Homemade Dowsing Rods

How to make your own dowsing rods

Many ghost hunters use dowsing rods to identify things — like underground streams and electrical wiring — that can create false positives in ghost research.

Others use dowsing rods for a second purpose: To identify areas of high paranormal activity or vulnerability.

Whether or not you believe that dowsing rods work, they’re easy to make and fun to experiment with.

You’ll need:

  • Two wire coat hangers.
  • A very strong wire cutter, heavy tin snips, or a similar cutting tool.

(Some dowsers use just one rod, but it’s best to start with two until you’re accustomed to how the rods respond.)

How to make a dowsing rod from a coathanger.

Here’s all you need to do to make your dowsing rods:

  1. Cut each coat hanger at the X marks, and discard the right (twisted and hooked) section.
  2. Straighten the wires enough so that the bend in each forms a right angle (90 degree bend) like the letter L.

That’s it.  You now have a set of dowsing rods.

Here’s a video I recorded in 2018. It’s more complete, with additional options you might like.

If you're sharing that video with others, here's the YouTube URL: https://youtu.be/OLYp7xyHv9c

How to use your homemade dowsing rods

Hold one L-shaped wire in each hand, and grip each one gently, forming each hand into a loose fist.

Each thumb should rest at (but not over) the bend in the wire. The rods should point away from you, straight ahead, and swing easily from side to side when you tilt your hands.

There are other ways to hold the rods. Some grip the rods loosely with the index, middle and ring fingers, and then prop the little finger on the other side of the rod to steady it. The thumb is held away from the rod.

Some create handles from the cardboard tubes from coat hangers that are used for hanging up slacks. Cut one tube in half and rest the handle of one rod in each tube. Hold each tube so that the rod swings freely inside it.

Now, tilt the rods down very slightly.  The idea is to give gravity a chance to pull on them slightly, so the rods aren’t swinging randomly and by chance.  However, don’t point the rods down so much that the rods can’t move on their own.

Now, walk around your home or yard to see what happens. Generally, the two rods will cross in front of you when you are near water pipes.

Some genealogists report similar results in cemeteries, helping them find graves (sometimes hidden in shrubs or tall grass).

Some ghost hunters use dowsing rods to detect areas of paranormal energy.

Once you become comfortable with your new dowsing rods, you can try asking questions. That’s another way ghost hunters (especially psychics) use dowsing rods.

  • Start with questions you know the answer to.  Each should be a yes/no question, like “Is my name Fred?” or “Is my age 102?”  This will establish what movement you’ll see for the answer, “yes,” and which will indicate a “no.”

Scientists can’t explain why dowsing rods work. Some speculate that the rods react to elevated EMF levels and that electro magnetic energy pulls on the rods.

I thought dowsing rods were a lot of nonsense until I tried them.  I’ve had equally good results — in different locations — with the dowsing rods from Dowsers.com and my own, homemade dowsing rods made from coat hangers.

Also, here’s a hastily recorded video about using dowsing rods for ghost hunting. I recorded it early in 2018, before taking the time to put together a dowsing rod course for Hallowfields.com.

Here's the YouTube URL for that video: https://youtu.be/H4OCvwPBL2A

Pendulums – How They Work and How to Use Them

What is a pendulum?

In popular use, a pendulum usually refers to any weighted object that can swing back and forth.

You’ve probably seen pendulums (or pendula) on old clocks.  The pendulum is the round thing below the face of the clock, and the pendulum swings back and forth, rhythmically, keeping time.

If you pause the pendulum, the clock stops working.

In ghost hunting, a pendulum is usually a small, heavy object — like a stone, a crystal, or even a piece of metal — suspended from a cord, ribbon, or chain.  A necklace can be ideal for this.

Some pendulums are highly decorative.  Some of them have been blessed.  Each one is unique and will respond differently.

A person — usually a psychic or a medium — holds the cord, ribbon, or chain so the heavy object can swing freely.  Then, that person asks a question.  The movement of the pendulum determines the answer.

Most of my pendulums come from author Sean Paradis‘ company, Sleeping Meadows.  (I think he’s closed his shop, but check with him, just in case.)

In my tests, the ones he makes have been the most responsive, and I own a variety of stones and colors. I use each for a different purpose, usually working with my “gut feeling” about which pendulum the spirit will respond to.

How to use a pendulum

The end of the string is held between the forefinger and thumb so that the object can swing freely.  You can pinch the cord or chain at the very top, with your hand at an angle so your fingers are out of the way.

