Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Workday Wednesday - Water Witch

I've come across a very interesting occupation of of my great grandfather, Donald Francis Belknap.  It seems that he had the very useful talent of being able to find water.  It's been called water witching, water divining, water drowsing,and just well digging. Relatives have told me that he was known for this unique talent.  So I wasn't that surprised to see his name show up numerous times in "Western Globe" from 1918 to 1938, and "The Farm & Ranch Review" in 1956 on the Peel's Prairie Provinces website.    

Most of the items I have found are D.F. Belknap advertising his services.  In all the ads, he guarantees to locate water or there is no charge.  He must have been quite successful at finding water, as there are numerous articles with mentions of whom he located water for and of his water finding abilities.

The most interesting article is "Water Diving" the the "Western Globe", April 11, 1935, page 1, Item AR00107.  In a reprint from a column in the "Bulletin" from Cowper, my great grandfather is interviewed about the mysteries of his water locating abilities.  The article states D.F. Belknap has located hundreds of wells in Alberta and British Columbia with his divining rod.   The divining rods are cut from hazel or willow, about three to four feet past the fork of the lower branch.  D. F. Belknap explains that the pull on the rod will over come the strength of an ordinary man.  It must have been quite the sight to see him in action.  In the article my great grandfather  says that his father had the same gift.  Now I wonder if this gift has been passed down. Who know, maybe I have a hidden talent. 

To read the articles go to Peel's Prairie Provinces website. 

1 comment:

  1. How interesting! A very unique profession indeed. I wonder if this technique is still used anywhere today?