Bruce resident Burdette Posey is a treasure hunter, dowser

He's a finder of lost, sentimental items

By John Kubal

The Brookings Register

Posted 6/21/24

BROOKINGS — Bruce resident Burdette “Boone” Posey bills himself as a “treasure hunter, dowser.” His business card says it all in a few words: “The search …

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Bruce resident Burdette Posey is a treasure hunter, dowser

He's a finder of lost, sentimental items


BROOKINGS — Bruce resident Burdette “Boone” Posey bills himself as a “treasure hunter, dowser.” His business card says it all in a few words: “The search continues. I find lost items of sentimental value, heirlooms, or treasures.”

A native South Dakotan, now 72, Posey grew up in and around Dell Rapids, where he graduated from high school in 1970. That October he enlisted in the Navy and served four years as a yeoman (clerk), making two cruises in the Western Pacific aboard the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea.

In fall 1975, he began studies at Augustana College (Sioux Falls), majoring in business administration, with a minor in sociology. He graduated in 1979 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

His first job was as “a traveling photographer, doing church directories for a company based out of St. Louis.” For awhile, he “was loving it.” But the travel and living out of a suitcase caught up with him.

Around this same time, he met his wife-to-be Cathy, who was originally from Maine. He pretty much knew from the first time he met her that she was the woman he would marry. He helped her move back to Maine and then moved himself there. They would marry and move to New Hampshire where they lived for 24 years. “In 2004, we decided to move back to this part of the country,” Posey said. While living in New Hampshire, he had started working for the U.S. Postal Service as a clerk 1985. In 1987 he became a rural carrier.

Following their move back to South Dakota, there were no openings for a rural carrier. He started as a clerk in the Brookings Post Office. Three years later he transferred to the main processing plant in Sioux Falls where he stayed until retiring in 2011.

Hooked on dowsing

Posey explained that he and his wife are “both interested in alternative energy, alternative things, metaphysical things and stuff.” In 1990, while living in New Hampshire, they attended “a metaphysical kind of seminar” and afterward were invited to an attendee’s house for refreshments.

They saw a demonstration of a “Y rod,” made from plastic. Then Boone was allowed to use “two L rods” in “dowsing” fashion and he was able to locate the waterline that ran under the house.

”Look at that, I did it,” he explained. “And I didn’t have any knowledge of it before that.” He would go on to join “The American Society of Dowsers,” headquartered in Danville, Vermont.

“That’s how I got started and I got hooked on it,” Posey explained. He has attended several of the annual conventions of the ASD.

The ASD calls itself a “a scientific and educational non-profit organization whose mission is to support, encourage and promote dowsing and dowsers in a manner consistent with the highest standards of personal integrity and behavior; to provide dowsing education and training to dowsers and non-dowsers alike to bring them to a level of proficiency they are comfortable with; to promote and foster communication and fellowship among all persons in any way interested in dowsing.”

Does it work?

Aye, there’s the rub. Go online and you’ll find many, many views as to the use of a forked stick, bent rods or a pendulum to locate ground water, buried metals, ores, gemstones or other precious jewel-like treasures. There are skeptics aplenty. And science?

The United Kingdom Groundwater Forum’s stance, noted on March 17, 2023, says: ”As to how a dowser’s divining rods or pendulums behave as if responding to external forces, the answer here is also simple: The ‘ideomotor effect.’ In short, suggestion and expectations can trigger muscle movements which bypass our will. Thus, while we are responsible for these twitches, it feels as if we are not.”

While willow wood, apple wood, a coat hanger or plastic tubing can all be in a dowser’s tool kit, Posey likes to use a pendulum and basic questions: May I dowse? Can I dowse? Should I dowse? Would it be to my highest benefit to dowse?”

He’s looking for a “yes” or “no” answer, which he determines by the way a rod points or a pendulum swings — “on its own, through muscle reflex; I call it a ‘universal knowledge.’”

He believes that anybody can learn to be a dowser: “It’s not hard to learn. You just practice doing these different questions.” 

“I think it’s electromagnetic energy that just freely flows in the atmosphere,” Posey said, as to his own opinion of how dowsing works. “Through our electricity in our own body, we ask questions. How we ask the question, we can ask it as a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ question or an ‘amount’ or ‘quantity’ question.”

Posey’s thoughts

“I just think the way it works, in my understanding: it connects with nerves when you’re working with the tool. The nerves in your hands or arms, whatever’s holding the instrument, causes the movement of that. But because you’re asking the question, you’re divining an answer.” He can work outside, such as a field, or inside.

“I can find city water lines underneath the floor,” Posey added.

He and his dowsing recently gained attention via a story in the May 10 issue of The Brookings Register in which he was credited with helping locate a time capsule that had been buried at Brookings Medary Elementary School in September 1989. However, he admits he wasn’t per se using his dowsing skills at the time.

“I didn’t use dowsing for that,” he explained. “I did use my metal detector. I did ask questions with my pendulum before I even showed up there.”

Finally, he talks again about “universal knowledge … and to me it’s all God-given … a universal source of things possible.”

“You don’t have to be religious to do this; you don’t have to believe in God, necessarily.” He explained. “You can just believe there’s a universal power, all-knowing, that you’re asking for help with questions.”

Asked, “if there are any atheist dowsers out there,” Posey laughs a bit and responds, “I don’t know.”

If you have any queries about dowsing and treasure finding, Posey’s your go-to guy.

You can give him a call at 605-929-8711 or visit him at He’s got plenty of stories to tell.

Contact John Kubal at