The Lake That Kills Men

The quiet and beautiful Lake Ronkonkoma in Long Island, New York has long been sought out as a summer getaway from the heat and the city. The lovely lake was formed in a bowl of melting glaciers from 10,000 years ago. It offers beauty and retreat for many. 

Families rush to the sandy shores and children excitedly sprint to the water with their blow-up rafts and inner tubes. But all this pleasure comes with a dark cost, the lake has a reputation: It takes one swimmer each year. From the years of 1877 to 1977, 147 people drowned, reportedly all male.

The curse of the lake began long ago with an Indian Princess who fell in love with a white settler named Hugh Birdsall, who claimed a homestead near the lake. Her father forbade his daughter from marrying the man. Although she respected her father's wishes, the princess could not stop her heart from melting at the sight of her one and true love.

The couple repeatedly sent each other love messages. The princess would paddle halfway out on the lake and push a message toward his shore. 

After seven years of this lovesick connection, the princess lost her mind. She sent her lover one last note of farewell and the note and her boat washed up on his shore. She had killed herself on the lake. 

It would have been a romantic case of unrequited love in a natural setting, but the lake took on a reputation over hundreds of years involving the spirit of the angry princess.

The legend also says that over the past 200 years, one man has died on the lake each year. 

August 2014, at 3 p.m. *John Doe went kayaking on the lake. It was a lovely day and no reason to think he wouldn't reach the shore and load up and go home like any other day trek. He paddled along happily, thrilled to get a day off and some time with the breeze as his only company.

Or was it his only company?

Some time later, John's boat showed up, but not him. His body was later recovered, another male victim of the lake. 

The lake has been taking male drowning victims at a rate some have placed at one body a year. It also has murky waters that make it impossible to find the submerged and can disorient those who fall in. Could this be the perfect cover for a vengeful princess who never got her one true love? Are the men pulled down into the recesses of the murk and the muck of the "bottomless" lake to her netherworld lair? It gives the mind chills to think it. 

What Jaws did for ocean swimming, this spirit's reputation has done for lake swimming. 

The lake has a reputation in history for many supposed motivations for murder. At various times, it has been referred to as the cursed lake, the lake of healing, the lake of the spirit gods and by some skeptics, an unusually randomly unlucky lake. 

The story takes yet another turn that elicits goosebumps upon the listener. The lake once had a waterway that led to the sea and it is said pirates utilized it, came into the lake and sunk their treasures and killed their enemies, depositing their bodies in the murky depths. In fact, there was a rumor that a skeleton in chains was found on the shore. 

We may never have an answer to this mystery, but we can be sure that the latest victim is not going to be the last victim....

More info:
The history of the lake 
Book:  The Curse of Lake Ronkonkoma 
Full history with interesting details

Maiden in the Lake 

A legend tells the story of
A pretty Indian maid
Who loved a handsome pale-faced lad
But marriage was forbade.
Her father chose another mate
A fine strong Indian brave.
The Indian girl could not comply
And so her life she gave.
Ronkonkoma Ronkonkoma
The lake of sparkling water.
Ronkonkoma Ronkonkoma
Where rests the Indian daughter.
In summertime the Indian girl
Would call out from the lake
To lure below pale-faced lad
She vowed that she would take.
And so the legend ends of Indian
Maid with lonely wail
Who lingers in the murky depths
But calls in no avail.
Ronkonkoma Ronkonkoma
The lake of sparkling water.
Ronkonkoma Ronkonkoma
Where rests the Indian daughter.

Author: Lois J. Watt