American Society of Dowsers – Danville, Vermont - Atlas Obscura

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American Society of Dowsers

The national headquarters of the dowser’s society founded in 1961. 


The town of Danville, Vermont has been the home of the American Society of Dowsers headquarters since 1961. This unusual practice may be what the town of Danville is best known for.

Also known as divining or water-witching, dowsing is the practice of using a forked stick, rod, pendulum, or other device to locate sources of water or minerals deep underground. The practice has been a subject of discussion and controversy for hundreds of years, if not thousands. The classic method of dowsing uses a Y-shaped stick. Holding one of the forks in each hand, a dowser walks back and forth over the area to be tested. When passing over a water source, the butt end of the stick is said to rotate downward. Many regard dowsing as pseudoscience.

The American Society of Dowsers has some 2,000 members that come from all across the United States. Many are hobbyists, but some work as professional dowsers.

Yearly dowsing conventions were held in Danville from 1961 to the early 2000s, at which point they were moved to different locations. The headquarters is an antique farmhouse with an attached bookstore/meeting hall that was built in 1981. A library and museum of dowsing artifacts had been available to view until a leaking roof caused all rare items to be stored until the roof can be replaced.

There is a small labyrinth next to the parking area designed by a former member of the society.

Know Before You Go

The bookstore is open Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and weekends by special appointment year-round. The rare items are mostly in storage, but certain items are able to be viewed if you ask. 

The labyrinth is only accessible during months without snow.

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