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DOWSINGby Ben G. Hester


Page IX

My appreciation of the work and persistence of my friends, Gerald Rentfro and David Mead Jr. cannot be adequately expressed. "Gerry" is not only a man of ideas and singleness of purpose, his drive is responsible for DOWSING: An Exposé of Hidden Occult Forces. David's unrelenting research and canny ability as a questioner helped to provide a mass of field data that eventually broke my resistance, for I entered the argument over dowsing firmly convinced that these men were so steeped in medieval superstition, no dialogue was possible.

I had a nearly closed mind in favor of dowsing as a not-yet-understood physical phenomenon. The discovery of contradictions in the information from field interviews and written material on dowsing was the beginning. Once my eyes were opened to the

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fact of the truly supernatural aspect of dowsing and the fact that it had never been satisfactorily explained in the 500 years of written material—even to the community of dowsers—my own questioning began.

The circumstance that not one of us was an expert on dowsing, I believe, contributed materially to an objective viewpoint. We found from the start that the writing of the so-called experts (at least those with considerable dowsing experience) was so subjective that they wrote as though they alone understood it all, and all the while paying no attention to the viewpoints of other writers. This was often carried to the point of the ridiculous, and was certainly nothing more than completely confusing. We ordinary bystanders could see the forest as well as the trees.

This short presentation will include facts that dowsing writers ignore, deliberately or not, but which are plainly evident to the onlooker. It is true that some readers will decide that we also, write subjectively for we see the supernatural in a light different from theirs. In fairness to these people we have left our 'interpretation' to a well marked chapter they can easily avoid. What we believe we have done with fairness and objectivity is to present a short, clear view of dowsing as it really is. For the reader who wishes to examine the details, we have referred to the sources in text and footnotes.

More must be said about the source material. It was necessary to find a point short of total condemnation of all anecdotal records. This was because there is nothing else to use in any consideration of dowsing. We also realized that the repudiation of anecdotal records has been undergoing a change in

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recent years. Legend, myth, folk tales and unwritten history anecdotes are corning to be considered as an acceptable reflection of actual events, circumstances and reality.

Admittedly, all dowsing reports are open to repudiation by:

1. The individuals who will accept NOTHING not provable by the scientific methods.
2. Anyone with a contrary opinion.
3. The skeptic.
4. Anyone who sees in every presentation an opportunity to disagree.

Therefore every discussion of dowsing may easily descend to the level of an experience in mental gymnastics. Anecdotal records at best are a recording of statements from a reputable source—generally an individual. At their worst they are stories told by liars, the emotionally unstable, and mental defectives. So, one must be careful in the choice of stories.

It happens that all the reports of controlled, mass dowsing experiments, except those coming out of Soviet Russia, have indicated abysmal failure. There is good reason for this and we will discuss it. What is left must be examined for its usefulness, often no more than for the 'claims' made. When stories and claims from different sources agree we feel more secure. When we quote from written records of past centuries we realize our vulnerability, but we can do no less. When we personally interview dowsers, within certain limits we have to accept their utterances as truthful. The entire dowsing experience is subjective and we can only report the way it comes to us. This is not to say that no conclusion can be drawn.

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The three of us are Christians. We belong to different denominations. This is not to infer we see dowsing through 'church glasses'. I am not certain whether my church is ignorant of ESP (dowsing) or considers it unworthy of notice. Gerry's and David's church, at this writing, has not declared itself for or against dowsing, but many of its leaders are well-known dowsers, and the laity is divided on the subject.

It happens that the three of us see eye-to-eye on the supernatural, believing that there is a malevolent intelligent entity-leader known as Satan, who represents what others might call the negative or evil side of existence. We also agree that there is no biblical evidence to support the idea that "discarnate spirits" or spirits of the dead can possibly be the supernatural force of dowsing.

What I have attempted to present here is a reproduction of the step-by-step discovery pattern I experienced in examining the act of dowsing.

Ben G. Hester

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