Hunting the Lady of the Lake

A supernatural legend has compelled Long Island locals for over forty years, and a resurgence in the popularity of paranormal phenomena amongst millennials has only increased the amount of discussion surrounding Lake Ronkonkoma.  Let’s rewind for a moment and set the stage.

Lake Ronkonkoma is Long Island’s biggest freshwater body, known for its immense beauty and quiet tranquility. Located just outside of the hustle and bustle of the city, it provides a welcome escape for the creative, the dreamer, and the introvert who finds the concrete jungle overwhelming.

Many New Yorkers appreciate the peaceful atmosphere the lake provides, and it has remained a hidden gem beloved by locals for many decades.

At the turn of the century, a quaint lakeside resort was built, attracting wealthy tourists and catching the attention of William Vanderbilt, who eventually built his own private road leading from the heart of Manhattan right the shores of Ronkonkoma.

Another group of people are fond of the lake, for quite a different reason. In the 1970s, Suffolk County ghost hunters, intrigued by the whisperings of their community about a ghost upon the lake, began pilgrimaging to the shores of Lake Ronkonkoma in the hopes of catching a glimpse of what was said to be a female apparition with siren-like qualities.

There have always been strange rumors circulating about this lake. Though it is fairly normal in appearance, many believe without a shadow of a doubt that there are dangerous whirlpools in its depths. Others are convinced it is attached to a series of labyrinthian underwater tunnels leading to a river in the state of Connecticut.

None of these beliefs have much scientific bearing, as far as we know. They are likely nothing more than local folklore, passed along from parents to their children as warnings to stay away from the murky depths. Nevertheless, they have contributed to a much more terrifying legend that refuses to go away: the Lady of the Lake.

The story of the ghastly woman of the lake has a tremendously long history. Indeed, murmurs of a grief-stricken ghostly woman in a long dress circling the lake could possibly go back further than the Declaration of Independence itself.

It is said that in the 1600s, when the first settlers were beginning to colonize the Americas, a native princess fell in love with a European settler. Forbidden to see each other by the princess’ overprotective father, they rebelled against cultural norms and tense race relations, and ultimately drowned together in misery. Though his spirit moved on, hers continues to linger, centuries on, tormenting the souls of young male visitors to the lake.

Desperately and fiercely in love, the two lovers developed a plan. Unable to spend time together physically, they figured out that they could keep in touch by passing messages across the lake and occasionally speak to one another from the shores.

There are a variety of different endings to the story, and it seems that no one can agree on exactly what happened. Some say the princess, driven mad with the force of her obsessive love, attempted to cross the lake and drowned. Others believe her lover died first in his efforts to reach her, and the pain of this terrible loss compelled her to take her own love.

Lake Ronkonkoma, home to the Lady of the Lake.

A decrepit rowboat is an eerie fixture in some of the tellings. In others, the mystery of the romance is centralized around the lover’s letters, cast across the slow-moving waters. Wails of mourning can be heard late at night, along with visions of the Lady pacing along the shore and unexplainable lights in the sky above the lake.

In any good old-fashioned ghost story, details matter. And this one is vivid.

If all of this sounds wildly familiar to you, you can be forgiven. It’s a tale almost as told as time, with remarkably similar tones to the classic Romeo and Juliet story of two star-crossed lovers. It’s also admittedly a beautiful and romantic story of a beautiful princess, said to be from the Setauket tribe of indigenous Americans, who refused to conform to societal expectations and as a result inevitably died for love.

It might be easy to dismiss this particular legend as a romantic fabrication derived from many similar lovelorn tales of woe, if not for the fact that a fairly persistent rumor remains to this day. Many say with absolutely certainty that one man a year drowns in the lake.

Though Suffolk County Police have never officially confirmed this, it is plausible. After all, unintentional drowning claims a startlingly high number of lives annually. Statistics indicate that drowning accidents claim about ten lives each day in the United States. Boating has been a popular activity since the lake’s heyday in the early 1900s.

A white male poses in-front of Lake Ronkonkoma, home to the Lady of the Lake.
A human  in-front of Lake Ronkonkoma, home to the Lady of the Lake.

There’s also another factor. The Lady’s victims of choice all fit a particularly narrow profile: young males. When you take into consideration the propensity of young men to engage in reckless, dangerous behavior, it doesn’t seem at all unreasonable that at least one man a year dies in this quiet, sleepy lake outside of New York City.

