Weird California
Weird California
Weird California - By Joe Parzanese

Bakersfield Central Park

Map Bakersfield, California

A ghostly White Lady haunts Bakersfield Central Park at dawn!
A ghostly White Lady haunts Bakersfield Central Park at dawn!

Between 19th and 21st streets, next to R Street in Bakersfield lies Bakersfield's Central Park. Central Park was first established in August of 1921. In the park is the Mill Creek Bridge, which is actually part of Kern Island Canal, the canal having been expanded and made to look like a creek as it goes through the park. The bridge and creek expansions occurred in 2009. However, there originally was a foot bridge over the canal as early as 1938.

A ghostly woman floats over the canal.
A ghostly woman floats over the canal.

Long before the covered bridge was built, shop keepers and residents near the park would report a ghostly woman dressed all in white, wandering the park, wearing a white flowing dress or robe. She supposedly is often seen floating over the canal, weeping softly before eventually disappearing. She is usually only seen around dawn.

At dawn a ghostly woman haunts the park.
At dawn a ghostly woman haunts the park.

The urban legend goes on to state that she was murdered, but, sadly the legend does not go into any specifics. Her body was rumored to have been found in the old Pacific Southern Foundry across the street from the park. When they were tearing down the building they supposedly found her under the floorboards, her bones showing signs of her having been shot. Another version of the story has her body being found on the other side of the park.

The bridge at Central Park
The bridge at Central Park

The story may sound a bit familiar to you, as there are many Lady in White or White Lady stories in California. Other prominent White Lady stories include the White Lady of Santa Cruz and the White Lady of El Fandango Restaurant in Old Town San Diego. Even Charlotte of the famous Adelaida Cemetery on the Central Coast has often been described the same as a "white lady ghost".

At times this tale has been connected to that of La Llorona, with the teller of the tale relating their similarities, but after you get past the white dress, the weeping, and the proximity of the canal, there is actually very little in common with her origin and story. This ghost's story mentions nothing about her children, let alone her children being either murdered by the spirit or dying through her neglect. There is also nothing in the urban legend about the ghost's children drowning in the canal.

So if you happen to be in Bakersfield's Central Park near dawn, look towards the canal, you may see another of California's White Ladies!

Last Edited: 2014-10-19