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6 7 In eighteenth century France, Germany and Italy, the use of wands, sceptres, bobbingsticks, rods, pendulums and forks by various twitchers, deusers, twiggers, dowsers, and water witchers to find all sorts of things became fair game for scientists and priests to investigate, and for the public to have fun with. A plethora of essays and publications by Lebrun, Menestrier, Zeidler, Albinus and Thouvenal fired broadsides at each other for and against the mysterious art. Barthelemy Bleton, a brilliant natural waterwitcher, working with the Bishop of Grenoble author of the Bishops Rule for finding the depth of water became the focus of Thouvenals attempt to associate dowsing with electrical effects, but physicists could find no simple explanation of his talents. Further work in Italy with the elegant Pennet, who constantly confounded observers by achieving remarkably accurate results shown aloft opposite, still failed to persuade the authorities that dowsing was a talent worthy of serious debate. On the contrary it seemed that as absolute proof in scientific terms was not readily available it was easier to accept the French astronomer Lalandes arrogant dismissal of all dowsing as trickery. He put dowsing rods in the same category as flying ships declaring that it is impossible for a man to raise himself from the ground. A year later the Montgolfier brothers were off in their first balloon. pIONeerS an emerging science
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