The University of Iowa has a good treatise on the subject found here. The document will download as a .pdf file.
In 2005, Dick Eastman posted about a grave dowsing experience by Tom Corey on the Oregon Trail. As usual, his readers have posted some interesting comments in response to his post.
Linda Bell wrote about dowsing methods used to find county graves for the North Forty News. Dowsing plays a key role in finding graves on the Roberts Ranch in Livermore, California.
The Archer Cousins Genealogy website has an article that covers their experience in dowsing to find the graves of family members that includes photos of their efforts.
The Hughes and Related Families site has a detailed article that covers the theory, tools and methods used to dowse for graves.
Jay McAfee posted an article written by Thomas A. Markham about dowsing to find old graves in a GenForum post in 2004.
Glenn Adams wrote an article on his blog about his use of dowsing rods in the search for the bodies of a murdered couple.
Wendell Culberson of the Mississippi GenWeb site wrote a great article on his experiences in finding lost graves in Shelby County, Illinois.
Chris Dunham of The Genealogue blog quoted an article about grave dowsing that was published in the Wichita, Kansas Eagle newspaper.
Brenda Marble wrote a detailed article for the cemeteries.missouri.org site about grave dowsing and the tools and methods used in this activity.
The list of articles about Grave Dowsing is surprising long. A Google search for “dowsing for graves” produced over 1,200 hits. Needless to say, I was surprised by the number of results given the fact that I’d never heard of the subject before finding the “Old Ways Help Women Find Old Graves” article two weeks ago.
Are you familiar with these efforts to find lost graves? Personally, I don’t have interest in the occult or entities that use dowsing to tell fortunes, the sex of unborn children, etc. As I noted in my first post on the subject, I’ve used dowsing rods to find water and power lines as simple convenience. I’d witnessed dowsing to find water lines as a youth and as a young man working for a electric utility. Simple tools. Simple needs. Quick and accurate results were produced followed by putting the hastily constructed wire wire rods in the trash or bent back to their normal shape for use in construction.
Reflecting on it, I suppose I always thought the metal dowsing rods simply reacted to gravitational disturbances created by buried metal pipes full of water or energized power lines. Tenuous reasoning I know, but who cared. The job they were used for got done faster with them than without. I gave the dowsing rods no more thought than I would a tooth pick at a restaurant.
Apparently so, or at least it is so for some folks.
You’ll note that the people writing or quoting the articles above have had success using dowsing to find graves. It’s just an example of folks having a small need that can be difficult to impossible to resolve via normal means, yet by exhibiting a little faith in oneself followed by the use of simple tools focused on a specific subject seems to bring results.
Whether you decide to dowse for graves or not, research of the subject provides interesting reading. I probably won’t use my bent up old galvanized tie wire rods for this activity, but who knows, maybe the need will arise for some unforeseeable reason in a future day. If so, I wonder if it will work for me? I guess I’d shouldn’t think about it too much and cobble up the works.