Dowsing is a divinational art of locating water, metals, and other items that are out of sight, usually below the ground, by the use of a "Y" shaped tree branch or other forked rod. Sometimes called water witching, dowsing has been around for about 7,000 years.
During the Middle Ages, the Catholic church incorrectly associated dowsing with the devil. Forced into disrepute for so long, dowsing is now on a comeback. Today, dowsing is more commonly used in geology, archaeology, locating missing persons, and by savvy utility companies for the location of damaged cables and pipes.
In Europe and Britain, a form of dowsing is used in medical diagnosis, but that remains illegal in the United States.
A dowser is a person who is adept at dowsing.