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DETECTING LANDMINES (or finding lost coins, etc)
BY DOWSING with a Pendulum or Bobber


Copyright is reserved, but freely granted for non-profit use, provided that the complete article is copied; notes may be added.

If you have comments, or wish to discuss copying and translation, please email `John `Living


Dowsing is an old skill, and Pendulums have been used to locate mines by a number of military authorities. The author was trained in dowsing as an officer at the `School of `Military `Engineering, `Chatham, and has since improved the basic skills.

Most people can learn how to dowse using a Pendulum; the basic skills are getting answers to questions and locating objects. Any person seeking to find mines by dowsing must first become proficient in these skills.

Mines can be located both from a distance and close at hand. To find mines that are close to you can be most dangerous - but the risks are far less to a trained person than to an innocent child.

Training and experience, however, are not sufficient in such a dangerous exercise; the seeker must be aware of the mental conditions required and be able to prepare and control his thoughts and attitudes to ensure success in safety.

This paper outlines a method to train volunteers to dowse with a Pendulum, and to get their mind attuned to enable them to locate anti-personnel land mines in safety. The disposal of located mines is NOT covered.

Revised 2000 FEB 00: translation engine added, "Dowsing with a Pendulum" is referred to "Learn to Dowse with a Pendulum", and a 'Bobber' (a horizontal Pendulum) is recommended as the best tool.


Dowsing is illustrated in cave drawings estimated to be 8,000 years old. Books on dowsing were among the first to be printed in the 16th. century, and dowsing has flourished since as a means of finding water supplies, locating buried treasure, and exploring for minerals; it has also been used to find murderers and their loot !

Dowsers are employed by prominent oil and pharmaceutical companies, and by governments. The military use of dowsing started with the location of water supplies, but extended to detecting enemy tunnels (Vietnam, from 1967), finding unexploded shells (after World War 1), and the position of sea mines.

In 1959 `Verne `Cameron demonstrated his ability to locate all the submarines in the Pacific Ocean, and determine which belonged to US, Russian, and other countries.


This paper is written by `John `Living, who was educated at the `Royal `Military `Academy, `Sandhurst, and the `Royal `Military `College of `Science, `Shrivenham. He was commissioned as an officer in the `Corps of `Royal `Engineers, and was taught dowsing at the `School of `Military `Engineering, `Chatham - reported to have the world's largest collection of material on dowsing.

`John `Living has been a Member of the `Institute of `Royal `Engineers, Member of the `Institute of `Engineers, Jamaica, Member of the `Institute of `Civil `Engineers (and `Chartered `Civil `Engineer) in the United Kingdom, and a `Professional `Engineer registered in the Provinces of Ontario and Alberta, in Canada.

He has more than 40 years experience of dowsing, and is a member of the `Canadian `Society of `Questers and the `American `Society of `Dowsers. `John `Living can be contacted by email at ‘’.


For a full description of how to Dowse with a Pendulum (or a ` Bobber ' - which is a horizontal Pendulum !) see " Learn to Dowse with a Pendulum "

The best tool for outside use in locating lost coins or jewellrey (on a beach or in a garden) and for landmines is a `Bobber'. This can easily be made by straightening a wire coat hanger, and bending it over at each end - one end as a handle, and the other to prevent eye damage.

Unlike a vertical Pendulum, a Bobber is far less influenced by the weather; it also enables you to cover the ground more easily - and with a further reach.

You must program the signals to be used:

Make a ` SIDE TO SIDE ' swing when searching; when an item is within range, change to an ` ELLIPSE ' to indicate the direction to be taken (the ellipse being exagerated to left or right).

Make a CIRCLE when pointing in the correct direction, changing to an ` UP & DOWN ELLIPSE ' as the item is approached, and to an ` UP & DOWN ' bob-swing when the Bobber is over the item.

The ellipse or circle is to be ` CLOCKWISE ' if the item is past the end of the Bobber, or ` ANTI-CLOCKWISE ' if the item is between the Dowser and the Bobber.

Note the emphasis on ‘when the Pendulum or Bobber is over the item, instead of when YOU are over the item - if it was a mine, and you waited until you were on top, the mine would have exploded !


Since dowsing for dangerous materials can lead to the injury or death of you or those around you, you must take extreme precautions.

Nobody has proved that there is a God; and nobody has proved that there is not a God. If you do not believe in a God or Guardian Angels, you have nothing to lose in imagining that there is a God and that you have a Guardian Angel. Play it safe !

Humans have the right of choice. You can choose to have a hang over, be tired or drowsy, or listen to music while you work. But anything which reduces your alertness or your ability to work with the intuitive part of your mind will increase your danger , and prevent you from getting a crucial message from God or your Guardian Angel.

Even if you believe that a death in battle for the cause will send you to heaven, this may not happen if you are so foolish as to go into the battle unfit or poorly prepared. You are going to take enough risks in locating mines, so do not add more and unneccessary risks !

The intention behind your actions is critical. If it is to earn money or be able to farm your land, then you are doing it for gain, and historically God and the Guardian Angels do not favour using their powers to help selfish aims.

You must have the feeling (deep inside you) that you are prepared to sacrifice your life and good health to help others - to prevent some child from losing a leg or being blinded, or to enable farmers to grow food to feed people. Then the fact that you may be paid (as a soldier, for example) is a secondary consideration. BUT YOUR INTENT MUST BE TO DO GOOD AND HELP OTHERS.

Some people would call this a prayer, and perhaps others would justify it for ‘ organizing your mind for the job ’. But it states your intent and asks for protection and help - and you have nothing to lose by saying it, and perhaps much to lose if you do not ! So before dowsing for any dangerous items state:

‘ I, (your name), seek to locate unexploded materials to prevent them from causing harm to innocent people; I ask for the help and protection of God and my Guardian Angel for this task ’.

