Einstein is said to have dabbled in dowsing, soldiers have been known to use coat hangers to detect enemy mines, and now it appears that real estate investors are gravitating to dowsing techniques.
This ancient practice may well be the most common and accepted part of the psychic field because it shows results on a fairly consistent basis.
For Ron Warmoth, a recent trip to the high desert above Hesperia--to locate underground springs, possibly ore and/or natural gas on a property purchased by a client--was all in a day's work.
The mild-mannered Los Angeles-based psychic, who has been dowsing professionally for 15 years and prefers to maintain a low-key business image, is considered unusual in the field because he is interested only in the practical applications of his psychic abilities.
He cannot say with certainty why or how dowsing works, but he would like to help dispel the hocus-pocus aspects of his work. He attributes no magical powers whatsoever to fork sticks or the assortment of Y-shaped rods, pendulums and other props normally associated with divining techniques, though on occasion he does use some of these props as aids to concentration.
"One problem with being a dowser," Warmoth said, "is that the field has been open to crackpots and self-deluded individuals misguided by a false sense of power."
Warmoth claims that dowsing, though traditionally associated with "water witching," is used successfully in locating archaeological finds and in making predictions for business expansion. His own experience also includes ESP (extrasensory perception) assistance to law enforcement agents in cases of theft, robbery and homicide.
To demonstrate to an interested visitor how he works, a field trip to Hesperia was planned by one of his clients, Dr. Dolores Fisher, a Los Angeles physician who has used Warmoth's services on several occasions to determine whether certain properties under consideration were worth purchasing.
Warmoth and the doctor wanted the reporter to experience the vigorous tugging of a forked stick held firmly in the hands, to help understand the scope and enduring fascination of such an experience.
A desert property where Fisher has built a weekend retreat, was selected. The land there sparkles like an emerald patch on the semi-arid landscape--the result of abundant water supply located by Warmoth.
"Ron located several potential drilling sites on this property, and the water I get from the wells is ample to carry out my plans for the cultivation of tree crops," she said. In addition to her interest in agriculture, Fisher is experimenting with wind power conversion to electrical power and other energy-saving devices.
"Yes, I do give a lot of credence to psychic phenomena but I judge psychics only on the quality of their work ability," she said, adding that ESP is now "well beyond the kindergarten stage. But unfortunately the dowser's image is not benign because the field has attracted scores of fraudulent people."
When people accept decisions made for them by computers, they are sort of doing the same thing as people who use dowsing services, she remarked. Warmoth's batting average for his brand of prospecting is about 95% correct.
Warmoth likens dowsing to doing research in one's inner library. "Dickens and Edison are said to have used this technique (sometimes referred to as the Universal Life Force) in their creative process," Warmoth noted.
"One popular theory on why it happens," Warmoth speculated, "is that one can tap into the electro-magnetic forces of the brain much like one turns on the ignition in a car. The car is the vehicle that gets you somewhere, but you still have to be able to drive it.
"There seems to be a shift of consciousness when this happens, an altered state. Perhaps it can best be explained through electronics. The human brain is the most powerful energy-generator known. Its workings are similar to a vast computer, storing information and making complicated deductions, with the capability of being interconnected with other brain computers. What we can't get from our own subconscious reservoir comes from a broader computer scope."
A well-established psychic for most of his adult life, Warmoth attributes development of his psychic potential to his mother, who played psychic "guessing" games with him as a child. "I later questioned the validity of these abilities--I was skeptical until I began to explore the practical applications of ESP and to realize that most of us possess it to one degree or another--a sixth or seventh sense, if you will," he said.
Warmoth works in a disciplined and single-minded fashion. Over-complication can interfere with the process, he said. "I never take my powers too seriously," he explained. "I usually go cold on an assignment and pick up the details as I go along, and I find there is always a solution and sometimes the solution for a client is to do nothing at all."