It’s a disturbing thought. The death of a young person is always tragic. But the Lady seems to take absurd, sadistic pleasure in her killings. Resentful of young men in the prime of their lives, living on in flesh and blood while she is doomed to remain in a purgatorial state for centuries, she calls to these young men. How, we can’t be certain—perhaps through black magic, perhaps through the power of suggestion, perhaps through persuasion.

In any case, the men fall under her hypnotic spell and wade into the water where they drown in the undertow.

While some might be understandably fearful of approaching a lake suspected to cause so many untimely deaths, Brooklyn Paranormal Society has decided to take up the challenge. We’ve set a date to make our own pilgrimage to Ronkonkoma: Saturday, May 19th, a day when the weather will reach a high of 66 degrees. If that isn’t a creepy numerological coincidence, we don’t know what is!

Russian “Alien” recently discovered in Siberia.

We’re not sure what we might find, but we’re prepared to take on the challenge—and we’re coming with a psychic and a shaman in tow. We’ll also be taking along a telescope in order to closely observe the skies. Over the years, there have been numerous reports of UFO sightings near the lake, along with strange lights and noises, making it a popular stakeout spot for those who believe we are not alone.

It’s possible that this suspicious activity is related to the Lady or to a different entity altogether—one that is more extraterrestrial than ectoplasmic, perhaps.

Of course, as always, we are heading out on this journey with a healthy amount of skepticism and acknowledging that we may not return with any significant findings. But we’ll keep you posted if anything interesting does happen.

A Haunting in St. Marks Church in-the-Bowery

BKPS Investigates St. Marks Church in-the-Bowery.

Proof of paranormal activity found at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery

Peter Stuyvesant Stained Glass inside St. Mark's Church in the Bowery (Photo by Anthony Long)
Peter Stuyvesant Stained Glass inside St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery (Photo by Anthony Long)

St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery is the second-oldest church in NYC. It’s also alleged to be haunted by the spirit of New Amsterdam governor (and notorious asshole) Peter Stuyvesant. Originally built-in 1799, this church regularly tops most haunted lists.

Rumors of Stuyvesant haunting the church property have persisted, even flourished for decades. Parishioners, vacationers and probably pensioners have reported strange sightings, and heard phantom bells ringing.

Determined to capture evidence, and give Peter a piece of my mind – I reached out to secure permission.  After a brief exchange, I set the date for the investigation and sent out an event bulletin to our Detectives.

Typically investigations happen at night, but with national landmarks, you have to take what you can get.  Nevertheless, my crack team investigators managed to make the 9 am call time.

Intent on mixing spirits with spirits, a few of us even smuggled in flasks. I don’t quite recall what I packed in the thermos that day, so it must’ve been tequila.

Thermos or Flask? I let the law decide. (Photo by Anthony Long)
Thermos or Flask? I let the law decide. (Photo by Anthony Long)

Amongst the coven for our investigation was journalist Brady Dale who reported on the historic hunt with Observer, psychic-empath Stacy Cecil, and others.

I could discuss the investigation in great detail if it weren’t for the “Sangria-soaked brunch”, as Brady recalled. Almost three years later, the details of some of these earlier investigations slip me.

Sulfates-aside, one event I do remember quite vividly, is the push.

Bradys’ report presents multiple occurrences of paranormal activity, including a member of BKPS seemingly being pushed by an invisible entity. Experts of the Brooklyn Paranormal Society agree that although an attack by a negative spirit is possible, it’s not typical in any way.

Brady recalls “I listened as the medium, who had started us off with a simple séance”. The medium went on to inform Kelsey she had “some sort of spirit that seemed to be following her around, protecting her.”

Continue reading “A Haunting in St. Marks Church in-the-Bowery”

Searching BAM for the spirit of Marian Anderson

Howard Gilman Opera House in 1978, photo by Dinanda H. Nooney

BKPS met to investigate whether BAM could home the spirit of Marian Anderson.

Marian Anderson Stands In Front the Lincoln Memorial.
Marian Anderson pictured in-front of the Lincoln Memorial.

Born to blue-collar Philadelphians, Marian Anderson expressed talent in singing from a young age.

She began studying music independently in her teens and early twenties, after being turned away from the Philadelphia Music Academy. At the time, the institution upheld a whites-only policy.

Far from being deterred by racial prejudice and economic disadvantage, Marian gained notoriety as an opera singer and went on to tour Europe extensively in the 1920s.

