Just so we’re clear: “dowsing” — the act of using a stick or rod like an antenna to divine the location of underground water and other hidden things — is pseudoscientific nonsense. The very notion of dowsing — that an above-ground stick will react to the presence of something hundreds of feet below — breaks the laws of physics. Every single controlled test of the practice has failed, yielding results indistinguishable from chance.
The case against dowsing is so conclusive that over a century ago the U.S. Geological Survey officially shut the book on the practice, stating that “it is difficult to see how for practical purposes the entire matter could be more thoroughly discredited, and it should be obvious to everyone that further tests by the United States Geological Survey of this so-called ‘witching’ for water, oil, or other minerals would be a misuse of public funds.”
A British company once developed and sold a bomb dowsing device for locating roadside munitions. It was eventually blamed for hundreds of deaths. Adam Savage, of Mythbusters fame, recently said that the show never bothered to debunk water dowsing because they didn’t want to expose people as charlatans on national television.