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An antique gadget has left many perplexed, although it holds a secret from the 1500s. This seemingly insignificant part of the tree was crucial to “Water Dowsing,” the search for water beneath the ground, and its members were variously called diviners, doodlebugs, well witches, and water-finders.

The technique calls for the user to grasp a Y-shaped branch with palms facing upward and the stem pointing downward at a 45-degree angle. The dowsing method is based on the idea that vibrations in the ground indicate the existence of water, therefore a dowser will walk until a branch twists to show that there is water below.

Originally used to locate valuable metals, dowsing has since been adapted for use in locating water, particularly before wells are drilled in rural areas. Even though modern science has proven that water is actually quite common beneath the earth’s surface, some drillers still utilize dowsing as a preliminary check.

The question, “How did this get started?” is prompted. The use of intuition and folklore to locate useful materials harkens back to a bygone era. You’re in elite company if you understood what this device was meant to do. Put your pals to the test and see if they can unravel its secrets.

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