Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Una Lake, Palmdale, California


Lake Una, located south of the City of Palmdale and immediately east of the reservoir Lake Palmdale, is a small lake or pond. Although the presence of such a body of water is remarkable within the arid desert environment, it appears otherwise uninteresting on first seeing it's placid water and rather typical local vegetation.

But, of course, it has it's stories. It is said that people approaching the lake at night have encountered a dark figure in clothing that appeared to be a fisherman's, telling them in slurred speech to leave the area. People have also reported seeing dark figures climbing into the trees and vanishing at night.



In addition to these ghostly phenomenon, some locals tell of a strange creature - never described - that sometimes emerges from the lake to devour whatever animals it can lay hand (um...teeth?) on. The lake is reputed to be bottomless, and it has been claimed that at least one diver has vanished while looking for the bottom, and that bodies of murder victims have been dumped in the lake never to be seen again. One story even holds that a school buss once ran off of the Sierra Highway (immediately adjacent to the lake) and neither it nor the driver or children in it were ever found.

Should you wish to enter the property, it is fenced off and private security has been known to patrol the area. So, this is one that is best viewed from afar.

Commentary: This is one of those entries that illustrates both why Shadowlands is simultaneously a wonderful and a terrible website for ghost story enthusiasts. This website contains the simple description: "Ghost of a fisherman has been reported to lash out, slurring viciously, ordering them to leave, also tales of black figures climbing into the trees and vanishing" complete with the weird phrasing and grammar. As I understand it, the webmaster of Shadowlands doesn't create these descriptions, but rather posts what is sent in. On the one hand, this allows us to quickly find ghost stories for most towns in the United States (as well as a few other countries), on the other hand the stories are often so brief, garbled, and confused that it can be difficult to do anything with them. So it goes.

Because Shadowlands is so useful for locating ghost stories, entries on the site are often simply copied and pasted into other websites, so if you go looking for Una Lake ghost stories online, you'll usually find a direct copy of the above-quoted sentence. Again I have to wonder if our reliance on the internet isn't a double-edged sword, allowing more access to stories, but also freezing them in (often lame and inane) forms rather than allowing them to grow and warp as folklore should.

Okay, so a bit o' science: Una Lake is what is called a rift lake or a sag pond (yes, there are technical differences between them, but I have been unable to find out which one best describes Una Lake). It sits on the San Andreas Fault, in a depression caused by the movement of the fault. Nearby Lake Palmdale (nearby as in "across the street") is in a similar basin, where a small natural lake has been turned into a larger reservoir (edited to add: the 1915 USGS topographic map for the location shows Lake Palmdale labeled as Una Lake, with the part now known as Una Lake being the eastern extent, cut off from the rest by the railroad, which appears to have been built on fill soils - so much for the bottomless lake, and thanks to one of the commenters below for pointing me to this map). A bit to the west, Lake Elizabeth is in a similar geologic formation. There has been a small lake within what is now Lake Palmdale for centuries, and it appears that Una Lake was part of this larger body. Regardless, the alleged depth of the lake may be due to it being on the fault and potentially between two cliffs....or it may be complete nonsense, I have been unable to find a reliable source of the lake's actual depth.

Neat!

Incidentally, my favorite entry from the comments on one of the "illustrious internet" entries in the sources below comes after a description of a cross erected near the lake that supposedly commemorates a murder victim. The commenter simply states "i broke that guys cross off nd threw it in the lake" (sic). Nobody feeds the troll, which is a shame, as it would likely have been hilarious.

Sources: Local Folklore, All Voices, The Illustrious Internet, My AV Online, More from the Illustrious Internet, Shadowlands

27 comments:

  1. Does anyone reply to this? I'd love to get more info on Una Lake. Looking for something scary for Halloween!

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    1. Una Lake is the lake that was there originally. The rail road was built across the narrow neck of that lake isolaing it from the rest. This can be seen on http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/topo/california/txu-pclmaps-topo-ca-elizabeth_lake-1915.jpg the 1915 Elizabeth Lake topographical map. In the 1920's the dam was built and its reservoir flooded the old lake to the west and it was renamed. The remaining Una Lake is the only remaining fragment of the original Lake.
      Asiaticus asiaticus@juno.com

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    2. So it is - I should have checked the old USGS quads, but thank you for providing the information.

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  2. I have not seen anything further. But if you manage to find more information, please post it in the comments here.

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  3. I manage Una Lake

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    1. I am a friend of and have been the attorney for the owner of Una Lake. I have toured the lake and taken soundings, It is nominally 26 feet deep.

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    2. Would you ever consider letting GHOST HUNTER'S TAKE A LOOK ?

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  4. To 'anonymous' above, who stated that he "manages Uma Lake: Can you say more about Uma Lake. What is its depth? Do you know of any unusual events or qualities regarding Uma Lake?

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  5. Una lake tours should be done

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  6. Una lake should be open for the one's who want to experience something scary !!

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  7. do you have any more stories from Palmdale, Lake LA, or anywhere in the Antelope Valley?

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    1. None that I am prepared to post here (I like to be able to do some degree of research, which takes time that is often in short supply for me these days). If you have a story that you would like to see here, please email me with the information. It may take me a while to get the proper information to post it, but that would get me started.

