The Lady in White…


Today after helping put together the Buffalo Style podcast at the WNYM studios, I saw the Lady in White on Allen Street and snapped the above.  She has been around for years and has always intrigued me.

I have heard many stories about her…anyone know what the real deal is?

Like I said, she has always intrigued me…I am guessing I am not the only one who has wondered about her story.

15 thoughts on “The Lady in White…

  1. My wife sees her sometimes over at BGH as well… definitely always wanted to know more about her. Maybe it’s cynical, but I think it’s a good sign when a city has some ‘characters.’

  2. I’ve wondered for 20 years but have to admit I’m not sure I’m comfortable discussing the lady. My wife calls it victiligo in spanish.
    Could be that she’s allergic to dyes, or has lost her skin pigmentation and is sensitive to the sun. I agree with eac – it’s nice to have characters (I’m one too)

  3. EAC,

    I know…characters add character to the B-lo…


    I am also a little hesitant about the lady…but I do wonder what the deal is…

  4. Couple others I’ve seen around:
    The guy who walks with weights on his anckles and in his hands. I’ve seen him everywhere – cheektowaga to buffalo.
    The hippie with dirty (not the color) blond hair who hangs in williamsville and sells little braided bracelets (also seen on elmwood & del park).
    The other walker with hand in pocket – kind of looks like tarzan but loony as hell. When he grins he’s missing some teeth.

  5. She never speaks. She walks curiously managed and slow. Where she comes from or where she goes no one knows. She is black, and she wears all white. Even the items she carries, usually a plastic bag and other tidbits, are all white. She walks all seasons. She comes within 10 feet and moves on, silently.
    She might be in her fifties, or slightly more or less. She is the Buffalo Woman Who Wears White.
    She may be from a belief, or a fear, a desire or something very mysterious.
    We are not afraid of her, but we do not know if what or why she does or is may be some fear of something.
    And so she strolls, seasons after season, the Woman Who Wears White.
    ………But if you want to know who she is, I can tell you.
    She is a very famous person who works in Hollywood, is seen everywhee, but who actually lives in Buffalo, incognito.
    She’s Whoopi Goldberg.
    Now you know.

  6. A friend of a friend of a friend supposedly worked with her long ago and she was a nurse. That’s all I can say although I see her fairly often down the block from me.

  7. Citizen and friend
    Tomg (IP logged24.38.8.122) 2007-03-19 06:56:24

    The Lady in White has a name- it’s Irene Gumph. She’s a former nurse, and in fact taught at Sister’s nursing program back in the 70’s. She has two estranged daughters- must be in their late twenties now, and their father (Iren’s husband) hasn’t been seen or heard of in many years.
    Irenes lives with a parania and a compulsive disorder that makes her repel colors and causes her to live in a constant motion- cleaning, repetitive behaviors, etc.
    She’s a delight to talk to, when you get her confidence- she’s bright and has a wry sense of humor.
    When you pass by or cross her path in some way, say a friendly “Hello!”
    Hello’s are sort of hugs on the wind!

    PS: Billy be good, now!

  8. It has been said that her husband left her for a caucasion woman which caused her to have a nervous breakdown. Ever since she has dressed in all white

  9. In 2005 I lived in Allentown and saw her many times. Once I went into the grocery store on Elmwood (had a spanish name). I turned to see that Irene had gotten in line behind me. She had about ten items…and each was white. Flour, milk, soap, etc…I tried to act cool but I felt like I had seen a ghost.

  10. she says she is allergic to color. she says her race is white, but her face and hands show that she is african american. her name is irene, she has 2 estranged daughters and a husband who nobody has heard from in years.

  11. I have been interested in learning more about her from years so I thank you soooooo much and everyones who’s commented!!!!

  12. I used to work in a bank on Elmwood and she came to my window one day and everything in her little white purse was also

  13. Not not 100 percent sure but I was told some things happened to her as a child and she wears all white for “PURITY” it would make sense but I’m not sure if it’s true or not .

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