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'Water witches' hired to conjure up moisture as California ravaged by wildfires

Water witch Rob Thompson says he senses water underground with two stainless steel rods in his hands
039Water witches039 hired to conjure up moisture as California ravaged

Last Updated on July 21, 2021 by MyGh.Online

Water witches are being hired by dozens of Californian vineyards ravaged by wildfires.

Farmers are paying more than £1,000 ($1,400) for mystics to conjure up underground water with medieval sorcery.

Water witch Rob Thompson, 53, explained how he can sense water underground with two stainless steel rods in his hands.

He is a member of the American Society of Dowsers, who also claim to locate alien life forms, treasure and stress in the body.

Rob said when he steps over groundwater, the energy surrounding him changes, causing an involuntary muscular twitch within him that makes his L-shaped rods cross.

He told the New York Times: “This is my busiest I think I’ve ever been in my life.”

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Water witch Rob Thompson says he senses water underground with two stainless steel rods in his hands
Water witch Rob Thompson says he senses water underground with two stainless steel rods in his hands

The method is known as dowsing, divining, or doodlebugging and was deemed witchcraft in the 17th century.

The third generation water hunter, who also dowses oil, gas and minerals, was formerly a co-owner of one of Northern California’s largest well-drilling companies.

Doug Hill, who runs Hill Family Estate, which manages several vineyards and a winery in Napa Valley, has repeatedly hired Rob and said: “Seeing is believing, right?”



The method is known as dowsing, divining, or doodlebugging and was deemed witchcraft in the 17th century
The method is known as dowsing, divining, or doodlebugging and was deemed witchcraft in the 17th century

Another company that manages vineyards in Napa Valley has hired dowsers across nearly all of the more than 70 vineyards.

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“I haven’t ever used a geologist to find water,” said Piña Vineyard Management’s operations manager Johnnie White.

Experts at the National Ground Water Association say water dowsing is “totally without scientific merit”.



Californian water dowser Sharry Hope says standing over water leaves her with a “chilling sensation"
Californian water dowser Sharry Hope says standing over water leaves her with a “chilling sensation”

Hydrogeologist Timothy Parker was among those who reckon their results are a mix of luck and familiarity with the landscape gained through experience.

Ben Frech, a spokesman for the National Ground Water Association, added: “There are economic issues, personal beliefs and desperation factors going into the decision to try dowsing.”

But Rob, who charges $1400 (£1020) for a visit at a site a geologist had quoted at a minimum of $6500 (£4730), said: “I just laugh at them. They don’t know the facts. I’m rarely wrong.”

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Man dowsing with a dividing rod to locate ground water
Man dowsing with a dividing rod to locate ground water

Speaking just two hours drive from Silicon Valley, he added: “Those Silicon people still hire me.”

Fellow water dowser Larry Bird, 77, said: “People think you’re crazy.”

He described the sensation of being close to water as being akin to a magnetic field.

“It leaves me hot,” he said. “Just like if you short a battery.”



Water witches say they have a sixth-sense for hidden water sources
Water witches say they have a sixth-sense for hidden water sources

Sharry Hope, a longtime dowser from California, says standing over water leaves her with a “chilling sensation”.

She claims she learned one of the techniques she uses to find water on maps from a former military officer.

She swings a pendulum until it stops and points toward a “water vein,” she said. “I just mark it with a Sharpie.”



The method of water witching dates back to the Middle Ages
The method of water witching dates back to the Middle Ages

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Fifty of California’s 58 counties are under emergency drought declarations.

On farms and vineyards, a surge in well drilling and increased reliance on those wells has helped to deplete groundwater.

A wait list for a driller can be several months to a year, and the hole costs tens of thousands of dollars.


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