10 DECEMBER 1948, Page 16


Slit —A copy of The Spectator for November 26th has just reached me, and on page 700, in Country Life there is a rather sceptical note entitled The Invincible Dowser, which moves me to say something about this queer, unexplainable ability that some people possess. I am the youngest daughter of the late Henry Chesterman, who died in 1942 at the ripe age of 88, and who was in his day the most notable of water-diviners. He was a simple person, utterly incapable of gulling anyone. As a young man in India he had witnessed a local diviner practising his art, tried the hazel twig himself, and to his intense surprise found it revolving rapidly in his hands, hold it no matter how firmly he would. Many years elapsed before he seriously set himself to work out any kind of theory and system and to become a professional water-diviner ; but this be eventually did, travelling widely in Europe and coaching pupils from France, Portugal, S. Africa and Australia, who came to England for this set purpose. He not only located water, but could estimate its depth and velocity with fair accuracy. Later he followed up " prospecting " with artesian well-boring, actually producing the water located by bringing it to the surface for use.

One thing a diviner cannot do, however, is to guarantee good water, and I remember a law-suit on this point brought by a disappointed client. It is interesting that only two of my father's seven children inherited his gift. The constant use of the twig had, I remember, a curious effect of contraction on my father's hands, and these became permanently cupped. The writer of the note on The Invincible Dowser seems to expect the same person to react equally to the presence of water, metals and criminals, but this, surely, is expecting too muchl—Yours truly,