Dowsing — an ancient practice of identifying underground water sources and lost objects — has a devoted following.

More than 300 people are attending the 55th annual convention held by the American Dowsing Society in northern Vermont. The six-day event runs through Monday.

Practitioners of dowsing use metal rods, forked sticks and pendulums and what they say is their subconscious to tap into a universal natural knowledge. They say they can find water or minerals hidden deep underground or lost objects like a set of keys.

Scientists who have studied dowsing say it is no more reliable than guessing. The United States Geological Survey points out that underground water is so prevalent in many places that it would be difficult not to find water.