Weather, water witching and warts

By Gerre Joiner | Published Saturday, May 30, 2015

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Things started out kind of slowly at the coffee shop Tuesday, like they always do.

Gerre Joiner

Gerre Joiner

The obvious “talk” was about the weather. The following list is intended to draw your attention to conversations you’ve probably also had with friends and family the past few weeks.

  • “How much rain did you get out at your place?”
  • “How much have you had since all this rain started?”
  • “Have you seen the videos of flooding in (name of city here)?”
  • “Is Bridgeport full yet?”
  • “We prayed for rain. Now, let’s not complain that it’s raining.”
  • “We were paying the preacher to pray for rain. I guess he finally turned it in.”


In a nutshell, here are the key bits of information regarding “witching” or “dowsing” (not “dousing”) for water.

  • A person takes a “Y” shaped tree branch or two “L” shaped pieces of wire, walks across an area, and notes a change in the position of the tree branch or wires. That’s where you should dig for the water (or whatever it is you’re looking for).
  • Some who hold to the practice believe that one must face/walk north while “witching” because water runs north. (This might not be so in Australia. Not sure.)
  • Some folks think the practice is a legitimate way to find underground water, unmarked graves or sewer lines, oil, precious metals and buried treasure.
  • Some folks believe it’s bad spiritual business.
  • Other spiritually-minded folks believe that Moses (the real Moses … not Charlton Heston) was the first to “divine” for water.

At the risk of making light of this practice, I pose a few questions:

  • How does the tree branch know if you’re looking for water or oil?
  • Can a “diviner” know how deep the water (or whatever) is?
  • Is it a bad idea for a “witcher” to take money for his or her services? Some say if money is exchanged, the “gift” goes away.

At some point during the conversation, one of the guys offered to go outside and prove he could “witch” for water. We all went out to the parking lot. He got a couple of welding rods, formed them into “L” shapes and walked across the parking lot.

The rods spun like crazy in his hands. We all agreed that there’s something to this “witching for water” business.

I was all the way home before two things occurred to me: (1) My friend was standing in ankle-deep water on the McDonald’s parking lot, and (2) it was raining at the time.

(I made up some of that story.)

What about warts?

One of our guys told the story of Oscar Reynolds and how he treated warts years ago.

In a very scientific manner, Oscar, one of the Slidell (or was it Greenwood?) locals would rub the wart with a rag until there was a bit of blood on it. Then Oscar tossed the rag over his shoulder.

If a rooster picked the rag up and ran away with it, the wart would disappear overnight.

Reminds me of a story I heard about a rooster that was found dead. It appears he died from choking on a rag. Poor animal had warts all over him.

(I made up some of that story, too.)

Gerre Joiner is a semi-retired church musician and has lived in Decatur since 1999.

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