Monday, December 05, 2022

Plains man describes dowsing as spiritual endeavor

Hagadone News Network | May 11, 2021 12:00 AM

Leland Keele said his wife, with whom he had four daughters, was annoyed when he’d tell her she was pregnant - before she even knew.

The Blackfoot, Idaho native and resident of Plains for the last 11 years, is a dowser.

Keele said he has been practicing dowsing for 60 years. It's the practice of using a forked stick, rod, pendulum or similar device to locate underground water, minerals or other hidden or lost substances, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Keele said his unique ability to sense things others couldn’t allowed him to know when his then-wife Linda was expecting one of their four children.

“She didn’t like it when I’d tell her she was pregnant before she even knew,” Keele said. “I knew she was pregnant with our fourth child, but I didn’t tell her so she could enjoy being the first to tell everyone.”

Dowsing has been a controversial subject of debate for centuries. Scientists generally don’t believe it, but people living in more rural communities still rely on dowsers to help them find good sources of drinkable water.

Keele’s family, which included two brothers and one sister, left Idaho for Montana when he was 6 years old. They settled in Anaconda. Keele’s father died when he was just 4, so the next several years were marked by a lack of stability despite the fact his mother had remarried to a man he described as having a “heart of gold.”

He lived in Twin Bridges for a few years before leaving school there to work on a ranch in Riverdale, Utah. He later returned to Anaconda and worked in a bakery before going to work for the Butte, Anaconda and Pacific Railway.

Then it was on to a position with the Anaconda Copper Mining Company. When he moved to the Helena area to work in a mine, he met an old dowser, many years his senior.

“I followed him around, asked a lot of questions and my job was to dig for gold where he said,” Keele said. “We found a nice gold piece shaped like a Christmas tree.

“I thought if this guy could do it, then I could, too,” he said.

For Keele, dowsing is a spiritual matter.

“It’s where dowsing comes from,” he said. “It’s a feeling I have that’s special, somewhere between the subconscious and conscious. A lot of people aren’t in touch with that side.”

Keele described dowsing and some of the tools that are used to find water or minerals.

“A professional dowser knows you have to individualize each thing you are looking for. Each thing has its own energy,” Keeler said.

Keele uses a pendulum and brass L rods.

“The pendulum could be made of anything,” he said. “It could be a pressed rock, an elk horn, but my favorite is a lead crystal.”

Keele said it’s also a must for a dowser to have a clear mind.

“If you’re having a bad day and you’re distracted, it’s not good to be dowsing. You need a clear mind,” Keele said.

Keele said he’s had thousands of clients he’s dowsed for and he keeps his services affordable.

“I’ve kept records in an old notebook and it’s pretty full. There are a lot of memories in there, too,” Keele said. “It’s amazing what we can do and what we still have to learn.”

For more information, Keele may be reached at 406-660-1755 or 406-242-0620.

Reporter Scott Shindledecker may be reached at 758-4441 or

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