Unlike their American counterparts, European audiences were seemingly more accepting of a black contralto, and Marian was beloved by her fans.

Back on American soil, Marian faced severe opposition from the white elite. She performed at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 1938, but a year later, the tides turned.

During a historic turning point in the civil rights movement, Anderson was denied the opportunity to perform on Washington, DC’s prestigious Constitution Hall stage. The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) who owned the hall and oversaw its performances were unwilling to offer non-segregated seating.

First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who served on the board, was unnerved by the blatant racism of her fellow Daughters and chose to resign out of respect for Marian. She went a step further and organized a special Easter Sunday performance for Marian at the Lincoln Memorial.

To a crowd of 75,000, Marian, raised a devout Baptist, performed a series of traditional hymns in her operatic style said to be full of “intrinsic beauty.”  Later, she expressed gratitude to her audience, stating, “I am just so overwhelmed today that I cannot express myself properly. You don’t know what you have done for me.”

While stories like Ms. Anderson’s may sound antiquated, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

If perhaps she, like us, was disturbed by the racial divisions in modern-day America, and hoped to offer some positivity to the brokenhearted and the downcast. This was no small feat. I understood the gravity of what I was attempting.

With nothing but respect for the Anderson family, I decided to invite a small group of members to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, where Marian performed over a dozen times in the late 1930s. 

If she was, in fact, still lingering around Brooklyn, this seemed the most likely place to investigate.

Female psychics, and detectives set out to explore BAM for Marian Anderson’s spirit.

It was this knowledge that inspired my latest venture into the paranormal side of Brooklyn. I wondered if perhaps Marian Anderson’s spirit was still within reach.

The coven consisted of psychic-empath Cindy and psychic-medium Elaine, investigator Tina, and student-journalist Comice.

"Microphone" response during paranormal investigation aligns with Comice's desire to be heard.
“Microphone” EVP response to Comice’s presence. (Photo credit: Anthony Long)

Continue reading “Searching BAM for the spirit of Marian Anderson”

Spirits in the Studio

Spirits in the Studio: BKPS held a paranormal investigation at Douglass Recording, in Gowanus.

Housed in an old garage space in the Gowanus neighborhood, Douglass Recording opened after a half-decade of planning and development. Since opening, the studio has attracted stars such as Vanessa Carlton and Grace Mitchell.

Acting on a tip that indicated the studio was hosting a spiritual entity, BKPS reached out for comment. Chris Gilroy producer & house engineer at Douglass Recording stated “Ghosts can be felt in our walls…”.

Continue reading “Spirits in the Studio”

Is The Gowanus Canal Haunted?

Over many hundred years, the Gowanus Canal has hosted incidents ranging from Revolutionary War ambushes, to bodies being dumped gangland style.

The busy cargo hub is now recognized as one of the most polluted bodies of water in the US, and allegedly hosts numerous spirits.

Brooklyn Paranormal Society members have studied The Revolutionary War extensively as a pre-requisite for our investigations.

Our previous visits have been met with some of the must unusual spiritual, and physical activity the group has ever encountered.

Near the Canal we’ve confirmed:

  • Incredible odor, may be spectral.

 

More to come!

Brooklyn Paranormal Society Go To A ‘Psychological Seance’

As a means for communicating with the dead, the seance has a dicey reputation. The history of spirit channeling is mired in controversy and fraud. As a form of entertainment however, few things can surpass the seance for drama and theatrics. This ceremony of spirit-calling combines mysticism, showmanship, audience participation and, when done right, can offer spooky excitement.

Continue reading “Brooklyn Paranormal Society Go To A ‘Psychological Seance’”

BKPS x Alamo: IT Movie Early Screening!

Dear Detectives,

It’s with great pleasure I announce Brooklyn Paranormal Society has been invited to watch an early screening of the new movie IT, AND we’ve been given exclusive access to investigate the House of Wax!

RSVP NOW, and a pre-sale link will be emailed to attendees.

The House of Wax is a beautiful, and CREEPY bar inside Alamo Drafthouse that combines mixology with the macabre; it’s Brooklyn’s most curious, full service bar!

We’ll have a reserved section of the bar, and access to all of the beautiful and disturbing waxworks on display. 

We will be investigating the House of Wax from 5:30 to 7:45, immediately followed by the screening.
Please arrive as close to 5:30 as possible.