After failing to find a suitable water source, church members on Whidbey Island are turning to an ancient technology to locate the precious liquid.
Members of Bridge Christian Fellowship Community Church recently brought in the services of a “dowser” to find a suitable water vein on their North Whidbey Island property.
The dowser, Bellingham resident Neil Stamey, recently walked the 20-acre property located off Troxell Road with his two bamboo sticks, hoping to find a large enough water source for the church, which is 13,000 square feet in size and includes a kitchen and classrooms.
“I’ve been doing this for about 26 years all around the area,” Stamey said as he was walking the border of the church’s property. “It scared the hell out of me when I found out I could do it.”
He said he learned he had the skill for dowsing when he was camping near Mount Baker. He came across another camper who was trying to find water. He picked up a stick, gave it a shot and was surprised he had the skill.
“That kind of spooked me,” said Stamey, who used to be a loadmaster in the Navy and was once stationed at Whidbey Island Naval Air Station. People from as far away as Georgia have asked for his dowsing services.
As he wandered through the property, he grasped two bamboo sticks, tied together in the shape of a “V” and pointing straight ahead.
When he walked over an area he said was a water source, his sticks would vibrate and then point down. He identified one source that was directly underneath the location of the planned building. Fortunately, he thinks he discovered a larger source of water in the same area and it was marked for the next drilling attempt.
“That’s the granddaddy there,” Stamey said confidently.
He used a fishing rod, with a quartz crystal on the end of it, to ascertain the depth of the water source.
According to the American Society of Dowsers Web site, there are countless theories about how the process may work. Stamey said he believes it involves the body’s electrical impulses and magnetic field.
Evidence of what could be dowsing, also known as water witching, can be found in ancient etchings from the Middle East, Africa and China. There are passages in the Bible hinting at dowsing, according to the Web site.
One of the Whidbey Island church members, architect Paul Schwulst, had previously used Stamey’s services. Stamey was able to located a water source on his Campbell Lake property that is now the household water supply. Other members of the church are also helping with the well. Dave Walton, owner of Pioneer Tree Service, helped clear a trail to allow the drillers to work.
Schwulst said that because the first, traditional attempt to find water wasn’t successful, using Stamey’s services might prove more efficient.
“We felt we had to get a better approach,” Schwulst said.
Members of Bridge Christian Fellowship Community Church started worshiping in 2003 out of a living room. Since then, the church has grown to approximately 300 people and services currently take place in a barn on Ducken Road, said Jeff D’Angelo, church administrator.
Members had been looking for a church site on North Whidbey because it draws people from Whidbey and Fidalgo islands. The proposed church is nestled in the woods and won’t be visible from the road, D’Angelo said.
After seeing Stamey’s results, he is more confident about undertaking another spendy drilling project.
“It makes us feel better about drilling again,” D’Angelo said. The church spent about $200 for Stamey’s services and drilling for the new well is planned for this week.
Currently, the project is undergoing site plan review with the county and a septic system has to be installed. Church members hope construction of the new building will take six months and it should be complete in early 2010.
Source: Whidbey News Times