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Iraq swears by "dowsing" bomb detectors

Posted on Monday, 9 November, 2009 | Comment icon 6 comments

Image credit: US Army
The security forces in Iraq use a device to detect bombs and weapons that the US military believes to be useless, the ADE 651 device uses a telescopic metal rod to detect explosives in much the same way as dowsing for water.

"Despite major bombings that have rattled the nation, and fears of rising violence as American troops withdraw, Iraq’s security forces have been relying on a device to detect bombs and weapons that the United States military and technical experts say is useless."

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 Source: New York Times

  Discuss: View comments (6)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Paranormalcy on 9 November, 2009, 12:30
The "experts" are correct. The dowsers are as likely to detect old pop bottle lids as explosives. Sigh. If only they would read up a little on ideomotor effect.
Comment icon #2 Posted by magickaldan on 10 November, 2009, 0:18
The "experts" are correct. The dowsers are as likely to detect old pop bottle lids as explosives. Sigh. If only they would read up a little on ideomotor effect. I guess if the bombers think they work, they may be a lil effective in deterring them.
Comment icon #3 Posted by aquatus1 on 10 November, 2009, 1:27
Well...not to put too fine a point on it, but mine detection is a rather results-oriented business. I can only imagine that any teams they have putting this theory to work will rapidly make a list of pros and cons.
Comment icon #4 Posted by odiesbsc on 11 November, 2009, 18:36
Although some people may scoff at the idea of dowsing rods, the people who use them swear by em'. My Grandfather in Oklahoma used to drill water wells and he used dowsing rods and always got water where he said there would be. Also in VietNam, the Army used them to locate the tunnels where the VietCong hid and where they hid they're ammunition. I'm not saying that I believe in them completely, but there must be something to it. Odie
Comment icon #5 Posted by Torgo on 11 November, 2009, 19:23
No, there isn't something to it. At all. Completely ignoring the fact that there is NO mechanism by which it could work, controlled experiments show it to only work when the person holding the dowsing device knows where the thing they are looking for is (or has a pretty good idea) and that when this knowledge is taken away it is entirely chance. The indicating of a spot is due to the ideomotor effect, where you expect something you are holding to do something and your muscles do juuuust a little to make it actually happen. It is not voluntary, but it happens. This WILL get people killed.
Comment icon #6 Posted by SQLserver on 11 November, 2009, 22:05
It is nonsense, and it is dangerous nonsense.

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