In 1920, Rosa Holland McDonald was buried under the lilac bush in the garden behind her plantation home in Potomac. But some people say Rosa has never left the house.

For over 50 years, residents and their visitors claim to have seen and heard her ghost.

"We have all felt Rosa McDonald's presence," said Carey Miller. She and her husband Hervery J. (Jack) Miller Jr. (formerly President Nixon's attorney) now own the house.

"Soon after we moved in, a seven-day clock ran for six weeks without being rewound," continued Miller. "And often the lights go on and off as we enter or leave a room. We have seen the switches move from the on to the off position."

Doors in the house and the outbuildings on the property often open and close by themselves.

"Each morning for weeks, Jack found our barn door staked open," explained Miller. "The very same door that was secured, even wired shut, each night."

Visitors to the home who have no previous knowledge of the ghost stories also have reported spooky experiences.

A lawyer from Miller's firm who housesat while the family was away on vacation told the owners that "someone or something" kept him awake by making bumping noises.

A young woman staying alone in the house was awakened in the night by the sound of voices bidding hands of poker. She followed the sounds through the dark hallways into a closet, and found nothing.

But when Newbold Noyes (former editor of the Washington Star) and his wife Beppie lived in the house, they discovered a secret room. (The Millers bought from the Noyeses.)

The Noyeses noticed a window on the third floor that was visible from the outside, but not from the inside. They searched and found a small room, neatly and inexplicably sealed off from the rest of the house.

A second-floor room above the kitchen now used by Jack Miller as a den, is strangely inaccessable from any other second-floor room.The only way to get in is by going up a narrow back staircase just off the kitchen.

"For some reason," said Miller, "the ghost is most often heard near this small kitchen room."

Often household employees have been frightened by the ghost.

"Maids have quit," continued Miller, "and once a painter, hired to paint that room was so scared by the lights switching on and off that he threw down his bucket of paint and ran out of the house."

The Miller's son actually has seen a transparent, female figure in the upstairs hall.

But Carey Miller claims she never has been afraid to be alone in the house. She adores her home and has carefully restored it.

In 1908, when Rose McDonald came to the house as the bride (and second wife) of 71-year-old Captain John McDonald, the house was always open to guests. At that time, Captain McDonald already was a prominent local figure, the first Potomac resident elected to serve in the Congress.

McDonald, who retired from military service after the Civil War, moved to Potomac to farm.

Today, though the original plantation has been subdivided and only 16 acres remain around the house, Jack Miller leases and farms the 60 acres adjacent to his property.

A Republican, McDonald served in the Maryland House of Delegates in 1881. In 1891, Blair Lee defeated him in the race for State Comptroller.

But McDonald turned the tables on Lee in 1896, defeating him for the 6th District of Maryland's seat in the House of Representatives.

Ironically, in 1970, Blair Lee III defeated Republican Jack Miller, in the race for lieutenant governor of Maryland.

Could there be some special link between the Millers and the McDonalds?

"All I know," said Carey Miller, "is that the ghost always manifests herself to us in very friendly ways."