Can you identify this obscure antique tool? Only a select few recognize its purpose. Are you among those who can correctly identify what it is?


We recently encountered this perplexing image and found ourselves completely baffled. The picture circulated throughout the All Cute offices as we pondered the potential uses for what initially appeared to be an ordinary tree branch.

After a day of speculation, we finally unraveled the mystery! This branch served a purpose dating back to the 1500s in a practice known as „Water Dowsing.“

For those unfamiliar with the term or the dowsing tool, it might be recognized by one of its alternative names: diviner, doodlebug, well witch, or water-finder.

This tool, as you may have guessed, was utilized to locate water. Though considered more of an old wives‘ tale, it was once a widespread practice.

The Y-shaped branch was held by an individual with one branch in each hand, palms facing upward. The stem of the „Y“ (the bottom of the branch) was tilted toward the Earth at a 45-degree angle. In this position, the individual would walk back and forth.

During this movement, they observed the bottom of the Y, looking for signs of rotation towards the ground. According to the old wives‘ tale, the vibrations sensed at the bottom of the Y indicated the presence of water underground.

You might be wondering about the origins of this practice. In the 1500s, dowsing with metal rods was initially employed to locate metals in the ground. Over time, it evolved into a method for finding water, particularly for new homeowners in rural areas.

The rationale was that drilling for water in the wrong spot could be costly. By using the water dowser technique, the location of water could be determined more easily, minimizing expenses and time spent on the search.

Although the somewhat-myth was debunked with advanced technology revealing widespread underground water, the tool itself demonstrated ingenuity in its time. Interestingly, some water drilling companies still employ the water-dowsing technique as a preliminary step before drilling to ensure water availability.

If you were familiar with the tool’s use, well done! Feel free to test your friends and see if they had any inkling of its purpose!

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