Who Haunts White Rock Lake?
By M.P. Pellicer | Eerie.News
One of the most famous apparitions is a hitchhiking White Lady seen on the shore of White Rock Lake in Dallas, Texas. Who was she, and is she the only one who haunts this place?
Bison herds once roamed across White Rock Valley which was part of the Blackland Prairie. White Rock Lake, located in northeast Dallas, Texas was formed after the White Rock Creek was dammed. The reservoir flooded over farms owned by the Cox and Daniel families who settled there in the 1830's and 1840s.
The only thing left of the Cox and Daniel farms is the Cox Cemetery. The Daniel family fell on hard times, and the renovation funds contributed by the Cox family earned it a new name. Other pioneer families buried there are the Glovers, the Humbards, Lavenders, McCommases and Donagheys. Approximately 500 people are interred there.
The dam was completed in 1911, and through the years a bath house with a dancing pavilion next to it, and boat houses were constructed.
In 1935, the Civilian Conservation Corps built structures at Winfrey Point and planted hundreds of trees. During WWII it was turned into a boot camp for two years. In 1944, it was a prisoner of war camp, which held over 400 German non-combatants who had served under Rommel, and were captured in the the North Africa campaign.
People came to fish, swim and boat on the reservoir which spans a little over a 1,000 acres. In 1952, swimming was banned.
The Lady of White Rock Lake is an urban myth connected to the area, and like many tales of this type she is described in different ways.
In one instance she is a 20-something girl wearing a 1930s-era evening dress. The consensus is that she met her end in a night boating accident or a car accident. Sighted as a lonely girl trudging along the roadside of East Lawther Drive, she asks to be taken to a house on Gaston Avenue. Some time during the trip she disappears, leaving only a wetness where she sat.
She has also appeared on lake-fronting porches, where she asks to use the telephone before disappearing.
Another version describes her as a beautiful girl with short black hair wearing a wedding dress. She tells the driver who stopped for her that her name is Jill Walters, and gives him the address of 720 Island Way, just five minutes from where he picked her up at. Other times, it's an address on Gaston Avenue, a street that leads to the lake.
She disappears and the Good Samaritan who gave her a ride, arrives at the address only to find out she drowned two years before at the lake, the day before she was to get married.
Like many of these ghost stories, an alternate storyline is that she died when her ex-boyfriend drove off into the lake when she told him she was marrying another man.
In 1943, Anne Clark on behalf of the Texas Folklore Society's publication Backwoods to Border wrote the story The Ghost of White Rock. In this retelling a young couple is parked on the shore of the lake. When they switch on the headlights, they see a young woman dressed in a sheer, white, wet dress walking towards them.
She tells them her boat overturned and she must get home. The others are safe.
The address she gives is in the town of Oak Cliff, however before long she disappears, leaving only a wet seat. They go to the address she gave them, and a man tells them her daughter drowned three weeks before while sailing on White Rock Lake.
In yet another version, the person living at the home tells that puzzled motorist they've described a woman who lived in the house many years before, but she drowned in the lake.
In 1953, Frank X. Tolbert tells of a night when Guy Malloy who was director of display for Neiman-Marcus is accompanied by his wife Josephine. They see a blonde girl standing on the beach. She asks them to be taken to Gaston Avenue. Suddenly she disappears, and when they come to the address a man tells them his daughter died two years before when she fell off a pier at White Rock Lake. The story was later embellished where she was wearing a Neiman Marcus dress, but the original story had the girl dressed in a raincoat. Malloy had one of the first homes at White Rock Lake.
Was the Lady of White Rock based in fact?
It's not certain how far back the sightings of the White Lady go, but many believe it started in the 1930s. Here are some women that found sudden death, or were quite unhappy when they were alive.
In 1927, Hallie Enid Gaston, 19, drowned in the lake after her boat capsized. It's worth noting her surname of Gaston. If she is the hitchhiking lady, was she telling the driver her name and not the street?
In 1935, Louise Foard Davis drowned herself at the lake. She was married to Earl H. Davis, but the one who found her suicide note was her sister Esther Doyle, who called police within minutes of discovering the note. They sent seven squad cars, but found her bobbing in the water, and they could not resuscitate her.
