The Hudson Valley holds some of the oldest history in our entire country. With that history comes a slew of urban legends and lore that may very well have ties to the truth, but have become a little exaggerated and embellished over time.

One of the wildest Upstate New York urban legends I learned about was this Gorton Turtle which involves a turtle the size of a house pulling a really heavy cart and then disappearing into a small lake...some of that is a little more clearly explained here: Is This New York's Most Unbelievable Urban Legend?

I recently stumbled upon a different urban legend that sounded really familiar to the plot of a popular TV show, Supernatural.

Upstate New York's Thirteen Curves Legend

Up in Syracuse, there's a New York Legends & Lore Mile Marker labeled Thirteen Curves. The nickname Thirteen Curves is apparently used for a pretty windy and dangerous road,  Cedarvale Road in Marcellus, NY.

Google Maps/Canva
Google Maps/Canva

According to the plaque, a bride and her new husband had died while driving on this road on the night of their wedding in the early 1900s. The legend is that people still see an apparition of this bride still wandering the dangerous road looking for her husband. She is known as "the woman in white."

There's an episode of Supernatural in one of its earliest seasons about the legend of a woman in white who haunts a dangerous road and I couldn't help but wonder if there was a connection.

Supernatural and Upstate New York

It isn't just the plain similarity of the ghost of the woman in white. Supernatural has given multiple nods to Upstate New York and specifically the Hudson Valley numerous times throughout the show.

Fans of the show will remember how Sam and Dean had a distress term that they would slip into conversation to let each other know of a dangerous situation. That distress term? Poughkeepsie!

In season 1 of the show, the Winchester brothers took on a case based out of New Paltz, with multiple direct references to the town throughout the episode.

Read more about the New Paltz Supernatural episode here: That Time the Winchester Brothers Saved a Hudson Valley Town

The Woman in White from Supernatural

In the pilot episode of the show, Sam and Dean encounter a Woman in White spirit. Now, the trope of a ghastly "Woman in White" has existed for centuries spanning all around the globe.

In Portuguese culture, they have the legend of the Dama Branca which is typically associated with the vengeful spirit of a woman who passed away during childbirth. In the Philipines, their "white lady", known as the Kaperosa legend, is the vengeful spirit of a woman who committed suicide after being betrayed by her male lover.


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Many cultures have their own iterations of a "Woman in White" spirit and most of them involve tragedy or betrayal being inflicted on a young woman who comes back to haunt. But, there were a few similarities between the Thirteen Curves woman in white to the Supernatural woman in white that made me think there may have been some influence.

In the episode of Supernatural, this woman in white was frequently seen on a dangerous, windy road - just like the thirteen curves. Sam and Dean travel the windy road resembling a classic Upstate New York road.

However, after doing some research, there are a crazy number of women in white tales in New York alone.

Sleepy Hollow has its own "woman in white" lore that you can read about here: Legend Says a Woman in White Haunts Popular Hiking Trail in Sleepy Hollow

In Rochester, there's a castle that also has an alleged woman in white spirit haunting its grounds: Have You Seen the Terrifying Ghost at This New York Castle?

There's no clear proof on whether or not this 13 Curves woman in white is definitely the inspiration for the Supernatural episode, but there are quite a few pieces of evidence.

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