Several years ago, I attempted dowsing (also called water-witching) for the first time, in order to locate a water line. I used a couple pieces of coat-hanger and it seemed to work. Strangely, I also found something else running roughly parallel to the water line, about six feet away. Having some doubts as to the source of that sort of ability, I stopped and prayed to God to either help me be positive which was the water line, OR, if he didn’t like me doing such things to let me know. The wires went “dead” and never swayed again!
Today, 20-some years later, I decided to try it again. Two white oaks in my lawn, about 50 feet apart have been hit by lightning in past years. The old belief is that many trees struck by lightning are sitting atop veins of water. Since I live on a dry ridge, I was curious as to whether a vein of water might run between the two oaks. Using two heavy copper wires cut from the ground wire of an old telephone pole, I readied myself, BUT I prayed first. The wires never moved as I traversed the area between the oaks, nor even as I stood by the trees. I then tested the method by going up near the house where I KNEW my water-line ran and there was no sign there, either. So now, I have to wonder, was the Lord speaking on the matter, or was there simply no vein to find? I tend to think the former.
After THAT little experiment, I took my little $2 Chinamart torpedo level down and stuck it on my mill frame. I was surprised that showed the frame to be roughly 1-3/4 inches low on one front corner (no point checking the back yet). I would have guessed that it was much closer to level, but it’s on sloping ground, with nothing to gauge by, so I’ll blame my lack of natural skill on that!
A lot of folks these days don’t realize that our modern levels were once called “spirit levels,” because the liquid in the vials were filled with “spirits” (alcohol). Before those tools came along, a simple plumb-bob (weight on a string), and a square, plumbed and leveled every building of prominence, including all the great cathedrals of Europe. Of course, plumb-bobs don’t work on windy days.