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    2. I've heard rumors growing up about the cemetery next to antelope Valley high on division st. As well as the LPAC on Lancaster Blvd. If you ever find the time maybe you can find something about them.

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  8. I been there when there was no fence.Many many years ago a diesel crashed into the lake and when the tow company went to retrieve it ,it was gone so than they put scuba divers into the lake and could not find it .They discovered that it was deep with a suction motion to it.So than scientist was sent to the site and discovered that the lake was bottomlest,from than on other stories developed through time.Now what I saw many years ago jump into the lake was some kind of creature with a long a very long tail it jump so fast .I was by there when I heard a loud woosh sound with air movement I turned quickly just to see a long tale about 20 feet long and dust in the air before it jump in to the lake.Right by there was a lot of rabbit carcasses.So yes I know that area very well.There actually was a old man that lived in a house on the site for many years and his wife.I talked to him like 35 years ago and he said that this was his father land and he promise to watch the lake and keep out people to protect the lake and keep people from drowning.The guy had a rifle and would fire warning shots to stay away.Cops would be called at times.Than one day the house burned down .Than he lived in made shift tents.When palmdale started developing to many people going to the lake the old man shooting off his gun the cops chased him off and fence off the lake and did not let anyone back there.I was so lucky to have talked to him and boy I learned alot.

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    1. Thank you for posting this Matthew. That's really interesting! :)

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    2. Matthew Hommel, My grandparents, parents, with myself and siblings, makes 3 generations who've lived in the Barrel Spring/Sierra Hwy. area...That makes for many
      many years of history and knowledge for that area. All of these "stories" of vehicles disappearing, be it the school bus, the lost "Las Vegas" gambler in a car, and now a diesel????
      How is it that all the multitudes of various sources, venues, and people we, not one person in my family, nor friends, neighbors, etc...have ever heard of that nonsense. ����������������������������
      Tata

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  9. I happen to live right up the street from the pond or lake and hoped the fence walked up the little path and smoke by the water it definitely has an eerie feeling in the environment and the water is very acidic looking.I would've Went back at night but my gut keeps saying no I still might go tho lol.

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  10. I lived there from 62 to 76 and went used to ride our bikes there all the time. I lived on R6 and 12th st. West and our best friends lived off of 10th st. East so we were all over that area. There was never any house when I went there but we had heard that it was bottomless though I never believed how that could possibly be but it still made us scared to go in it.

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  11. I saw the ghost of the fisherman when I was druving hes white and he is old
    It was crazy I thought he was real since a friend told me the storie

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  12. Just thought I'd let you know- am a local- Una Lake is manmade, as well as Munz Lake. The sag ponds here are Hughes and Elizabeth.

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    1. I found different information on this, including USGS info, which led me to think that there was some confusion on this (also, I understand that the lakes shifted names some time in the first part of the 20th century, likely leading to further confusion).

      That said, you may very well be correct and I will need to look back into it when I have the chance.

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  13. I used to go fishing there around 2004-2005 there is picnic tables. It is fenced but I would park in the neighborhood a half a mile behind it and walk through the desert. There was a whole in the fence probably still there. I tried parking on Sierra Hwy once and a dude pulled up in a car with no winshield or Windows with saran wrap taped over the front trying to sell me tweak ( that story is not exaggerated ). I would catch catfish there are other top feeding fish. Overall it is a nice shady place to smoke a bowl drink some beers and fish. Just watch out for all the cops the AV has now.

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    1. Based on my own experience in the area, I find the story about the saran wrap windshield completely believable.

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  14. The truth of the matter is once the old man passed away his youngest grandson was a drug addict that lived in his car and decided to move onto the property but the Sheriff's department would occasionally patrol the area and run him and his friends off the property. So they found a spot just down aways not far from the lake and dug themselves a little underground bunker type hole big enough to hide his vehicle in and stay out of site from anyone driving by. If anyone stopped to check out the lake they could hear them coming and would do all sorts of things to scare people off. They went as far as creating a water monster type prop tied to ropes that they would pull from atop the trees and behind rocks that made it appear like there was a large monster swimming in the water. They would dress up in all black clothes to hide themselves at night and would make evil ghost noises to run people off the property. They named their monster "The Pookie Man" not to be confused with the boogie man. The name originated from what dope addicts call their crack or meth pipes a Pookie. So being high on dope and scaring people half to the death with their monster creations is how they came up with the name "The Pookie Man". This went on for many many years and over time tons of stories were being passed around the city about this so called haunted body of water. Where this story gets creepy is one day they all just disappeared. One of the guys girlfriends reported it to the Sheriffs Department and they investigated it and found their bunker and the guys vehicle with all their belongings but no clue what happened to these guys. To this day no one has seen or heard from any of them. A couple of their friends believe their dope dealer had something to do with it over a bad drug deal or possibly while bathing in the water somehow the men got sucked down deep into the lake and their bodies never surfaced. I spoke to the girlfriend i wanna say about 6 or 7 months ago and she said they still have no clue what happened to any of them.

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  15. Heard only it was bottomless. Had friends that lived next to it.

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