now and then, an old story about a Texas boy who had X-ray vision, and could locate
underground water, surfaces in one of the fifty-plus East Texas newspapers I read
every week. |
This time, the story
showed up in the Polk County Enterprise under columnist Mike
Cox’s byline. Here is the gist of the story:
One night in 1896, Joel
Fenley was walking across one of his pastures with his son Guy tagging along.
Suddenly, Guy stopped, looked at the ground and exclaimed to his dad, “Look at
that stream of water flowing down here.”
Fenley was perplexed. He knew
his land and was positive there was no stream there. But his son insisted he saw
water flowing underground.
Back home, the father decided to test his son’s
talent. He filled a wooden bucket with water, told his son to go into another
room, placed the bucket under a table, called his son back, and asked him to point
to the spot on the table corresponding with the bucket. The boy did.
after the incident, Fenley asked his son to show him where he had seen the underground
stream. Fenley hired a driller and hit water at 167 feet.
A local rancher
heard of the boy’s talent and asked Joel to help him locate a well on his land.
The boy indicated several locations where he said water was flowing near the surface.
Each location produced a water well.
In 1901, when a Uvalde legislator
was having trouble finding water on his Big Bend ranch, he mentioned the problem
to fellow legislator John Nance Garner, the soon-to be U.S. Vice President. Nance
suggested he get in touch with Joel Fenley’s son.
Wigfall Van Sickle had
already sunk $1,500 into a 607-foot dry hole on his ranch, but when Guy Fenley
walked over the land, he found water.
Guy continued to find water on other
ranches, but refused to take any money for his services. In 1901, the San Antonio
Express interviewed Joel Fenley. “I can no more explain it than anyone else,”
The Express reporter also talked to Guy, but he hesitated to
talk about his abilities. However, he finally said: “I don’t know. I can just
see the water, just like I can see you.
When he grew up, Guy Fenley took
up ranching in Zavalla County, and served as the county’s clerk. Whether his powers
continued during his adult life is unknown. He died in 1968 at the age of 79.
8, 2011 Column
Bowman's East Texas >
A weekly column syndicated in 109 East
The Ancient Art
of Dowsing by C. F. Eckhardt
In the search for water, minerals,
and many other things, there is nothing quite as controversial as the practice
of dowsing, whether it be with a forked willow or peach switch, the 'Spanish rods,'
or any number of other devices. There are two things you can say for certain about
producers, grandmas make miracles by Delbert Trew
Of all the
strange, weird and confusing bits of history, none quite compare with rain dancers,
water witchers and grandmas. Each could perform miracles if the sign was right,
a fresh peach tree twig was used or the malady could be cured with Castor Oil
or Black Draught Tonic... more