Or, you can drape the cord or chain over the middle of your index finger, and keep it from slipping by applying gentle pressure from your thumb onto the cord or chain, against your finger.


Fiona Broome's adviceIf you’d just like to experiment with this, you can make your own pendulum by tying any heavy bead or small pendant to a string or cord.  The string should be about ten inches long.

You should be able to decide if pendulums work for you (they won’t work well for everyone) and if you like them.

Some people are naturally gifted at pendulum use.  This seems to have no connection with whether they’re believers or skeptics.

Some people can use pendulums, but they internalize the energy.  That’s not a good idea.  If you can’t remain completely separate from the pendulum you’re using, stop immediately.  Do not allow outside energy to be channeled through your body to the pendulum.   (And, if you can’t tell the difference, don’t use a pendulum.  The risks are too great.)

If you decide that a pendulum is right for you, I recommend professionally crafted pendulums.  You’re likely to get better results.  However, try a homemade pendulum or two, before investing in a professional-grade pendulum.


Next, you should try some baseline readings.  It’s important to verify these every time you use the pendulum.

Start with the pendulum entirely still.  Ask it a question with a yes or no answer that you already know.

Note the way that the pendulum swings in response.  It may swing from side to side or from front to back.  Or, it may swing in a clockwise or counter-clockwise manner.

Now, ask another question with a different yes or no answer.  Compare the results.

Repeat this several times until a clear pattern is established.  (If no pattern emerges, you may need to use other divinatory tools.  Pendulums don’t work for everyone, and it has no bearing on the person’s psychic abilities.)

In haunted sites, you can ask, “Is this room haunted?” or a similar question.  The more active the pendulum movement, the stronger the spiritual energy is at that site.

Even in the hands of a skeptic, we’ve seen a pendulum swing so wildly, the weight snapped off a new chain and flew across the room.

I’ve created two different charts for use with your pendulum.  They’re free to download. Visit my author website, FionaBroome.com, and go to the Free Downloads page.

Scroll down to the Misc Printable Charts section. Download the pendulum charts and print them. (They’re free PDFs.)

To use either chart, hold the string so that the tip of the pendulum is about two inches above the center “dot” at the bottom of the half-circle.  Then, ask your question.

One chart is designed for simple, yes/no questions.  You can draw this on a sheet of paper, and use it yourself.  The pendulum should favor one direction/answer more than any other.  If it doesn’t rephrase your question, or take a break and return to this later.

Pendulum chart - yes or noThe next kind of chart can be used to ask anything with numbers, such as the ghosts age when he or she left physical form. (Or, if the ghost believes that he or she is still alive, ask what year it is now.)

Pendulum Chart 2 - numbers - illustration

You can create your own charts on paper, providing many other kinds of answers, too.  They could include letters of the alphabet, people’s names, places, or things specific to the life of the ghost you’re contacting.

No matter which chart you use, if the pendulum swings towards you, off the chart, try rephrasing your question.  Or, the ghost may want you to answer the question for yourself, first, and then have spirit confirm it with a yes or a no.

If you are adept with a pendulum, I recommend professional pendulums designed for ghost hunters and psychic mediums, such as those from Sleeping Meadows.

Try one at first, to see how it works for you.  If you did just as well (or better) with your homemade pendulums, keep using your homemade tools.

Some people achieve remarkable results with pendulums.  Others don’t.  It’s not a measure of how good you are at ghost hunting or communicating with spirits.  It’s more like singing or running… different people have different talents.  Someone who can play the violin may be perfectly awful at the piano.

However, one of the great things about pendulums, besides their simplicity, is: you can try this on your own without spending a cent.

Pendulum Experiments

This past weekend – en route the Mal’s Pals benefit where Kris Williams was speaking – Sean Paradis presented me with a wonderful collection of his latest pendulums.  I’ve mentioned them before, because they’re so extraordinary, and they’ve led me to rethink my disdain for pendulums in paranormal research.

My history with pendulums

As a kid, I used a pendulum now and then.  Like many teen girls, my friends and I briefly used a pendulum to find out the name of our future husbands. It was just a game.

Perhaps that’s one reason why I didn’t use pendulums for my early paranormal research; I didn’t take most divination tools seriously.

However, in the 1990s, a few ghost hunters were using pendulums and they seemed to be successful.

