By JAMES CUMMINGS • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
ROSEBOOM – A woman who died in childbirth. Six children, from just hours old to 19. A male cat.
These are some of the 187 bodies Susan Miller, a Cherry Valley ghost hunter, told the Roseboom Historical Association that she found while dowsing the burial site behind the Roseboom Church.
“I grew up seeing ghosts,” said Miller, who has been dowsing since 1971.
Approximately 187 bodies are buried in the plot behind the Roseboom Church according to Susan Miller, a regional author and ghost hunter from Cherry Valley. In her presentation at the church on Thursday evening, Miller discussed the process of dowsing and how she managed to map the burial site.
When the Rosebloom Historical Association reached out to Miller about investigating the
plot behind the local church, she approached the project with enthusiasm.
Although involved with an ongoing project at Cherry Valley Cemetery, Miller began working on
the Roseboom Church plot with friend and fellow dowser Linda Leckenbusch in early October. It
wasn’t long before they mapped out the area, using flags to mark each individual.
“We were surprised by the number of bodies in the plot,” said Leckenbusch, who has been
dowsing for about a year.
She described dowsing as the use of intuition, as well as tools such as a pendulum and metal
rods in order to locate gravesites. Once a body has been located, she communicates directly
with the spirit to determine factors such as gender, age, and cause of death.
Among them, the alleged spirit of a 39 year old woman who died at childbirth. “She wouldn’t
move over,” said Miller, referring to the spirit’s reluctance to enter the afterlife. “Imagine carrying
this torment for over 100 years”. After pleading with the spirit, Miller was able to convince her to
leave, affirming that the cemetery was now “clean”.
Now that she’s finished the Roseboom plot, Susan Miller looks forward to continuing work on
the Cherry Valley Cemetery and anticipates similar projects in the future.
When asked about the project, John Webb, president of the Cemetery Association of
Rosebloom, said “It raised a lot of questions”. He was referring to the mystery behind several of
the cadavers and whether or not an epidemic such as yellow fever was responsible for their deaths.
Additionally, there’s a question of who exactly is buried there. “It’s something we will pursue as
an association,” said Webb.
That task may prove difficult, however, because the plot served as a potter’s field–a burial site
for paupers–as early as the 1820s. The vast majority of individuals buried there would’ve been
tenant farmers who were too poor to afford a funeral service and were placed in an unmarked
“It’s our responsibility to mark the spot,” says Webb. He hopes to work directly with the Historical
Association of Roseboom to facilitate the installation of a grave marker for the deceased.