Re: Psychometry -Reply

richley crapo (RCRAPO@WPO.HASS.USU.EDU)
Fri, 9 Dec 1994 10:02:27 -0700

Eugenie Scott has hit the nail on the head. I'm
surprized that in all the discussion, it took so long
for an anthropologist to raise the issue of the
controlled-experiment literature on the issue! Have
we become so much a Midieval debating society
that we prefer abstract logical debate over

Anecdotal "evidence" should never be our rule of
thumb as a discipline. If dramatic, first-hand
testimony were sufficient proof of a phenomenon, I
might be a convert to dowsing myself. I noticed
that the subcontractor who did the water hookups
for my house used two copper dowsing rods to
locate the main connection from the street to
decide where to dig so he could run the water to
the house. On inquiring, he explained that he
always used this method, and that the rods (bent at
right angles) crossed when he passed over the
line. Being of a participant-observer bent, I asked
if I could try. Scared the hell out of me when they

On the other hand, being a long-time agnostic,
general skeptic, and occasional curmudgeon, I
called my son to come give it a try (without
explanation about the expected result: "Here son,
just hold these like this and walk from here to
there.") Being accustomed to my eccentricities,
he obligingly did so, and--of course--nothing
happened. I then explained the idea of dowsing
and he tried again. Bingo!

Someone recently wrote that our "natural human
magnatism" (or was it "electricity"?) seems like the
most likely explanation for such events. I would
suggest that concepts such as intuition and the
unconscious influence of our expectations on
subtle muscle movements is far more likely.

Anyone like to discuss Ouija Boards now?