In November, 1942, a fisherman found a coat and hat with a note pinned to them on the shore of the lake. The items belonged to Nora Rose Stone, 37, and she asked that a sister in Fort Worth be notified. Police dragged waters near the public boathouses in search of her body.
Her relatives came to help police, and according to the newspapers they said she had been in poor health recently, and her husband was in the Army.
A day later her corpse was recovered. Now the story had changed. There was no mention made of a husband, in the army or otherwise, and Stone was her maiden name. Her sister said she had recently returned from Washington because she had been in ill health. Later reports were that she was a stenographer working for the government who had a nervous breakdown. Her death certificate listed her as divorced. She had married Cleve Bowers McComic in 1930.
If there was an exact reason why she took her life, it was never revealed. Perhaps it had something to do with her ex-husband, Cleve.
Cleve Bowers McComic was born in 1892, in the small town of Zwolle, Louisiana. He married Pearl Richardson in 1912.
By 1917, the marriage seemed to be over since he made the papers after he was sued for a marriage annulment because he promised his fiancée a $2,000 diamond ring, among other things.
Garnet McComic, a picture theater cashier in Oklahoma, said her husband a soldier at Fort Sill, had threatened her that if she failed to marry him, he would prosecute her and her family legally since he had a procured a marriage license. She described him as "eccentric and with a violent disposition." He told her "that unless she would consent to marry him he would kill her and himself." He also represented himself as a man of wealth and promised a diamond engagement ring. Later she found out he earned $33 a month as a soldier's salary, and that he owned no property. She had not lived with him for the 3 months it took to procure the annulment.
Cleve married the unhappy Nora Stone around 1930, and in the 1940 census they were still living together. Sometime after this they were divorced.
In 1946, Elizabeth McComic, wife number 4, divorced Cleve. Nothing is known about the circumstances, however she was the one that petitioned it.
His last marriage was to Martha Shaw. In 1954, he was found dead inside his car parked near the Veteran's Hospital. He was a watchman for a construction company, and it was determined he died from a heart attack. At first it was suspected to be a suicide.
He seemed an odd fellow to say the least, and perhaps part of the ghost story that involves a vengeful boyfriend that refuses to end the relationship is based on him.
Cleve McComic had his own sad family history. His father Johnnie McComic, a Sabine Parish marshal was killed in a street duel in 1898, when he was 26 years old. This swath of Zwolle, Louisiana was known as No Man's Land, a haven for outlaws.
He was attempting to arrest Nicanor Sepulveda who was raising a disturbance. He resisted, pulled a pistol and at close range shot McComic in the stomach.
The constable then pulled his pistol and fired three bullets into Sepulveda, killing him on the spot.
But let's not lay all the hauntings at the feet of the lady. There might be more than one ghost there.
In 1926, the year before Hallie Gaston drowned, Joseph Jaworski, the son of a prominent Waco family was discovered floating under a pier at White Rock Lake. The 25-year-old engineer had been missing for 3 days. It was alluded that it was an accident, but since his father was a minister, a suicide could possibly have been covered up.
In May, 1929, three high school boys drowned in the lake after their boat overturned. They had been fishing.
In 1941, the body of Lewis David a former convict was found killed "gangland style". Riddled with five shots he was found hear White Rock Lake.
In 1948, Mrs. Maurice Merriott, 40, fell from a motorboat and drowned. She had clutched a life preserver thrown out to her, but then went under.
In 1953, Russell Gardner, 21, drowned after jumping from his motor boat before it exploded.
In 1964, Samuel C. Turney, 51, was recovered from White Rock Lake. Like Nora Stone he left clothes, a wallet and a note on the shore.
That same year a construction company foreman was killed when he fell beneath a tread tractor at a road project near White Rock Lake. He was 29 years old.
The mystery of who is the Lady might never be solved, and if not, she perhaps keep good company from those that met their end at White Rock Lake just like her.
Sources - The Waco News, The Eagle, Fort Worth Star Telegram, Corpus Christi Times, The Times
Leave a Reply.
Eerie News | Stories of the Mysterious and Unexplained
For all the latest news articles and stories about the world of the paranormal and the unexplained.
Fair Use Act Disclaimer - This site is for educational purposes only. Copyright Disclaimer under section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976