Chapter 10



Probably the most common machines encountered by occultists are ones used for divination. In the context of this work they are defined as devices used to extract information from aspects of the unconscious and can be as simple as dowsing rods or as complex as Tarot cards and the Symbolic Machines described later. However, they can be grouped into several categories. These are:

  • Devices utilizing the ideomotor response. Most familiar are rods and pendulums used for dowsing, but also included in the category are Ouija boards.

  • Devices requiring sensory interpretation. In these cases the senses are generally sight, sound and touch and correspond to such practices as scrying, Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) and Symbolic Machines using a tactile interface.

  • Devices requiring conceptual interpretation. These are generally collections of concepts thrown up in a random or pseudo-random manner and include such practices as Rune Reading, Tarot and I Ching. Since these are adequately covered in traditional books on magick they will not be examined further.

  • Devices facilitating direct perception of the unconscious. While this can be effected in a massive way by psychedelic drugs the machine emphasis of this chapter leads us to the Psychomanteum.

Ideomotor Divination

The ideomotor response is the phenomenon whereby unconscious aspects of the mind affect the movements of the relaxed body in a meaningful manner. Its use in divination is spans millennia, with water divining using a forked twig being the classical example, and Ouija being perhaps the most familiar and modern manifestation of this technique for accessing the unconscious for information. Other popular methods can involve the use of a pendulum held in the hand, whose plane of oscillation is very easily modified by tiny hand movements.
For those who have not experienced it an impressive demonstration is easy to arrange. All that is required are two metal coat hangers, or lengths of thick wire. Each piece is bent into an L shape, with the small arm being around 15cm in length and the larger around 80cm. Hold the divining rods, one in each hand, by the short length making sure that it can swing freely. They should be held parallel to each other as far as is possible. Then simply walk forward and over a test object such as a bottle of water. As the rods pass over the bottle they will swing together and cross exactly over the water. The whole arrangement can be made more sensitive by putting the short handles into rigid plastic tubes that become the places where the rods are held in the hand. They act as reduced friction bearings.
What should be realized is that this is not purely a method for finding water but of divining
information. It is another psychomantic technique. These rods can, and have, been used in quite remarkable ways. One method of divination can allegedly seek out specific materials. The rod holders are made of the material being sought, so that the rods only react to that material. Alternatively a sample of what is sought is held in one of the hands. At the next level of abstraction the divining is not done over the ground but over a map of the area (although this specific method uses a pendulum, which is smaller). Clearly what is happening is that the unconscious, which is far better at deducing information from apparently insignificant clues, subliminal sensory inputs (including Psi) and integrated knowledge, is outputting this on demand using the rods via the ideomotor response. Indeed, any type of information can be divined using the rods. If instead of looking for a material one simply places three signs on the ground, one saying “Yes”, one saying “No” and the remaining sign reading “Unknown” and then ask a specific question to be answered in the positive or negative, the rods will cross on the appropriate answer. The reason for including “Unknown” is to give the unconscious mind scope for actually telling the truth. On the other hand, you may want to force an answer in order to facilitate a particular mental state. Try it yourself. Alternatively, try using a map to divine for weird stuff such as ghosts or UFOs and check it out (an example where “Unknown” may need to be suppressed).
The practice of dowsing stretches back into pre-history. The most common technique involves using a Y-shaped twig, traditionally Hazel in Europe, with one prong held in each hand and the whole held horizontally. When passing over a hidden source of water the twig will flip either upwards or downwards indicating the presence of water.
More complex versions have various materials attached to the handles which “tunes” them to look for that particular substance. A variation on this theme is a diving rod used by the Japanese which is basically a single rod coiled into a spring part way along, tipped with a weight. When the particular spot is found it vibrates.
Similarly pendulums are used on smaller scales, for example, over maps in order to look for particular materials. The pendulum is swung back and forth in a linear manner and when it is over the correct spot or material it starts to swing in a circle or ellipse. In this case altering the length of the pendulum does the tuning. The only advantage of pendulums in my opinion is that they require less space in which to operate. However, they do appear to need more experience to use them effectively while almost everyone can use modern dowsing rods on the first attempt. There is also a simple way to use a pendulum to divine optimum courses of action. Just write your question in the circle labeled “witness” and swing the pendulum over it. Wait and see whether the plane of swing stabilizes in a direction that provides an answer. 

