Research Summary 2005 - 2011

Empirical Experiments Demonstrate “Dowsing Rods” are Dipole Antennas: Evidence and Applications


John S. Janks

October 29, 2011

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PURPOSE OF THIS PAPER “Dowsing rods” have been explained by numerous and mostly unscientific methods. This paper demonstrates that “dowsing rods” are in actuality dipole antennas and obey physical laws of nature. Vague terminology such as “energy,” “vibrations,” or “psychic power” are necessary. This paper is restricted to those papers where only verifiable science was employed in the experimentation. From the earliest (2006) where “dowsing rods” were examined used basic science1,2,3 to those that expanded the findings to include the evidence that the rods are actually dipole antennas,4,5,6 only empirical measurements, documented by videos were used. Earlier, terminology was “dowsing rod science” gradually transcending to “hand held dipole antennas” as the field research and data continued to roll in with each new experiment. The evidence linking dowsing rods to dipole antennas came from Henry Ott & Assoc, who presented a solid case for understanding dipoles.7 Every term used in the studies has a concrete scientific definition, and if some part of the experiment does not fit, rather than dismiss the inconsistency it is mentioned documented and either later explained or left as is as an unknown parameter. The finding can be grouped into four major categories: 1. L-shaped rods made of almost any metal and capable of conducting electric current. These can be aluminum, brass, bronze, copper, iron, steel, and all can be purchased locally. 2. Human beings. In order for dipole antennas to function, a parasitic capacitor is built up inside the human holding the rods. 3. A force strong enough to make the antennas move. This is most likely the electromagnetic fields and electric (telluric) currents that surround the earth 24 hours a day.8 4. Buried Objects and aboveground tripwires. Buried objects of any composition can be detected because dipoles respond to differences in electrical potential, not specific materials. Therefore, buried objects (and above ground tripwires) can be made of metal, plastic, ceramic, synthetics, or any material that has an electrical conductivity different from the soil it is buried in. The experimentation and methodology followed in these studies conformed to those of professional experimental scientists.9 By following strict scientific protocol questionable theories about minerals, pendulums, or psychic powers of the dowsing rod-dipole antenna was avoided. An example of what many consider value uses of dowsing rods, please refer to groups who strongly believe in extrasensory powers attributed to these rods.10

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Understandably, the scientific and military sectors have been closed-minded toward these discoveries, no matter what the potential for saving lives. In a revealing book,11 “Deadly Decisions,” Christopher Burns describes how military (and other) organizations are hesitant to a new topic a chance, if for example, it has failed in the past. One such dangerous decision process is called “Source Selection” where leaders are hesitant to follow advice from new and unfamiliar souces. While this may sound reasonable, it was this process that ignored a six-hour advance notice on the attack on Pearl Harbor. Another strategy used to ignore new information is “Queuing” where new and unfamiliar information is put at the end of the line with a promise it will be reviewed. It rarely is. As Burns describes it,
“Queuing is a simple mechanism that permits the organization to replace individual myopia and unpredictable bias with a consistent level of planned ignorance.”

The major result of empirical study from 2005-2001: empirical evidence suggests that “dowsing rod” behavior is strikingly similar to that of the dipole antenna. To our knowledge, there has been no other undertaking that has studied “dowsing rod” behavior empirically and in detail – and none have come to the conclusion that dowsing rods are dipole antennas. The similarity is illustrated in Figure 1. Dipole antennas, once so common they sat on nearly every TV set, are two L-shaped metal rods that are not connected. A current introduced at the short end of the antennas will generate a return path that creates a parasitic capacitor (left side). The right side of Figure 1 shows a nearly identical construct except that in this case the capacitor passes through the person holding the rods. The only similarity between these dowsing rod-dipole antenna studies and inventions of the past is that they share a universal dismissal by governmental authorities to have them legitimately and officially tested. We hope that these reports, based on empirical evidence, will eventually lead to official testing. The paper below discusses the mechanisms involved, and the physical and electrical properties of hand held dipoles. Their ability to locate buried objects and above ground tripwires would certainly be beneficiary to every US serviceman/woman. Their ability to locate caches and tunnels could be used by Department Homeland Security (DHS), Immigration, and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well.

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Figure 1. Left image is a diagram of current flow through the two Lshaped rods of a dipole antenna. Image at right is a photograph of a user locating a buried object using L-shaped rods.

