The Lady of the Lake

“Here’s a creeper of a tale that I grew up hearing about. The Lady of the Lake is one of the classics from my hometown of Dallas, Texas. Supposedly she was a member of the Cox family, which have a small, family cemetery just off Lawther Lane which winds its way around White Rock Lake on the east side of Dallas. And yes I’ve been there many times during my teenage years. Always hunting ghosts, spirits, and hauntings. She’s said to be interred in Cox Cemetery as well.

Apparently, the first account of the nefarious Lady of the Lake was published in 1943 in the Texas Folklore Society’s publication Backwoods To Border. In this early version, a young couple was parked one night on one of the many hillsides overlooking the lake when they were both startled by a young lady a tap tap tapping on their car window. it was a young girl wearing a sheer white dress, and drenched from head to toe. She spoke to the couple and said…

“I’m sorry to intrude and I wouldn’t under any other circumstances, but I must find a way home immediately. Our boat has overturned. The others are safe but I must get home.”

She was invited in and immediately climbed into what at the time was called a rumble seat. She told the couple that she didn’t want to get them wet.

She then gave the couple an address in Oak Cliff, which is just on the other side of downtown Dallas. Otherwise known as West Dallas, it’s no more than a 10-minute jaunt in the worst of traffic. Upon arriving at the home, they both turned around to let the young lady know that they had arrived, only to find the rumble seat empty, with only a puddle of water left behind. As they warily approached the door, it slowly opened. An obviously distraught man met them there. Upon relating their tale, the man told the couple…

“this is a very strange thing. You are the third couple who have come here with this story. Three weeks ago, while sailing on White Rock Lake, my daughter drowned…”

This tale has been told ever since in Dallas. It also appeared in Dallas author Frank X. Tolbert’s 1953 book Neiman Marcus, Texas: The Story of The Proud Dallas Store. In Tolbert’s account, a beautiful young blonde debutante shows up on Garland Road by the lake. Mr. And Mrs. Guy Malloy, directors of Neiman-Marcus’ Display Department, spotted her standing beside the road drenched. Obviously, they stopped when they saw her in their headlights. Miss Malloy exclaimed…

“Stop Guy! That girl seems in trouble. She must have fallen in the lake. Her dress is wet. You can tell that it’s a very fine dress as well. She certainly got it at the store.”

A great plug for Neiman-Marcus huh? She then asked them to take her to an address on nearby Gaston Avenue. She had no explanation for her current state, and they weren’t about to ask her about it. Of course, upon arriving they found nothing but a wet, empty seat behind them. After speaking to the man at the address, they learned that it was his daughter who had drowned a few years earlier after falling off of one of the many piers that dot the lake. She wore nothing but the finest of dresses from Neiman-Marcus…

So who was she? A member of the Cox family who is now buried in Cox Cemetery? Was she an East Dallas socialite who drowned one summer morning after falling from a pier? Perhaps a less fortunate Oak Cliff girl who lost her life in a sailing accident? Or maybe just another hitchhiking ghost that we have no shortage of from around the country?

Who knows? I certainly don’t. And I grew up a stone’s throw from White Rock Lake. I never saw anything in my many nights at the lake with my friends. But it’s nonetheless a great ghost story. And one that’s not going to disappear anytime soon. Just be careful about picking up hitchhikers from around the White Rock Lake area in Old East Dallas. Until next time Stay Spooked…” -Glenn Harrison (Hardcore Paranormal)

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