For Communicating With
Animals...Bill Northern Is
The Mane Man
By Liz Janes-Brown
Maui News Staff Writer

Bill Northern was talking to a horse. Well, actually, it was more like he was silently communicating with Phoenix, a sleek chestnut gelding with a white blaze. A tiny pendulum swinging from his right hand, his left hand open and his eyes closed much of the time, Bill began with a diagnosis of Phoenix s physical condition.
"He's low on minerals, on calcium and selenium. Too much magnesium in relation to the calcium," Bill said. "He has an allergy problem in his nostril. There's a little bit of congestion in the lung. It's not bad."
OK, maybe communicating isn't even the right word although Bill is officially called an animal communicator. After all, how does a horse know it needs more selenium? How does a horse even know what selenium is? I don't know what selenium is. What Bill was doing seemed more like intuitive messaging, if there is such a thing, something far removed from speech as most people experience it.
We were at Kula Ridge Stables near the top of Omaopio Road last Monday afternoon with a chilly wind dancing through misty rain. The stable dogs were hanging out under cover while the work of caring for horses went on as usual. A hot cup of coffee was welcome.
Bill stood in front of Phoenix, who, now and again, would reach over and nuzzle the man's face.
"You're very naughty," Bill would chuckle.
A cheerful man with twinkling blue eyes, a neatly trimmed white beard and a kind manner, Bill is a cross between Santa Claus and Dr. Dolittle. He lives in Warsaw, Va., but was on Maui to work with animals and to give a seminar on the basics of dowsing and how to apply this knowledge to animal communication. He also did a number of private consultations with individual animals, as he was doing with Phoenix.
"There's a hernia there. It's not real big, but it's a small hernia there," Bill said as stable manager and equine chiropractor Jacquie Becker ran her hands over the horse.
"He has trouble coordinating his front leg. It doesn't want to go in sequence with his hind leg. ... He thinks he'd be more comfortable on that leg if the hoof is trimmed, Bill continued, explaining the hoof should be cut higher on the inside.
After about 15 minutes of physical diagnosis, it was time to ask the horse direct questions.
"Is jumping hurting you?" was the first.
"He likes to jump. Little jumps. On the higher jumps the rider leans too much to the right. What he would really like to do is cross country," Bill translated.
Of course, Phoenix is no Mr. Ed so he wasn't really talking or making any noises at all other than once in a while chewing on his tether or pawing the ground.
"Does he really hate me that much?" came a voice from inside the stable.
"He thinks you always want your way. He says you're spoiled. He doesn't dislike you," Bill told the worker. Everyone laughed.
After Phoenix had been led back to his stall, it was Bill's turn to answer some questions, like how does this work?
"I don't know anything," he said. "I ask my angels, my spirit guides. I listen. I don't use my brain. If you get my brain-involved, you have all kinds of trouble."
Bill is a dowser. Dowsing has been used for centuries as a way to find underground water. Water "witching" it was called. Some people developed the uncanny ability to find water and were much in demand when wells needed to be dug. Now there are thousands of people involved in the practice; there are schools and even conventions.
Dowsing these days has broader applications than finding water or electrical lines. The pendulum Bill had dangling from his hand was the tool that connected him to the information he was seeking.
While this all may sound a little airy fairy, Bill is quite matter-of-fact about what he does.
"There are no limits to where you can go," he said, going on to explain that he taught those at his seminar to protect themselves from harmful, negative thoughts sent by others by returning those thoughts back to their source with love. "It's the most important thing that we do," he said.
Although horses are his main 'clients,' Bill has dowsed dogs, cats, a mongoose, elephants and even fish. He has problems with cats.
"Cats fib to me," he said. "Cats will tell you anything to get rid of you. But if they're sick, they'll be honest. If they need help, they'll work with you."
