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Lake Ronkonkoma

Legend has it that Ronkonkoma Lake on Long Island is haunted by a female ghost who takes a male life every year.

In the 17th century, a Native American princess called Ronkonkoma fell in love with a Dutch settler who lived near the lake. Their union was forbidden by the girl's father, but every night Ronkonkoma would paddle her canoe out into the middle of the lake, where she would then float messages of love to the Dutchman on the opposite shore.

One day, Ronkonkoma's father decided she was to marry one of her own tribesmen, and, distraught, she paddled out in her canoe one last time to deliver a final message of love and a sad farewell.

In the morning, the Dutchman found his love's final message- and nearby the poor girl's lifeless body washed up on the shore. She had jumped intothe lake and drowned herself rather than give up her heart's desire.

Since that day, Ronkonkoma's spirit has been said to dwell in the lake which now bears her name. Denied her one true love while alive, she pulls a man down into the watery depths every year, desperately seeking a loving companion in death.

The spirit of Ronkonkoma is not believed to be malicious, she merely seeks the love she was denied in life and does not realise the harm she does to the living.

Some men who have been boating on the lake claim to have seen the pitiful figure of Ronkonkoma reaching up at them from the murky depths. Swimmers have claimed to feel the icy grasp of her hands on their bodies as she tries to take them with her.

P A McHugh

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Ian Topham
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Re: Lake Ronkonkoma

As with all legends there are several versions, one of which has the girl being called Tuscawanta (not sure about this spelling) and the European she falls in love with an English settler named Hugh Birdsall.

On Long Island there thirteen tribes of Algonquian Indians, four of which were settled around Lake Ronkonkoma which was considered sacred to them. These four tribes were the Unkechaugs, Nissequogues, Secatogs and the Setaukets. In one versions the Indian girl or princess was a member of the Setauket tribe.

Ronkonkoma (or Raconkumake, Raconkamuck) is the Algonquin word meaning 'boundary fishing place or lake' and it is the largest freshwater lake on Long Island.

The following Youtube video concerns the 'Lady of the Lake'.



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