With Halloween upcoming, many Americans are prepared to bundle up for a night of trick or treating. Going for a late night swim would be unthinkable, unless you are a brave soul that might also be looking for a scare. If you live near any of the locales on this list, consider an invigorating dip in one of these ten supposedly haunted bodies of water. It could be a Halloween to remember!
10 Lower Yellowstone Falls—Wyoming
Waterfalls can be both beautiful and terrifying. They offer a sense of serenity, but going over the edge is the stuff of nightmares. In 1870, a group of five American militia men and their Crow guide went exploring deep in the canyons of Yellowstone. Native American tribesmen in the area stole all their horses overnight. The militia men began pursuit and soon caught up while the tribe was crossing the river near the Lower Falls. The raft the tribe had constructed was not strong enough to traverse the strong currents. Most of the horses however, had already been able to swim their way across.
The men and the women furiously paddled while the raft began slowly sinking below the water as it headed towards the falls. They began to chant a death-song as they got closer to the edge. Allegedly, the explorers raised their hats in salute as the raft went over. Legend has it, two screaming eagles flew by at the same moment. Today, people say that while standing near the falls, they can hear the tribe chanting their death song.
9 White Rock Lake – Dallas, Texas
White Rock Lake began operation in 1911, providing space for people to hike, bike, picnic, fish, and host events. It became a Dallas city park in 1929. Yet, many residents are wary of visiting lest they encounter the Lady of the Lake.
Stories about the Lady go back as far as the 1930s. The first written account was made in 1953 by Guy Malloy, a former director of displays for Neiman Marcus. He reported giving a ride near the lake to a young girl, dressed in one of his wares, who claimed to have been in a car accident with her boyfriend nearby. Malloy gave her a raincoat, but once they went to the address she had provided, she had disappeared. Since that claim, many more would go on to say they also picked up the Lady. Their stories differ somewhat. Sometimes, she wears a nightgown, other times a wedding dress. They also give several different versions of her death such as a boating accident, suicide, or murder-suicide. What they do not differ on is the ride itself.
She will often stand on the road near White Rock Lake at night and desperately beckon to be picked up by passing cars. She prefers the backseat because her dress is wet. She does not speak again, crying through most of the ride. As the journey ends the address given by the Lady, she will disappear or jump out of the car. Those who contact the owners of the house will learn that she is a spitting image for a previous owner who drowned years earlier.
Haunted Rooms America offers monthly tours where participants can learn about the Lady and search out her presence.
8 Saco River—Maine
The Saco River in Maine runs about 50 miles from Lovewell Pond to Saco Bay in the Atlantic Ocean. In 1675, three white men disembarked their ship and rowed up the river. They soon saw a Native American woman in a canoe with her infant son. The drunken men, believing a myth that baby natives could swim, grabbed the baby and threw it into the river. The woman dove in a saved her baby, but it died a week later. As it turned out, the father of the baby was the chief of a local tribe.
Incensed, the chief cursed the waters. He asked the spirits to claim the lives of three white men who venture into the river each year. I could not find any statistics on the number of yearly male Caucasian deaths in the river, but I am very sure I will never dive in.
7 Devil’s Pool – Australia
Over the last 60 years no less than fifteen men have lost their lives at Devil’s Pool in Australia. Legend says forbidden love is the cause.
The story goes that a young woman from the Yidinji people named Oolana married a respected elder from her tribe named Waroonoo. Soon after, she began lusting after a man named Dyga from a neighboring tribe. They escaped into the valleys only to be captured soon after. She broke free and threw herself into the waters. Oolana screamed for Dyga to follow, and he did. The legend does not tell what happened to him, but Oolana disappeared among the boulders and rushing waters. Today, signs are posted warning to keep away from the rocks and strong currents. Tourists who ignore the risk say they can hear Oolana’s cries for her forbidden lover.