He told the story of a cat whose owners thought it was afraid of them. It turned out the cat didn't want to go into certain parts of the house because it was afraid of another, bigger cat. Then there was the rottweiler that was chewing up the furniture all the time. "They d be watching TV," he said of the owners, "and he'd be in the bedroom tearing up the bed. The dog wasn't being mean," he explained, "it just thought of the furniture as a toy."
"Dogs and cats have no sense of value. They don't understand money, he said noting that to an animal, your priceless antique is the same as an old broken chair you're ready to take to the dump.
Bill said he was able to convince the rottweiler to change his behavior.
"Horses and dogs generally keep bargains," he said, adding that sometimes behavior modification has to go both ways. "If a horse is doing something wrong, they'll change if you'll change."
But once in a while, even horses withhold information. "Horses don't like shots," Bill explained. "So they won't tell you something because they know if they do, they'll get a shot."
Sometimes it takes someone who can talk to animals to pinpoint the cause of a problem. "Take those elephants. They weren't getting along and zookeepers thought one of the elephants didn't like people." According to Bill, the grumpy elephant wasn't getting his share of watermelon, a food he was fond of. When the keepers made sure he got his fair share, the elephant became much happier.
"With animals, problems are often food-related," he said.
For example, a woman had five fish in an outdoor pond and one seemed out of sorts. The fish let Bill know it wanted to be fed in a different spot from the others because it didn't want to have to fight for the food. Problem solved.
While visiting Maui, Bill even tried his hand at communicating with whales. On a whale watch, he continually asked the whales to come closer so he could see them. The whale watch was very successful with a large number of whales coming very close to the craft.
"I don t know if I had anything to do with it," he said. "I'd have to go out a number of times to see. They (the whales) kept showing me a red thing, a small red thing like an apple. I don t know what it was, but it was something they wanted."
Most of Bill's work is done long distance from his rural home in Virginia where he has beavers, foxes, hawks, eagles, rabbits, squirrels, ducks, groundhogs and all manner of wildlife on the property. He says the beavers will come up and eat out of his hand.
"We have an agreement about the trees," he added, saying that, for the most part, the beavers don't gnaw down the trees on his property nor build dams that block his waterways.
He says he can work from a picture or just a description and the location of the animal.
"It doesn't always work perfectly," Bill said of his practice. "It's basically learning to listen. I'm not always right. I learn new things every day. Animals will wake me up in the middle of the night and say they meant something another way."
Dowsers get together and talk about things like that. Bill has high praise for that community of folks who can tap into all kinds of energy fields.
"Dowsers don't try to take advantage of others," he said. "They're always willing to help you. And if you go to a dowsers' conference, it's better than any church. Everyone is there to learn from each other."
"Do you want to try dowsing?" he asked.
As a reporter whose job is to be skeptical, I couldn't say no.
Bill equipped me with two angle rods, copper wires bent into an 'L' shape with the short end as handles. He instructed me to hold them loosely, one in each hand, pointing forward.
He told me to walk slowly and ask my 'angels' to let me know where there was an underground stream. I walked forward, concentrating on running water, and, after a few yards, the rods spun in my hands. Now whether or not there was an underground stream there, I wouldn't know without digging a big hole, but I do know those metal rods moved without any help from me.
Bill then asked me to come back asking for the location of a place filled with positive energy. In a different location, the rods again spun and pointed to a place Bill told me the people in his seminar had 'cleared of negative energy' the day before.
That night I tried talking to our cat, Sister Mary Hubert. She's standoffish, probably because she wishes she had a name like Queen of the World instead of Hubert. The only time she'll sit on my lap is when I'm on the telephone, but I mentally invited her to come while I was on the couch watching television.
She actually jumped up. She didn't say anything; she just lay there and purred. Of course, being a cat, she could have been fibbing so I wasn't sure if she was really happy or not.
Bill might have been able to tell.
Many people swear Bill has a true gift especially with horses. Some people reading this may think he's just one of those people who has a talent for getting along with animals. Who's to say?
Maybe Phoenix is the one to ask.

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