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.
The legend of the Lady of the Lake in Rochester 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 a place for a nice park and a cozy picnic since the turn of the century. According to the legend though, the park is not always sunny sundays as the Durand Eastman Park is allegedly haunted by the ghost of a woman named The Woman of the Lake.
This type of ghosts takes on numerous names: The Lady in White, The White Lady, Lady of the Lake. She becomes a different entity with those names, one of many, a ghostly transparent figure of folklore. She loses her humanity and such, gains her legacy that lasts longer than a human lifetime. But who were this lady down by the lake when she was alive? Does she have a name?
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According The Rochester Candlelight ghost walk, the legend of the Lady of the Lake in Rochester have been told as far back as when the Durand Eastman 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 when they started to whisper about who the one in the deep lake could be and what she was after.
The Legend of Lady of the Lake in Rochester
Before the 1900’s, the area surrounding the Durand Eastman Park was a swampy place and not the nice and curated park we see today. It was farmland and small farms was around the lake with a few families living in the area. 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.
Lady of the Lake in Rochester’s name, according to written accounts and oral storytelling, her name was Eelissa. She appeared in different shapes and forms. Sometimes she was told to be an old and ugly woman. In other variants of the legend, she is a youthful spirit of the lake, almost more like the mythical fairy from the stories than a real woman.
Through the generations the story has been passed down through the locals, the story about this Lady in White or Lady of the Lake that has been haunting the park since the early 1800s has taken some different roads along the way. But the main overview remains the same.
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In one of the variations of this ghost story, Eelissa had an abusive husband that left her for another woman when he got tired from her. In her jealous rage, she killed them both when she realised she would be alone. It is said that this is why she is haunting the Durand Eastman Park, mistaking young couples for her husband and mistress.
Legend has it that she is a dangerous ghosts, still blinding by rage and keeps slaying them, again and again for revenge. This variant of the legend about the scorned woman turned deadly is a classic take on a ghost story to tell around the campfire, but it is certainly not the most famous take on this legend.
The variation retold the most about the Lady of the Lake in Rochester, is that the Lady of the Lake is a grieving mother more than a scorned woman. The ghost of her is seen around the beach of the park, looking for her daughter she lost. In some variation, the daughter ran away with a lover and away from her overprotective mother to live their life in peace. Left all alone she haunts the place waiting for the return of her daughter.
In other versions the daughter was brutally raped and murdered close to the lake. The mother was unable to go on after this when the culprits got away without punishment. The grieving mother looks for remains of her daughter to this day, as well as those who did her harm. In some variations of the 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 enormous mistrust in men, even in the afterlife. Perhaps because of the abusive husband, perhaps because of the man stealing her daughter away or because of the rapist and murderers that took the life of her daughter. Who knows really, perhaps it could be all of them?
She is therefore rumored to attack men that in some ways are: ‘hindering’ her mission and interrupting her search. So if you are a man taking a stroll in the Durand Eastman Park, beware so to not be hindering anyone.
The Castle Housing the Lady of the Lake in Durand Eastman Park
In the Durand Eastman Park, the ruins of a stone wall is hidden among the trees. It is called, the castle. The Castle is a common place to gather for parties and retelling of the legend of Lady of the Lake in Rochester. It has over the years also become a part of it. Whispers that it is actually a part of the Lady of the Lake’s house when she was alive, or that it used to be an insane asylum or even a cannon wall.
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But in reality the castle is just the remains of a dining hall that used to be there. Before the Great Depression this was a place people in the Durand Eastman Park could get some refreshments while strolling among the trees after it was built in 1911. But over the years after vandalism, even arson and the passing of time, this wall is all there remains of the building.
Investigation The Lady of the Lake in Rochester
The blogger for The Rochester Subway, spoke to a Jenni Lynn that owns the Rochester Candlelight Ghost Walks that includes the ghost story about the Lady of the Lake in Rochester. She told that they had teamed up with local physic, Shelly Phillips to investigate the Lady of the Lake in Rochester once to get to the bottom of the matter. Could they possible find out anything about the ghost supposedly haunting Durand Eastman Park?
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 that Eelissa’s daughter ran away together with a local farm boy and that this was the true origin story of the legend.
Lynn also says she spoke with the local police, The Irondequoit Police Department to try to get some hard facts that could perhaps shed some light on the matter. According to her, there have been many reports to the police regarding the Lady of the Lake in Rochester and that people claimed to have seen her. These reports is maybe including even the police officers themselves when they have been patrolling the Durand Eastman Park.
It is worth noting though, the police department themselves have not confirmed this, and the stories about the Lady of the Lake in Rochester is for now just that, stories.
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 in Rochester.
The Lady in the Tree in Rochester
Telling of these ghost stories varies throughout the time, and sometimes there’s things that happens that gives new life into old stories. One thing that literary blew some new life into the story of The Lady of the Lake in Rochester though, happened in 2017. A forceful wind was storming around the Rochester area, awakening the ghost once more.
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According to Democrat and Chronicle this storm seems to be the first that broke the story online when the wind ripped apart a chunk of wood from a tree in the Durand Eastman Park. It left in splintered in the form of a skull like female, that many believed to be the ghost of the Lady of the Lake in Rochester, centuries after the legend was born, reminding everyone that she was still here.
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