sylvia gaines ghost of green lake

Sylvia Gaines: The Ghost of Green Lake

On June 17th 1926, the body of 22-year-old Sylvia Gaines was found on the shore of Green Lake in Seattle. The city was shocked. Who could have murdered this young woman so brutally?

Show Notes

Trigger Warning: Talk of suicide and sexual abuse. 

As the investigation unfolded, horrible secrets were revealed as attention turned towards her father for this horrific crime. Did he murder his daughter? And does her ghost still haunt the shores of Green Lake, seeking justice?


Helf, Susan (April 24, 2009). “Murder at Green Lake: Sylvia Gaines,”, retrieved from:

Staff Editors (no date). “Wallace Gaines,” True Crime Library, retrieved from:

Vickers, Marques (Feb. 5, 2016). “Murder in Washington: Notorious Crime Sites: The Topography of Evil,” Marquis Publishing, 1st Edition

Nordheim, Theresa (Nov. 28, 2016). “Murder & Mayhem in Seattle,” The History Press

Clarridge, Christine (Oct. 28, 2019). “High weirdness is not so strange — creators of Seattle’s liminal map find it in everyday life,” The Seattle Times, retrieved from:

McNerthney, Casey (June 15, 2011). “Seattle history: The shocking murder at Green Lake,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, retrieved from:

Staff Writer (Aug. 31, 1928). “Gaines Hangs, Dies Bravely,” San Pedro News Pilot, Univ. of California at Riverside Center for Bibliographical Studies and Research, retrieved from:——-en–20–1–txt-txIN——–1

Staff Writer (June 17, 1926). “Seattle Girl is Brutally Slain,” Fresno Bee

Staff Writer (Aug. 10, 1926). “Trial of Gaines is Gaining Interest,” The Klamath News

Staff Writer (Oct. 31, 1927). “Brother of Doomed Seattle Man says Portland Prisoner Slew Woman in Washington,” Albany Democrat Harold

Garber, Yvonne (no date). “John Pender,” The National Registry of Exonerations Pre-1989, Univ. of Michigan School of Law, retrieved from:

Staff Writer (June 30, 1926). “Father Arrested in Gaines Murder,” The New York Times, retrieved from:

Staff Writer (June 21, 1926). “Coroners Jury Will View Body of Miss Gaines,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Staff Writer (July 30, 1930). “Wife of City Banker Ends Life in Lake,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer

Graham, Nathalie (June 27, 2018). “If Seattle Is Haunted, Where Do I Chill With the Neighborhood Ghosties?,” The Stranger, retrieved from:

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Researched & Written by Kim Douthit 

Edited & Produced by Gabi Fiore

Music by Dan Moretti