My best friend, Don, was so scared he was practically hyperventilating in my car as I drove off fast at his urging. Don was a big, powerful, young guy who’d played football all through junior high school. There were few people he was afraid of, yet here he was shaking like a leaf with a pale face as I stepped on the gas and left White Rock Lake behind us. My girlfriend and wife to be and his little blond honey sat wide eyed and speechless wondering just what had frightened this tall athletic man, who was popular and well liked by most, but in hysterics at the moment.
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A legend from the lake
When I think back to that hot September afternoon and a much anticipated Friday night out, this incident comes back to haunt me like the decades-long rumors of the “Lady of the lake” known to appear to numerous Dallas residents over the years. The story of a young teenage girl tragically drowned is rooted in fact, but still, like most ghost stories remains a mystery to those who have their bizarre encounters. The classic tale is of a driver late at night picking up a hitch hiking young girl who appears sad and alone. Once the teenager gets in the car she gives the driver the address of her parents only to vanish as the car pulls up to the house leaving a pool of water on the seat of the car as her calling card from another dimension.
Numerous reports of drivers seeing a young girl dressed in a wet white gown or home coming dress who becomes translucent as the headlights beams illuminate her, have become common place. Supposedly, the parents of a teenage girl who tragically drowned have had unwelcome visitations by drivers who claim their daughter had asked them for a ride only to disappear once they had parked in front of their house. Understandably perturbed, the grief stricken parents have to endure this bizarre drama that they are unable to put past them. Local newspaper stories emerge from time to time about the latest sighting.
The wrong ghost
What my close friend saw that late afternoon as sunset began casting shadows upon the field alongside White Rock Lake where we had decided to relax and enjoy the company of our ladies, was most definitely not the “Lady of the Lake”! Not according to Don, who was scared out of his wits on that strange evening that we had all looked forward to at the end of a long hot week. All we had wanted was to savor a couple of cold beers and enjoy our attractive dates. What ended up happening on that twisted evening falls under the disturbing category of the unknown.
Settling down for the evening
My lady and I had decided to recline on the low think limb of a tree close to a picnic table and talk while Don preferred to have a little privacy with his date and walked further down toward the lake shore maybe 50 yards away from us. It had been a God awful hot day and with the sunset beginning to soften the glare of the sun and transform it to a deep orange. Things finally began to cool down. My woman and I each enjoyed a cold long neck as we sat blissfully enjoying the scenery and what breeze that we could feel on our skin. Shadows were beginning to run along the ground from the overhead branches of the old oak as we allowed the seeming tranquility of the lake to mesmerize us.
All of the sudden I heard a scream uttered from Don’s direction closer toward the lake from where we sat. I could see Don sprinting away from a wharf that had been constructed to reach out across the water among the cat tails and reeds. His girlfriend stood and before she could even react, Don had already passed by her on a dead run! He screamed my name as he approached us. His little blonde headed date gawked as she wondered what was wrong with her young man then glanced to the direction had been on a sudden exodus from and ran toward us from behind Don!
“Unlock your car!” Don gasped as he ran toward us. “Unlock you car! We got to get you’ve here!” Don pleaded breathlessly as he covered the distance from us to my car.
Alerted by my friend’s obvious state of panic, I ran after him and unlocked my 1960 baby blue Cadillac and opened the doors. Don jumped in the passenger seat and urged me, “drive damn it! Let’s get you’ve here!” He repeated between breathes.
“What the hell happened?” I blurted out as I waited for the girls to get seated, turned the ignition key, and stepped on the pedal.
Don didn’t even come close to relaxing until we were well away from the park and had White Rock Lake behind us. He finally began to tell us about his strange encounter as I drove away wondering what in the heck had just happened. Our plans for an enjoyable get together seemed to have gone up in smoke, and all because of something that had apparently scared Don to death!
As it happened
As it turned out, Don had left his date to stroll down to the wharf and relieve himself as the beer he had drank had gone to his bladder. He sauntered down the slight incline to the old wooden wharf where an old building sat and a cluster of reeds and cat tails had grown up above the small board walk. He had been standing out over the lake. A welcome shadow had been cast by some tall trees along the shore and as he urinated he saw something out of the side of his eye. Immediately Don thought he had overlooked some stranger who had been standing nearby and excused himself, “Oh sorry,” he apologized.
A strange reply
Whoever or whatever it was did not answer but instead groaned. That was when Don turned and saw something that belongs only in nightmares. He told us that a dark figure seemed to drift above the water. It had glowing red eyes and it glared menacingly at him! Don immediately pulled up his jeans and ran like he was demon possessed. Being a former athlete, it did not take him long to cover the distance between where he sighted the bizarre entity and to our vantage point as he screamed my name and demanded that I unlock my car doors! Whatever Don saw had nothing to do with the feminine spirit known as the “Lady of the Lake”.
Ending a strange evening
After hearing this, our designs on having a pleasant evening that we had all looked forward to that week just seemed to melt away just as the hot afternoon had given way the darkness of a threatening night at White Rock Lake. Don’s girl tried to calm him down and recoup whatever was left of the night so we might still enjoy ourselves, but he was in quite a state of shock. Knowing Don pretty well, I would find it hard to believe that he had imagined this or that he had made it up because he had been frightened badly. Whatever Don saw had been convincing enough for him to go running like a madman up the from the shore and straight to my car not even stopping to warn his date. So came an end to our plans on that night. I can’t remember being back there ever since.
Word of caution
While many consider White Rock Lake to be a place to enjoy in an affluent area of historic east Dallas some people have experienced another side to this small body of water where a yacht club adorns its shores. Somewhere and on some unsuspecting night one may come across what they think is a young teenaged girl needing a ride even though she becomes translucent once the headlights shine upon her if they are lucky. If they are not so lucky they may find a shadowy being who scowls at them through glowing red eyes as it hovers upon the darkened waters of White Rock Lake. My advice to those there would be to take care once the sun sets and another reality along the lakeshore begins to emerge.