Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society

"Le doute n'est pas une condition agréable, mais la certitude est absurde."


The Dowsing Experiment

Ten cans and one goal: find water

Mary tries the dowsing experimentFor this experiment, SAPS lined twelve paint cans along the sidewalk. Two were uncovered so the contents could be seen. One of these held sand, and one held water. Further along were ten covered cans, which had tape marking a perimeter around them, and numbers within the squares. Participants were given an opportunity to dowse the ten cans and discover which contained water and which contained sand. Only three of the ten cans contained water.

John stands by to help the dowsersWe offered two sets of dowsing rods (made from coat hangers) to participants. They were permitted to test the rods to make sure they were working on the two uncovered cans. At the end of the line, when they had made their selections on which contained water, the participants were given the opportunity to write down their results.

John uncovers the cansWhen everyone had completed their dowsing, we gathered around and uncovered the cans. The results were very surprising.

Of thirteen dowsers, no one found all three cans containing water. Only one person found two out of three and, oddly, this person was not a ghost hunter, but the son of our photography correspondent. The cans with water were: 3, 6, and 7.

The experiment, in its entirety, was set up by Alison. SAPS members Christina and John conducted the experiment, and had no prior knowledge of which cans contained water.

Of the thirteen dowsers, ten found a can that contained water.

Also see the SAPS article on Dowsing.

Onward to the Infrared Thermometer Experiment.

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