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Dowsers help drought-stricken communities find water - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Dowsers help drought-stricken communities find water

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DANVILLE, Vt. -

Armed with just two L rods, 87-year-old John Wayne Blassingame starts looking for water by asking yes or no questions.

"Does it go past 20 feet, does it go past 30 feet, yah," he says.

The rods crossing is a yes for dowsers

"I'll just go out there 'til I see it or find it," he says.

Once he finds the spot, he marks it with a stake and then delves deeper using a different tool.

"Dowsing is a way to use your intuitive part of your nature to find things that you couldn't normally do otherwise," he says.

Blassingame started dowsing in the Navy. He was sent on a mission to find underground pipes in the desert in Nevada. The first two days, his crew had no luck.

"An old chief came up to me as I was drinking beer in the chief's club and he said, you sure are making a fool in front of your troops," he says.

The next day, he says that officer showed him the way to the pipes with the same tools he uses today.

"It hung up in one spot he said bring the back hoe over and dig here ... pfff, right off the bat we found the first pipe," he says. 

"When there is a need for something, then you start looking at other alternatives that you wouldn't necessarily consider when life is good," says Blair Wolston, Operations Manager for the American Society of Dowsers. "We've been here in Danville since 1961 but it's only when you start to run out of water that you think -- how can we find water? "

The society has 2,000 members across the country. He says, the three-person staff here has been taking calls from Californians looking for dowsers.

"We have chapters in California and the need for water has sort of brought dowsing to the forefront of people's minds where they wouldn't necessarily think about it," he says.

While I had heard of dowsing growing up in the Northeast Kingdom, I didn't know quite what it was.

"Make em cross on purpose and tap it there attitude of gratitude," Blassingame says.

Blassingame believes anyone can do it, so he decided to try to teach me. He has us relax our shoulders and the put the l rods into a ready position. They say specific things during the process.

"Now you know what my yes answer is show me my yes answer."

And the rods move together.

"Thank you very much ... see I just taught you to dowse."

Reporter: "Is it true that my name is Julie. There it is! I think I could find water!"

Blassingame: "Yeah, you could."

But if you're like me and wondering, could I get the lottery numbers too? Blassingame says, no, you can't. He says, dowsing is about need not greed.

Reporter: "How successful have you been?"

Blassingame: "About 95 percent. and the other five percent I blame on the driller."

Blassingame says, he knows there are a lot of skeptics out there.

In fact, there are scientific studies that have concluded that dowsing has no more success than pure chance.

And, the United States Geological Survey says, in many areas underground water is so prevalent close to the land surface that it would be hard to drill a well and not find water.

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