Dowsing Device

An object, such as a forked branch or wooden stick, used to locate hidden objects by consulting supernatural or magical forces. The Dowsing Device itself is not necessarily magical, but it functions as a focus at least.

Another variation is to use a pendulum, either by carrying it and following the direction of its movement or by holding it over a map.

This is a very old "folk magic" idea in the real world. In fiction, it tends to be used either as Functional Magic or as something for the skeptic to snark at - or sometimes, both at the same time.

Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • James uses one in an episode of Pokémon.
  • Numata of Kurosagi Corpse Delivery Service normally uses a pendulum to dowse for corpses. In one story, however, he uses the more traditional bent sticks to honor the man who taught him the technique, who's been murdered himself.
  • In The Vision of Escaflowne Hitomi uses a pendant and a map to locate the missing Von Fanel.
  • JK's Iconic Item in Seikimatsu Occult Gakuin. He can also use them as weapons, lockpicks and pretty much anything else.
  • Eila uses one in Strike Witches 2, episode seven, to track down the Neuroi that's been invading the girls' pants.
  • Kurapika in Hunter × Hunter uses one of his nen chains to locate people among others.
  • Caesar in Girls und Panzer uses a falling stick on an Eastern-style compass card to determine a direction to search in while looking for new tanks and, later, a team of missing freshmen. Coincidentally, the school offers magic as an elective and Roman generals and magistrates were responsible for certain forms of official divination.

    Comic Books 
  • In Tintin, Professor Calculus occasionally attempts dowsing with a pendulum. Its success varies, but it generally finds something he's looking for but doesn't know he's looking for.
  • Used by a Smurf in a one-page Smurfs story who uses it to find treasure, and discovers what he thinks is an underground well of water that makes Smurfs feel funny — only to not realize that it was an underground distillery Papa Smurf was using to make sarsaparilla wine.

    Film 
  • In The Princess Bride, Inigo prays to his late father to guide his sword — then successfully divines the entrance to the Pit Of Despair.
  • Coraline (at least in the movie version) uses one that turns out to be made of poison oak.
  • The Thing That Couldn't Die (a horror film which would have languished in well-deserved obscurity had Mike and the Bots not discovered it) centers around a young girl who can 'water-witch' and consequently discovers the body of a man (justly) condemned to a Fate Worse Than Death.
  • In The Water Diviner, Russell Crowe plays a character whose near-supernatural ability to find water sources is a recurring motif.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Munsters: Grandpa Munster had a transistorized one with multiple settings.
    Grandpa: Ah! Here it is! cackles with glee My radio direction finder.
    Herman: Direction finder? Grandpa, that's just an old-fashioned divining rod!
    Grandpa: True, true, heh, but I had it transistorized last month! Dials show that the direction finder can be set to find Water, Girls, Metal and Flying Objects.
  • Gilligan used a divining rod in an episode of Gilligan's Island.
  • Artemus Gordon, of The Wild Wild West, uses the forked branch variety in a rather elaborate plan to rescue his partner and another prisoner in "The Night of the Underground Terror."

    Newspaper Comics 

    Video Games 
  • Pokémon has the Itemfinder, also called the Dowsing Machine in Japan and, internationally, from Generation IV onwards. The Pokétch, introduced in Pokémon Diamond and Pearl, features a Dowsing Machine application which essentially performs the same function.
  • In the first Broken Sword game, George briefly uses a divining rod to find an ancient well (he finds nothing but an extremely old tin can, but when he tosses it aside...).
  • Persona 4: Ms Sofue has one. One sidequest requires the MC to get special materials for her to build a new one once her old one has "stopped responding to her powers".
  • In Touhou, dowsing is Nazrin's schtick. Her rods appear to be weather vanes. Also uses a crystal pendant.
  • The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword has this as a main mechanic, to search for keys, pick-ups and Zelda.
  • In Dishonored, Corvo is given a biomechanical Heart he can use to find Runes and Bone Charms.
  • Shadow of the Colossus has this as a main gameplay mechanic, where Wander's Sword is used to locate the next enemy, as well as its weak points.

    Western Animation 
  • The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Mysterious Mayhem at Mutant High": The Ringmaster has a divining rod that can find fractals.
  • Used in the first episode of Total Drama World Tour.
  • In one Looney Tunes short, Wile E. Coyote gets his tail on fire, so he uses a divining rod to find for water to douse it.
  • In the Ren and Stimpy episode "Royal Canadian Kilted Yaksmen", one is used to find a vein of Canada's greatest resource: dirt. It consists of a shovel with some fruit placed on top.
  • Used a few times in The Smurfs: once by a treasure-hunting imp who was looking for the treasure of the ancient Smurfs, and once by Gargamel to track down Smurfs.
  • She uses no rods herself, but Rarity from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic knows a spell that serves as this for gems. In "Cutie Mark Chronicles", filly Rarity's horn acted up on its own and dragged her across the landscape to a huge rock filled with gems.

    Real Life