Diviner for 77 years | Using a forked stick, Perry Rhine can locate water hidden in ground below
Perry Rhine knows he is in a dying career when he has to explain his job title.
Rhine is a diviner.
The 87-year-old has searched and found water using a stick for 77 years.
On this day, his light metal rod starts to bob as he walks across the grass. When it drops down, Rhine knows he has found a water vein.
“It just goes by itself,” said Rhine, who lives in Alix, Alta.
“It’s electricity in my body. It just works for me.”
Rhine has used a variety of tools over the years to search for water. At the moment, he uses a small, light-weight rod with a cable inside, originally designed for picking up garbage.
When the rod bobs, Rhine stops and counts the number of times the rod bobs. The number of bobs tells him the gallons per minute.
In this yard, the water ranges from 20 to 80 gallons per minute. Rhine uses a long branch off a chokecherry tree to measure the depth of the water.
Rhine said he became interested in divining when his father traded a team of horses in exchange for the drilling of a well when he was 10. The diviner marked the well with a stick. Rhine tried it and got the same results.
“I’ve found all sorts of water just using a forked stick.”
Rhine said many Hutterite colonies call him to help locate water, but often the well drillers don’t listen to his advice on the placement or depth of the well.
“The drillers don’t like me,” he said.
Rhine said people will miss his skills when he dies.
“One of these days they’ll wish Perry Rhine was still alive to find water.”
Rhine said he has spent thousands of dollars walking across fields mapping water veins. His goal is to publish a book showing underground water streams.
“I’ve spent a lot of my own money chasing water,” said Rhine.
He gets more calls during dry weather, he added.