Sweet Shade Neighborhood Park is a beautiful park full of sunshine. Mature trees provide ample shade over the park’s benches and tables for parents, while the kids get many fun structures and swings to play.
At first glance, it’s a place of safety and tranquility, and the perfect playground for kids. Located in Irvine, California, the park gets a lot of visitors, both from Sweet Shade and other neighborhoods.
Not Everything is Peaceful In This Neighborhood Park
The playground is divided into two parts, one for elementary school kids, dominated by a blue climbing structure, complete with ropes and everything. Off to the side, a sanded area greets the younger kids, where you can see them enjoy a double slide playhouse, a sand contraption, and a toy boat that, from that height, looks like the world’s best pirate ship.
Yet, the pirate ship rarely gets mini-pirates sailing the sands. There are no boys with hats holding onto the blue mast, nor is there someone fanning the green sail. The boat is anchored, unmoved by children’s imagination.
“My niece, she’s four years old,” an anonymous local told us. “She used to be quite verbal, like a chatterbox. Until the day she went to the toy boat.
“I sat off to the side, watching over her brother, who was climbing the ropes, though I had told him he was too small for them yet, so I didn’t bother to watch her that well. I should have watched her better. She spent ten minutes on that boat, and then she screamed.”
The Fisherman’s Hopeless Quest Terrifies Children
Locals say that there was a man, a sailor, who had sailed far and wide, often leaving for months on end. His wife begged him to stop leaving her and their boy alone for so long, so he decided to settle.
He had bought a small boat, and every morning, he and his boy would take off with their net and poles, and go fishing. One day, there was a storm out at sea, and they didn’t come back. The boat crashed into some rocks a few miles down south. The Fisherman and his boy were never found.
Ever since then, his ghost haunts the toy boat. He watches every child that comes to play, and asks them about his own boy. Even after all this time, the Fisherman is still searching for his son.
Children have said that they don't like to play at the boat. The man in wet clothes is always watching them. Sometimes, he comes to talk to them, to ask about a boy. His face is blue, they say, his eyes are big and scary, and he gets mad that they don't know his boy.
“Next time we went to the park,” the local said, "my niece walked to the boat and stood there for a moment. As I reached her, she looked towards the toy boat. Then, she turned and went to the swings instead. She hasn’t gone near the boat ever since.”