The disappointing Gilson Road experiments

So, about a dozen years ago, I conducted pendulum experiments at Gilson Road Cemetery.  I assembled a group of paranormal researchers and equipped them with clipboards, survey questions, and pendulums.

They surveyed each marked grave at the haunted cemetery, using yes/no questions and homemade pendulums.  These were generally very primitive devices – hardware-style washers on strings, etc. – just to see if the results were consistent.

They weren’t.  At each grave, about half the people received “no” answers, while the others all received “yes” answers.

After that, I resumed my disinterest in pendulums as a serious research tool.  Fun? Yes.  Reliable?  No.

Lesley Marden changed my mind

Lesley MardenLesley Marden‘s research raised questions. I’ve been with her on many investigations.  Her results with a pendulum have been – and continue to be – remarkably consistent and helpful.

In addition, I’ve tried a wide range of Sean Paradis’ hand-crafted pendulums, and they are responsive beyond anything I’ve seen with other pendulums.

So, I’ve had to revise my opinion of pendulums.

The cemetery that’s not a cemetery

On our way to the Mal’s Pals event, we stopped at a site that can only be described as “a cemetery that’s not a cemetery.” It looks like a cemetery, but – as I understand it – few (if any) bodies are buried there.

Something there is not right, and my camera – which had been working fine that morning – actually broke.  The lens only opened a tiny amount.  (I took photos, anyway.)

When we returned to the car, I tried it again, and it abruptly worked fine.  But, back at the cemetery, it seemed broken again.

This is one of the most dramatic and unique equipment failures I’ve seen in many years in paranormal research.

Lava Rock pendulum by Sean Paradis for Sleeping Meadows
Lava rock pendulum. Photo courtesy of Sean Paradis.

So, since the camera wasn’t reliable, I took out about half a dozen different pendulums that Sean had given me.  My favorite is the lava rock pendulum, shown at right.

However, I also tried Sean’s pyrite cube pendulum and the ruby pendulum, and a few others.  Each had its own behavior characteristics.  Each seemed very powerful. The answers were clear – and consistent – no matter which pendulum I tried.

How I use pendulums

With each pendulum, I do the same thing: I hold the weighted part in my hand for just a second, in case that imprints it with a connection to me.  Then, I hold the pendulum from the small, handle-style bead, pin, or whatever’s at the end of the chain or cord.

I say, “Show me a ‘yes’.” I wait to see what the pendulum does.

Then I say, “Show me a ‘no’.”

Once again, I wait to see what happens.  I have never seen a pendulum give the same response for both answers.  For me, a “yes” is usually a vertical swing, and “no” is a horizontal swing.  Now and then, it’ll be a circular motion, with clockwise being one answer and anti-clockwise being the other.

I check this every time I use a pendulum in a new location.  I’m not sure how much the answer relies on my psychic energy, the pendulum itself, or the energy at the location.  I’d never want to mistake a response.  So, I make a fresh start with each pendulum and each site where I test them.

A spirit named Fanny

At this sort-of cemetery, I was able to confirm – repeatedly – the identity of the energy (or spirit).  I had several names to work with, from the few headstones nearby.

tree branches - dark skyThe entity was named Fanny.  That was abundantly clear from the pendulum response to that name, and only that name.

However, that’s when the information stopped.  No matter what question I asked – and we tried a lot of questions – the entity wasn’t responsive.

I think I tried about five or six different pendulums.  Each time, the response was nearly identical.

Was the entity someone named Fanny?  Yes.  That was a dramatic swing from a full stop.

Did she have something to say?  Yes, maybe… it was sort of a yes, but not entirely clear.

There was no response when I asked whether she was frightened, if she was alive and well in her own time, whether her body was actually nearby, if she had unfinished business, and so on. (Those are questions I routinely use in my research.)

Every time I went back to the initial question about her name, the “yes” was clear.  Nothing else evoked a clear response.

It was a mystery, and remains one.

My conclusions

I’m always enthusiastic about mixing low-tech research methods with sensitive, scientific tools.  They may lead us to better “what if?” questions.

So, I’ll keep experimenting with pendulums. (If you want to try them, see my article, Pendulums – How They Work and How to Use Them. There, you’ll find a link to my free pendulum charts, too.)

In addition, I may conduct more research at the “cemetery that’s not a cemetery” and the area around a nearby ball field. (Those are all the hints I’ll share.)

For now, if you know the location, I hope you won’t broadly publicize it. If the site attracts too much attention, it may limit our ability to visit the site for undisturbed research.