The legend of the Lady in the Lake has been around the Durand Eastman Park in the state of New York for centuries, haunting the lakes and park, in search for her daughter – and possible revenge.

Between the cities of Rochester and Irondequoit in the state of New York, the Durand Eastman Park has been since the turn of the century.

She takes on numerous names. The Lady in White, The White Lady, Lady of the Lake. She becomes with those names one of many, a ghostly transparent figure of folklore. She looses her humanity and such, gains her legacy. But who were this lady down by the lake. Does she have a name?

The Rochester Candlelight ghost walk, tells the legend of the ghost have been told as far back as when the park was used as a vacation destination. And when a Boy Scout Camp was set up in the park, the legend grew around the campfire.

The Legend

Before the 1900’s, the area surrounding the park was a swampy place. It was farmland and small farms was around the lake. The lady that has been roaming the place since the early 1800’s is said to have been the wife of one of those farmers, farming this swampy land.

Her name, according to written accounts and oral story telling, her name was Eelissa. She appeared in different shapes and forms. Sometimes as an old, thing and ugly woman. Sometimes she is a youthful spirit of the lake. Through the generations the story has been passed down through the locals, the story has taken some different roads along the way. But the main overview remains the same.

A walk in the park: During the day, the park is a pleasant place for a walk. But at night though… Photo: DanielPenfield

In one of the variations, Eelissa had an abusive husband that left her for another woman. In her jealous rage, she killed them both. And therefore she is haunting the park, mistaking young couples for her husband and mistress, slaying them, again and again for revenge. A classic take on a ghost story, but certainly not the most famous take on this legend.

The variation retold the most, is that she is a grieving mother more than a scorned woman. She is seen around the beach, looking for her daughter. In some variation, the daughter run away with a lover and away from her overprotective lover. In other, the daughter was brutally raped and murdered. And such, the grieving mother looks for remains of her daughter, as well as those who did her harm. In some variations of rte story, she is accompanied by two ghost dogs, helping her in the search.

No matter how the story is told, one thing is a binding link. She still have an enourmos mistrust in men, even in the afterlife. Perhaps because of the abusive husband, perhaps because of the men, stealing her daughter away. Who knows really, perhaps it could be both?

She is therefore rumored to attack men that in some ways are: ‘hindering’ her mission and interrupting her search.

The Castle

In the park, the ruins of a stone wall is hidden among the trees. It is called, the castle. A common place to gather for parties and retelling of the legend. It has over the years also become a part of it. Whispers that it is actually a part of her house, an insane asylum or a cannon wall.


But in reality the castle is just the remains of a dining hall. Before the Great Depression this was a place people in the park could get some refreshments. It was built in 1911 to . But over the years after vandalism, arson and the passing of time, this wall is all there remains of the building.


The blogger for The Rochester Subway, spoke to a Jenni Lynn that owns the Rochester Candlelight Ghost Walks. She told that they had teamed up with local physic, Shelly Phillips to investigate the Lady of the Lake. They had used several different equipment, including divining rods, EMF-detectors, temperature readers as well as noise monitors. According to Lynn, Phillips was able to stand behind the legend of Eelissa’s daughter that ran away together with a local farm boy.

Lynn also says she spoke with the local police, The Irondequoit Police Department. According to her, there have been many reports to the police regarding the Lady of the Lake, including, maybe, even by the officers themselves.

It is worth noting though, the police department themselves have not confirmed this.

But then, there must be some historical records of this, right? Eelissa is such an uncommon name, and the place is well documented. But according to town historian Patricia Wayne, there are no such records, documents or proof that can verify the story. Even so, every year, reports of sightings every year comes in of people claiming to have seen the Lady of the Lake.

The Lady in the Tree

One thing that literary blew some new life into the story though, happened in 2017. A forceful wind was storming around the Rochester area, awakening the ghost once more. At least the legend. According to Democrat and Chronicle that seems to be the first that broke the story online, the wind ripped apart a chunk of wood from a tree in the park. It left in splintered in the form of a skull like female, that many believed to be the ghost of the Lady, centuries after the legend was born.


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