One of the best-known Dallas legends is the Lady of the Lake, a ghostly figure who haunts White Rock Lake Park.
The Ghost of White Rock is Born
A woman named Anne Clark wrote the account of the Lady of the Lake legend published in 1943. “The Ghost of White Rock,” was included in the Texas Folklore Society’s publication, “Backwoods to Border.” In this accounting, a young couple parked on the shore of White Rock Lake. When they switched their headlights on, they saw a woman in white coming toward them. A young girl dressed in a sheer, wet, white dress. She spoke in a faltering voice.
I‘m sorry to intrude, and I would not under any other circumstances, but I must find a way home immediately. My boat 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. She gave them an address in Oak Cliff. When they asked her for directions, they turned around only to find their rumble seat empty and wet. The couple went to the address she gave them. A sad man met them at the door. The man told them:
“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 drowned.”
The Lady of the Lake Legend Grows
In 1953 a similar but much more detailed account of the Lady of the Lake legend was included in Dallas author Frank X. Tolbert’s book, Neiman-Marcus, Texas: The Story of the Proud Dallas Store. In this account, a beautiful blonde girl appears on the road near White Rock Lake. Mr. and Mrs. Guy Malloy, directors of display for Neiman-Marcus, spot her standing as if she had just walked up from the beach. Upon seeing the girl standing in the beams of their headlights 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.”
Meaning, of course, Neiman-Marcus. The friendly girl asked them to take her to an address on Gaston Avenue in nearby Lakewood. She didn’t offer an explanation for her state, and the Malloys were too polite to ask. Her long hair began to dry in the night breeze. Mrs. Malloy was now sure the girl’s dress was from Neiman-Marcus. The girl got in the back seat of the two-door sedan. When the car started, Mrs. Malloy turned to discover the girl had vanished. The only trace of her was the damp spot on the back seat. Puzzled, the Malloys went to the address she provided them. A middle-aged man met them at the door. He informed them that his blonde daughter, who wore nothing but Neiman-Marcus clothes, drowned two years before when she fell off a pier at White Rock Lake.
Additional Information about the Lady of the Lake
To learn more about the history of White Rock Lake Park check out Steven Butler’s wonderful book, “From Water Supply to Urban Oasis“.