The Legend of Stow Lake Ghost

A popular spot for picnics, strolls or cruises in a pedal or rowboat, Stow Lake is the largest body of water at Golden Gate Park.

Dating all the way to 1893, it gave the people of San Francisco the chance to escape from the city to a more peaceful, natural setting.

However, it can also stop your heart literally if you come across its most famous resident: The Stow Lake Ghost.

The Legend of Stow Lake Ghost

Photo credit: aaasolutions.com

Updated 9/19/2019 – The Stow Lake Ghost was first spotted a century ago and made headlines in the San Francisco Chronicle on January 6, 1908. A mysterious figure was seen blocking Arthur Pigeon’s car as he drove out of the park.

After pulling him over, the police discovered that he was extremely frightened as he had seen a “thin, tall figure in white” which had “long, fair hair and was barefooted”. While he didn’t see the ghost’s face, Pigeon was too frightened to spend another minute in the park. Now there are three main versions of how the ghost came to haunt the lake, all of which share the same core.

Version #1

Around the 1900s, a woman took her children for a walk around Stow Lake.

However, she ended up chatting with another woman, taking her eyes over the pram she was pushing a while ago.

Unfortunately, the pram rolled off and the baby ended up falling into the lake where it drowned.

After the other woman left, the mother started looking for her children and discovered that the pram was gone.

She searched for hours, asking people passing by if they had seen her baby. Finally, she headed towards the lake and was never seen again.

Version #2

A teenager became pregnant out of wedlock and decided to hide this fact from her family.

So, she disposed of the baby in the lake.

However, she felt guilty and committed suicide there in hopes of reuniting with her baby.

Version #3

A mother of three was boating on Stow Lake in the late 1800s.

After her toddler accidentally fell into the water, the young mother jumped after him.

However, she and the baby drowned.

Despite the different past stories of the ghost, the present is the same. The mother, reportedly wearing a dirty, wet dress and long hair, wanders around the lake’s edge looking into the water.

She has also asked visitors if they had seen her baby, disappearing once she realizes they can’t help.

However, the ghost of Stow Lake can turn violent if you try reaching out to her.

An urban legend states that you can summon her by saying “White lady, white lady, I have your baby” three times.

She’ll then ask, “Have you seen my baby?”

Answering with “yes” will make her haunt you while a “no” can anger her and drive her to end your life.

An unusual phenomenon connected to this specific haunting is related to a statue known as Pioneer Women and Children, located near the lake and the California Women’s Pioneer Association cabin.

Pioneer Woman and Children Statue at Stow Lake

Photo credit: artandarchitecture-sf.com

While the ghost roams around the lake, many reported that the statue moves.

Some stories even claim that the state comes to life late at night, changing expressions or hiding its arms from view.

Just make sure to keep your distance as the statue may be cursed or haunted with its own ghost.

So who’s up for a visit to Stow Lake?

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