Diana of the Dunes, a visit to the Indiana Dunes State Park

Indiana Dunes State Park means primitive, beautiful, historic and amazing landscapes, unique in the Hoosier state. With more than three miles of beautiful beach along Lake Michigan’s southern shore, the park’s 2,182 acres are located at the north end of State Road 49 in Porter County.

In the early 1900s, scientists, recreationists and nature enthusiasts, recognizing the value and potential of the area, fought to have the region preserved. As a result, in 1925, the state park was established.

Visitors can enjoy this area in a wide variety of ways. A campground, many picnic shelters and picnic areas, more than sixteen miles of hiking trails, a swimming beach, and the Nature Center are available for visitor’s use and are operated with visitor safety in mind.

Dunes Nature Preserve, encompassing 1,530 acres and located within the boundaries of the state park, provides visitors with an opportunity to explore pristine and unique landscapes. Indiana Dunes State Park is surrounded by Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, a federally administered park comprising approximately 15,000 acres.


Located at:  1600 N. CR 25E, Chesterton, Indiana 46304-1142

Phone: 219-926-1952

Website: http://camp.in.gov

Hauntings: Diana of the Dunes is a folklore legend about a woman who used to go skinny dipping at Dunes State Park in Indiana. She lived there in an abandoned cottage near the beach. She was nicknamed "Diana" after a Roman goddess. Her ghost is alleged to haunt the park's shores, running nude along the sand before disappearing into the waters.

Alice Mabel Gray (1881–1925) was the woman on whom the "Diana of the Dunes" legend was based. Gray was a graduate of the University of Chicago, who found city life was not conducive to the advancement of an educated woman. In 1915, she moved to the dune country, in order to write and to live a simpler life. In 1920, Alice met a drifter, Paul Wilson and soon after he moved in with her. After the breakup, she died in her cabin in 1925 probably from uremic poisoning and there were signs of numerous bruises to her back and stomach. No one knows what happened to Alice’s daughter to date.

Alice is buried in Oak Lawn Cemetery in Gary, Indiana. The actual site of her grave is not known as she was buried in a common potter’s field.

The only known photograph of her is held by the Chicago History Museum.






The GRS visited the site of Diana of the Dunes at the Indiana Dunes State Park August 27, 2016 and the team included: Stan Suho, Chuck Williams, Kathie Para, Marge Sucha, Barbara Meagher and Dale Kaczmarek 









Equipment setup: None. This was a scouting trip only. Pictures were taken of the location and the group.

Experiments performed: None.

Personal experiences:

Chuck Williams: Stopped by the nature center and discussed her story, as well as the shipwreck that is off the coast of the lakeshore.  We went to the beach where people have seen her in the water, or along the tree line.

Facebook Live could not be used at the Dunes (Another limitation was found in that you need wi-fi). 

Kathie Para: As part of an adventurous day spent in Indiana visiting several haunted and legendary locations GRS visited the Indiana Dunes, the home of “Diana of the Dunes”. Members present that day were: Dale, Chuck, Barb, Marge, Stan and I.

We didn’t attempt to hike through the dunes to find the actual location of Diana’s home, but we spent some time in the visitor center’s library going through materials that Chuck had put together for us after much research on his part. It is quite an interesting story and I well could imagine her life and experiences.

So, no paranormal experiences from either Diana or any other spirit at the dunes but a fun experience, none the less!

Dale Kaczmarek: A massive location and has always been one of those locations I truly wanted to visit whether it be of a paranormal nature or simply the sheer beauty. We only visited the Nature Center and a huge dune called Devil’s Slide. Since it was a hot day and many in the group had some problems walking we decided not to venture to the site of the abandoned cottage of Alice Mabel Gray.

It was a great walk and the scenery was beautiful. The water looked so inviting on a hot summer day and lots of people were enjoying themselves on the day we visited this location. I only took some pictures and Williams pointing out some of the features of the place.

Evidence collected:  None.

Conclusions: Whether the story of Diana of the Dunes is true or simply urban legend it mimics several other haunted beach stories including the Gray Man often seen on Pawley’s Island in South Carolina or the many apparitions that have been reported wandering the beaches of Sri Lanka and Indonesia following the December 26, 2004 tsunami that was caused by a 9.1-9.3 magnitude earthquake. The waves were as tall as 100 feet and an estimated 230,000 to 280,000 people were killed.

There have been many eye witnesses to the alleged ghost at the Indiana Dunes State Park over the years so maybe there is something to the tale after all. It would be interesting to perhaps visit this location after hours if that is possible and revisit the site where the ghost is said to appear.

Ghost Research Society (www.ghostresearch.org)
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