The use of a pendulum is a form of dowsing and can be traced to the ancient times; it is possible that pictoglyphs on the walls of the Tassili Caves in southern Algeria in Africa are the earliest evidence to date. The Chinese emperor Yu went on a dowsing expedition over 2,000 years BC and the art has been used by kings and psychics from then, though the middle ages to present times.
This form of dowsing is a popular method of attempting to communicate with spirits when on a ghost hunting investigation. This is possibly because being a small piece of equipment a pendulum does not take up much room in a bag and is light in weight; it has no moving parts to jam nor requires any batteries that can flatten. Likewise it does not need any great technical skills or psychic powers to operate it and yet the fact that this lump of rock, metal, wood, glass or even plastic dangling from a length of a chain or piece of string can seemingly answer questions is rather mysterious.
Is the pendulum made to move by the person holding it? That is always a possibility, every living person breaths and has a pulse making absolute stillness impossible. The possibility that the subconscious thoughts and desires of the dowser could also be affecting the pendulum has to be taken into account. And there are people who, for whatever reason, will deliberately make the pendulum move. Of course questions have to be worded so a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer will fit, which, when put together with the many ways of indicating answers, can leave much to individual interpretation.
Is there a right way to hold the pendulum? Some say the end of the chain should be gripped between forefinger and thumb others that the chain should be looped over the middle finger and yet others go as far to say the gem at the end of the chain should be on the thumb side on the finger, but does it really matter. Surely it is a question of personal taste, of which way is the most comfortable, and depends on the weight of the pendulum and the size of the gem, or whatever marks the end of the chain, provided the dowser is able to keep their arm and hand as still as possible.
Another point of contention between dowsers is how the pendulum displays its ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers. Again, no one seems to be able to agree. Some say ‘yes’ should be a clockwise movement others a back and forth movement like nodding your head, that ‘no’ should be a counter clockwise movement while their counterparts say ‘no’ is a side-to-side movement like a shake of the head as, to them, a clockwise circular moment means ‘I don’t know’, and a counter clockwise movement means ‘I won’t tell’. Some say the word ‘stop’ should be used to ensure that the pendulum settles before answering the next question. Yet others believe the pendulum, or the spirit in attendance, should dictate their own ‘yes’ and ‘no’ movements. This, to me, makes more sense; what if you get a spirit who does not understand ‘clockwise’. It is, after all, only in the past 100 years that clocks have become common place household item for common folk, hence the now fading practise of gifting a clock to a retiring worker. The evidence is found in places like Worsley, where the workers used the Bridgewater clock in Worsley yard, which had been set to strike 13 at 1.00pm on purpose, to mark the end of their lunch breaks. Again, I feel, it comes down to personal preferences. Likewise, just how much you believe the information gained through the answers to be real is down to how you interpret them.
It is fascinating to watch a pendulum begin to swing in the desired direction or in an apparent answer to a question, and then to stop moving again on demand. I have seen pendulums make very clear movements, then at other times indistinct or even no movement at all. Is this because some ‘ghosts’ are more willing to communicate or are stronger than others or is it down to one dowser being more anxious to ‘put on a good performance’ for their audience than another? Holding your arm as still as possible gets tiring, does this contribute to the pendulum’s movements? Are lighter pendulums more likely to give answers, or would that be because they are more susceptible to autonomic movements? Would two people using pendulums in the same place at the same time get the same answer to the same question?
For now, I seem to have more question than answers. Perhaps that is part of the mystery attached to using a pendulum. Perhaps I’ll find more answers the more I experiment.