Joe Graves, wa­ter dowser and stau­ro­lite star, dies

The Taos News - - LOCAL NEWS - By Cody Hooks chooks@taos­news.com The Taos News

Joe Graves had a sense, “the gift” as he called it, to find what was oth­er­wise hid­den. As a dowser, he found un­der­ground rivers with only a forked wil­low stick and a prayer. On a hill­side in the San­gre de Cristo Moun­tains he found per­fect stau­ro­lites. And in piles of rub­bish he found the pieces of trash with po­ten­tial for beau­ti­ful art.

Graves was known in Taos and around the South­west for these gifts. He died Satur­day (Oct. 6), about two weeks shy of turn­ing 86, leav­ing be­hind four adult chil­dren, sev­eral grand­chil­dren and a com­mu­nity that will miss his gen­tle na­ture and quiet magic.

Graves’ mother had roots in Ar­royo Seco and his dad came to the area in a cov­ered wagon. He grew up in Car­son, catch­ing wild horses with his dad and brother and learn­ing to make his way in the then-iso­lated land­scape west of the Gorge. It’s fit­ting that most peo­ple re­mem­ber Graves as a cow­boy — dis­tinc­tive drawl and a tat­tered tur­key feather in his hat.

Graves learned to make rus­tic fur­ni­ture and carv­ings, knives and flint fire starters, elk antler chan­de­liers and art from the things he found.

“The man was never sit­ting still,” said his son James Graves.

But it was his gift as a wa­ter dowser that brought Graves close to thou­sands of peo­ple around the county and re­gion. Dows­ing is a way of find­ing wa­ter that’s de­cried by some as pseu­do­science but ap­pre­ci­ated by the home­own­ers, ranch­ers and con­trac­tors who counted on Graves for his re­mark­able suc­cess.

Cour­tesy Lenny Fos­ter

Joe Graves, a wa­ter di­viner and fin­der of stau­ro­lite crosses, died Satur­day (Oct. 6).

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