Question: I would like your comments about an incident that...has troubled me....During our visit [to the home of our Sunday school teacher and deacon] our host said he needed to locate his underground utility wires....My husband bent a metal coat hanger into a Y form and showed how he could, through some “natural magnetic field” or “energy force,” locate the underground wire. Several other couples were present and took turns....Holding it lightly in their hands and walking around, they were amazed to see the wire jerk suddenly downward to point out the location....When the host called on me to try it, I declined, commenting that I felt it was a form of divination, like water witching or ouija board, etc. What bothered me was how quickly they were all involved to believe something without knowing whether it had any scientific truth behind it or superstition or worse was practicing something God forbids....
Response: You are correct that there is no scientific basis for this practice. There is no force field that would cause a coat hanger to be attracted to and point toward an underground wire. This is called dowsing and it is indeed like water witching and is a form of divination, which is absolutely forbidden in the Bible (Dt 18:10, etc.). This is one of the easiest ways to become involved in the occult and it is astonishing how quickly it will work for almost anyone—very much like a ouija board.
More than 500,000 water wells have been located in the United States by this method, which is used around the world. It is accepted to such an extent that there was even a favorable article on dowsing in the Smithsonian journal of January 1996, a leading scientific magazine. No “force field” nor any form of “magnetic energy” can be responsible because information is being communicated. Dowsers can use any material (wood, plastic, string, metal, etc.) to find anything (oil, gold, ancient civilizations, water, electrical wires, hidden treasure, etc.). For some dowsers the dowsing instrument will bob up and down to indicate how deep one must drill, and in the case of water or oil, for example, to tell how many gallons per minute the well will produce.
An editorial in Gold Prospector magazine stated, “Dowsing is the easy way to get answers to your questions. You ask nature a question to which she (through your instruments) will answer with a “yes” or a “no”....For instance [in the case of gold]...the grade of the deposit; ounces per ton; width of deposit...total amount of ore in tons.” This is divination. There must be an intelligent source of such information, and it isn’t God, for He cannot be contacted by this means and forbids its use. Satan, however, will respond and provide the desired information to draw men into his net.
As further proof that no scientifically explicable “force” is involved, dowsing is even done over maps. Bermuda was supposedly without ground water and for more than 300 years water had been caught when it rained or brought in by ships. But on October 22, 1949, sitting in Kennebunkport, Maine, Henry Gross located three well sites by dowsing over a map of Bermuda and described accurately the depth to drill, the quality of water, and the quantity per minute which each well would produce. The information supplied by Gross proved to be accurate. The wells were drilled and still provide Bermuda’s water to this day. Visitors to Kennebunk- port may observe the plaque placed there in remembrance of Gross’s feat.
That your husband, the host and other Christians present would accept this occult device, a form of witchcraft, and that they could so easily make it work, should be a warning to everyone. The occult can be entered very easily—through a ouija board, for example. Perhaps your husband and Sunday-school teacher and the others would be willing to read my 1998 book, Occult Invasion, in which we explain more about dowsing and the many other ways in which the occult is invading and seducing both the world and the church today.