iphonedowseIn response to a post I saw on Twitter, I hustled over to the Apple iTune store to check the story out. Yes, indeed, there was a free application ("app") for a virtual dowsing rod (link opens in iTunes). When you launch the program, your screen shows two parallel rods over a background that looks like the ground, with grass and exposed dirt. As you tilt the phone, the rods spread or come together, and when you get a hit, the phone vibrates, buzzes, and a red light flashes. Apparently I have water in the keyboard of my Mac. Or maybe oil. I'll let you know how the drilling comes out, at which time I will be busy filling out my paperwork for the JREF Million Dollar Challenge.

Ok, so this a silly application. But I thought regular readers might get a kick out of the comments in the store.

I used this dowsing rod application when I was in the desert to find wter. An arch nemesis left me in the middle of the desert with only a bottle of motor oil, after he threw me out of the CEO position of my multi-national corporation.

After a string of comments about the stupidity of this app, the following comment appeared. All spelling and grammar are exactly as posted.


This is NOT a GAME! Hence the..."entertainment" category? And dow say its a stupid "game" if you dont even know what it is. A dowsing rod(s) is used to find water or oil underground using the vibrations coming from your footsteps. Oil refineries hire dowsers to find oil underground. so all in all...anyone who says this "game" is stupid you are infact the stupid one. LOVESSPORTSTOMUCH

I've not personally met many deluded people, other than Ms. Sonne. How does one go about explaining reason to people like this? Other than the obvious issue with believing that dowsing works, I also note that the commenter thinks oil is found at a depth shallow enough to be detected with foot vibrations, that oil is found by dowsing rather than the multi-million dollar expenses of seismic surveys and good geology work, and that refineries look for oil, presumably right beneath their processing units. Those aren't delusional beliefs as much as they are uninformed. Are most believers in dowsing otherwise rational people with a couple of wrong ideas, or do they tend to hold an entire portfolio of woo beliefs?