Maxine Kleindienst (mkleindi@CREDIT.ERIN.UTORONTO.CA)
Sat, 10 Dec 1994 12:41:52 -0500
On Thu, 8 Dec 1994, James Carucci wrote:
> now, let me get this straight... because i question the uncritical
> presentation on National Public Radio, of a story about a psychic
> archaeologist, i am likely to be close-minded, unanthropological,
> likely to dismiss new, complex scientific methods [because they would
> seem like 'magic' to me], probably a lousy field archaeologist, and
> no doubt i kick my dog, too???
> to Leo T. Walsh, Tom Riley [hi, Tom], and M. Kleindienst--
> i recognize that dowsing is a cultural fact; it is a human behavior
> that exists now, as it did in the past. does the fact that it exists
> make it true, or lend credence to the process [Kleidienst said
> "cannot explain why... but it works for me..(!!!)]. gosh! do chain
> letters really affect our lives/luck simply because they exist and
> people claim they do work?
> tell me, if i were lucky [and good..] enough to get short-listed at a
> nice university somewhere, and i was interviewed for the academic
> position, which statement below would help me in the interview
> STATEMENT 1:
> yes, Dr. Spacecadet, I do believe that there is some truth to the
> practice of dowsing. beyond the fact that it is a time-worn and
> trusted behavior in the ozarks and other places, look at Hume's
> wonderful analysis of the practice. i believe we must look into
> using psychometry more frequently, too. i am apalled at all those
> old-fashioned archaeologists who will not even consider using dowsing
> and psychic readings to inform and empower their site reports.
> STATEMENT 2:
> well, Dr. Statusquo, I agree that dowsing and psychometry are
> interesting behaviors, and I acknowledge that some professionals do
> believe in the practices. however, I tend more towards the accepted
> methods and practices of science. while archaeology cannot always be
> empirical, nor can we always 'prove' things, i feel that documented,
> repeatable, sound investigative methods are more desirable than a
> process which cannot be understood, even if it works. and, i agree
> that there are many complex laboratory methods which seem to be magic
> and incredible to me... yet i use them. but these other methods,
> however new, untried, or complex, have been developed, tested, and
> refined by dedicated scientific minds. and speaking of minds, yes
> sir, Dr. Statusquo, I will keep mine open... i can see that i must be
> ready to accept and use new methods. I just don't believe that
> dowsing is a method that archaeologists can reliably use.
> so... all you Hume-lovers and dowsers, which point of view makes more
> p.s. if anyone knows of an academic position for a psychic
> archaeologist, please let me know. i'll apply for anything, and i
> really do want to be open minded about this.
> jim carucci
If one reports using the remote sensing techniques of electro-resistivity
or magnetic-resistivity, I assume that would be accepted as "real". All
that those techniques can tell you is that there is an anomaly which
represents something ?different under the surface. When investigated, a
great number of anomalies turn out not to be of archaeological interest.
Unfortunately, archaeologists rarely report negative findings, so that
how often one gets an archeological 'hit' is unclear. And, in the
excavations, things turn up that were not detected by the resistivity
It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that a dowsing rod in the
hands of some people serves as a electro- or magnetic-resistivity meter.
All it can show those people is that there is an anomaly. It might be a
neat experiment (to deal with this question "scientifically") to find
out whether the number of archaeological 'hits' by resistivity are
different from those with dowsing. I.e., blind trials by both
methods. It may be more
than a belief system, but again, the negative evidence is not registered.
When the dowsing rod "jumps" in the hands of the operator, it is not at
the conscious volition of the operator. What is happening??