This story starts out with me at the age of 8 years old.
I grew up on a farm in rural Nebraska. As many farmers do, we did things for ourselves constantly and could not afford to hire everything done. On this occasion my dad was trying to find an underground buried water pipe. He needed to locate it, dig it up and hook into it for a water line to a stock tank. He was talking to an older neighbor we had that tried to explain what is called witching to my dad. My dad decided it could not hurt to try it out.
According to this old farmer it is done by taking two pieces of bent wire and holding them loosely in your hands. You walk forward in a straight line and the wires will turn in and become parallel or cross each other in front of your body when they pas over a pipe. My dad tried and tried but it just did not work for him very well.
I was curious and walked over beside my dad to see what he was doing. As soon as I got close to him both wires swung toward me. He thought he had finally found a pipe. He told me to stand a couple feet away and mark the place he thought he found the pipes. He backed up moved over a few feet and tried again. Nothing happened and he tried again and again. He stopped and called me over to him. As soon as I got 3 feet away the wires began to swing toward me. He said hmmm. My mom told my dad why don't you let him try to do it. My dad let me hold the wires and instructed me to do what the old farmer had described.
Here is what I figured out and learned that day. As I held lightly onto the wires in my hands and relaxed the wires would stick out from my body parallel. I mean they were perfectly pointed straight ahead as I walked forward. I must have spent 30 minutes walking around where we thought the water pipe might be. All of a sudden I felt like a tug or pull and vibration. I walked in a semicircle because the wires stared turning to the left side slightly and I decided to follow them. In one area not to far from where my dad thought the pipe should be I crossed right over it. I felt a strong pull and both wires turned in and crossed themselves right in front of my chest. If I backed up they began to pull straight out front again. I mean it was a noticeable tug and I felt a vibration. My dad said let's dig it's the only way will find out or not. We dug down about 5 feet and there it was a 1 inch galvanized water line right under where I was standing.
I went all over in that area and we marked out the pipe a distance in line and dug it up again. I had learned a new skill I did not know I had. I tried it with 2 pieces of copper wire and I could find underground buried cables as well. I tried with a willow branch and could find underground springs, wells and water pipes. I had a relative that found out and said heck hand him an oil can and let's make some money. Quite the comic don't you think.
To sum up this story. Some old wives tales and myths are based in reality. Oh sure some skeptic will say there is a perfect scientific explanation for it. I say, well then why isn't everybody doing it? I would also invite those skeptics to go out and try it and see what happens.
On a related note I also can find many objects I actively look for.
I went away and read a bit more on the subject and found a few articles for your reference:
On a side note: I'm sorry to hear how your relative made light of your gift. There may be just a tinge a bit of envy (and perhaps fear?) that moved him to react in such a way. But that is his issue, not yours. Personally, I'd love to be able to find any number of lost items.
Thank you for sharing this memory. 😊