Hand-held Dipole Antenna Behavior Explained Using Known Physical Phenomena Anyone reading most publications on dowsing, particularly those involved with water, will find that the more the dowser is questioned, the more vague and unclear become his/her answers. 12 He/she may explain them in terms of vague “energies” or “vibrations” or declare that it is simply a gift he/she has been given.13 As such, not everyone can use them successfully. The study summarized here is based upon everyday materials (that can be used by anyone), empowered by known electrical sources, and follow the principles of established physics (i.e., dipoles). 1. Materials. Dipole antennas can be made of copper, steel, aluminum or brass that can be purchased at any hardware store. The same holds true for buried objects of metal, ceramic or plastic. 2. Human beings provide the dipole system with a convenient parasitic capacitor. 3. Electric energy. Although not established at this point, the earth is surrounded by numerous electromagnetic fields as well as electric (telluric) currents, which can provide sufficient power to generate an electrical potential generate rod movement.
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4. Dipoles. To date there has been no definite proof establishing dipole antennas as the mechanism involved in “dowsing rod” movement, but nevertheless, dowsing rods behave exactly as dipoles are known to do. For example, when connected with a conductive wire, dipoles cease functioning (no electrical potential). Dowsing rods do the same. Similarly, by adding more metal to the dowsing rod, the reaction to a buried object is stronger not weaker – another characteristic of dipoles. Dowsing rods, like dipoles, do not need grounding. These four points are important because they bring the dowsing rod discussion to the level of scientific phenomena that can be tested and measured. This is rare in most discussions of dowsing rods and how they operate. Properties and Characteristics of Hand-Held Dipole Antennas The purpose of the extensive study and examination of the hand-held dipole was to determine its properties, drawbacks, and most importantly, applications to Armed Forces personnel and DHS/ICE as well. In that regard, dipole antennas are useful in identifying: • • • • • • Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), Landmines, Buried cords and wires, Tunnels, Caches, Aboveground tripwires.

Table 1 (below) summarizes the important properties. In many cases, the dipole antennas are superior to what is currently available. This table lists the general characteristics of the buried object or above ground tripwire, its composition, and other major properties that can be observed with the hand held dipoles (i.e., Standoff Distance or Dipole Movement Patterns). Some points to remember: dipole antennas do not work if they are connected by a conductive wire. They respond to most, if not all wires, whether the wires are live or dead. Details of all these responses, including those listed below, are listed in a course manual on the subject.

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Table 1: Hand Held Dipole Antenna Empirical Observations
Antenna or Target Buried Object Composition Standoff Distances Above Ground Tripwires Hand Held Dipole Characteristics Dipole Antenna Behavior Multiple Buried Objects Antennas Follow Aircraft Tunnels Caches Behavior Observed Containers can be plastic, metal or ceramic. Synthetic cords or insulated wires are identified. Standoff distances depend upon the size and shape. For example, a quart can is 10 meters, a gallon one 20+. Tripwires of any composition can be detected at least 0.5 meters away. Larger, longer, and those with more metal respond sooner and at greater distances. The antenna farthest from the source object always moves first. Rod movement can be detected as far as 60+ meters from the objects, but only on the line they define. Along takeoff and landing patterns, outermost antenna always follows the aircraft. Tunnels express themselves as changes in the behavior of both rods. Reinforced walls and shoring timbers amplify the surface signal. The boundary between native soil and caches makes a sharp distinction in rod movement. The outline and size of the cache can be traced.

Composition of the Buried Object/Target For example, composition of the buried object is not important; they respond to plastics, metals and ceramics equally. The reason for this is rather straightforward: dipoles respond to electric potentials (i.e., differences) rather than to specific materials. Standoff Distances The “Standoff Distance” is the distance between the soldier and the explosive device. These distances are approximate, but the larger the object, the longer the standoff distance. Additionally, experimentation with two newer versions (of the same length) has shown that the standoff distance can be increased by at least 40%. Aboveground Tripwires Tripwires, which pose a very dangerous threat to troops on the ground, can be detected between 0.5 meter and 1 meter from the wire itself. This provides ample distance for the soldier to avoid activating the tripwire explosive.
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General Dipole Characteristics Larger and longer metal rods respond sooner than shorter ones. Thus, using a much longer rod when looking for tripwires will provide the soldier with additional warning distance. Another universal characteristic is that the rod farthest from the buried object will move the most. In addition, objects buried give much stronger responses than those sitting on the surface.14 Multiple Buried Objects When two or more buried objects are close together, the standoff distance along the line defined by the two objects can be 60+ meters or greater. Aircraft Dipole antennas will track the movement of aircraft, particularly low-flying aircraft. This is most likely due to signal generated by the aircraft’s transponder. Tunnels Tunnels are linear features and as such are given to simple analysis using dipole antennas. The boundaries of the effects of tunnels are shown by rods bending inward until the centerline is reached. Shoring timbers, cement reinforcement, electric lines, all enhance the signal on the surface. Caches Caches are a general term to indicate a known burial site for almost anything including weapons, explosives, contraband, and paper. These items all have distinct electrical conductivities from the soil they’re buried in. Furthermore, they are usually found near the surface. There is usually a sharp boundary between the buried material and the soil surrounding it, which provides a distinct rod movement pattern. The surface extent of the cache can be easily traced using dipole rods. CONCLUSIONS Empirical study of the dowsing rod phenomenon over the period 2005-2011 has yielded a remarkable treasure of information that has either heretofore not been studied or has never been printed. Among the leading topics are: (1) dowsing rods are nothing more than hand-held dipole antennas, and as such obey the same physical properties, (2) dipole antennas (their proper name) can identify plastics, ceramics, paper, metals, bone, and other material. This is because the dipole depends not on the material, but the potential created.

