This article first appeared as a Vic Skeptics discussion pamphlet.
The full range of our discussion pamphlets can be downloaded here: http://www.skeptics.com.au/resources/educational/
or by clicking on the “Useful Info” link at the top of this page.
Dowsing, (also known as Divining) is widely practised in Australia. Dowsers claim the ability to detect useful substances in the ground using processes which are not able to be explained by current scientific principles.
The most frequently dowsed substance in drought-prone Australia is water. Many Australians can claim a friend or relative who is a water-diviner.
Australian Skeptics have long been interested in dowsing. It clearly lies within the range of paranormal activities which come under scrutiny. We offer a sum of money, (currently $100,000) to anyone who can demonstrate paranormal ability of any kind. Our only stipulation is that candidates must pass a proper scientific test, the protocols of which have been agreed upon by all parties before the test commences. Most acceptors of this challenge have been water-diviners; probably because they are genuine people who believe in their abilities, and are as interested in being tested as we are to test them.