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Skeptical Analysis of the Paranormal Society

"Le doute n'est pas une condition agréable, mais la certitude est absurde."


Dowsing Protocol from Dragon*Con 2008

Materials Required:

12 empty, blank paint cans with lids

A bag of sand

A large tub or trash can

A set of Dowsing Rods

A Sharpie


One pen


Experimental Protocol:

1. Two paint cans, which will be left open for the duration of the test, will be filled - one with sand and one with water. These will be set apart from the other paint cans on the stage.

2. The remaining ten paint cans will be filled as follows: Seven will be filled with sand; three will be filled with room temperature water. All ten cans will then be sealed.

3. The paint cans will be marked 1-10 in Sharpie on the side facing the stage.

4. The sealed paint cans will be randomized and placed onstage.

5. A volunteer will be chosen from the audience.

6. After testing the dowsing method on the open paint cans, the volunteer will be permitted to dowse the sealed cans.

7. The volunteer will not be permitted to cross touch the paint cans, and must dowse without touching the cans in any manner.

8. The volunteer will be asked to write down their choices for which paint cans contain water, according to the number on the side of the can.

9. After the volunteer has completed dowsing the ten cans and has written down their selections for the ones they believe contain water, the cans will be opened one at a time with the screwdriver in full view of the audience and their contents (whatever they may be) poured into the trash can in such a manner that the audience can also clearly see the contents.


What constitutes a successful test:

The test will be considered successful if a volunteer has identified the three cans containing water on their note card.

If the volunteer is able to identify the three locations of water, they will immediately be offered a Challenge application and will be invited to take the preliminary JREF Million Dollar Challenge without providing proof of media presence or academic affidavits.

All content © 2008 by Alison Smith
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