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Mertle Lake is a large man-made lake located south of the Santa Clara County in California. The lake stretches to about 235 acres and is approximately 45 feet deep. It was built in 1967 by the city to give South San Jose a place to relax and admire due to the lack of recreational places in the area. The idea of this location is that it offered many outdoor activities and creates a connection to nature due to the biodiversity of wildlife and pine trees surrounding the area. The city’s goal in this establishment was to create a more social environment where people can establish better relations with others and themselves.

The beautiful scenery of the lake is what makes it a tourist attraction. The simplistic lake is only medium sized, but the stillness of the water and reflection of its surrounding is what makes this spot unique. There’s a 100 yard walkway that was designed on the south side of the lake to view the most out of the scenic surrounding on the water’s surface. Paddleboats and Rowboats can be rented at the shop near the beginning of the walkway which is an activity that many people take part in at the lake. After 1970, this became San Jose’s most famous landmark, and it’s approximated that millions of people visit every year.

On December 23, 1984, a body of a boy was found floating near the end of the walkway, as well as a random self-made boat in the middle of the lake. Due to the discovery of the dead body, the lake received bad publicity. It was reported that on December 22 the lake was closed due to a heavy storm which affected boating conditions. It was assumed that the 8 year-old boy, Simon Barkhurst, drowned by paddling on his self-made boat. There are two stories to this event. Some people say Simon Barkhurst was murdered, and some say he drowned to a failed idea of a boat. One of the top attractions in San Jose quickly became deserted as rumors says it's haunted. The story of Simon Barkhurst lives on with the lake as some say they have seen a boy with a brown coat and black shorts at the end of the walkway at night. Reports were also made about frequent occurrence of a small unfinished boat and paddle in the middle of the lake.

The death of Simon Barkhurst has caused many controversies. The Lake was a film based on Simon’s death. The story goes on to say that a group of high school friends visited the lake on spring break and had an encounter of paranormal activities at the lake. Most of the film took place at the actual abandoned lake and has been reported that some of the staff members felt a unusual aura during their time there. Luckily, everything went smoothly and the film went on to be nominated for the Oscars for best pictures, and Maccaulay Culkin who played Simon Barkhurst in the film won Best Actor.

Written by Timothy Le