One hot July night, a young couple, having driven out and parked on the shore of White Rock Lake, switched on the headlights of the car and saw a white figure approaching.
As the figure came straight to the driver’s window, they saw it was a young girl dressed in a sheer white dress that was dripping wet. She spoke in a somewhat faltering voice:
“I’m sorry to intrude, and I would not under any other circumstances, but I must find a way home immediately. I was in a boat that overturned. The others are safe. But I must get home.”
She climbed into the rumble seat, saying that she did not wish to get the young lady wet, and gave them an address in Oak Cliff. The young couple felt an uneasiness concerning their strange passenger, and as they neared the destination, the girl turned to the rumble seat to ask directions.
The rumble seat was empty, but still wet.
After a brief, futile search for the girl in white, the couple went to the address she had given and were met at the door by a man whose face showed lines of worry. When he had heard the couple’s story, the man replied in a troubled voice:
“This is a very strange thing. You are the third couple who has come to me with this story. Three weeks ago, while sailing on White Rock Lake, my daughter was drowned.”
So goes one version about one of Texas’ most famous phantoms, The Lady of White Rock Lake.
This version comes from “Backwoods to Border”, a Texas Folk-Lore Society Publication in 1943.
Local versions of the story might resemble the following, courtesy of Sue Brownlee, who has a special interest in the ghost.
“A beautiful young girl in a flowing white gown drowned decades ago in White Rock Lake. And when the moon is right – as it always is around Halloween – she comes back and tries to visit those she remembers and loves.
“After rising from the lake, the lady flags down motorists on Lawther Drive, the road that winds around White Rock Lake. Enveloped in an eerie fog, she is hard to see and car lights make it even harder.
“A car stops. The girl is soaking wet and tells about swimming ashore after a boating accident in the lake. She asks the driver to take her to her parents’ home, and gives an East Dallas address in the neighborhood of Gaston Avenue. She climbs in the car, and off they go, the motorist too scared not to cooperate.
“At the address, the driver stops and looks around to tell his back-seat passenger they have arrived. But she’s gone – vanished – and the back is dripping wet.
“Scared out of his wits, the driver runs to the front door, rings the bell and tells an elderly couple living there what happened. He gets only sad looks from them, and finally the old man explains:
“We lost our daughter in White Rock Lake many years ago. But she tries to come back to visit us every so often.”
One reason why Brownlee is so familiar with the legend is that the previous owners of her home commissioned an artist to provide his rendition of her in the form of a stained glass inset of their home’s front door.
It’s been said by some long-time neighborhood residents that a young girl who drowned at the lake was laid to rest in Cox’s Cemetery near the lake – another story in itself.
Could it be “The Lady?”
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