Science: With Hazel Wand & Twig

In backward U.S. country districts last week (and not-so-backward ones, too), "water witches" paced solemnly, holding forked twigs of peachwood, hazel, willow or witch-hazel, the butts pointed upward. Some muttered incantations; some prayed; some were intensely silent. At last the twig swung downward or spun around wildly.

On that spot, according to the ancient art of "divining," "dowsing" or "water-witching," the rural landowner should sink his well. There he could seek and certainly find water.

Some dowsers were undoubtedly sincere, accepting no fee and believing themselves to be agents of an unknown natural law or supernatural force. Others were small-time swindlers....

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