Grave dowsing is one of the many ways in which this simple skill is used. The graves in question are usually not visible on the ground in any way. As with most dowsing applications, there are many different interpretations offered.
But, before we look at those, why go grave dowsing in the first place? What's the point of it?
Firstly, many cemeteries have become overgrown, headstones have fallen and there are no records of who was buried where or even how big the cemetery was.
Secondly, some cemeteries are no longer visible at all for various reasons, there were reports of burials in an area but nothing remains of any of them. In all such cases, the idea of grave dowsing is to locate where the bodies are. In some cases, the idea is to update records, in other cases, it is to find whether or not burials were carried out, and, if so, how many.
As with all types of dowsing, there are no widely accepted explanations as to how this technique must work. What one person says as being the reason will be ignored or contradicted by the next.
If you wanted to do this yourself, it would be best to start (with permission!), in a well-marked cemetery, in order to find out what happens when you dowse over a grave. Some dowsers swear that you can differentiate between the head and the feet and tell the sex of the interred person. Others will tell you that they can pinpoint the year of burial. Some will also dowse the depth of the grave, which might be of use if the location was thought to be somewhere that hasty burials took place. Also, the length of the grave might indicate whether an adult or child was buried (assuming that the person was not buried in a curled position). It's up to you to find out whether or not you can do any of those things yourself.
L-rods are the most usual tool, as they will swing one way or another or cross over, depending on what it question you are asking.
Of course, it is one thing to dowse and discover a grave, it is another thing entirely to prove what you have found. If you had been dowsing in what was thought to be an old graveyard, then, perhaps, you might be able to locate fallen headstones and use those to verify the locations.
Most grave dowsing is done with the collaboration or co-operation of local history societies who will frequently have access to other useful information about the site under investigation.
If you are interested in this type of dowsing, then you should talk with your local history and dowsing societies to see what information they already have and what else they are missing.
Have you been grave dowsing? What happened? Any tips you want to share? Let us know in the comments section below.