Evelyn’s Dowsing Adventures – Superminds 11

As a child, instead of walking around clutching a doll, Evelyn Penrose wandered around with a dowsing rod in her hands. Her father had the ability to dowse and find water in a marked degree, so Evelyn had no doubts that divining worked.

Holding a forked stick in the hands to locate water, minerals or objects is called divining or dowsing. The person who has this skill is called a dowser. Dowsing has a long history. Mentions of divining rods appear in the records of ancient Egypt and Rome. Other cultures such as the Indian also used dowsing, but some of them didn’t use a stick. Many dowsers claimed that when they held the dowsing rod and walked above an underground stream, the rod would move and twist independently. Dowsers in other cultures didn’t use a stick or pendulum, but experienced the awareness of the water as spontaneous body movements or sensations. Therefore it is most likely that the rod is moved by unconscious mental sensitivity acting on the body. If this were not so, fixing a rod on the front of push chair and pushing it above an underground stream would also cause the rod to move. It doesn’t.

Finding minerals with a twig


Living in Cornwall as a child, Evelyn knew that some of the local tin mines were discovered using dowsing. Many times she also saw her father successfully find water for people. Therefor it was natural that as an adult she became a professional dowser. Although Evelyn used the rod or pendulum when dowsing, she experienced powerful body reactions to different minerals. Often she felt things emotionally as well. So her description of being a dowser suggests her skill was another aspect of the ability of the mind to extend awareness beyond the body and the limitations of our five senses.



Evelyn never went to a school of dowsing. In some cultures, African for instance, long training is given. In his book Lightning Bird, Lyall Watson describes how student sensitives are trained. Part of their training is to find lost objects. They are made to practice and practice until their success rate is very high, and their awareness of the process acute. Evelyn’s training was by watching and working with her father, and then being tested in what she found. While in California for instance, she wanted to see if she could locate underground oil in the oil fields. She was taken around four sites without being told in advance whether the oil yield was good or not. Evelyn said that “the reaction was far more powerful than any I had obtained from water, or even from tin or copper.” Because of the strength of her reactions, strong enough to make her feel ill, she was able to tell which well was producing the most oil.

Then she was shown a well which it was suggested to her was producing. On testing however, she got no reaction. The deputy manager then told her it was a dry well. He had let her work on it to test her ability. But Evelyn found dowsing for oil was very stressful, and would sometimes faint while working.

Paid to be intuitive

In Canada Evelyn was asked to work for the government. No rain had fallen for years in British Columbia. The many apple growing orchards in the state were dying. The agricultural department therefore employed Evelyn as their official Water-Diviner. Her first task was to look for water on a wonderful orchard in a place called Okanagan Valley. She says about this, “It was a great shock to see his orchard, covering the side of a large hill, wilting and dying, and to the owner say quite simply that he was facing disaster. We stopped and looked up the hill and he was telling me something when, suddenly, I was nearly thrown off my feet. I grabbed his arm to steady myself. ‘Water’ I gasped. ‘Water! Lots and lots of water’. I can never stand over underground water without being swung about, and the greater the amount of water the greater the reaction.”

The well that was dug over the site Evelyn marked hit water at six feet. At twelve feet the well was easily producing 108,000 gallons a day. The orchard was saved. The locals called it the Wonder Well. Evelyn went on to discover wells all over the British Columbian countryside.

Later in her life Evelyn found she could dowse a site without going there. Instead of travelling to a location she could get the same results working on a map. Today many dowsers can work in this way. If it is true that our mind occupies all space, as suggested by the experiences of people like Edgar Cayce, then it is enough to ask a question and allow the answer to emerge. From this point of view our mind is not in our brain, our brain is in our mind – rather like a small radio is surrounded by radio waves. Evelyn was born on June 21, 1882 – and died April 1, 1971.

Body dowsing

One way of defining dowsing would be to say it is a way of letting the body tell what it knows. In other words we stop our head from working overtime and give our body space to say something in its own way. Namely – movement and mime. So to learn how to dowse we must learn how to let the body speak or express itself. An interesting and fun way of learning the first lesson is to use the arm on the wall test. Here is how you do it.

The magic arm test

We need to be a bit playful to get the best out of this, so to start with, let us realise that we are going to give our body a few minutes free space. Let us start, for instance, by seeing if you can let some yawns happen. Do this by closing your eyes, relaxing, and slowly acting out the movements of a yawn. Open your mouth really wide and slowly and yawn. If you are successful, as you start acting the movement, the yawn takes over and becomes a spontaneous movement all by itself. When that happens try it a few times to get the feel of letting your body make its own movements.