Once dowsing is recognized as a method for extracting information from the unconscious all kinds of possibilities arise, as we have seen. Another illustration involves getting someone to walk with the rods and then saying: “
The rods will cross if your name is…” When their correct name is spoken the rods cross. Even more simply, just telling the rods to cross when a particularly suggestible person is using them will often work. The utility of dowsing can be extended by first formally establishing the object of the divination. This is best accomplished by speaking it aloud and stating what is required of the rods. Normally crossing indicates “Yes” while outward movement indicates “No” and “Unknown” results in no change.
It is important to have the word “
Unknown” as an alternative since many aspects of the unconscious will provide an answer if forced, even if it is incorrect or a guess. Indeed, it is well worth training whatever aspect is being called upon by the usual method of locating hidden items or information and then confirming verbally whether the divination was correct. Returning to exactly what in the unconscious is responsible for doing the work many experienced magicians use a specific sub-personality, or Entity, as described previously. It is, essentially, their spirit guide to use a term from Shamanism as well as Spiritualism. This can also be a transpersonal entity, a Daemon or Godform. It makes a lot more sense to use such a Model rather than train multiple minor aspects of the unconscious in various diverse skills. The only drawback with using such a complex Model embodying a personality is that it is being constantly empowered and if it is not kept under the control of the magician through rigid protocols may start to manifest spontaneously. Now, this may not be a problem and may even be desirable if it is entirely benign but this will not be the case with many people, especially neophytes. The Spirit Guides of the Shaman are often animals which limits their compatibility with the Human psyche and are, in many ways, safer although generally less capable.

Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP)

Also known as Instrumental Trans Communication (ITC) when the technology is expanded to include data from other technologies such as video. EVP are unexpected voices found in recording media and what follows applies as much to video as audio.
A man named Attila Von Szalay pioneered the field as an adjunct to his attempts to photograph
ghosts. His first major successes came in 1956CE using a reel-to-reel tape recorder but the entire field really came to prominence with a book published in 1968CE by Konstantin Raudive1 in which he described recordings which he had made, some in screened rooms to preclude radio frequency interference. The clarity of some of the brief messages convinced him that they could not be explained by normal means, including auditory delusion.
Psychologists would explain the phenomenon by our natural ability and inclination to find patterns in our perceptions of sight and sound, especially if we are primed to look for them. For example, if we are listening to someone in a noisy room we take what we can barely hear and compare it to words that we expect to hear in the context of the conversation. By doing this we are often able to “hear” more clearly than might be expected if one only looked at the sound impinging on the ears. This is especially true when laboratory experiments are conducted with muffled voices. If a script is provided the “words” suddenly become clearer as the visual pattern is read into the sound. Extending this one step further, people “hear” voices in
White Noise, a random pattern in which there are no voices or words at all. That is, it is not an objective phenomenon, but an internally generated subjective one.
Having said that, there are of course two possibilities. The first is that we have a noise source and use it to extract information from our unconscious as it seeks to impose or find patterns that are interpreted as words. The second
is that what should be a random audio source ceases to be random and words really are present in the noise. The implications of that have been dealt with in detail in the previous chapters with regard to Psi and random numbers and will be expanded upon later in this one.
Historically EVP has been generated by a number of rather simple techniques, all based on analog equipment. The easiest is simply to tune an AM radio receiver off-station and while asking various questions and just listen to the noise for voices to break through. Another popular variant is to record onto
a blank magnetic tape without using a microphone input. When played back at high volume the inherently noisy output is then examined for either messages or for answers to questions posed while the machine was recording. Usually the messages are quite short and seldom more than a couple of words. Naturally one has to be rather careful when using radios, for example, because of the possibility of parts of radio programs breaking through. Even this, though, has given rise to an electronic divination device which flips randomly through the channels throwing up words and phrases from assorted programs in reply to questions – an updated form of bibliomancy whereby books are opened at a random page, and a random passage is selected for its message.
Related to EVP is the phenomenon of people receiving phone calls from the dead, which has been part of folklore ever since the invention of the telephone. As with other EVP, the messages are usually short. The electronic video equivalent is seeing pictures on analog TVs tuned to a dead channel where only “snow” is normally seen but where occasional pictures appear, often interpreted as communications from the spirit world.
However, it is becoming increasingly difficult to perform these experiments with modern equipment because so much of it is digital nowadays, so for ghost hunters old analog electronics still finds a market. The alternative is to make ones own devices fed from quantum based White (or Pink) noise sources – see later. These can be as simple as small poor quality audio
amplifiers turned to full volume and with no inputs. Probably the most complex such machine built for this purpose was constructed in 1979CE by George Meek and his colleague Bill O'Neil. It consisted of a bank of acoustic signal generators at the following frequencies: 131, 141, 151, 241, 272, 282, 292, 302, 415, 433, 515, 653 and 701 Hertz. This was used as the sound input to an FM transmitter operating between 29MHz and 31MHz. Adjacent to this was a radio receiver which fed the sound to a speaker. So basically, this fed a well defined audio signal across a radio link that provided a background of noise that the “spirit” could modulate.
Nevertheless, there is another category of EVP machine which is constructed according to plans actually sent by entities in the spirit world. Probably the most powerful instance of EVP occurred during the
Scole Experiments detailed in the chapter on Psi and the Occult where the entities, originally communicating through two Mediums, provided detailed instructions for an electronic device to be constructed as a cross dimensional communicator.
The explanation of the circuit is itself of interest given some of its implications.


1 Raudive, Konstantin (1971). Breakthrough: An Amazing Experiment in Electronic Communication With the Dead (Original title: The Inaudible Becomes Audible). Taplinger Publishing Co. ISBN 0800809653.