News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


Susan Miller

She Died In Childbirth, Now Mother’s Soul Rests In Peace


She Died In Childbirth, Now

Mother’s Soul Rests In Peace

In Roseboom, Dousing Ghost-Buster’s Job Is Done
The flags represented all the places that ghost hunter Sue Miller found spirits behind the Roseboom Historical Society. (James Cummking/

By JAMES CUMMINGS • Special to

Ghost-hunter Susan Miller of Cherry Valley, right, with her associate Linda Leckenbusch.

ROSEBOOM – In the 187 graves behind the Roseboom Historical Society was the spirit of a 39-year-old woman who died in childbirth, ghost hunter Susan Miller of Cherry Valley avers.

Until lately, that is.

“She wouldn’t move over,” Miller reported at a Thursday, Oct. 17, pre-Halloween presentation to the Historical Society, which occupies the former Baptist church in this hamlet.

“Imagine carrying this torment for over 100 years,” said Miller, author of “Time Between: The Hauntings of Cherry Valley,” and “Chasing Sarah,” described as a ghost/murder/mystery novel.

After pleading with the spirit, Miller was able to convince her to leave, affirming that the cemetery is now “clean.”

Contracted by the Historical Society to map the graveyard, the speaker described her use of dowsing, a skill also used in determining where to dig wells, in her work.

Locating gravesites through dowsing requires intuition, she said, and the assistance of a pendulum and metal rods.

Once a body has been located, Miller seeks to communicate directly with the spirit to determine factors such as gender, age, and cause of death.

When the Roseboom Historical Association reached out to Miller said she approached the Historical Society project with enthusiasm. “I grew up seeing ghosts,” said the woman, who has been dowsing since 1971.

Although involved with an ongoing project at Cherry Valley Cemetery, Miller began working in early October on the Roseboom plot with friend and fellow dowser Linda Leckenbusch.

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.

Now that she’s finished the Roseboom plot, Miller is refocusing on the Cherry Valley Cemetery and anticipates similar projects in the future.

When asked about the project, attendee John Webb, Cemetery Association of Roseboom president, said,

“It raised a lot of questions.”

That include who exactly is buried there, whether an epidemic – yellow fever, perhaps – had added to the census, he said.

“It’s something we will pursue as an association,” he said.

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.

Most of the people buried there would have been tenant farmers, too poor to afford funeral services and, thus, placed in unmarked graves.

“It’s our responsibility to mark the spot,” says Webb. He hopes to work directly with the Historical Association to facilitate the installation of a grave marker for the deceased.



Ghost Hunter Maps 187 Bodies In Roseboom Church Graveyard

Ghost Hunter Maps 187 Bodies

In Roseboom Church Graveyard

Local author and ghost hunter Susan Miller presents her findings at the Roseboom Church on Thursday evening. According to Miller, as many as 187 bodies are buried behind the church. (James Cummings/

By JAMES CUMMINGS • Special to

Miller and fellow ghost hunter Linda Leckenbusch pose with their dowsing rods. They use these, along with a pendulum, to determine the relative location of gravesites.

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.

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