And before proceeding into danger, ask your Pendulum ‘ Is it safe for be to locate mines today ? ’ - your Guardian Angel may know that today could be a bad day, and warn you not to go. You would be most foolish to ignore such a warning !

But be warned - the fates may have decided to accept your sacrifice. And you will not be protected from your own stupidity or lack of attention.

While seeking mines, you must keep your mind completely focused on seeking the mines, imagining that you can see (with your intuition) their outline below the ground and relying on your Pendulum as your ‘ sixth sense ’ acting as part of your eyes.

If you are in the middle of a minefield and start thinking of a beautiful beach, the film you saw last night, your girlfriend, or a cool beer - then that thought may be your last. Should you lose your concentration, you must stop until you can again focus only on the land mines.


There is an old saying ‘ Like likes like ’ - that similar things attract each other. It may give you an extra advantage in finding anti-personnel landmines if your pendulum bob is a defused mine, preferably with a trace of explosive still inside.

An alternative is to attach a small piece of the mine casing (rubbed against the explosive if possible) to your Pendulum or Bobber.

Now practice finding the defused mine or sample. Repeat until you have confidence in your abilities. Then practice again with a number of samples buried in the ground by others, in locations unknown to you - and repeat until you are certain of your ability to find each and every sample every time you search.


This procedure is meant to be done under peaceful conditions; it is not intended for use during fighting. It is always safer to use mechanized mine destroyers, and these should be used whenever possible.

There are cases where villagers, for example, do not have such sophisticated equipment. Also some terrains are not suitable for the use of such equipment. Only in the last resort should life and limb be risked by dowsing for mines.

The searching should never be done by just one person; at least one other should be in attendance to call for help and render assistance should it be necessary.

The first task is to determine what has to be done, plan the routine, and decide who should do the various tasks. It is suggested that you obtain maps, aerial photographs, and plans of the area to be covered. If these are not obtainable, then draw sketches instead - but use the best available descriptive layout of the search area.

Ideally each dowser should be given a copy of the layout already marked in sub-sections; each dowser should (using his normal small Pendulum) then point to each sub-section and ask if it contains any mines, and if so then how many.

The results of this preliminary search should be tabulated, and the answers compared. If everyone agrees that certain areas are clear, then they may be excluded from further searching. This routine may be continued on smaller areas to further narrow the search areas.

Now we come to a search area in which mines are expected. The equipment needed includes tape (or balls of string) to mark the limits of areas which have been searched, and markers to indicate where mines have been found. Kevlar or other protective clothing should be worn if available.

The markers should be light to carry easily, easy to see, and stable so that they are not blown over or accidentally moved. They must not set off the mines when they are being placed - so should not involve stakes or heavy weights. If the grass is tall , they must be visible above the grass; in this case it might be best to burn off the grass (or other vegetaion) before searching for mines.

If a mine explodes (or has previously been exploded) the fragments may cause the searcher’s Bobbers to signal that a mine has been found. In this case, the searcher should ask his Bobber to indicate if this is a mine, signalling " NO " if only a fragment has been found.

This phenomena is a good reason to avoid exploding mines until all have been located - the time taken to eliminate fragments can be significant.

Suggestions for markers include painted wooden squares (plywood, about 6 inches (15 cm) square, small highway warning markers, or plastic containers (yogourt jars) with some soil or a small stone placed inside for stability.

The dowsers should start at the right edge of the area. The lead dowser, holding his Bobber in his right hand, starts off; he searches a width of 1 yard (1 metre) and pays out the tape/string with his left hand at the left edge of the area he has searched. The markers should be carried in a satchel/haversack, to leave his arms free.

With your Bobber tip held about 60 inches (150 cm) in front of you at all times, do this search routine:

a. Hold your Bobber at the right edge of the start line, and tell it to ‘lead to the nearest mine within my search strip’; make a mental note of where your Bobber indicates a find.

b. Hold your Bobber at the left edge of the start line, and tell it to ‘lead to the same mine’; this is a good check on the location of the mine.

e. Tell your Bobber ‘Make a " YES " circle if there is any other mine between myself and the one located, else a " NO " circle ’;

c. Now ask if there is any other mine between you and the located mine - just in case !

d. If so, locate it !

e. Tell your Bobber ‘ Make a " YES " circle if this a mine, or a " NO " circle if this is a fragment "; if a mine then mark it, and ask ‘ Is there more than one mine here ?’; if so, place a duplicate marker to warn the removal team.

f. Now unroll your tape/string 1 foot (30 cm) - and thus move the start line - forward and repeat these steps.

By moving only 1 foot forward at a time, and using a 1 foot search pattern, you have at least 3 chances of covering the ground before you step on a possible mine.

When the Lead Dowser has gone about 20 yards (20 metres) the next dowser starts; this is so that if a mine is exploded by one dowser, the next dowser will not be seriously injured. This next dowser dowses just over the edge of the tape laid by the previous dowser, and lays his own tape to the left.

When the Lead Dowser has reached the end of the search area, he will return through the area that he has searched, replenish his supply of tape and markers, and take up the next available dowsing position to the left. This movement of right to left is due to most dowsers being right handed.

When the mines in the search area have been marked, the removal team can move in, making certain that they leave a safe distance between each other - and the dowsers.

It is assumed that the removal team will have been trained to use mine prodders to find the exact location of the marked mines, and that they know how to lift the mines without exploding them. This is normal training for soldiers, and will not be repeated here.

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