was the source
of several local Native American legend
s. The most notable
of these is tied to the belief that the lake
There are several variations on the origin of the curse; most center of a tale of troubled romance. One version has a young European settler falling in love with Princess Ronkonkoma, much to the dismay of her father. The princess continued to see this explorer, against her father's wishes, but it became increasingly difficult. She found herself attempting to swim across the lake, but drowned midway. The young man, finding his love floating in the water the next day, brought her limp body back to the woman's village. Upon seeing the sight of his dead daughter, the Native American chief put a curse 'pon the lake that every year a young man would drown as punishment.
Other forms of the tale vary slightly, usually in the method of death for the princess (accident vs. suicide), where her body was found (in the lake, in a Connecticut river, in the Long Island Sound) and the identity of the male lover(European Settler, childhood sweetheart, warrior from a rival tribe). However, they all end with curse that one young man would drown each year.
Now, reason would say with such a large lake it is likely for such a drowning; and indeed, records show that every year one young man has indeed drowned there. (Most notably, some years ago before I escaped Long Island and made it to NYC, December had arrived and the curse was seemingly over; not a single person, male or female, had drowned that year. Until some foolish boy attempted to run across the frozen lake and got himself drowned.) Some people have claimed to see the ghost of Princess Ronkonkoma late at night.
Personally, I never had the good fortune to see such a thing but the tale has always intrigued me.