British Army tried to harness ‘supernormal’ powers in WW2

Records I discovered at The National Archives show the British Army’s top brass tried to harness ‘supernormal‘ powers during the war against Hitler – and may still be conducting experiments on a range of special powers.

An article by Mark Branagan in The Sunday Express summarises the research published in my 2014 book Britain’s X-traordinary Files (Bloomsbury):

Soldier at work with dowsing rods during British Army experiments in Dorset, UK, 1968

Soldier at work with dowsing rods during British Army experiments in Dorset, UK, 1968

During the Battle of Britain and Blitz they began tests to see if unexploded bombs and mines could be detected with water divining rods.

The idea of using the para­normal even reached war leader Winston Churchill’s ears and, when victory in Europe was secured, it continued to obsess military boffins for decades.

They persevered with their efforts to use troops armed with divining rods to strike fear in enemy hearts for another 30 years before finally ditching it as unworkable.

The notion was inspired in 1940 when officials heard of a policeman using a divining rod to search for victims of a Nazi bombing in Warwick. Word of it reached Herbert Morrison’s civil defence department, which reported to Churchill.

In an experiment in 1940, a dowser was used to explore the gardens of the National Physical Laboratory in Teddington for buried objects. His trusty rod failed to detect a large gas main running 2ft under the grounds or a bomb case in an underground trench. Dowsing was written off as “completely unreliable”.

Yet by 1968, with British forces in difficulties in Aden, experi­ ments were recommenced. A dummy minefield was laid over a 384­acre heath in Dorset and dowsers were called in.

They failed to find any of the 400 explosives, either by walking the ground or trying to locate them on maps.

A 1941 file on the policeman’s claims, which were debunked, was found in the National Archives by Sheffield academic Dr David Clarke, who also found a dossier on the later experiments. He has written a book called Britain’s X­traordinary Files.

He said yesterday: “Dowsing, divination and other super­ natural powers sound like some­ thing from The X­Files.

“Yet during wartime the Brit­ ish government was prepared to consider all kinds of unconven­ tional methods to gain a tactical advantage over the enemy.

“I would be surprised, in the aftermath of 9/11 and with the war on terror, if the military are not still working on super-normal experiments.”

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2 Responses to British Army tried to harness ‘supernormal’ powers in WW2

  1. erique says:

    If anything works and is repeatable, the military will weaponize it, the fact that there are no battalions of spoon-benders, dowsers or ‘psychics’ making the military mightier says all I need to know about the existence of these ‘forces’…maybe a bit of a logical fallacy…but I will not be losing sleep over that lol

    I’m pretty open-minded, or was, I believed in much of the woo over the years, but as I grow older I see that none of it stands up to scrutiny, with more people on the planet, that’s more people that could conceivably be born with ‘magic powers’ and more people to observe them, yet we still have nothing but anecdotes for everything. Case in point, ET piloted flying saucers and triangles, there must be over a billion cameras and video cameras out there now, from iPhones to 4K professional kit, yet every ‘flying saucer’ picture is a hazy, pixelated speck at best.

    Many believers leap to the supernatural before really looking a the mundane and the probable…UFO’s could be unexplained natural phenomena, but no, it has to be ET. Same with dowsing and fortune telling, instead of putting it down to the most probable, coincidence, it has to be mystical forces…even if these people woke up and smelled the coffeee, it would be decaffeinated lol

  2. Chris Banks says:

    You forgot to mention that cameras, cell phones, electronic measuring equipment, ect. can and will be affected by UFO phenomena. Even the Best cell phones, cameras, video recorders on the market may turn up a “Grainie” photo or video. If you give in to the idea that “They” are operating on a completely different frequency, or even no frequency at all it’s entirely possible that “They” can jam a cell phone, car battery, video camera, ect. completely at will. Honestly, we have zero idea what we are dealing with and furthermore have even less knowledge of what type of sophisticated intelligence that’s behind it all.

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