Investigation Report

Location: White Rock Lake, Dallas, Texas
Date: 21 September, 1998
Weather Conditions: Clear
Humidity: 48%
Geomagnetic Storm Activity: Inactive
Temperature: 78
Number of Photos taken: 42
Number with possible targets: 2
Average EM Readings: 8 mg
Average M fields Readings: 1nt
Average E Field Readings: 1 vpm
Cold Spots detected: None
Hot Spots Detected: None
Olfactory Phenomena: None
Visual Phenomena: None
Type of Investigation: Ghost Hunt

All information and photos Copyright 1998, 2005 by Cody Polston, Bob Carter and SGHA. All Rights Reserved.

Location Description and History

Following the Civil War, Freedmen and their families established a community named Egypt on what is now the northeastern shore of White Rock Lake. There, in addition to their homes, they had a church, a school, and a cemetery. They all no longer exist.
Another nearby community was Calhoun, later named Fisher, on the northwestern side of the present-day lake. It too is gone but its name survives in Fisher Road, which still runs down to the edge of White Rock Lake.

The community of Reinhardt sprang up alongside railroad tracks near the present-day Casa Linda Shopping Center. Like the town of Fisher, Reinhardt was eventually absorbed by the growing city of Dallas. It's name survives only in an elementary school that stands near the former center of the town. As Dallas began to grow in population during the late 1890s and early 1900s water started to become a problem.

In 1907, city officials began to acquire land in the White Rock Valley for a future reservoir that would be larger than Bachman's Lake, the former major source of water for the area. In 1913, the first water from the reservoir was pumped into the Dallas mains and the following year, the lake was formally declared to be full.

Although it was not built with recreation in mind, the locals quickly discovered that the new reservoir and the land surrounding it was an ideal place for outdoor sports. Anticipating the popularity of the newly-proposed park, an anonymous newspaper reporter predicted it would quickly become "The People's Playground." The first permanent lakeside amenities were constructed by the City of Dallas in 1930: A Bath House and Bathing Beach on the eastern shore and a municipal boathouse with berths for 36 speedboats on the western shore.
In 1933, the Civil Works Administration (CWA) and the Works Progress Administration (WPA), two other "New Deal" federal agencies, also made contributions to the infrastructure of White Rock Lake Park. It appears that the men employed by the short-lived CWA were used primarily for the purpose of picking up trash around the park or landscaping projects. The WPA's contributions were more visible and lasting. Two bridges funded by the federal agency between 1935 and 1937, one on either side of the lake, are still in use today.After World War Two began, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp was turned over the the Army Air Corps' Fifth Ferrying Command, which used the site as an induction center and "boot camp" for nearly two years. In 1944, the CCC camp got a new lease on life as a Prisoner-of-War camp for German non-combatants captured in the North Africa campaign. During their incarceration at White Rock, they worked nights at Fair Park repairing army equipment. At war's end, they were repatriated to their "fatherland."

During the 1930s, 1940s, and into the 1950s, White Rock Lake Park lived up to its designation as "The People's Playground." Dallas was smaller then (in both land size and population) and White Rock was literally a day's outing in the countryside.For a brief period of time in the 1930s, there was a dance pavilion beside the bathhouse, where couples could take to the dance floor and enjoy the music of Babe Lowry and her all-female band, the "Rhythm Sweethearts."Monday, September 1, 1952 was the last day the bathing beach was open. The following year, during a drought, White Rock Lake was put back in service (temporarily) as a a water supply and swimming was banned. In the meantime, fueled in part by fears of potential racial conflict, the City of Dallas embarked on a program of building smaller, neighborhood pools. The beach at White Rock was never re-opened and the ban on swimming is still in force to this day.

The above material and information was taken from An Unofficial Guide to Scenic White Rock Lake, courtesy Steven Butler.

Sources: Watermelon kid.com , related article

Reported Phenomena

The ghost of a woman in a white evening gown dripping with water has terrorized residents here for many years.
During the 1920's, White Rock Lake was a popular recreation spot. A Dallas man, some say a bootlegger, and his lady had been enjoying an evening on his boat and on this occasion, the party was formal so they were both in evening dress. During that evening they had a severe argument and when the boat docked, the lady ran from the deck, jumped into the man's car and drove off. The roads around the lake were quite poor at the time and the lady was probably intoxicated.

