Lucy of Presidio Park

lucy white deer

Not all hauntings are of dead people. Presidio Park which rises above Old Town is said to be haunted by a white doe named Lucy. Lucy was born in the San Diego zoo in 1965. She was unique in that she was totally white in color.

In one rendition of the story, the zoo had too many deer, so Lucy was sold to a private buyer who lived in Mission Hills. The deer escaped from the buyer but this was not a problem; Presidio Park was a huge track of land and Lucy roamed free and lived off the land. (Lucy was sold along side with a male deer but after escape, the male deer was not seen of again).

In a second rendition of the story, Lucy had escaped from the zoo directly and ended up wandering Mission Valley, Mission Hills, and Presidio Park.

Residents saw Lucy in the early mornings or late evenings. They were very familiar with the doe and left food for her. She often ate the flowers in the resident's gardens.

lucy white deer
Monument erected to commemorate Lucy's
life of freedom and innocence.

However, it was not to last, 10 years later, residents felt that Lucy's safety was at stake: she often wandered into oncoming traffic and she was becoming too familiar with people. It was suggested that she be captured and relocated to a more remote area away from city dwellers. Unfortunately, the Animal Control Officer misjudged the amount of tranquilizers needed to bring Lucy down - after she was tranquilized, she did not awaken. She died in December 1975.

lucy white deer
Monument consists of three large standing stones,
a shallow basin, and a plaque. Peppered on the ground are deer track imprints.
The residents of Mission Hills were outraged, but nothing could be done, Lucy was gone. They raised money and constructed a memorial to honor their beautiful white doe. Charles Faust and Margaret Price were instrumental in seeing the monument erected. Many poems were submitted but this one was inscribed on the plaque:

The White Deer of Mission Hills

Bliss in solitude beneath this tree.
Formless, silent, spirit free.

                        ~ A Friend
lucy white deer
Plaque on Inspiration Point in honor or Lucy,
who may still roam the hills of Presidio Park.

Some say that Lucy's spirit continues to roam the grassy area of Presidio Park. Some see her white tail disappear into the bushes, or they find their garden flowers eaten. Motorists sometimes are startled by a fleeting image - that similar of a deer. Joggers will regularly glimpse the sight of a white deer scampering away into the bushes.

If you want to see Lucy, go for a jog in the early hours or take a stroll in the twilight hours. That is the time when Lucy can be found, in life and in death.


In and around Presidio Park, Mission Hills, and Mission Valley.