Bono Man Finds Lost Graves - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Bono, AR -- Bob Snell reports

Bono Man Finds Lost Graves

'OffBeat Bob' - Sundays on NightBeat
July 11, 2004--Posted at 10:00 p.m. CDT

BONO, AR--If you've ever lost something then you know how frustrating the search and recovery can be. But there's a man in Bono who specializes in the search and recovery, of lost graves.

"They don't tell you which direction something runs, they just tell you you're over something," says Ronald Coleman, "Witching" expert. For Coleman, that something is an unmarked grave and he uses two metal rods to find them.

"Generally I carry two and when I step on, then I step off and it's just a continual row with no marker anywhere. Don't ask me how it works, it just works," says Coleman.

Coleman's been locating lost graves for nearly 15 years using a method called "witching." Witching rods and sticks have been around for hundreds of years, best known for locating water underground. As far and how or why it works, Colemen has a theory. "My theory is there's a void in the ground and it changes the magnetic field. Some people say gravity. You'll see how gravity could do this but I think it's magnetism that does it."

Coleman first warbled the rods out of curiosity, checking his own plot at Trinity Cemetery in Bono.

"The key is to hold them so loose in your hands, that you have no control over them. And when you get to the spot, that thing will move and cross," says Coleman.

Coleman is now a trustee at the cemetery and makes sure there are no surprises when it comes time for a burial. With the help of several friends he's created an online database where anyone that's got a relative in the 140 year old cemetery can click on www.findagrave.com. From there, they can locate their loved one. In the process of creating the data base, Coleman has matched more 100 names with unmarked graves.

"My biggest accomplishment is recording everything out here. That's been a good service for this community and a satisfaction for me to do that," says Coleman.

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