Woodcut from Agricola, Georg. Georgius Agricola De re Metallica. London: The Mining Magazine, 1912.
are Books’ dowsing collection is perhaps the only one of its kind located in an academic special collections. With some 150 cataloged books and periodicals, the collection is broad-based. It includes guides and other manuals written by practicing dowsers as well as material on allied subjects such as magic, parapsychology, radiesthesia, and the occult.
The core of the dowsing collection was created by Lester Wood, a Texas oilman, and was originally donated to the J. Evetts Haley History Center in Midland, Texas. The Haley Center retained Wood’s extensive Western history collection, and transferred the portion of his library and archive dealing with dowsing to Texas Tech around 1985.
Dowsing is broadly defined as the attempt to detect hidden objects or substances such as water or oil by the use of non-scientific methods. Practitioners often employ such devices as rods, sticks, or pendulums in their searches. These are typically carried out on site, although some dowsers also practice their craft from a distance using maps. Other terms for dowsing include water witching, divining and doodlebugging. The practice seems to have first come into prominence during the Middle Ages.
For additional information, please contact:
Bruce.Cammack@ttu.edu (806) 834-7974