New York October 01, 2018
The New York Ghost Story That Will Leave You Absolutely Baffled
It may not generally be in the forefront of your mind because its beauty is so easily distracting, but if you stop and listen to all of the local legends you’ll quickly realize that the Adirondack Park is quite the haunted location! We’ve already shared the tale of Grace Brown’s ghost that still lingers around
Big Moose Lake today, but there’s actually another lake within the park that many people claim to see haunted by the spirit of an old East Coast resident. Buckle up, because this paranormal activity is actually based off of a true story surrounding one of the most popular areas in the Adirondack Mountains. Eek!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
In case you hadn't heard, many people living in New York believe that a particular area of Lake Placid is haunted by the ghost of Mabel Smith Douglass aka "The Lady of the Lake".
Mabel Smith Douglass was a 59-year-old woman from New Jersey who was quite renowned by many people on the East Coast as being an amazing educator. Mabel was a trailblazer for many and also was the Dean of the New Jersey College For Women at Rutgers, a college that was later named Douglass College in her honor.
Tragically, a series of terribly unfortunate events led Mabel up to her family camp on Lake Placid during September of 1933.
Mabel had sadly become all too familiar with tragedy, recently losing her husband unexpectedly and then later dealing with her only son committing suicide. With so much sadness in her life, Mabel found herself institutionalized for nearly a year. In an attempt to escape from all her pain, Mabel and her daughter took a trip up to their family camp on the lake to find some peace of mind.
On September 21st while Mabel and her daughter were in the process of closing up the camp for the season, Mabel rowed out onto the lake and was never seen again.
The only woman to ever go missing and never be found in Lake Placid, Mabel Smith Douglass rowed out onto the water and was never to be found. After searches went underway, Mabel's canoe was found washed up on shore near one of the deepest areas of Lake Placid but she remained missing. Police Officers searched the lake and the surrounding areas, even hiking trails, looking for Mabel - it was an upsetting mystery that bothered many.
That is... until a trio of scuba divers went for a swim in Lake Placid in 1963 and discovered what they
thought was a mannequin.
A popular area for people to visit along the middle of the lake is Pulpit Rock, a spot where three scuba divers went for a swim on September 15th, 1963. Just a week shy of being exactly 30 years from the date that Mabel had gone missing, roughly 100-feet below the lake's surface the divers saw what they initially believed to be a mannequin set up in the lake as a prank. It wasn't until one of the divers pulled at the "mannequin's" arm and it detached from the body that they realized this was an actual human in the bottom of Lake Placid.
According to the divers, the body had been preserved so greatly at the bottom of the lake that it looked as though it had only died just moments ago.
I may not have ever gone scuba diving in my life, but I can tell you that it's stories like this that keep me from desiring to do any great underwater exploring. After it was realized that they had discovered a body, two of the divers swam up to the surface to identify where the body was in the lake and to call the authorities - leaving one diver with the body so they would know exactly where it is.
Clearly having similar fears as I do, the young diver that was left with Mabel grew unnerved by how eerie the body looked. It was reported that the body was on its side with its feet in a curled up position, looking as though it was sleeping and could wake up at any moment. It was because of this that the diver decided he couldn't stay in the water with the body and began to guide it up to the surface himself.
Unfortunately while bringing the body from up off of the lake's cold depths, pieces began to well, detach.
Not only had an arm been detached when the divers first thought that it was a mannequin, but the other issue at hand was also that the body had a rope and anchor wrapped around its neck. Between getting the anchor off of the neck and taking the body out of the cold, deep waters that had kept it so well-preserved, another arm, head, and other parts came apart and were damaged by the time it was brought to the surface.
Even though damage was done to the body, there was still enough evidence to prove that almost exactly 30-years later - Mabel Smith Douglass had been found at the bottom of Lake Placid.
The fact that Mabel had been the only woman to ever go missing and never be found in Lake Placid was a large indicator that this was her, Mabel had also had a broken arm at the time of her disappearance and gave investigators another way to confirm her identification 30 years later. While her death was ruled an accidental drowning, many believe that Mabel was overcome with sadness and took her own life out on the lake.
Over the years many people living and visiting Lake Placid have claimed to have seen the ghost of Mabel Smith Douglass by Pulpit Rock where her body was found. If you're curious where exactly this location is, attractions like Lake Placid Boat Tours in town features tours that take you by Pulpit Rock and tell the story of Mabel's life and death. Do you believe that Mabel is still haunting the waters of Lake Placid?
Have you ever heard the story of the Lady of the Lake in the Adirondacks? For more chilling true stories, read about how
There’s A House That’s So Terrifying It Was Legally Declared Haunted By New York State!