In addition to five states of matter, there are at least six human senses.

You know the five ordinary ones: sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell.

Well, I can say from experience that there’s at least one more.  I call it the EM sense, or “electromagnetic”.  It’s used by dowsers.  Wikipedia claims,

There is no accepted scientific rationale behind dowsing, and there is no scientific evidence that it is effective.

On the other hand, I actually saw it done.  About 15-20 years ago, at a Dept. of Energy site.  There were some very old pipes, about 2″ in diameter, that ran underground between two buildings.  They needed to be dug up.  But they were very old, and documentation was scarce.  Not only was management unsure of their precise path, they couldn’t even tell us if they’d contained radioactive material.

That’s why I was there.  My job was to survey both the soil as it was brought up (in case there had been leaks) and the pipes themselves when we got to them.

I was outside with the crew of laborers.  They were looking at a lot of hand-digging.  Powered equipment could easily break the pipes.  While we were talking about it, a young worker said the pipes would be easy to find, if they were there.

His (I think) grandmother was a dowser.  She’d taught him the skill, and apparently he had some talent at it.  So he set off to pinpoint the pipes’ location.

This guy took two slender metal rods in hand.  He put his upper arms to his side and held his forearms out in front of him, straight and parallel.  He started walking toward where we suspected the pipes were, and after a few feet his forearms began bending inward.  A bit more and then they were crossed against his chest.

He took a can of spray paint and put an X in the grass, then walked down about ten feet and repeated the procedure.  He then motioned toward the line between the two Xs and said, “Here they are.”

Of course, when we dug the things up he was waaaay off.  Kidding!  The pipes were right where he indicated, about three feet down.

Wikipedia says there’s no scientific evidence of dowsing.  Well, it’s true that this wasn’t a controlled, repeated experiment.  On the other hand…how did he find the pipes?!  Sight, smell, hearing…you tell me.  The kid was humble and matter-of-fact about the whole thing.  He said that for him, true dowsing stunts like finding deep water were next-to- impossible.  But solid metal running a few feet underground?  He made it look like child’s play.

So I believe that guy used his nervous system as an EM receiver with the rods as antennae.   (Yes, I know it’s “antennas” in radio and televison, but this here was biology.)  You believe what you want, but I promise this is no tall tale.  I saw what I saw and he did what he did.

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About wormme

I've accepted that all of you are socially superior to me. But no pretending that any of you are rational.
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14 Responses to In addition to five states of matter, there are at least six human senses.

  1. Xpat says:

    Worme, any related thoughts on people who say the suffer electromagnetic sensitivity?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electromagnetic_hypersensitivity

    Is it a similar kind of thing?

    I’ve met at least two people who claim extreme suffering from power lines, appliances, cell phones in the room, etc. One of them is so fanatical about it, and incorporates his suffering into such a huge grab bag of other paranoiac causes, that it is hard to take the EMF part of it seriously, but I don’t want to discount it out of hand. The Wikipedia entry above suggests that controlled tests show sufferers can’t distinguish real from fake EMF sources.

    • wormme says:

      I’m convinced there’s a wide range of sensitivities to all sorts of stimuli. Bee stings, EM radiation, you name it.

      On the other hand, you mention that most folks can’t tell differences in laboratory settings.

      I put that down to the “placebo effect”. Which is so strong that it swamps many other, possible, explanations.

      So I guess the answer to your question is, “I have no idea.”

  2. Billy says:

    I am a good “water witcher”, the term my grandfather used. Found a good spot for my great uncle’s well, and a friend who bought a house but didn’t know where the septic tank was, found that too. I used a small peach tree limb for the former, and unknown wood for the tank. It is a weird thing; no idea how I do it. But wood in hand points to water for me.

    • wormme says:

      I had no idea! You are a geyser of mystery on the few occasions when you spew.

      Prior to seeing the laborer in action, I’d always thought dowsers preferred wood. But if I’d have guessed, I would have thought metal was better. Given my belief that this is an electromagnetic phenomenon.

      Have you ever tried doing your thing with metal instead of wood?

      • Billy says:

        No, just wood. I’ll have to give metal a shot. I have some 2-ft iron rods I could use. Will let you know.

        • wormme says:

          The ones he used were slender, about a foot long, with an “L” of maybe two inches. Don’t know if they were specifically for that purpose, or just something he picked up at the site.

  3. thepi says:

    We had a friend who claimed to be a dowser come over to try to find our power and gas lines before the utility guys came out and marked them. I expected hocus pocus and vague pronouncements, but he fairly quickly walked around and marked several points; they were all spot on when the utility people marked out their lines. Honestly, it still seems crazy to me, but I’ve switched from “yeah right” to “how the hell?”.

    As far as EM sensing goes….all the utility lines around here have a strip of magnetic “police line” tape laid a foot or so above them as a last ditch warning for people digging. The changes in EM fields because of the tape (just the pipes would be even worse, except maybe power) are very very weak. I wouldn’t think that dowsing could be nearly sensitive enough to detect anything like that, but I’ve got no better explanation.

    • wormme says:

      Me either. But birds navigate along magnetic lines with flecks of metal in their beaks. Well, I think that’s it, but am too lazy to look up right now.

      We are no less marvelous than a bunch of avian a-holes that like to crap on peoples’ heads.

      • Xpat says:

        “We are no less marvelous than a bunch of avian a-holes that like to crap on peoples’ heads.”

        That’s the most colorful paraphrase of “consider the sparrow” I ever encountered. The Gospel According to Worme.

  4. waytoomanydaves says:

    Worm, I’m curious… have you ever spent any time crawling around the innards of Wikipedia? Have you ever done any (or much) editing there?

    It’s an eye-opener, let me tell you.

  5. Edohiguma says:

    Animals navigate this way. Not just birds, but some fish too. Sharks have special sensors if my memory serves me right. Humans aren’t well developed with it simply because we are primarily optical. Same applies for our hearing and sense of scent. We just don’t need it as highly developed as other animals, so we’re not so well developed.

    Though, it can be trained. There this saying that Buddhist monks, after months in recluse somewhere in the mountains or forests can hear a lot better than people in a city. I have no evidence for it, but it makes sense. They wouldn’t be bombarded with noise all the time, because, let’s face it, when is it really silent in a city?

    There is also this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_echolocation

  6. Pingback: The judgment of Todd Akin. | World's Only Rational Man

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