October 5, 2010

Magnetic north ahoy!

IF YOU'RE EVER LOST in fog with a broken compass, think of Gwen Wittwer. She says all you need is an old metal clothes hanger, and you’ll soon be home and dry.

Wittwer is a pagan. More than that, she is a high priestess, and she recently took part in a workshop during Pagan Pride Week in Bellingham, Washington state.

The local university newspaper, The Western Front, sent a reporter along to Wittwer’s workshop, which “taught people about learning how to find electromagnetic lines in the earth.”

According to the Front, Wittwer invited people to walk around the room holding metal clothes hangers out in front of them. “As they walked around the room the clothes hangers moved to follow the electromagnetic lines,” the newspaper reported.

“It’s an ancient talent we all have that we all forgot we had,” Wittwer said.

Now, as a born-again skeptic, I would normally laugh up my sleeve and scoff quietly at the naiveté of the Front reporter, but I have to admit that Wittwer’s experiment rings bells for me.

Some years ago I was standing on a street on rural Whidbey Island when a man I knew came past holding two pieces of thick copper wire, one in each hand.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Tracing the water pipes,” he said.

The wires were identical, each in the shape of an upside down L (or an F without the middle stroke, if you prefer.) He loosely held the stems of the Fs upright in his hands, shoulder-width apart, with the horizontal leg pointing forward.

And as he spoke the two legs facing forward turned inward in his hands at right angles until they were pointing at each other.

I brought my sleeve up to my mouth, ready to laugh.

“Takes a turn here,” he explained. And, noting my skepticism, he added: “Give it a try.”

So I tried, and it worked for me, too. Astonishingly, the copper wires turned in my hand without any help as I moved over a buried, invisible water pipe. I repeated it successfully several times.

“You also have the gift,” he said. “You’re a dowser. A diviner.”

Sadly, I have never done anything with my gift, such as find water in the desert or discover a fabulously rich oil well, and it certainly never occurred to me that I might also be able to divine magnetism, or that everybody might share this gift if they just knew about it.

But now I am a believer. High Priestess Wittwer has convinced me.

I can’t wait to get on a boat and try my clothes hangers on the water.

Magnetic north, here I come.

Today’s Thought
Let not the conceit of intellect hinder thee from worshipping mystery.
— M F. Tupper, Proverbial Philosophy: Reading

Boaters’ Rules of Thumb, #103
Horsepower, under sail. In a Force 4 breeze (11 to 16 knots), 500 square feet of sail generates roughly 10 horsepower. That’s about 1 horsepower for every 50 square feet. Thus, a dinghy sail of 75 square feet gives you about 1.5 hp. Interestingly, though, if the wind speed doubles to about 25 knots, that dinghy sail horsepower goes up four times, from 1.5 to 6 hp.

Groucho Marx once opened a drawer by mistake in a friend’s home. He found a Colt automatic pistol surrounded by several small pearl-handled revolvers.
“My God,” he said, “This gat has had gittens.”

1 comment:

Phfrankie Bondo said...

I was exposed to the two L-shaped rod diving method by my 91 year old neighbor. Since then I have used this method to identify many burried water lines and drains on my property. And they do not have to be copper- I use galvanized steel rods about 1/8 inch diameter...'bout the same as clothes hangers. This voodoo works!!