By Patrick Hawthorne
Having just arrived home from work, I quickly shucked my work uniform and donned a pair of comfortable overalls. As I stepped out on my porch to get ready to feed my pigs, goats, and chickens, a small pickup truck rolled up my long drive. “I betcha that’s the line man,” I said looking down at my little dog Odie.
In preparations for building a deck, I had called the, “Call before you dig,” hotline so that markings could be made to indicate the location of buried lines and cables. Much to my surprise and pleasure, my wait was less than half a day.
Looking at the figure behind the wheel, I could instantly tell there was more man than truck. My suspicions were confirmed when he stepped out of the vehicle. The man, probably in his late sixties, was over six feet tall and of a hefty stock. His gray hair, swirling in every direction, resembled the looseness of a dry mop. His look was haggard but his demeanor friendly.
“How ya’ doing?” I asked the man as I walked out to greet him.
“Tired, but alright.” He smiled. “I’ve come to mark off your lines for you.”
Reaching into the back of his truck, the man pulled out a can of spray paint attached to a pole…and a long thin L-shaped metal rod. “Where’s the detection device?” I thought to myself.
Curiosity getting the best of me, I followed the line man as he walked behind my house to the location where I was planning to dig the holes for the deck posts. With the can of paint in one hand and the metal rod in his other hand, he began to walk the yard.
“A diviner’s rod?” I thought in total amazement? What kind of back woods Hill Billy hick had they sent to check for the location of my lines? Suddenly my mind went King James. “What strange magic doth this devil use?”
I was prepared to laugh this dude off but, once again, curiosity got the best of me. I pretty much know where every line is buried so it was no big deal to me if he got the right location of buried lines or not. I was just following the law by having him come out.
Having made up my mind that Mr. Voodo man could do what he wanted, I mentally cooked up a batch of popcorn as I got ready to watch the show. Knowing that he was coming up on an electric line encased in PVC that I had personally buried years ago, I was ready to rib him and say, “Ummmm, you missed one.” But, to my surprise, something very odd occurred instead.
As the man approached the area of the line, his metal rod began to swing to the left. He took a few steps forward and the rod straightened out. Turning back, as he crossed the line again, the rod swung to the opposite side. He then spray painted the area.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I spouted in amazement!
“That actually works? There is no way you could have known I ran an electric line years ago right where you detected. The line is dead now, but it is still buried. That rod really works?”
“Sure it does. You want to try?”
The man handed me the wire and instructed me how to hold it. I immediately walked to an area where I knew my sewage line was buried. As soon as I got to the point, the rod began to swing in the direction of the line. I was amazed. Thinking that I might have somehow manipulated it by muscle tension, I tried it again…and again…and again. I kept getting the same result. But how was that possible?
The man, seeing the bewilderment on my face, told me it was simply a matter of using the earth’s magnetic field to your advantage. The lines in the ground create a break in the magnetic field causing the metal rod to turn. There was nothing magical…nothing scary…nothing devilish about the process.
Although I’m not totally convinced on the use of a metal rod to find hidden obstacles, I am concerned about what the Scriptures say about the use of divination materials. Divination is the practice of attempting to foretell future events or discover hidden knowledge by occult or supernatural means…thus the name, “Diviner’s Rod.”
This man was no more using the occult to find the buried lines than a politician uses their brain to find common sense. If he had, I would have quickly ushered him away from my home. No, he was simply using a little bit of knowledge of the earth’s magnetic pull to his benefit. Is his method a scientifically proven method? Well, the jury is still out of that one.
If you agree or disagree, let me know your thoughts. Be blessed.