Adventures of a 21st Century Dowser

by John Baker

Quicksilver Publications : Illustrated

ISBN 978-0-9557600-1-3

"The Man from Del Monte, he say YES !" as the ad used to say, and John’s book shows how he has enthusiastically said ‘Yes’ to the various opportunities and promptings which have come along in his pursuit of dowsing.

And the pursuit is important. It is not enough just to have an interest, there must be a commitment whereby you invest time and energy, trust your findings and follow where those promptings lead. Some people have a goal and ruthlessly pursue it, some start from where they are and respond to what turns up. But in both cases success is dependent on real engagement and commitment, and the book provides a happy example of what results.

In this enjoyable and eminently readable account of a dowser’s journey, John chronicles his growing interest in archaeology and other dowsing related activities. He is not only the chair and moving force behind London and Thameside Dowsers ~ and the book provides a fascinating account of the early life of a dowsing group ~ but also of the BSD Archaeological Special Interest Group. In addition he is a member of the BSD Council and its Professional Register, and an approved tutor.

As part of his research, he visited the Royal Engineers library at Chatham, and discovered that " 1933 members of the Royal Engineers formed a dowsing group which evolved into the British Society of Dowsers". The RE journal contains numerous articles from the outposts of empire concerning the successful use of dowsing.

There is also reference to the very useful-sounding book on ‘Dowsing and Church Archaeology’ by Professor Richard Bailey. John’s mentor was the late Dan Wilson, and he is generous in his thanks for the guidance and support which Dan provided.

Though archaeologists often look askance at dowsers, the author successfully contacted his local archaeology group and assisted at local digs. This engagement of dowsing and dowsers with the real world runs like a thread through the book, and is a worthy counterbalance to the more fanciful notions of some armchair explorers.

As he actively pursued his dowsing, other latent abilities began to unfold, including (non-visual) awareness of other people present on site; being able to ‘see’ structures not visible to others; and the ability to identify the colour of fabric, or the contents of a drawing, by touch.

The book contains a number of amusing tales from a dowser’s life, including the search for lost animals, water, wells, tunnels under old pubs, and vanished buildings. John was once invited to dowse and teach in Portugal, and successfully led work dowsing the site of an old monastery.

As he says :

· "Never ask for prior information about a site. Go to it with a blank mind and start from scratch every time."

· "… dowsing … requires a relaxed concentration while you are posing questions in such a way as to be totally unambiguous."

· "…wherever I have been, doors seem to have opened up in front of me. It’s a bit like Alice falling down the rabbit hole and there’s a good way to go yet."

In order to be successful, we have to have the courage, like the author, to go through the door, and see where the rabbit hole leads us.

This book is very different to the usual dowsing tome. Rather than setting out some grand esoteric theory, it accurately reflects the reality of the life of a jobbing dowser, with its ups, downs, unusual events and strange co-incidences. An excellent read.


‘Adventures of a 21st Century Dowser’ is available from the BSD office, or a signed copy is available directly from John Baker (01322 525975) for £9.99 plus £1.95 P&P.



This review first appeared  in Dowsing Today .

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