Now, for the arm test. Stand about a foot away from a wall, side on, so your right hand is near to a clear space on the wall. Lift your right arm sideways, keeping your arm straight, until the back of your hand is against the wall. Because you are near to the wall and your arm is straight you will only manage to lift your arm  part of the way. So when the back of your hand touches the wall, press it hard against the wall as if trying to complete the movement of lifting the arm.

Do not press the hand against the wall by leaning, but by keeping the arm straight and trying to complete the lifting motion. Using a reasonable amount of effort stay with the hand pressing against the wall for about twenty seconds.

Now move so you face away from the wall, and with eyes closed relax and be aware of what happens.

Try the experiment before reading on, and use the left arm afterwards. In fact try it a couple of times with each arm before reading the next paragraph.

If you have learnt – from the yawning exercise – how to let your body do its own thing, then your arm will have moved upwards by itself. If it was a strong reaction, your arm will have floated right up with a wonderful feeling. Whatever your result, try it again on both arms. Practice improves ones skill in simply letting go. If you consciously move your own arm, then it isn’t working.

A simple dowsing kit

To make a simple dowsing kit you need a fairly strong wire coat hanger and two small empty bottles about four or five inches high. The bottles should be small enough in girth to hold one in each hand.

Cut the coat hanger into two ‘L’ shapes. The longest side of the ‘L’ should be able to sit in the bottle neck and be about an inch longer than the depth of the bottle. This means it moves or swings easily on the point in the bottle.

Put one L shape in each bottle, longest length in the neck. Hold one bottle in each hand and at first tilt the bottle slightly forward so the shorter arm of the L swings forward. Then level up and you are ready to begin using your dowsing kit.

Learning to dowse

Dowsing occurs because you make an agreement between your conscious and unconscious mind about certain signals and aims. This is like agreeing with a friend that a certain movement will mean ‘start’ – and another movement will mean ‘stop’. So here are some simple symbols and aims. You can develop these if you want to become more proficient at the skill.

AIM – To let my body express without interfering too much. In this way I am trying to let my unconscious knowledge or intuition become known to me consciously.

SYMBOLS – When the wire L rods point straight ahead, that is neutral. When the rods point inwards toward each other, that represent a ‘yes’ signal. When the wire rods point outwards away from each other that is a ‘no’ signal.

To start you training you can use the finding game African trainees use. A friend should hide an object without you knowing where – it can be indoors or outdoors. Then holding the bottle walk about watching the signals given by the swinging arms of the L rods. If you are getting nearer what you are looking for the rods should swing toward each other more and  more. If you are getting further away the rods should swing apart.

Obviously you will need to test your own intuition and practice often to go beyond where you are still consciously influencing the rods. The next stage is that your feelings and desires influence the rods. If you relax these too, then your intuition can flow through.

Once you begin to test out positively by being able to find things, then you can start looking for water.

Return to Chapter Links – Go to Chapter Twelve



-Tony Crisp 2016-07-27 7:57:54

Keith – Thanks, I didn’t have that information.

-Carine 2015-01-08 20:49:31

Can you please help me with a question on L Rods. I understand that crossing over inward movement is Yes and the outward movement is No but what does the right hand Rod inward movement and the left hand Rod outward movement mean ? ( I am asking questions of spirit ) many thanks if you can help Carine

-boardroom partners 2014-08-19 4:50:06

magnificent publish, very informative. I’m wondering why the opposite
experts of this sector don’t notice this.
You should proceed your writing. Iam sure, you have a great
readers’ base already!

-simon stone (BSD) 2013-03-01 18:06:32

Dear Mrs Penrose. i would like to contact you re oil divining if you still do any. it is of profound interest to me and although i knew 39 years ago i could find oil in the last 3 years i have learnt so much that i have dirprised even myself. you may know my name from writing in the BSD journal. kind regards . simon stone

    -Tony Crisp 2013-03-03 13:46:41

    Dear Simon – Unfortunately Evelyn died some years ago. I am sorry to pass on this information as Evelyn was a remarkable woman, and her spirit has influenced many.


-Darrell Govan 2011-03-08 19:51:01

Hello. In 1961, I was seated next to Miss Penrose on a flight from Melbourne to Perth. During our conversation Miss Penrose told me she had written a Book about her life as a diviner etc. I bought the book and was facinated by her story, however over the years, I lost the Book and wonder if you could give me the title please. I can remember Miss Penrose saying she lived in West Perth Western Australia. Also do you know her D O B & D O D. Thanks in anticipation.
Best wishes

Darrell Govan

    -Tony Crisp 2011-03-15 12:27:24

    Darrel – The name of the book by Evelyn is Adventure Unlimited, published by Spearman in 1958.
    Evelyn Penrose – “Noted dowser Evelyn Penrose was retained by British Columbia to locate oil and water resources…during 1931-1932 she also located 392 water wells for homesteaders.”
    I cannot find any mention of her birth date and death. But the above might be of interest.


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