Dec 12, 2016

Water Dowsing – Magnetism in Humans

While on a visit to a family friend, I was told by the most senior person in the hosting family about his capability for water dowsing. He said he helped many families to locate water by directing them to the spots in their homesteads where they could possibly find underground water if dug a few meters. According to him, he had a special gift which helped him to locate the presence of ground water following this method.

A drawing of water dowser

This method is popularly called water dowsing, apart from other names like water divining, water witching, or simply water finding. This is a widely used method of finding the location for water-wells. In our place, there were special persons who were known for their ability to use a ‘Y’ shaped water-dowsing rod coupled with the magnetism in their bodies, to locate the presence of water underground.

Science calls this method fake, and classify it under Pseudoscience. But we can’t treat everything baseless; due to the inability of the scientific methods to give an explanation for a certain phenomenon. I hope science would at least in a later period find a reason for this particular magnetic capability of a few of selected human beings.

Coming back to the respectable and elderly person who told me about this particular ability – in his lifetime, he had used this method around thousand times to trace water. Not a single suggestion from him went futile, as per his claim. This person is a school teacher, so there rests a certain amount of credibility in what he says. He also said he could not use this method more than three to four times a day, as excessive use of this would affect his heart.

Water dowsing rod. 
The water dowsing method includes the use of a dowsing rod, which is Y-shaped as written above. The two branches of the rod are held using the thumbs of both the hands by keeping the tail branch of the rod parallel to the ground. By maintaining the stature, the dowser (he is also called a diviner as he uses the divining rod) walks along the homestead. It is said that when the dowser’s magnetic capacity traces the proximity of groundwater, the tail branch of the dowsing rod would move towards that location. Taking clue of the rod’s movement, the dowser moves to the location where he can feel the vibration of the rod in the maximum. This final location is where the water can most easily be found. The water divination works this way.

Apart from the direct, face-to-face account by the aforementioned elderly person about his talent, I also had happened to hear third-party narratives about persons with same water witching abilities. As I heard, when asked about the source of their talent, they all attributed their special gift to the effects of magnetism. Moreover, in all cases, the dowser has to employ an apparatus either in a rod shape or in other shapes like the pendulum to make use of their bodily magnetism.

Dec 4, 2016

Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221B Baker Street | Review

Private Detective Sherlock Holmes – from my humble point of view – has been the most influential fictional character among all I read, and everything I watched. Unless I read him, I suspect if I would have attempted even blogging. I am unable to put in words the mystic feeling that such a little coinage like ‘221B Baker Street’ brings to my mind. I used to often hear or read from Sherlock buffs that the apartment where he and Dr John H Watson supposedly lived actually exists there and the same address receives a lot of letters from potential customers on a daily basis. By these specific reasons, 221B Baker Street remained on top of my must-see destination list.

A Sherlock Holmes Silhouette painting
available for sale
After moving to Dublin from India, I got the opportunity to actualize my long time wish. I visited United Kingdom twice. I went to see Baker Street in London city during the first trip and 221B during the second. A casual walk through the Baker Street alone was enough to satiate my wish as I believed a visit to the 221B apartment was not going to create a greater impression in mind than what I had in mind through reading the Sherlock books. But still, a wish is a wish! So, I decided to spend 15 British Pounds to make a physical visit to the 221B Baker Street museum.

The apartment is four-storied. It has been designed based on the details provided in the Canon of Sherlock Holmes. On the ground floor, there is a store from where we get tickets to the Sherlock Holmes museum.  You can buy souvenirs from there ranging from books, Sherlock paintings, deerstalker hats, visiting cards, to film DVDs, and everything is hugely prized. I think the chest badge I bought for 2 Pounds is the cheapest one. This floor has an underground section where toilet facilities for visitors are provided.

The souvenir I bought from the shop
The entrance to the upper floors is guarded by a sentry in Victorian uniforms. Every staff in the museum is clad in the attire that reminds us of the Victorian times. Going up on the first floor, we are taken to the living room of Mrs Hudson, who was the landlady of Holmes and Watson according to the stories. There are places where we can sit and take photographs while holding a typical smoking pipe and wearing a Deerstalker hat, which were famously used by the fictional detective. A visitors’ book is available there on the table where we can put our signs, and guess what? I was the only visitor from India who signed on the page which was open.

The Sherlock Holmes Museum
The Blogger at the 221B living room
donning the Deerstalker hat
Going up on the second floor, we see Sherlock Holmes’s bed room and living hall. Every floor has a bedroom and a living room, and every room is comparatively very small. A bust of Sherlock Holmes as described in ‘The Adventure of the Empty House’ is placed near to a window memorizing the events in the story. There are several of such replicas everywhere, Holmes’s violin, books read by Watson, and many. Replica of the characters and instances of the books are portrayed in the living room of the third floor. Characters in ‘The Man with the Twisted Lip’ ‘The Disappearances of Lady Frances Carfax’, ‘The Speckled Band’, and some more are portrayed in the third floor in life-like sizes. Close to the third floor living room you can see Watson’s bed room. A little above the third floor, there is a toilet which is not for the public use. There is an attic on top of the toilet area, which is forbidden from accessing.

The blogger's name in the visitors book
The Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221B Baker Street is a good place to visit, and there are a lot of visitors. It is run by the Sherlock Holmes Society, and above all there is a blue plaque for Holmes on the outer walls of the building. Although their effort is worthy of applause, I felt that some part of the layout of the building bears less resemblance with the depiction of the 221B building in the narrative. I could be wrong as well!

Note: You might have noticed that I nearly missed mentioning Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. Why blame me? Such gigantic is the impression of his creation, needless to say!

Trivia 1: During the time of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, street numbers in Baker Street did not go as high as 221, which might be the reason why Conan Doyle chose a higher street number, to prevent the address from matching any actual person’s residence.

Trivia 2: As per the naming convention of the buildings in Baker Street, the actual house number of the Sherlock Holmes museum should be 239 Baker Street. There was some controversy associated with renaming 239 into 221B when the museum was opened in 1990.

The blue plaque, they are rarely
given to fictional characters

The Man with the
Twisted Lip

The Scotland Yard wanted help
from Sherlock

The Deerstalker hat, gun, pipe,
binocular, and measurement tape

An exterior view of the Baker Street.
 The Sherlock Holmes Museum is
seen at the right side.

A statue of Irene Adler,
Holmes's love interest

221B Baker Street, London
A view of the Sherlock Holmes
Museum and 221B
Baker Street

The famous bust of Sherlock,
from The Empty House

Supposed handwriting of Sherlock

A portrayal from The Solitary

Holmes is portrayed in the stories
as a music enthusiast, a violinist

Hats of Holmes and Watson,
magnifying glass and pipe

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