Spooky California and the Legend of Elizabeth Lake

Circumstances beyond my control have kept me home-bound for much of the summer and, let me tell you, it hasn’t been easy to curb my exploring. Luckily, I do love to read and I’ve been spending time working my way through my (seemingly endless) bookshelf. Recently, I was sent a copy of Spooky California: Tales of Haunting, Strange Happenings and Other Local Lore and eagerly dove in.

Spooky California is a collection of supernatural stories that take place all over the Golden State. Often handed down by word of mouth they’ve now been compiled into one volume by S.E. Schlosser and are accompanied by the beautiful illustrations of Paul G Hoffman.

If you’re looking for stories that are truly frightening Spooky California may not be for you but if you’re looking for some old-fashioned campfire tales that provide a glimpse into Old California then you’ll really enjoy the book. Thankfully, I’m one of the latter and while some stories did make me roll my eyes I thoroughly enjoyed the book as a whole with one particular story standing out – The Devil’s Pet.

The Devils Pet take place at Elizabeth Lake – a small, natural lake in LA county near Lancaster. Legend states that the devil himself created the lake and made it a home for his favorite pet. Over the years there were tales of a winged creature flying through the night and destroying any homestead that dared to be built nearby. Finally, enough was enough and one intrepid rancher fought the creature and forced him to abandon the lake and seek refuge in Arizona.

I know the story is a bit hokey but I was intrigued as I’d never heard of Elizabeth Lake. I looked it up and, sure enough, it really exists and tales of the monster are plentiful. I knew I had to see the spot for myself and, after a day picking cherries in nearby Leona Valley, I stopped by.

Elizabeth Lake is a bit…underwhelming. This is the spot that a monster called home? This little lake in the middle of nowhere? There is a small community that surrounds the lake and it is picturesque but seems hardy the setting for such a tall tale.

The only mysterious part of the lake is that it’s completely fenced in. There appears to be no lake access and I can’t seem to find out why. Could it be the monster? Of course not, but it was fun to visit one of the locations from Spooky California.

Even though recently I haven’t been able to travel as much as I’d like I’m glad books like Spooky California have kept me mentally exploring the state. Pretty soon I’ll be back out there and I can’t wait.

1 Comment

  1. Gene Kindred October 25, 2020 at 10:11 pm

    Thank you for this post. In November 1946, a week after my mother found out she was pregnant, my father drowned there while duck hunting on the lake when boat capsized. I have been there only once about 25 years ago.

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