6 Higbee Beach – New Jersey
Craig McManus has spent many years recording instances of Cape May, New Jersey’s many ghosts. McManus is a psychic and an author. He claims to feel, and sometimes see the presence of spirits when he walks the sand of Higbee Beach. One such spirit is that of a man in a long coat, sometimes walking a black dog.
McManus reports that the Higbee family built the Hermitage Hotel in 1823 near the beach. Both Higbee brothers died in the 1870s and their niece Etta Gregory took over the hotel. One of the brothers, Thomas, had specific instructions as to the manner of his burial and undisturbed eternal rest. When Etta died in 1937, her last wishes required that Thomas be disinterred and buried with her in a different cemetery. McManus believes the man with the dog may be the discontented Thomas Higbee. Reports of his sightings say he appears around dusk, but vanishes when approached.
5 Lake Ronkonkoma – Long Island, New York
In the 1600s, a Setauket Indian princess named Tuskawanta fell in love with a white woodsman named Hugh Birdsall, who returned her affection. Sadly, her father barred her from seeing Birdsall. Tuskawanta spent seven years writing love letters to her beau on tree bark, attempting to send them by floating them across the lake that kept them separated. After never getting a single response, she gave in to despair, rowed out into the middle of the lake and stabbed herself through the heart.
As the legend goes, the tragic princess vowed to pull one young man into a watery grave every year since. Looking at statistics for drownings over a century’s time, the lake averages well over one a year. A former lifeguard revealed in the 34 years he spent patrolling the beaches, 30 male victims drowned. A researcher points out, however, that her two centuries of findings points to more drownings of women and children than men. Fatefully, the lake has been closed to swimming due to algae bloom. The “Lady of the Lake” will have to find a new way to claim her victims.
4 Braley Pond—Virginia
The George Washington National Forest in Virginia is apparently home to several spooky areas. One of which is the tranquil Braley Pond, open for trout fishing plus hiking and biking. Unfortunately, in May of 2003 it was the site of a brutal gang murder. Suicides in the forest nearby have also been reported.
Many visitors of the campgrounds report feelings of nausea, disorientation, and dread that come on suddenly. Shadowy figures and children’s laughter have also been reported. The pond seems to be the spot of the most intense occurrences. In 2006, the members of the Shenandoah Valley Paranormal Society investigated the pond. One member claimed “something came home with me that night…it felt like slime, and I could feel it moving around on my skin.” There are rumors that one of the researchers may have committed suicide after the visit.
The most disturbing tale of a haunting at the lake comes from paranormal researcher Shea Willis. Willis and a friend decided to investigate the pond with a group of a dozen teenagers interested in parapsychology. Willis sensed anxiety immediately upon arrival. Not long after, two of the teens got physically ill. Feeling the strongest psychic reaction she had ever felt, Willis decided to end the trip.
Later that night, Willis and her friend decided to go back. The sense of dread was upon them as soon as they returned. Willis recalls, “This (presence) didn’t feel like the others, it didn’t even feel human.” They soon heard something in the water, and as they turned, a green orb was hovering above the pond. While Willis was fumbling for her camera, the sounds in the water began to get increasingly louder. She and her partner decided it was finally time to leave. As they ran, Willis’s friend was flung into the air and into the water.
As she called for him, she felt something large crawling on her back. Her friend had made it back to the truck, and when Willis got there, neither of them could find anything on her body. She would go on to have nightmares and a general horrible feeling for a long time after. Over the next few months, Willis made several return trips; she encountered various strange occurrences each time. While Willis’s story may sound fantastical to many, it still should make you think twice about a trip to Braley Pond. 
3 Hales Bar Dam – Tennessee
America’s first hydroelectric dam, the Hales Bar was constructed in the early 20th century. Little did they know, they were building it on cursed land. That would just be the beginning.
The Treaty of Sycamore Shoals, agreed upon between Daniel Boone and several Cherokee leaders, was signed in 1775. One of the leaders, Dragging Canoe, was outraged and vowed the land would forever remain “dark and bloody” for all those who lived there. The surrounding waters were already deemed sacred by local natives; they believed they could see the souls of their ancestors being sucked into the largest of the water’s whirlpools.