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They offer US soldiers an ability to detect landmines, IEDs, tripwires, caches, and tunnels. To date, the armed forces have refused to give them even a test at no cost to them. The Border Patrol and ICE have the potential to use these tools as a cost-effective, lightweight and accurate method to uncover caches and tunnels. This has also gone untested. There is great potential to the benefit of the American Soldier and Marine as well as citizens along the border if this method is given proper and rigorous testing.

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REFERENCES 1. Janks, J.S., 2006, “Utility and Limits of Dowsing Rods to Chart the Subsurface,” Frontier Perspectives, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 26-31. 2. Janks, J.S., 2006, “Correspondence,” Frontier Perspectives, vol. 15, no.2, pp. 5-7. 3. Janks, J.S., 2010, “Dowsing Rods: Empirical Evidence and Applications for Charting the Subsurface, J. Borderlands Science, vol. 60, pp. 1-10. 4. Janks, J.S., “Dowsing Rod Videos: I. E. Sigma,” J. Borderland Science, 5. Janks, J. S., 2011, “Low Technology Method to Locate Landmines, IED, and Tripwires,” Scribd.,, pp. 1-11. 6. Janks, J. S., 2011, “How to Stop Landmines from Killing Soldiers Now,” Scribd.,, pp.1-12. 7. Ott, H. W., 2002, “Dipoles for Dummies, Parts 1, 2 & 3,” Henry Ott Consultants, 8. Hendry, J., 2009, “Surface Waves: What Are They? Why Are They Interesting?,” 4th SEAS DTC Technical Conf., Edinburgh, 10 p. 9. Cotton, J. L. and R. J. Scalise, 2003, “The Scientific Method – Critical and Creative Thinking (Debunking Pseudoscience),” Course Outline Physics 3333 / CFB 3333, 10. “Lonestar Dowsers Meet September 13th,” 2011,, September 12, 2011, 2 p. 11. Burns, C. B., 2008, Deadly Decisions, Promethius Books, NY, NY, 360 p. 12. Bird, C., 2000, The Divining Hand: The 500-Year Old Mystery of Dowsing, Whitford Press, West Chester, PA, 372 p. 13. “BCS Debates a Qi Gong Master,” Rational Enquirer, Vol. 6, No. 4. 14. PBS Scientific American Frontiers, Beyond Science, 1997,

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR John S. Janks has a BA from Monmouth College, Monmouth, IL and an MS from the University of Illinois at Chicago, both in geology. He worked in the oil, gas and chemical industries for 25 years. For nineteen of those years he worked at Texaco and Chevron/Texaco subsidiaries. He developed x-ray diffraction quantitative methods, worked in environmental geology and remote sensing. Remote sensing included satellite spectral data, spy satellite photography, and aerial photographic analysis. He developed a satellite spectral program to identify and quantify oil field operations. He taught courses and wrote manuals in all these areas of science. For the past 20 years he has used dipole antennas for locating buried objects, waste pits, pipelines, and wellheads made of metals, plastics and ceramics. The dipole antenna program was also used in providing “ground truth” for satellite and aerial photograph analyses. He has written over 30 papers and abstracts. He has spoken to domestic and international groups on x-ray diffraction methodology, satellite and aerial photography interpretation, and oil seep detection. His work has included regions such as the “stans,” the Arabian Peninsula, Angola, Peru, Colombia, China and parts of SE Asia. He has prepared environmental analyses for the governments of Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. Abstracts of his papers are available upon request. He is a U. S. Navy Vietnam Veteran. He can be reached at:

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