January 24, 2022

Dowsing: an ancient practice continues in the Blue Ridge

Published Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Hendersonville Times-News Weekly

Author: Beth Beasley, TNW Writer

Sam Richardson DowsingThe rods swing around a little bit and then suddenly cross over each other as Sam Richardson walks over a stream flowing deep under the ground.

It may seem like magic to anyone not familiar with the practice of dowsing for water, but Richardson, who has been dowsing for 15 years, says it’s all really quite simple. “It’s no big secret how I do this.”

The modern-day art of dowsing or divining, which dates back at least 7,000 years, includes some diverse uses. Dowsing, its practitioners say, can help you find the best place to dig a well and even help clear out negative energy from your home.

“We’re just dowsing the energy fields,” Richardson says. “Everyone is capable of detecting and using these fields — it’s part of our innate ability to detect the subtle energies that surround us every day.”

Richardson first learned about dowsing after seeing a notice on the bulletin board at Unity Center in Fletcher for a meeting of the local dowsing chapter. His enthusiasm has grown so much since attending that first meeting that he now considers dowsing “part of my life work.”

Creating walking labyrinths as well as serving as a chaplain at Unity Center round out the Virginia native’s passions.

Richardson, 67, flew for the Navy just after college, and has alternately been in business in retail sales, real estate development, farming, landscaping services and heavy machinery sales. He first moved to Hendersonville in 1978.

Tall and soft-spoken with an easy manner, Richardson shows off the basic tools of the dowsing trade, a pair of L-Rods made by a friend, in his Arden backyard one sunny winter day.

The L-shaped metal rods are loosely suspended in plastic grips that allow the rods to swing freely, picking up the slightest changes in energy flow.

In a pinch, however, even something as simple as a coat hanger can be used for dowsing, held loosely in a fist.

What exactly is going on?

Richardson likens the person doing the dowsing to a computer’s processor with the L-Rods acting as the computer monitor, in that they “tell us what our body is sensing.”

He explains that because water sends out negative energy upwards in a vertical pattern, the L-Rods will suddenly change position when they’re over an underground stream.

“Finding the spot where two streams cross each other is ideal,” he says, “That way if the well drill misses one it will probably hit the other stream.”

After walking around to pinpoint a water source, Richardson gauges the approximate depth of the stream and the gallons per minute flowing through by using a pendulum.

“I narrow the answer down by asking questions like, ‘Is the stream less than 250’ below the surface?'” Richardson says, “The pendulum gives me the answers by swinging a certain way for either a yes or no response.”

Most people who have grown up in the mountains here are familiar with the practice of dowsing, Richardson says.

“When I was looking to buy a house,” he says, “At one place the owner had dowsed the well himself — it’s great to see this because it’s something each of us have the ability to do.”

Skeptics and science

So far, no scientific evidence has proven dowsing really works, and the practice is often grouped with paranormal phenomena, or even with the occult.

According to the Encyclopedia Americana, “Controlled field and laboratory tests have failed to establish the validity of dowsing, and judged by scientific standards the practice has little basis in fact.”

Some people believe that the dowser is simply reacting to imperceptible muscle movements, caused independently of emotion by the mind, which may affect the way their instruments move. This theory is known as the ideomotor effect, first described by William B. Carpenter in 1852, according to The Skeptic’s Dictionary.

Lee Barnes, a dowser from Waynesville, counters this kind of skepticism that is based on scientific and other rationally quantifiable bases.

“Dowsing is a way to tune into your own natural intuition and feeling for a place,” Barnes says.

Barnes is a fellow member with Richardson of the Appalachian Chapter of the American Society of Dowsers and also serves as a Board member for the Chapter.

Part of Barnes’ practice in the art is with ‘map dowsing.’ Barnes claims he can track the path of the eye of a hurricane days before it makes landfall. He says the results are usually correct within about 30 miles.

“We all have the ability to tune into our subconscious,” says Barnes. “There’s no end to it — everything is interconnected.”

Healthy homes

Another aspect of Richardson’s professional dowsing work is the clearing of energies from private homes.

This work can cover a number of factors, including diverting negative energy from underground streams and other earth energies; clearing entities in the home, including disincarnate spirits; as well as clearing residual thought forms caused by past negative events like murder, curses or abusive situations.

Richardson also works to divert harmful electromagnetic radiation with the simple task of placing small magnets at each source of EMF radiation, which can include fluorescent lights, electrical panels and clock radios.

“If a person spends a lot of time in negative energy, say in a chair or bed over an underground stream or near a negative energy source,” says Richardson, “It will eventually manifest itself in a physical disease.”

The German dowser Kathe Bachler, whose extensive research in 14 countries interviewing over 11,000 people in their homes — compiled in her book titled Earth Radiation — backs Richardson’s claims.

“Bachler found that cancer patients she interviewed were almost universally inundated in a negative energy field,” Richardson says.

Richardson likes to use the analogy of a prism to explain how the negative earth energies in a home are lessened.

“The energies get diverted into minor energies that are harmless to the humans, plants and animals that live there,” he says.

Richardson might place metal rods at each end of the affected area of a house, but most often he simply uses thought forms.

“It’s most efficient to work in thought forms,” says Richardson, “Most of my work is done over the telephone — I could be a thousand miles away and still do the work, using the pendulum to determine what is happening.”

“Our thoughts and our words are very powerful,” he says.

Richardson explains that he always lets a client know exactly what he is doing while he works. “Education is a big part of what I do,” he says. Richardson teaches regular workshops at various venues in the area.

“It’s a gift most people don’t understand or don’t realize they have,” says Richardson. “Most of us don’t realize how powerful we are.”

“Whether it’s this or prayer,” he adds, “it’s all using the universal energy that comes to us from God.”

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