A Cautionary Note on Magnetoreception in Dowsers

  • Joseph L. Kirschvink
Part of the Topics in Geobiology book series (TGBI, volume 5)


In his discussion concerning human magnetoreception, Baker (this volume) cites the work of Harvalik (1978) on human dowsers as an example of prior work suggesting a magnetic sense in humans. This is a poor example. Harvalik claims to have measured the sensitivity of his subjects by passing direct electric current through the ground between the copper electrodes separated by about 20 m. With the current on, the dowsers walked between the electrodes and gave signals and claimed to detect the small field present. In one publication (Harvalik, 1975), he built and used a “randomizer” to make things double-blind. In several other papers published in The American Dowser (Harvalik, 1973, 1974,1976), he describes localizing the site of the receptors in the pineal and adrenal glands and measuring field sensitivities down to an astounding 0.00001 γ (10 −14 Tesla).


Adrenal Gland Copper Electrode Magnetic Sense Water Company Cautionary Note 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph L. Kirschvink
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Geological and Planetary SciencesCalifornia Institute of TechnologyPasadenaUSA

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