Slimbridge Dowsing group


George Applegate, master dowser

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They came from Cam and they came from Cornwall, Cheshire, Kent, and all points in between, to hear the 90-year-old master dowser, George Applegate. And he did not disappoint. With hardly a wrinkle to be seen, and a distinct sparkle in his eye, George delighted his audience of over 40 on June 25th.

In a lengthy career of some sixty years and then some, George has dowsed for 2,534 water bore holes to be drilled thoughout the world. The deepest so far was 2 miles, but he has just signed a contract for one even deeper. The widest was a metre across, a major undertaking.

George does not do the drilling himself, of course, but he masterminds each project, gets the permits and planning permissions, appoints the driller, decides where to drill, and all the other major considerations in between.

He has dowsed for Madonna. “I told her to stand close to me while I explained it.” He has dowsed for Elton John, “but I told him to stand over there.” He has even dowsed with Prince Charles, who needless to say had to have a go himself. “But he wasnít very good at it,” murmured George.

George has a greater than 99 per cent success rate, but modestly chose to talk about a couple of rare failures. “Because, ladies and gentlemen,Ē he said, “you donít learn from your successes, you learn from your difficulties and failures.”

He must have learned a lot from one spectacular failure in Australia, where they spent around £7M drilling but hit a layer of rock that turned out to be impenetrable. “Fortunately it wasnít my £7M,” says George, “but I didnít get my fee either.”

Aaron Bray, George Applegate and Peter Golding Speaker George Applegate (centre) with Aaron Bray (Chairman of BSD Water & Site Dowsing Group), left, and Peter Golding, (Vice-Chairman of BSD WSDG) (right). Photo: Patrick Callaghan

His reputation remains unsullied, however, and he was recently invited to Perth, again in Australia, by a group of farmers who wanted him to come straight away, they were in desperate straits with no rain for over three years, no grass, cattle dying. They sent him a First Class ticket. “I decided I liked champagne after my fourth glass,” reports George, “and when the young lady attendant came along and offered me a pair of pyjamas to put on, I thought things were definitely looking up!”

One of Georgeís major achievements is discovering how to dowse the geology of an area. It is important for a water diviner and his driller to know what strata they will be drilling through - rocks, sand, chalk, limestone, etc., and even geological maps donít give enough detail.

His other major achievement, of course, is his book, “The Complete Book of Dowsing: The Definitive Guide to Finding Underground Water”, with another one on the way. It was a privilege to have him as our speaker.

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