s been tried with has been proven to be a female.
“It works. Have you tried it?”
No, been too busy with astrology and in my Alchemy lab. I’ll get to the other medieval magic soon as i can though.
Oops, gotta run, my favorite medium is telling me that my dead uncle wants to chat.
It’s an electromagnetic response, and it’s well validated. All you have to do is look at the human body as an electromagnetic detection system, a magnifier if you will. That’s why blindfolding the dowser is bunk - how do you know that’s not part of it? Why should it be excluded? Who cares if the entire body and all the senses are magnified by the extension of the rods? Are seismographs bunk because the needles won’t move if you isolate the mechanism? Bah.
I’ll tell you why this is suppressed - because mainstream science doesn’t want to acknowledge sensitivities of the human body, or the limits of the technological applications of the scientific method. The idea is that in a thousand years, people will just be blobs of jello inside technological extrensions of the body that can be controlled by access to the “cloud” of the time. Realities of the abilities of the actual human body without technology - like dowsing, or meditation, or psi - get in the way of that. In fact, they sabotage it. After all, whether physical, mental, emotional, psychic or spiritual, you can’t have people thinking they can develop themselves through personal exploration and effort! That gets in the way of the developing collective!
“Ill tell you why this is suppressed - because mainstream science doesnt want to acknowledge sensitivities of the human body, or the limits of the technological applications of the scientific method. The idea is that in a thousand years, people will just be blobs of jello inside technological extrensions of the body that can be controlled by access to the cloud of the time. Realities of the abilities of the actual human body without technology - like dowsing, or meditation, or psi - get in the way of that. In fact, they sabotage it. After all, whether physical, mental, emotional, psychic or spiritual, you cant have people thinking they can develop themselves through personal exploration and effort! That gets in the way of the developing collective!”
Dude, you got some pineapple express?
If you don’t believe in gifts beyond rational explanation, then you don’t believe in the salvation of God.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Atheists, go your way.
All I can say is you must have never seen it done.
A pastor friend of mine was "run out of town" for interfering with water witching. He was pastoring a church someplace in New England where ground water is hard to locate and most of the local drillers used rods. Some of the fellows in the church were troubled by it, so they along with the pastor decided to "test the spirits." To accomplish this, they prayed together once a week that if the witching was the result of the action of unclean spirits that it would fail to work. Lo and behold, almost immediately the well drillers started having trouble finding water. Somehow they found out about the prayer group and then things got real ugly-fires, broken windows, gunshots at night, dead pets, you name it. The pastor ended up fleeing the state.
True story. And it happend in the 1970's, not the 1790's.
A little TOO happy, I think.
Jack Nicholson, Easy Rider, the pot-induced Venutian conspiracy speech.
I use a dowser made of copper tubing to witch for Double Eagles.
The most I've ever found was a Garcia Y Vega cigar box full of them in my neighbor's abandoned cistern.
Haven't figured out what to do with them yet.
So in your world, (and welcome to FR) if someone rejects Oija boards, ESP, and water witching,, you are an athiest?
Do ecplises scare you?
But one has to be wary of abilities beyond rational explanation that might have dark forces behind them.
I definitely would put the Ouija Board in that category. Divining, not so much, especially given the Bible passage quoted earlier.
Are you more knowledgable about locating underground lines than someone who does it professionally every day? If so, please state your credentials. We're all eager to hear them.
That’s an interesting story. I told above about my wife’s uncle witching for lost graves, and my wife’s father, learning the craft from his brother but never using it, taught it to me one day. Although the rods did move without my perceived intervention (we walked my front lawn and the rods crossed whenever I passed over a known water line), the whole thing did give me that ‘Ouija Board’ vibe, IOW I felt that I was dealing with something I really shouldn’t be dealing with. Tossed the rods (bent coat hangers) and never did it again.
That may be all fine and well, but can it explain map dowsing? Several times I witnessed a fellow seated in a comfortable chair in a downtown office use a roadmap and a pendulum to locate hidden foundations and culverts on a long-abandoned parcel fifty miles away.
I can think of a spiritual explanaton for map dowsing, but not a scientific one.
When you enter the land which the Lord your God gives you, you shall not learn to imitate the detestable things of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, one who uses divination, one who practices witchcraft, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who casts a spell, or a medium or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead" (Deuteronomy 18:9-11).
Divining with rods is a form of divination. And, you can see what the Bible lumps that in with.
There is zero scientific evidence that there is any physical mechanism behind divining. So, if there isn't a physical mechanism, then what kind of mechanism makes divining work? The only possible type left is a supernatural mechanism.
In other words, "if" divining works (and I put if in quotes, because I personally believe most people involved in this are simply frauds), then the only reason it works is because there is a supernatural cause--a spirit--moving the rods. But, since the Bible forbids this, we know the spirit moving this isn't God or a holy angel. That leaves only one option: a fallen angel (a demon, the devil, whatever you want to call it).
This is why the Bible condemns divination, because when you get involved in it you are either (1) committing fraud, or (2) teaming up with a demonic spirit (perhaps unknowingly, but still teaming up).
(NOTE: It also works as a Gaydar.)
LOL!! That might be true had I not turned to Christ and taken the plunge 3+ years ago...8)
The pastor that I heard the story from was adamant that when encountering something uncanny it is unsafe to assume that it is wholesome. Hence his "testing of the spirits." Having witnessed several forms of witching, I will verify that it can be uncanny. Whether or not it is never wholesome I cannot say, but you won't catch me doing it.
The Biblical passage quoted about Moses no more supports dowsing than the passage saying “David loved Jonathan” supports homosexuality. Both are taken out of context for someone’s worldly purpose and are gross distortions of scripture.
Yes, well put.
Superstition like that amazes me, and not in the way you wish. Maybe instead, you could explain to me why that method is not in widespread use by most power companies and underground locators?