As she approached the area where Lawther drive now joins Garland road, she lost control of the car and it plunged into the lake. The lady died in the accident. Her ghost is said to have two ways of manifesting itself.
The most common is to appear as a hitch-hiker along Garland road where it passes the lake. The spirit materializes as a pretty girl in an evening dress, drenched to the skin. She gives a certain address, quite fashionable in the twenties, then disappears, leaving a wet seat. The lady has been known to leave her wrap in the car and this is said to bear a 1920's style "Neiman Marcus Label".

The other manifestation is in the form of an emergency phone call, always delivered on the front porch of homes along Garland road, facing the lake. In September 1962, Dale Berry answered the doorbell twice to find no one there. On the third ring, he opened the door to see the screaming apparition, who disappeared, leaving behind only a puddle of water. The ghost also often appears to young couples parked in cars along deserted roads.

A woman named Anne Clark wrote what may be the earliest published account of the legend. Titled "The Ghost of White Rock," Clark's brief story was included in the Texas Folklore Society's 1943 publication, Backwoods to Border. It read:

One hot July night a young city 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, on the opposite side of Dallas. The young couple felt an uneasiness concerning their strange passenger, and as they neared the destination the girl, to avoid hunting the address, 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."

In 1953 a similar but much more detailed account was included in Dallas author Frank X. Tolbert's book, Neiman-Marcus, Texas: The Story of the Proud Dallas Store:

One night about ten years ago a beautiful blonde girl ghost appeared on a road near Dallas' White Rock Lake.
Mr. and Mrs. Guy Malloy, directors for display for the world-famous specialty store, Neiman-Marcus, saw the girl. Only they didn't recognize her, right off, for a ghost. She had walked up from the beach. And she stood there in the headlights of the slow-moving Malloy car. Mrs. Malloy said, "Stop, Guy. That girl seems in trouble. She must have fallen in the lake. Her dress is wet. Yet you can tell that it is a very fine dress. She certainly got it at the Store."

By "the Store," Mrs. Malloy meant the Neiman-Marcus Company of Dallas.
The girl spoke in a friendly, cultured contralto to the couple after the car had stopped. She said she'd like to be taken to an address on Gaston Avenue in the nearby Lakewood section. It was an emergency she said. She didn't explain what had happened to her, and the Malloys were too polite to ask. She had long hair, which was beginning to dry in the night breeze. And Mrs. Malloy was now sure that this girl was wearing a Neiman-Marcus dress. She was very gracious as she slipped by Mrs. Malloy and got in the back seat of the two-door sedan.

When the car started, Mrs. Malloy turned to converse with the passenger in the Neiman-Marcus gown. The girl had vanished. There was a damp spot on the back seat.
The Malloys went to the address on Gaston Avenue. A middle-aged man answered the door. Yes, he had a daughter with long blonde hair who wore nothing but Neiman-Marcus clothes. She had been drowned about two years before when she fell off a pier at White Rock Lake.

The Investigation

A photo of the area along Garland Road where we picked up a strong EMF reading. This "mist" was not visible to the naked eye.

Finally, we're able to get to the lake without having Buck getting us lost. We drove around the lake's eastern perimeter until we came to a small park like area where we pulled over to take a few shots of the lake for the record. It really is quite beautiful, especially at night, and quite large too. Get any decent size map of Dallas and it is plainly visible. It also has quite a few docks with all sorts of boats docked on or near them.

Now since our "lady" likes to hitch-hike and we know the road that she prefers, we hopped back in the car and proceeded to the intersection of Garland road and Lawther. Along the way, Buck started getting a little twitchy and we developed a little technique to allow us to cover allot more ground. Simply put..we would hold the EMF detector out of the window and stop the car if we got any kind of promising reading. Well..we had a few stops, but nothing worth following up on.

