Norman Has Faith in the Divining Rod
Norman, Okla., as the seat of Oklahoma University, is naturally looked up to and believed in as containing the aggregation of the wisdom of the State, and, therefore, not likely to be misled by or to mislead others when it seems to countenance as a hard fact what the United States Geological Survey (which is also regarded as an only-not infallible organization) has condemned root and branch, both as a superstition and an imposition upon the credulity of those who still have faith in the simple forked branch of a witch hazel, a peach or any other tree as a divining rod for the discovery of underground supplies of water. At this dogmatic pronouncement of a rival body of scientists, Norman laughs in its academic sleeve and tacitly points to its abundant supply of what is claimed as the purest water in the State, all of which comes from wells near the Santa Fe depot that would never have been located without the intervention of the (so Norman insists) magic forked stick. In early days this university city spent to no purpose a considerable amount of money in attempting to obtain a supply of good water. Whatever the reason, all the water it had was of very poor quality. A neighboring farmer, who had the reputation of being an expert with the divining rod, offered to find an adequate and wholesome supply. Norman in its wisdom derided him. He stuck to it that he could do the job and for his importunity’s sake (and, incidentally, because he undertook the work at his own proper cost) his offer to make the location and bore a test well was accepted. On his side he made the one condition that, if he were successful in his quest, the city should bind itself to pay his estate the royalty on all the water used for twenty-five years. Norman thought that there was no chance of its being called upon to pay any such royalty, and the contract was made. The fanner was on hand with his forked stick, which he deftly manipulated in the traditionally approved fashion. Suddenly the rod came to a stop and pointed downward. Right at that spot the farmer had the rigging set up, and the work of drilling was begun. The drill had to pierce through solid rock and had penetrated for 500 feet, when suddenly there shot up a geyser of clear, pure water that took the breath away from the astonished Normanites. The farmer had won, and his royalty was secured for the next quarter of a century. A second well was afterward drilled, and the joint flow of the two has given Norman an adequate water supply. The farmer has passed away; but the royalty—a substantial one at that—will be paid to his estate for the next decade. Norman of to-day, even in the light of existing higher criticism, refuses to commit itself to the emphatic statement of the positivists of the United States Geological Survey, that all who profess to use the divining rod as a means of lighting upon hidden stores of underground water are “fakers.” Some may be, says Norman, but the Oklahoma farmer could certainly claim to be exempt from the sweeping denunciation of the abovenamed scientists. Norman sticks to its original story, in spite of the sneers of the learned pundits of Washington.