Born Into A Dowsing Family

For The Curious, The Seeker, For Those Who Know, There Is More To Life Than What We See . .

Dowsing rods always hung from this rack on the front porch of the old farmhouse. Just in case…. Bette’s copper L rods replace the peach tree limb her grandfather, Sidney Lamb, kept hanging on this porch.

When I [Bette Epstein] was a little kid in Kentucky, everyone knew my grandpa, Sidney Lamb, because he was a WATERWITCH.

But I have no memory of anyone coming to him to find water, although they did frequently.   My best memories are of folks coming to the house and asking him to look for lost objects or people.

One hot summer afternoon when I was six, I was sitting on the front porch playing Chinese Checkers with my Grandma Pheby, when we saw a big black car pull up into the yard.  A driver opened the door for the passengers,

A couple who appeared to be in their late thirties,  were very well-dressed and obviously extremely distressed.   “Could we see Mr. Sid, please”? the gentleman asked.  My Grandma gave me the look that said “go get him”  and when I returned she gave me a look that indicated I was to remove myself from the gathering.    I found a great place to hide and watch, within earshot.   (I was one of those annoying kids who never stopped talking.)

The couple told a sad story of their twelve-year old son who lived in a home for mentally disabled children about twenty miles from us.   The boy had left the facility three days earlier and the authorities had been unable to find him.   “We will pay you anything you ask, Mr. Sid, if you will just help us.”   I listened carefully as Sid took down all the details.  My Grandpa always kept a fresh peach tree limb hanging on a nail on the porch.  He took the limb, told the family to sit down and enjoy Pheby’s iced tea, and he walked down from the house about fifty yards to the edge of the woods where he turned his back to us and began to do his work.

The couple and their driver did not take their eyes off Mr. Sid.   We could see his tree limb going down, Sid bringing it back up, and it going down again.  Very quickly he returned to the porch.

“Well, your boy is all right for now.  He is in a creek bed about three miles from the home and has been sleeping by the edge of the water where the soil is soft.  For some reason he has removed all of his clothing and he is pretty scratched up from the briars.   I will draw you a map but you will need mules to get down there.   It is not accessible by car.”    The boys mother began to sob and in a romantic moment that touched this little girls  heart,  her husband put his arms around her and pulled her to him.   He held her while she sobbed, not caring who shared this intimate time with them.

After handshakes and good wishes, the couple and their driver slowly pulled down the lane.

A phone call the following day confirmed that all of Sid’s dowsing had been right on.   His stock went up in my eyes to the status of demi-god.   I gave up Chinese Checkers and began following Mr. Sid everywhere he went.   I was fortunate enough to live with them another two years before my Mom and her husband moved us to Indiana.  No one mentioned dowsing again for many years.   Momma said it was best “not to talk of those things publicly”  in the city.

Visiting my Momma in l982, I discovered dowsing again.  She had been widowed for a second time and remarried again.   This time to a man named Art who had been taught by the U.S. Army in Germany during WW2 to dowse for land mines.   After my bragging to Art of the things Mr. Sid could do, he went to the closet, took out two clothes hangers, bent them into an L shape, put them into my hands and said, “That old man couldn’t do anything you can’t do.  Go out there and walk up and down the street and think about sewer lines”.   That was the second defining moment in my metaphysical life.  The rest is the history of my life as a dowser.

Bette Epstein 214-358-3633

bette@heartsong.com