The Omnitron Is Still with Us
Randi, James, Skeptic (Altadena, CA)
IN 1987, DOWSER DELL WINDERS AND I MET on a Fort Lauderdale beach to test his "Omnitron" device--a $3,495 wired-up dowsing rod machine that he was selling. I recently came upon the videotape of that session.
Mr. Winders, who presently advertises at www.omnitron.net, claimed he could locate some gold coins he'd brought along, if they--as a set--were to be randomly placed in one of ten holes on the beach. He came equipped with his locator device, the dowsing rods, and the coins. He was also well-supplied with the trusty alibis with which dowsers always prepare as a shield against their inevitable failure (see below).
Now, I would certainly recall any dowser who had been successful. However, Winders now claims that in the test, he found the coins eight out of twelve times, which would have been statistically very significant for that particular test protocol. He also claims that I've denied that the test ever took place; no, I've said that no successful test of his device took place, and though I quite possibly could not identify Winders by name among the literally hundreds of dowsers I've tested, all over the world, I know for sure that none of them has ever succeeded. Surely, Mr. Winders would have at least one person who can verify his version of that test, and I've invited him to provide us with that information....
Understand, this was before the JREF existed, and the prize I personally offered at that time was $10,000.
In any case, I don't see why Mr. Winders wouldn't want to apply again--this time for the million bucks. So, I wrote to him via e-mail:
Mr. Winders: Back in 1987, when we met in Fort Lauderdale, the prize I offered for a successful performance of your Omnitron device was only $10,000. Presently, that prize amounts to one million dollars, and the same rules apply. Since you are still selling the Omnitron, it appears to be still working as you advertise, and you or anyone else can win the million simply by doing a 30-minute test. Are you interested?
I ask you to examine this photo of the "amplifier" unit of Winders' "Omnitron" (Figure 1). As you see, there are six materials the user can be looking for: copper, silver, gold, lead, tin, and diamond. Note that my Omnitron is set at the "diamond" position; I wouldn't want to miss a stray diamond, now, would I?
[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]
Users choose the substance they want to home in on by dialing it up, then start waving their sticks about. Those metal sticks are plugged into a small pocket unit that has a battery inside connected to a red LED (Figure 2). This circuit consists of a push-button switch and a jack into which the sticks are plugged. Pressing the switch lights up the LED, as does contacting the metal rods with one another. Simply glued to the circuit board is a very weak composition magnet. No electrical connection, folks, it's just glued in there. Faith-based, I guess. The "amplifier" unit is located nearby, and somehow there's supposed to be a mystical connection between that unit and the rods. It's all quite esoteric, though the wiring inside looks as if an orangutan put it together with a glue-gun.
[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]
But the best part is the set of seven caveats that Winders offered us at that beach 18 years ago: