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Durand Eastman Park and the Lady In White

October 25th, 2013

Durand-Eastman Park, Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
Durand-Eastman Park. So peaceful and picturesque. This time of year the autumn colors are brilliant. And the water is so calm and reflective; the landscape seems to gently float up into the sky. This could be heaven.

On the edge of one great Lake Ontario, two much smaller lakes, Durand and Eastman are named for the two men who donated the land for this beautiful park. In the early 1900’s Dr. Henry S. Durand owned a summer camp here. He and his friend George Eastman saw a need for a public park with access to the beach. So they bought a number of farms around the Durand property, and in 1907 they offered the land to the City of Rochester.

But to willingly give away this place, I have to believe Dr. Durand knew contained something that was not quite right. Maybe something terrifying…

Durand-Eastman Park, Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
As beautiful as it is today, the park looked very different before construction workers moved earth and water to transform it into the place it is today. In much the same way Frederick Law Olmsted engineered Highland, Genesee Valley, and Seneca Parks… Durand-Eastman was highly engineered.

Construction of Durand-Eastman Park, c.1909. [PHOTO: Albert R. Stone]
Pre-1900 this was swampy, almost tree-less, farmland. And according to a popular local legend, the troubled spirit of a farmer’s wife still roams here.

Construction of Durand-Eastman Park, c.1909. [PHOTO: Albert R. Stone]
The story tells of a woman, named Eelissa, who has been wandering this area since the early 1800’s in search of someone. As it’s been passed down through the generations, pieces of the story have been lost and there are now a few different versions.

In one version, Eelissa was the victim of an abusive husband who eventually left her for another woman. Blinded by jealousy, she kills them both. Her ghost is said to stalk the roads of the park, “mistaking unfortunate young lovers in cars for her husband and his mistress whom she seeks to slay again and again, doomed to re-enact her crime with fresh victims over the centuries.”

Construction of Durand-Eastman Park, c.1909. [PHOTO: Albert R. Stone]
In other versions of the story, Eelissa is searching for her long-lost teenage daughter. The daughter either ran away with a boy, or she was abducted by another local farmer and later discovered to have been raped and murdered.

In both cases, Eelissa has a pre-existing mistrust of men (possibly due to her abusive husband). She discouraged her young daughter from socializing with boys. And her ghost is now said to attack “any man who has the misfortune of interrupting her search.”

Construction of Durand-Eastman Park, c.1909. [PHOTO: Albert R. Stone]
Eelissa’s ghost takes various forms and goes by a few different nicknames… “The Lady in White,” “The White Lady,” and “Lady of the Lake.”

Construction of Durand-Eastman Park, c.1909. [PHOTO: Albert R. Stone]
Sometimes she appears as a thin, ugly old woman, who moves along the shores of Lake Ontario with a pair of dogs. By other accounts she is “a youthful spirit who coalesces from the mists of Durand Lake.”

Construction of Durand-Eastman Park, c.1909. [PHOTO: Albert R. Stone]
Some versions of the story mention an old stone wall and claim this to be part of the White Lady’s former home. If any remnants of her old farm house do still exist in the park, I have not found them.

3 Lakes Pavillion at Durand-Eastman Park. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
A common misconception is that this wall (shown above) was part the old woman’s house or castle. In reality, this was the foundation of a refectory, or community dining room.

Construction of Durand-Eastman Park, c.1909. [PHOTO: Albert R. Stone]
Built in 1911, refreshments were served to park visitors here.

People gather at the new refectory at Durand-Eastman Park on its opening day in 1912. Members of the band approach at the right. [PHOTO: Albert R. Stone]
The refectory closed during the Great Depression. Over the years the wooden structure fell victim to vandalism and arson. All that remains is this stone wall.

3 Lakes Pavillion at Durand-Eastman Park. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
In 1988, local director Frank LaLoggia made a feature film that was loosely based on Rochester’s White Lady. The horror film was called Lady in White external link and stars Lukas Haas (Testament, Mars Attacks, The Tripper).

Rochester Candlelight Ghost Walks external link will be hosting a “Lady in White” ghost walk this Saturday at 10:30pm. [ Visit their web site external link for details. ]

The White Lady at Durand-Eastman Park, Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
I spoke with Jenni Lynn, owner/operator of Rochester Candlelight Ghost Walks. A few years ago Jenni teamed up with
a local physic, Shelly Phillips to try and learn something about the White Lady. Using divining rods, EMF detectors, temperature readers, and white noise monitors they explored the vacinity. Jenni says Phillips was able to determine that Eelissa’s daughter “ran away to be with her love—a local farm boy—and they ran away together.” And she says they recorded electro voice phenomenons (EVPs). “We don’t know if it was the white lady, but definitely felt something in that area.”

Jenni also says when she researched this story in 2009/2010, the Irondequoit Police Dept. indicated to her that there have been numerous reported sightings of the White Lady – possibly even sightings by their own officers.

The White Lady at Durand-Eastman Park, Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: RochesterSubway.com]
After making a trip down to the police station, IPD wouldn’t confirm or deny that claim for me. They said I would have to file a Freedom Of Information (FOIL) request. So I did. But it may be months before I hear anything back.

In the meantime, if you or anyone you know has any information on the White Lady of Durand-Eastman Park, please leave a comment below.

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This entry was posted on Friday, October 25th, 2013 at 12:28 am and is filed under Art + Culture, Rochester Destinations, Rochester History, Rochester Images. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

51 Responses to “Durand Eastman Park and the Lady In White”

  1. skb says:

    I happened across that stone foundation when exploring the area as a college student in the mid 90s and always wondered what it was. Now I know! Thank you for another great article!

  2. Julia says:

    Having grown up in Irondequoit, we heard all about the White Lady. I never realize there might be a smidge of truth to the story. The ghost investigation certainly is interesting.

    Love the photos too! I’d love to see more just because I’m so used to seeing the park as it looks now.

  3. Thanks!

    I will share more old photos of Durand-Eastman. Stay tuned!

  4. Jeffrey C Packard says:

    While I found out a bit ago that the white lady story is most likely just a story I had heard for years of activity at that location. I cannot prove anything but, years ago, myself and two others went up there late at night to see what we could see. We definitely saw something there. A white form appeared west (starting out what looked like a porch light) and then continued to move east towards us. My two friends took off quick and ran to the car while I stayed a little longer. It was definitely something moving closer but I did not have the guts to wait until it reached me before I took off too. Perhaps it was just an overactive imagination but I remember seeing it and not saying anything in the hopes some one would also see it just to confirm I was not imagining things in the dark.

  5. Kim says:

    Thanks for sharing the historical photos and stories. I grew up in the neighborhood surrounding Durand-Eastman Park. The White Lady version I heard was that a man murdered the White Lady’s children, so she haunts the park looking to harm any man she sees and kidnapping any children to replace her own. We called the refreshment stand the White Ladies Castle. Haunted or not…it’s a wonderful place to grow up.

  6. @Jeffrey, where were you exactly? Were you at the refectory where the stone wall is? Or someplace else in the park?

  7. Cherie says:

    I also grew up in the neighborhood next to Durand Eastman park and have walked the steps to the refreshment house many times. I recall the story, and tell the story to my children, who don’t even live there. Good times! thanks for writing!

  8. JLP says:

    Excellent story. I grew up in Irondequoit and the version I hear was that the White Lady’s husband was a merchant shipper on the Great Lakes who perished at sea. She still roams the beach looking for his ship to sail by on the way to the St Lawrence River. Also the refreshment stand was always referee to as the White Lady’s Castle. The pictures you shared are great.

  9. Terry says:

    I enjoyed reading this article very much. As a teen we spent quite abit of time looking for the White Lady to prove how brave we were. The story I remember was the daughter was raped and murdered and now the White Lady hunts young lovers as they are in their cars.We even would get a bunch of our group together (guys and gals) and search the woods for her till somehow or someone spooked us and then you had us running and screaming. Those were the good days. Most of us were from the area of Ave.D Playground or Franklin H.S..

  10. Seth says:

    Some one should look through the old census data and see if there was a woman named Eelissa that live in the area. You could probably find her real house if she was an actual person.

  11. Debbie says:

    I lived in the area most of my life and heard the story of The Lady in White many times. I was told she haunted the lake area not so much to terrify visitors, but to search for her long lost daughter. There was mention of the two dogs that searched the grounds with her. I was also told by many people that within the park there is a tree painted with the image of The Lady in White. I’ve searched and never found it. If anyone has seen this tree, please let me know where it is. I’d like to take a few pictures. Thanks.

  12. sally parker says:

    interesting. that’s a strange spelling… are we sure that’s how it’s spelled? maybe it has just one “e”; could be that’s just how people are pronouncing it, with the long “e.” elissa, alissa, alisa, elisa….

  13. jo says:

    when we use to go there as teens we would go walk around where the wall was but if u were parking at the beach rumors had it the white lady would kill the guys even through windows but guess guys were just trying to spook ya. did have alot of memories there

  14. Diva says:

    Love the pictures and history! It’s my favorite area and now that I have moved away I miss it even more. Thanks for the pictures!!!!

  15. Julie says:

    I also grew up in Irondequoit and I don’t know whether it is still there, but when we went orienteering in our fifth or sixth grade class through the park to practice our navigational skills,there was a tree that had been painted with a feminine form all in white. It was often referred to as some marking for or by the White Lady. Seeing as we were children then, we weren’t really able to speculate, but I was always curious about that. This was a story that I loved hearing from my mother who grew up in Greece, NY. I heard the one about the daughter who was murdered and raped by her boyfriend, and the mother was distraught with grief and drowned herself in the lake only to haunt and terrorize nearby couples to prevent her daughter’s fate.

  16. D says:

    Great story.

    I’m not trying to disprove it, but I’ve spent probably over 1000 hours in those woods with hundreds of hours being at night and never encountered anything. Someone once spray painted a white figure on a tree in the Zoo road area that was fairly convincing in the dark from far away. As another commenter stated, it is fairly easy to feel spooked in the woods at night.

    The White Lady myth is a popular one and exists in many countries and all over the US too. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Lady_(ghost)

    I’d love to see more info on the park including more pictures of the Zoo that used to exist there.

  17. Rick Z says:

    Actually, the White lady and I dated from 1981-1985.
    She managed to keep her looks over the years and never looked a day over 150.

    I always wondered why we could never go to her place but now I know. For a woman who is transparent I could never figure her out.

    I’m over her now.

  18. Lisa LoCastro says:

    I was in my teens when I first heard of the White Lady. As I grew up and more independent, I spent time in different areas of Durand and had heard of friends having unexplained accidents. Many times I have felt a presence but have never seen anything. The story I was told is that the white Lady’s daughter hitchhiked to her prom and was picked up by a male who was supposedly was going that way also. She was raped and brutally murdered. The spirit of the White Lady appears to couples but murders men. She is very protective of women. Do I believe??? I believe that the story comes from something real originally. I do believe there is a presence of a lost soul in Durand Park. Also there were claims that she lived in or near the park and a cemetery existed close to her home where her daughter is buried.

  19. Zelda says:

    I was visiting here one fall and got a wild hair that I wanted to check out all the haunted places in Rochester.

    My friend and her mother took me to the “wall” “refreshment house” and it got weird very quickly.

    We had brought a dog with us, who was acting very strange and staring at things that we couldn’t not.

    I was standing maybe 5ft from my friend when all of a sudden, everything went dark and I could not see her or hear her and I started yelling her name, thinking they were playing a joke on the scared Brooklyn girl.

    The next thing I saw still haunts me to this day- a ghostlike form of a woman in a long dress and bonnet (it seemed grey to me) was walking along the wall and down the hill (on the other side from the stairs).

    She did not look at me or make any interaction, she just walked down the hill toward the water until I couldn’t see her from my spot. Moments later, my friend was right next to me yelling my name.

    She did not see the “ghost” “woman” or “form” but everything had gone dark and silent for her and her mother as well.

    We were standing right next to each other but neither knew it.

    I’ve moved to Rochester since then, but I won’t go back up there.

    Also to note, it was a full moon, close to midnight and a fog was rolling in from the lake but had not reached us yet.

  20. Chloe says:

    Definitely true, saw her with a group of 12 other people a few years ago, and there is a base structure from a house way back in the woods not sure if it was her though

  21. Jr Stein says:

    I grew up in the area and as a teenager me and my friends would hang out and party around what was known to us as white ladies castle. We would tell the story of the white lady that was actually a mixture of both stories that were in the article. we would freak ourselves out and before we knew it any little noise in the woods with spook us and send us running. I moved away in my early 20’s and move back in my late 20’s and it is still one the most vivid/favorite memories I have of my teenage years. Excellent article, excellent pictures, I would have never guessed in a million years that before Durand Eastman park was a park that there was not a tree there. I have yet to take my kids there and tell the story to them, but can’t wait to!

  22. CRC says:

    October 29, 2013

    Thanks very much for the Interesting Story of the White Lady. I also grew up in Irondequiot. Last month I went for a walk threw the park and actually took a picture of the stone wall & stairs. In the 70’s – I went to that very same spot for parties with a group of West Irondequoit friends. Everyone talked about the same stories you mentioned. I do believe she is still there. I now live in Canada the story is told here aswell. AwesoMe!

  23. bob says:

    have seen this twice and its by far about her daughter she seeks and asks were she is and she roams with two white leached shepards i saw her on a early november morning coming out of a mist with her dogs at the bend heading torwards culver as i watched in amasement not sure what was takin place and this figure seemed to be very strange i told the sight to my friend whom i was on route to and he said to his wife i saw the white lady its the best prank ever or real hey i can only tell you what i saw had seen her on the beach and feel uncomfortable about this and when i asked a person near me about the lady and her dogs as she passed me asking about her daughter he was shocked and said he saw nothing so its a hard knock but i feel its real

  24. Kate says:

    @JLP – you’re getting your stories mixed up. The woman spirit who waits for her husband the ship captain haunts The Reunion restaurant on Culver Rd.

    As for the White Lady, my husband swears he has seen her 2 dogs. We own a house in Seabreeze and lived there until about a month ago. Everyday for 5 years my husband walked our dog in Durand Eastman park. One evening he came home after his walk and told me about these 2 weird black dogs with red eyes that had been following him. It struck him as odd because he had seen them several nights in a row but for some reason our dog (who loves nothing more than to bark at other dogs) always failed to notice them. I’m not one for superstition or ghost stories, but when he told me this my blood ran cold. I grew up in Irondequoit so I know all about the White Lady legends. My husband on the other hand is not from here and had never heard the stories. After he told me about the dogs I told him the legends and made him swear that he would stay out of the woods after dark from then on!

  25. Gartz says:

    My husband and I had our wedding pictures on the stairs in front of the wall and across the street overlooking the lake. Very pretty area.

  26. Susan says:

    I think the Rochester subway website guy should gather some donations from interested folks and hire Theresa Caputo to come up to Durand and settle this once & for all. If the lady comes through to her, she will be able to find out why this lady is still around and what she might be trying to resolve. (To see Theresa use her great talents, watch “The Long Island Medium” on the Learning Channel, ch 166 or 52; some reruns are on from 2 – 3 PM on Thursdays, and I believe new episodes are shown on Sunday nights). It would be really fun to have her here, and maybe the network would film it because of its interesting story.

  27. l. lanza says:

    Check with the Irondequoit Historian. She recently did a story similar to yours,however,she had some interesting facts on how Rochester aquired park property. Some of it was given by Mr. Durand and some was taken while he was in Europe. Shocking and sad to think that when given a gift,people would be greedy a steal more from the giver……..

  28. dennis says:

    I once had a sighting while driving down the road that we thought led to the white ladys house, I was with a dates and it was dark, I turned to look out my drivers window and their was the head of a shephard that appeared to be floating in the window, I looked at my date and she had this shocked look on her face , so i knew she had seen the same thing. When i looked back it was gone.Have not been back since .

  29. bruceayoung says:

    Ladies in White (Spanish: Damas de Blanco) is an opposition movement in Cuba consisting of wives and other female relatives of jailed dissidents.

    Frank LaLoggia
    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095484/

    The Lady in White; Different Tellings of a Famous Urban Legend Part 1
    AUGUST 15, 2012 EDITOR IN CHIEF NO COMMENTS
    the_hitchhiking_ghost_bride_of_route_26_image_title_arrtw
    As a car is driving down a lonely road at night, the driver is chatting with his girlfriend on his cell phone. It had rained earlier that evening and his headlights shine off the wet pavement as he says goodnight and throws his phone on to the seat next to him. His focus moves from the road to his radio so he can find some music. As he looks up to the road, he slams on his brakes and begins to fish tail. He see a beautiful woman, dressing in white, standing in the road. Thanks’ to his quick reaction, our young driver avoids a collision, yet as close as he came to hitting the pedestrian, she makes no move to get out of the way of the oncoming car.

    The young man gets out of his car to see if the woman is okay but she is nowhere to be seen. He looks all around the road, both directions and see no one. He shrugs and attributes the encounter to being tired and a trick of the light on the wet road. He returns to the car. In the passenger seat, he finds the woman. She sits there seductively, a calm look on her face as she looks up at the young man. The teen looks her over and can’t help but notice her curves.

    “Do you want to take me home?” she asks.

    “Oh HELL YEAH” the boy replies excitedly.

    Two days later, his car is discovered on a lonely bridge, filled with blood but no body was ever found.

    Having gone largely unnoticed for years by Hollywood, the legend of the Lady in White has endured in American Mythos for years. In every region of America, there is the story of a woman who has lost her love, her daughter, been cheated on, been killed violently, or numerous other conditions that have caused her to not move on to the other side of the Veil and now she haunts stretches of road, wells, swamps or houses. So let’s discover some of these stories and see what we can learn.

    In the early 1800s, the White Lady and her daughter were supposed to have lived on the land where the Durand Eastman Park — part of Irondequoit and Rochester — now stands. One day, the daughter disappeared. Convinced that the girl had been raped and murdered by a local farmer, the mother searched the marshy lands day after day, trying to discover where her child’s body was buried. She took with her two German shepherd dogs to aid in her search, but she never found a trace of her daughter. Finally, in her grief, the mother threw herself off a cliff into lake Ontario and died. Her dogs pined for their mistress and shortly joined her in the grave.

    After death, the mother’s spirit returned to continue the search for her child. People say that on foggy nights, the White Lady rises from the small Durand Lake which faces Lake Ontario. She is accompanied by her dogs and together they roam through the Durand Eastman park, still searching for her missing daughter.

    The White Lady is not a friendly spirit. She dislikes men and often seeks vengeance against the males visiting the park on her daughter’s behalf . There have been reports of the White Lady chasing men into the lake, shaking their cars, and making their lives miserable until they leave the park. She has never touched any females accompanying these unfortunate fellows. (http://americanfolklore.net/folklore/2010/07/the_white_lady.html)

    This story seems to be the basis of most of the Lady in White stories. A mother or wife who has lost a child to a violent death and it usually blamed on a man. There are hundreds of stories like this across the nation. And like almost all Urban Legends, there is a none to subtle moral lesson: Mothers, watch your children of great evil will befall them.

    As interesting, and common, as this story is, we would like to explore some of the more unique Lady in White legends that are around.

    We will start in Gettysburg Pennsylvania, site of the most decisive and bloody battle of the American Civil War. The area is full of urban legends, ghost sightings, and paranormal occurrences. We will focus however on a few of them

    At Gettysburg College, the legend goes that a young couple climbed the bell tower of Glatfelter in a suicide pact. The girl jumped, but the guy changed his mind. Her spook has since been seen on the bell tower, but only by males. It seems she’s trying to lure a fellow to jump for her, to replace her cowardly beau and join her in the afterlife. The 1887 structure is the computer science center now, so GC techies, beware if you hear her siren call.

    Perhaps one of MY favorite Lady in White stories of the Gettysburg area is that of Spangler Spring.

    SPANGLER’S SPRING (Gettysburg, Adams County) The first story dates a couple of decades past the Gettysburg conflict, to the 1880s. A woman met her lover boy at the spring, their favorite spot, and he told her that the relationship was over. Distraught, she killed herself then and there, dying in his arms. (Talk about your messy break-ups.) Another version claims she killed herself after she realized her married Romeo wasn’t going to leave his wife. It’s said that she still roams the spring area with a broken heart. Two nurses that went ghost hunting found her, according to The Cold Spot. They heard a popping sound, followed by a rising mist from behind a tree that formed into the Lady in White. One woman felt deep sadness and the other felt sharp fear. They skedaddled. It’s said that the ghost is always walking head down, stopping often and bending over, as if she’s looking for something (maybe a ring?) https://sites.google.com/site/hauntsandhistory/gettysburghappyvalleyhaunts&history3

    This story hold a special place in my heart for a few reason. First of all, I have been to Spangler Spring and encountered our forlorn Lady. My son and I had traveled to Gettysburg on a Boy Scout trip. We decided to take a trip to the Spring since I was familiar with the legend and I thought it would be good bonding time (my son has always enjoyed ghost stories even from a young age). As we approached the area, my son froze in his tracks and pointed to the far bank. We both saw a woman, all white with very little detail as to her wardrobe, staring down at the monument that marks where the spring was at. My son started whispering to me making sure I saw what he was seeing. As I opened my mouth to respond, the woman looked at us, shook her head in disappointment and walked away, fading as she left. The next day, as the Boy Scout troop took a hike, we found ourselves back at Spanglers Spring. My son and I just looked at each other and smiled, deciding to keep the story of our encounter to ourselves as the boys climbed over the monument that now covers the Spring.

    Also in Pennsylvania, we come to Altoona and Wopsy Mountain. The White Lady of Wopsy Mountain. One legend reports the White Lady is looking through Wopsy Mountain for her baby. The baby was thrown out of the horse carriage while rounding Devils Elbow, a dangerous curve that still exists on PA Wospy Mountain. The legend says the baby was never found.

    The other legend of The White Lady of Wopsy Mountain’s story has the husband dying instantly. The wife regains consciousness only to find her beloved husband’s decapitated body.

    Mr. Orr says the woman disappears into the woods, wandering around Wopsononock Mountain. She heads west towards Buckhorn Mountain. Yet, she always disappears around the deadly curve at Devils Elbow. She’s been seen there many times by people traveling down the steep mountain road. Most sightings only last a second when you suddenly see someone in white on the side of ther road ahead but once you approach the area there is no one in sight.

  30. Lynn says:

    The notch in the middle turret was for an iron cannon. The wall was meant to evoke a Spanish pioneer fort. You can see the cannon in the Refectory pic that has the crowd of people. When the Refectory was torn down in the 1930s, the cannon was moved to Washington Square Park, and (I believe) faced Court St. It was later removed from WS park and I don’t know what happened to it.

    A few years ago, my sister had her wedding on the site of the Refectory. What a beautiful place for the ceremony. The pics with the lake in the background are wonderful. Afterwards, a catered party at one of the picnic pavilions.

  31. Donald Jones says:

    The white lady …Miss Huntington?…owned the area south of Durand Eastman park….Would picnic in the park in a white dress…1900s

  32. Megan says:

    Did you capture anything on the EVPs? I heard several different stories about While Ladies Castle and one was told that she had drown her kids in the lake behind their house and was mentally I’ll so she still roams the beaches looking for her children along side with her is her two dogs. I would love to go on an actual ghost investigation, but I say someone calls up ghost adventures because they do this stuff all the time all over the world and they capture AMAZING evidence on EVPs and actual footage of ghosts manifesting into figures.

  33. Hello, I am researching the White Lady legend for a new television series being produced by Sirens Media for the Weather Channel. There are some great first-hand accounts of experiences with the White Lady in the responses to this article. I would love to speak directly with those of you who wrote them. If you are interested in possibly lending your story and time to the show, please contact me at lrammelsberg@sirensmedia.com. Thank you in advance for your time and help!

  34. In response to the person doing the research for the show. I’m already writing a book on all legends related to The Lady in White since I know directly some of the folks that have had the experiences in the Rochester area. Let me know when the show airs – I’d be interested in watching. Thanks.

  35. I also should mention that if anyone would like to have their interviews included in the book, please contact me at mmorrow8@yahoo.com or at my toll free number on one of my three blogs: frugalfrightsanddelights.wordpress.com
    thewritegirlforthejob.wordpress.com
    navigatingtheblogworld.wordpress.com

    My credentials can be found on those sites. Thanks.

  36. Nelida says:

    Awesome article! When I was 19 I went to White lady’s Castle with a bunch of friends during a summer night to hang out. I remember looking into the woods and seeing a light that seemed to be moving. I told my pals who saw it too, but we dismissed it. I still kept glancing into the woods and that light would def be shining, but every time I looked it seemed to be closer and brighter. Could’ve been a number of reasons why but from the spooked feeling I had I still think it was the Lady’s ghost signaling her presence.

  37. Kathy Dyrland Webster says:

    This was a great article about the White Lady. Loved the pictures also of what Durand looked like way back then. I remember the railroad tracks as I used to walk them back in the 1960’s. It was in the 60’s that my friends and I would have beach parties and also drive through the park looking for the White Lady. We are positive we saw her one night, in the fog, on one of the back roads that went down near the swamp. That road is closed now. It was spooky down there at night with the frogs croaking and the heavy fog rolling across the road from the swamp. Surely nice memories. I live in Arizona now but spend time in Durand every year when I visit my kids in Irondequoit. It is a very special place indeed….and I’m certain the White Lady still walks there.

  38. Kim says:

    Debbie Morrow – What is the progress of your book on all legends related to The Lady in White? Is the book available for purchase? I’d love to read that.

  39. Kim, I just finished a book related to new business communication and marketing, which is being edited and should be published in the next month.I have spoken to a few people who have said they were interested in contributing to my book on the Lady in White – I’ve been waiting on them to get back to me so I can complete it. So again, for those who already said they would allow me to use their story, PLEASE get back to me and for those still interested, shoot me an email with the story you have or give me the OK to rewrite what you’ve already written. I’ve worked years on this project and hope to bring it to the public by summer this year. So Kim, to answer your question – I’ll give it until May for any replies and then I should move to on to my editor to finish this. I’ve been given so many replies of excitement for this book, that I’m getting hyped up myself. This week I’m working with the photographer that will hopefully accept the job for the cover. This is an especially personal project for me since I experienced more than one incident of the paranormal – living directly on the lake.

  40. Kim says:

    Debbie Morrow – Thank you for the update. I am very excited about this book and am looking forward to it’s getting published so I can purchase it and read it! It’s especially exciting knowing that you yourself have had personal experience with paranormal on the lake.

  41. rob b says:

    if u noticed in the 2 pics of the snack bar in the left of the pics there a foggy that looks like part of the right side of a figure staring at the the pic of them building it its faded but its there and me and my wife went there with her uncle and we took my dog for a picnic he freaked out would not go by the water or even from the spot we put him at to eat or even play the whole time we were there i was vary uncomfortable and kept seeing stuff out the corner of my eye and turned to look and nothing then when we were leaving my dog freaked out and we kept asking each other what they said and no one said nothing i didn’t see any white lady but we did see a few figures of men and then they faded so i don’t know what to say some places are just there for the dead and the living to enjoy i guess

  42. Jennifer says:

    been there several times..there is also a winding road near there and when I was 16 and used to drive my bf home he’d tell me that story!!! Also seen the Movie Lady in white

  43. Christian says:

    I too have had an experience here, the stories I’ve heard was about the woman’s daughter running away with her lover, and the daughter was later found raped and murdered, so the mother along with the two spectral hounds now hunt for her missing daughter. So me, my friend and his girlfriend all went there during Halloween night back in 2012, and we went to take pictures. We’re not getting much evidence or sightings, and so we say “If you don’t want us here, give us a sign”. The camera we were using immediately died on us and would not turn back on, but the battery was fully charged. When we left and starting driving back home, we were able to turn the camera back on and the battery was still full. We also spotted a couple orbs in the pictures we took when we uploaded them to a computer. All of this happened on top of the hill where the stone wall was.

  44. mary says:

    We had so much fun at Durand telling versions of the white lady story. I never seen anything, but people I was with did.
    I never seem to see what others do… near there friends almost had an accident on that hill with the drop on one side when they claimed to see an Indian chase something out of the woods.

  45. Ruth Nederlk says:

    Never heard of her in Durand. Story I heard she walked along Lake Ave. at night and cars would have to stop when they saw her in the road. Thought she was from the cemetery. Every one loved a story back then. !

  46. Marci Moore says:

    I grew up in the area and herd all kinds of stories. But my grandma was raised in the area and she told me that her mother and the (white lady) were friends. The white lady ‘s husband slept with the white ladys daughter and because he was afraid the daughter would tell her mother he killed her. The daughter was later found and she had been rapped and killed. The white lady would search for her daughters killer. When one day she was walking the bank near the lake and thought she seen her daughter in the water and jumped to say her and died in the end.
    Many years ago my friends and I were in a car driving down kings highway with the lights out. when we finally turned them back on we seen what looked like a woman standing in the road walking two dogs. Well of course I asked my grandma is the white lady had dogs and she said yes big mean one’s. Well I still didnt believe the stories I had herd,but I know I seen this woman. So I went back with a guy I was seeing and we got in to a argument and he started to walk away and all of a sudden it went supper dark and I could hear screams and barking dogs in the near distance. When I finally caught up to him he said he herd the same things as I did. I have gone back there tons of times since and I always hear some one walking in the distance.

  47. touringkayaker says:

    I grew up in West Irondequoit and spent many hours in Durand Eastman, sometimes just hiking through every corner and a lot of times partying.
    One time about 12 of us each pitched in $10 as a reward to a “big talker” who said he wasn’t afraid of any white lady. To claim the money he had to walk the length of Log Cabin Rd and return to Lakeshore Blvd via Zoo Rd at 2:30 AM (after the bars closed, of course). Needless to say, we all retained our funds. My folks told me their story, they were avid fishermen. They used to go nightcrawler hunting on the Durand golf course. One night while searching for worms off the road that used to pass from Pinegrove Ave. to Kings Highway with their dog (this would have been late ’40s’ or early ’50s’, before they had kids). As they were looking down with flashlights for worms, they heard their dog (off leash of course, in those days) utter a very soft whimper. Looking up, they noticed the dog’s fur standing up on it’s back, then spotted a white specteral shape drifting slightly above the ground about 150 feet away from them. Slowly floating towards them. They looked for dog and saw it running full tilt towards their car, they decided that was probably a good idea and followed at a run and left in a hurry.

  48. touringkayaker says:

    On a side note, my dad told me of camping at the castle (I think on the grounds ) with the Boy Scouts in the ’30’s.

  49. TED THOMPSON says:

    I was at the castle about 5 years ago.2015 I had my camcorder turned on and pointed out towards the lake near the castle. After a few moments I noticed and image inside the camcorder. The image was that of a woman: she had on a long white sheet gown and she was wearing a hat. Her arms were stretched out like she was on the cross. She had a sad look on her face like she was out of touch of everything. She looked like more of a painting than anything else. I wish my camcorder was on record when I noticed her.Right when I noticed her she dissappeared.

  50. Tabes says:

    I’ve grown up in the Rochester area and hiked through that park many a time with family, always called the wall the White Lady’s Wall cause we never really knew any different, well now I do. My cousin first told me the story when we were in fourth grade and I was so freaked out I don’t remember most of it, just the park name and the White Lady, but it’s definitely a story all Rochester kids grow up with.

  51. Debbie says:

    Back in the 60’s, my friend and I used to spend a lot of time in the park, having beach parties or picnics at night in the park with many conversations on different things and one night went up to the cemetery on Culver Rd.to look at how far the gravestones dated back. While all walking in a row across the driveway we all stopped cold and quite, I hadn’t noticed that for a minute or so I was alone and they were running away, we had all seen the same thing, I stood there frozen in place and watched this form of floa ting from the left of me to the right. The form was wearing what looked like a long dress with very long wide slaves that were, for a better discription, was like a wizords robe with the cape up over the head and turned the head to look at me and keep moving. It did not have any way of walking that I could see, it wasn’t really touching the ground. I was finally aware that my friends were gone and I took off. We talked about it when we were away from there. There were a couple of other things that happened that summer but that will have to keep for another time.


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