Divining Intervention

Skeptics say dowsers are all wet. But Greg Storozuk believes.

Late afternoon, Panorama Park, Wheat Ridge.

Greg Storozuk stands beneath a pine tree. Sprinklers hiss in the background, a breeze blows in from the north, a kid rolls by on a scooter, the May sun burns through a milky sky.

"To any question in life," he begins, "the answer is already known. All the dowser has to do is ask the right questions."

John Johnston
Water, water, everywhere: Greg Storozuk pores over 
his maps.
John Johnston
Water, water, everywhere: Greg Storozuk pores over his maps.

Storozuk slips a set of plastic L-shaped rods from a leather holster at his right hip and aims them straight ahead, like a kid drawing toy pistols.

He faces east.

"Now, I look at this as though it is my piece of property," he says. "And if I owned this land, where would I drill a water well?"

He closes his eyes and tilts his head slightly forward.

"Am I ready to dowse now?"

The rods slowly open, like a pair of butterfly wings.

"For me, that means the answer is yes," he says. "If they close, it means no."

Storozuk closes his eyes.

"From where I'm standing, right here, right now, where is the nearest underground vein: fresh, flowing drinking water?"

He waits a moment and repeats his question.

"From where I'm standing, right here, right now, where is the nearest underground vein: fresh, flowing drinking water?"

The rods swing slowly to the north.

Storozuk follows.

After four consecutive mild winters, Colorado stares at its driest summer in decades. With such a light mountain snowpack, rivers trickle at a fraction of their normal flows. Reservoirs sink week by week; irrigation canals lie empty. Wheat fields shrivel away; forest timber stands as dry as matchsticks. Nuns pray for another miracle at the Mother Cabrini wellspring.

Headlines scream the news: "S. Colorado driest in 100 years." "'Biblical' level help needed." "Dolores River too dry to cry."

Governor Bill Owens has asked the federal government to declare the entire state a drought emergency area. Forest officials and county authorities have banned campfires. Colorado Springs has shut off public fountains and limited irrigation of public lands. Aurora has set mandatory lawn-watering schedules and raised fines for heavy water users. Denver has shut off its public fountains, too, and requested voluntary conservation. Lafayette has offered to pay farmers to stop watering crops.

As June approaches, water authorities look toward summer rains to bail them out.

Hal Simpson, state engineer with the Colorado Division of Water Resources: "This is a very serious situation. In some parts of the southern half of the state, we have what may be the driest year on record."

Brad Lundahl, chairman of the Colorado Drought Task Force: "Because we can't predict the future, we have to take it very seriously, especially in agricultural terms. Yeah, it's pretty bad."

Ralph Curtis, manager of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District: "For people who rely strictly on surface water, this is going to be a long, hot summer."

"To dowse is to search for anything lost, missing or badly needed."

-- Christopher Bird, The Divining Hand: The 500-Year-Old Mystery of Dowsing.

His friends call him a lone wolf, but Greg Storozuk is more of a bear. He can be gruff, solemn, wary and formidable, a 56-year-old balding, big-bellied, blue-eyed bachelor who spends each Christmas day wandering cemeteries.

"I like the solitude," he says. "Maybe I'm among friends; I don't know."

Storozuk has been a full-time, professional dowser for over twenty years. He's served as president of the American Society of Dowsers. He's given numerous lectures, demonstrations and dowsing classes. He's manufactured dowsing supplies. He's written various articles, booklets and reports. And for fees ranging from gas money to $300 a day, he's used dowsing to locate water wells, petroleum reservoirs, toxic energy grids, lost septic tanks, pesky insects and angry ghosts.

On many days, he wears faded blue jeans, a cotton T-shirt and white slip-on shoes. Sunglasses dangle from his neck; a floppy leather hat sits on his head. The aroma of tobacco follows him like an apparition. When he's not reclining in his cluttered Edgewater home with a pet cockatoo named Frito perched upon his shoulder, he's searching for oil reserves with a handheld pendulum and a set of geological maps or hunting underground water veins in some weedy field with nothing more than a clear mind and a pair of dowsing rods.

He's polite, friendly and talkative -- once he gets going -- but he does have definite subjects he won't discuss. Like his clients. He will not, under any circumstances, divulge the names, addresses or telephone numbers of the people he works with. Given the unorthodox nature of his business, he maintains strict confidentiality agreements. Push too hard and he'll take a drag from an American Spirit cigarette, stare straight ahead and let the silence linger like the white smoke leaking from his mouth. Then he'll tap away the ash, twist his mouth and politely change the subject.

"Either you have a confidentiality agreement or you don't," he says.

Over the years, he's been heckled, ridiculed and dismissed so many times that he's lost count. Even his own brother, a retired editor in New York, thinks he's weird. But that's okay with him. He doesn't care what most people think. He doesn't seek the spotlight. He doesn't advertise his services. His clients find him through word-of-mouth recommendations from previous customers and other dowsers.

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