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Experiences in Dowsing for History

Selected Dowsing Experiences:

1. The Rural Cemetery -- My first major grave dowsing experience was at a rural cemetery.  Initially it appeared that there were a moderate number of burials (300 to 400 recorded grave sites), but after dowsing the total area of the cemetery and its periphery, I found a large number of unmarked graves. 

The cemetery was established back in the 1870s when the rural area was first homesteaded, and two families had donated 1.5 acres each for the burial area.  In the early history of the cemetery, each of the donor families had family members and relatives buried there.

In my research of this unique rural cemetery, I also had read a transcript of an interview with one of the caretakers.  He related that there was a total of "15 unmarked children's graves" buried somewhere in the cemetery, but a specific location was not given.  I set out to find the location of these 15 unmarked graves.

Before I was finished dowsing the total area of the cemetery, I not only found the 15 unmarked children's graves, but I also located well over 100 additional unmarked graves of children and adults.  These unmarked graves were not in the normal burial area of the cemetery's sections, lots and plots.  The 15 unmarked children's graves were buried beneath the access driveway separating the two burial sections.  The numerous other unmarked graves were around the periphery of the normal burial area, plus many were outside the normal perimeter of the cemetery itself.

I have researched a lot of local history attempting to determine why there are so many unmarked graves, but have yet to uncover a reason for this unusual situation.  A nearby large metropolitan area is probably the source of the persons buried in these unmarked graves.  Their deaths may have occurred during the influenza epidemic of 1917 and 1918 and their plight might have been that they were too poor to have marked burial sites.

One unique grave site in this cemetery is marked with a headstone of a farmer who was born in 1815 and died in 1875.  A relative of this deceased farmer had the following entry on the Find-A-Grave Web site:  "We have been told that great- grandpa was 7 feet tall and 300 pounds---a very big man."

I dowsed that particular grave site and confirmed that the remains of the farmer who died in 1875 were indeed nearly 7 feet in length.

Other observations of unusual burials at this cemetery:
In one grave site, I determined that one body was apparently buried on top of another. This was a husband and wife burial site and they died years apart.  When I dowsed at the end of the one plot in the two-person lot, I detected a female reading at one end and a male reading at the other.  Using the dowsing 'stomp' test for depth indicated that there was a burial at a shallow depth (less than 2-3 feet).  Stacked or 'piggy-backed' burials in this region are unusual.

I located several burial sites with headstones that apparently have been moved and did not mark the correct burial site (i.e., male and female stones reversed, child in a burial site marked for an adult).

There were a few homemade cement marker stones at some burial sites that were probably made by families too poor to purchase stones.

There was one WWII veteran's burial site that was recorded on the cemetery's incomplete paper records but was not marked by any headstone.  I determined which site was the veteran's by differentiating the body length from an adjacent unmarked infant's grave (from the same family).  I worked with two other persons who subsequently obtained a headstone (free of charge) from the Veteran's Administration after documenting this particular veteran's military experience and burial site.

1B.  Another Rural Cemetery -- In the photo on the left, the 3 graves in the lot have been designated with temporary markers: #1 The adult male grave in the center does have a headstone; #2 The adult female grave on the right without a headstone is probably the male's wife, and; #3 The male infant on the left without a headstone is probably their infant who died at a very young age.  Other history records confirmed that these dowsing findings were probably correct although the infant's existence was not on record.

2. The Mountain Cemetery -- One of my unique dowsing experiences was that of checking out all of the plots and burial sites in a small mountain community's cemetery.  The local community had recently selected a group of citizens to manage the cemetery.  The problem was that there were inadequate burial records (burials reportedly dated back to the later 1800s) and very few of the graves were marked with stones.

I assisted the newly formed cemetery board in dowsing the burial area.  By the time I finished the dowsing project, we had located over 60 burial sites and most were unmarked.  We placed metal stakes at the newly located grave sites so that unused plots could be used for future burials.

Adjacent to this mountain cemetery was a small hilltop. Local legend had reported this hilltop site as the location of early Indian burials.  I spent over an hour dowsing the top of this hill and did locate 3 old burial sites that had been overgrown with pine trees, and/or had rocks piled around the site.  The opening banner photo of this Web site was taken at the site of this hilltop burial.

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