Map-dowsing competition in UK

Via The Guardian‘s science department (yeah, figure THAT out!), evidently there are some segments of the dowsing community that are skeptical of some other segments of the dowsing community — those that evidently believe they can dowse using a pendulum and a printout from Google Maps.

However, even believers in the muddy wellies type of dowsing often have grave doubts about map dowsers, who claim to be able to locate such features just by holding a pendulum over a Google Earth satellite view taken from miles above a site. The debate has rumbled on through many archaeology forums, with believers and sceptics equally passionately engaged.

A website dedicated to prehistoric archaeology called the Megalithic Portal is now launching a competition to try and resolve the question, with would-be psychics and scoffers invited to join a hunt for archaeological remains from the comfort of their own armchairs.

Andy Burnham, founder of the website, says dowsing has consistently sparked “more discussion and discord” than any other subject on the site. “We always end up with the same stalemate. Dowsers claim they can find anything and non-dowsers doubt that because there is no documented proof.”

I hate this sort of test. If you crowdsource this large of a dataset with the opportunity to make some money, all you have to do is guess correctly, and with enough guesses in the pot someone’s probably going to win. It won’t mean these people actually found something except by pure chance. Not that that’ll stop the inevitable self-satisfied crowing. Le sigh.