The construction of the dam was fraught with horrific problems. There were accidents, and conflict amongst the workers with regards to race. Many workers, perhaps even several hundred, died while working on Hales bar. The dam also leaked soon after completion. The decision was made to flood the area below the dam which ended up washing out an old cemetery. In the 1960s, the dam was finally closed. The new dam, Nickajack, was named for an old Cherokee village. In true Tennessee dam fashion, it flooded the old village for which it was named.
Today, visitors to the old Hales Bar Dam might encounter Cherokee spirits, the ghost of a murdered woman, ghosts of the workers who perished, or a demon in a tunnel below. Tourists also have reported seeing apparitions, and disembodied footsteps kicking up dust. Children’s voices crying and yelling are also common occurrences. Visitors silly enough to go near the whirlpool have even mentioned feeling hands grabbing at them.
2 The Queen Mary’s First Class Swimming Pool – Long Beach, California
The Queen Mary Hotel is an ocean liner that used to sail in the North Atlantic from the 1930s to 1960s. It has been run as a hotel for the last half century. The hotel itself is considered one of the most haunted hotels in the country; its First Class Swimming Pool seems to be the center of it all. Two women may have drowned in it back when the ship was in operation. The ghosts seen there today seem to only be women. The most reported figures appearing are of an adult woman, and a young girl named Jackie. Some say young Jackie plays hide and seek at night with guests. Guests also claim to see wet footprints around the edge of the empty pool.
1 Lake Superior – Canada (The SS Kamloops)
For those who have seen the haunted-submarine film Below, this story might bring about the same watery chills.
In late fall 1927, the SS Kamloops was encountering trouble during a storm on Lake Superior. The captain of its accompanying ship, the Quedoc, spotted a massive wave brewing and changed course to Fort William. His warning to the Kamloops must have come too late as it never arrived. After three weeks of searching in terrible winter weather, the search was called off.
The next spring, the remains of nine crew members and a lifeboat were found on a small island near a makeshift fire pit. The ship itself would go down as one of the “ghost ships” of the Great Lakes; dozens of ships vanished without a trace. A half century after its sinking, however, the SS Kamloops was found. The near-freezing temperatures at the bottom of Lake Superior kept the vessel extraordinarily well-preserved. The food was in remarkable condition and crew cabins still looked eerily lived-in.
Only the most experienced divers braved the depth and frigid temperatures of the lake floor. Those divers began to tell a tale of a Kamloops crewmember who appeared to them below. They nicknamed him Grandpa. Sometimes they saw him lounging in a crew bunk, watching them explore. Others claimed to see him go about his crew routines. The most frightening stories were of Grandpa following them as they swam; he would sometimes even reach out and touch them.
During their investigations, divers also found the remains of a fantastically preserved crew member in the engine room. The body still had its flesh, maintained an icy mummification. The divers knew this had to be Grandpa’s body. The corpse, they say, would seem to follow them around, in much the same way as Grandpa did. They would often report seeing both in one trip, but never in the same room. Despite the scariness of the ghostly depths, Grandpa never attempted to hurt anyone. The divers said he seemed happy to just have company. The cause of the SS Kamloops‘ sinking was never uncovered. Perhaps Grandpa lingers so he may discover what led him and his companions to their watery graves.
About The Author: Hello everyone on the internet! A little about me: I have two degrees in film: my B.A. from UC Berkeley, and my M.F.A. from Academy of Art University. I worked for a little while in the production office on several films including Bee Season, and Milk. I transitioned to TV and spent a few years in the “bullpen” working on live games for Pac-12 Networks. Lately, I’ve found that writing is what really does it for me. I’ve been writing film reviews for almost five years for the Concord/Clayton Pioneer. Very recently I’ve decided to branch out into comic books and online writing. I have also been a swim coach for twenty years.