Reopened McCarren Park Pool has a Haunted History

On a sunny Sunday afternoon, crowds of families and teenagers are lined up next to the McCarren Park Pool entrance in Brooklyn, excited to take a swim on a hot summer day. The air is filled with a humid mist as eager children gallop into the pool to stay cool. Big brothers push their younger siblings in the water and get scolded by their aggravated parents. Happy families and children are having a good time in a seemingly perfect environment. Rumors, however, have been circling about suspicious paranormal activity happening in McCarren Park Pool.

“I’ve heard about some little girl that died here a while ago. Her ghost might still be here, who knows,” says Sarah Greenfield, a 32-year-old nurse who was at McCarren with her 3-year-old son.

The pool, which reopened this summer after being closed for 28 years, has attracted excitement, as well as controversial fights and violence. Brooklyn residents are excited to drain their energy swimming without draining their wallets because the admission is free. But while McCarren has attracted the attention of the general public, it has also attracted the attention of ghost hunters.

Paranormal Investigation of NYC, a New York paranormal activity investigation group, observed the outside perimeter of the pool and claim they found eerie temperature drops and ghostly balls of lights, according to records released by the group. The investigators used an EMF detector, which is a device used to detect the presence of a spirit by measuring electromagnetic energy in the air.

Local folklore has told of a little girl who drowned in the pool. Legend has it that the spirit can be seen roaming around at night, crying for help. Most locals are unaware of the rumor. Those who have knowledge of it say they are slightly disturbed, but that the presence of a spirit has little effect on their lives, and won’t keep them away from the pool.

“I love going [to the pool] with my family. I’ve heard this multiple times. I’m not affected, won’t stop coming here,” says Alejandro Moreno, a 51-year-old engineer from Brooklyn.

Asna Smitey, a 26-year-old unemployed Brooklyn resident, agrees with Moreno.

“No it won’t stop me [from going to the pool]. I’m scared of ghosts but nothing happened so far,” she says.

Many people are not even aware of the rumor and brush it off, considering the fact that they have been going to the pool a lot and have no paranormal experiences.

“I’ve never heard any rumor. I’ve went here very often, since it opened,” says Anne Roche, a 56-year-old Brooklyn resident. This was the reaction of many people waiting in line to enter the pool. Some say they don’t believe the myth at all.
“I never believed in ghosts, I’m not buying it. It’s pretty silly, honestly. It sounds like a rumor made up to get the community creeped out,” says Joe Frankel, a 21-year-old college student.

According to Paranormal Investigation of NYC, on Nov 14, 2004, there was a very active rise in the meter of the EMF detector around the pool area. However, they say, the rise may not necessarily be because of a spirit. Rises can be caused by a slight crack in the window, investigators say.

“Drowned? I never heard of little girl, but I heard a boy did,” said Maxim Chernoski, a downtown Brooklyn resident.

The information which Chernoski was referring to was confirmed by a New York Times article published in 1977, which states that a 14-year-old boy named Vernon Weiderhold drowned in McCarren Park pool.

Rosa Alphine, an 83-year-old retired schoolteacher who lives on Richardson Street only a couple blocks away from McCarren Park Pool says her friend, who used to live right next door to her, had a suspicious encounter. Alphine says her friend was walking her bull terrier dog one day.

“She was walking somewhere ‘round the pool area, she used to say, when all the sudden her dog got very jumpy, forced [her] to turn around and walk the other way,” Alphine says.

“I think there’s a spirit cause I do believe in ghosts. I wish there was solid proof. That’d be cool,” says Daniel Rastor, a 27-year-old Brooklyn resident who admits to watching Ghost Hunters every night.

Paranormal Investigation of NYC has investigated the perimeter twice. However, they were not able to find any legitimate evidence of the spirit of the little girl, according to the group’s website.

Regardless of whether the pool is haunted or not, people are enjoying it a lot and are very happy that it has been reopened for the public to use for free.

“McCarren brought fun and happiness back, ghost or no ghost,” says Alphine.

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