Finally, we reached the intersection. There is a small road with turns into the "park" which borders the lake here. Really handy, as it gave us a place to pull over and take a look. Just as Buck was about to pull the car over, I took a reading and the EMF pegged out at that "special" range of 8 to 10 milligauss (that suspect ghost indication). However, it stalled out after a few seconds. The lake was to our left, concealed by a line of tall trees, but one lone tree stood about 30 feet or so from the car. It's sort of hard to explain but all of us had a odd feeling about that tree, so I got out and walked over to it to see if there would be any change in the EMF readings. When I got about 10 feet from it, the EMF once again indicated a suspect field, so I called Buck over to have a look. No sooner than he had gotten there, our field started to move, slowly, back towards Garland road.

By now, Buck had alerted Sionnan and Lisa, who were on their way to join us. By now, the "field" had crossed the road that we were parked on and headed straight for the road. Not good, as power lines bordered it, and those nasty power lines interfere with the readings of our EMF meters. We tried to lock back onto our little suspect, but she was moving around and the interference wasn't helping any either. Eventually, we decided to go back to the lake and take another look there. It's quite possible that if that "field" was our ghost, she would have probably noticed that we didn't have any room for her in the car, so she decided to go and wait for someone else to pick her up. Once back at the lake, we decided to check out some off the docks before heading off to the cemetery near the lake where, according to the urban myth, the "lady" is buried. Strange, we were getting all sorts of fluctuating readings while on those docks. Buck thinks that this might be due to all of the people who have either drown here or had their bodies dumped during all of the violence of the prohibition days.

"Sweeping" the area along the docks for odd EMF fields.

Another odd "mist" captured on film on the docks. This photo was taken on a dock, looking out along the shoreline towards another dock.

Initial Conclusions

The biggest problem with this site is it's size. Very large sweeps are required which makes it time consuming. However, there does
appear that there is sufficient evidence in the strange EM fields that we encountered to warrant a more detailed search of the area. we obtained two unusual pictures during this ghost hunt but both are unsustainable.

The next issue concerns whether the lake is actually haunted or is it an urban legend?

A Dallas author reported that the "Lady of the Lake" has been seen, not in a Neiman-Marcus dress but in a flowing negligee and that she is believed to be the ghost of a despondent young woman who committed suicide by drowning herself in the reservoir.

This begs the question: Has anyone ever died in such a way at this particular lake? an answer lies in a story by Dallas Times Herald.
On Friday, July 5, 1935, Mrs. Frank Doyle found a suicide note left by her sister, Louise Ford Davis, who resided at the Melrose Court Hotel. Mrs. Doyle immediately alerted the police, who sent seven squad cars racing to White Rock Lake, in hopes of preventing a tragedy. But they were too late. "Detective Bryan," reported the Daily Dallas Times Herald, "who was driving along the Garland road, turned on to the lake road [East Lawther Drive] and shortly afterward saw Mrs. Davis' head bobbing in the water."


"It was estimated," reported the paper, "that she had been in the lake five minutes when he [Detective Bryan] dragged her to shore." Although artificial respiration was employed in an attempt to revive Mrs. Davis, it was in vain and police remarked that if they had been called only "two or three minutes sooner," they might have saved her. The woman's car was parked nearby, a reporter added, and a "sheet and a pair of white gloves were found on the car seat." However, there was no mention of what she was wearing and the contents of the suicide note were not revealed. After a Saturday funeral service in Dallas, Mrs. Davis' body was taken to Albany, Texas for burial.
On November 24, 1942, another distraught woman, 35-year-old Rose Stone of Mansfield, Texas, also committed suicide by drowning herself in the lake. Her body, dressed in sweater and skirt, was discovered in eight feet of water near the municipal boathouse by Johnnie Williams, who assisted the park superintendent and city fireman in the search. A note was pinned to her sweater asking that relatives in Fort Worth be notified of her death. Mrs. Stone's coat and hat were found on the shore.

The information from the newspaper is interesting, as there have been deaths at the lake, but the description of the ghost differs because of the clothing she is wearing. The jury is still out on this one.

 

Back to Haunted Texas

Back to SGHA Home