VISIT SOUTHERN WEST VIRGINIA

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park

September 25, 2013

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park - haunted?  photo by Jaime Pettry

August 29, 2014

UPDATE: Friday and Saturday nights in October, there will be a “Dark Carnival” at Lake Shawnee Amusement Park, which will recount the park’s haunted history, along with frightening experiences for visitors. More information is available on their Facebook page

September 25, 2013

The silhouette of long-forgotten Ferris wheel stands against the bony branches of bare trees. Beside it, the looming

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park - haunted? photo by Jaime Pettry
Lake Shawnee Amusement Park – haunted? photo by Jaime Pettry

structure of a tier, arms reaching out into the open field, deteriorated wooden swings dangling from each pole. There is no wind, but the chains rattle lightly as one of the seats creaks calmly, smoothly back and forth…

According to local lore, that’s one of many ghostly spirits still at play in the abandoned, haunted Lake Shawnee Amusement Park near Princeton, WV.

The young girl who died on the swings still appears to many park visitors.

Back in the park’s heyday, the little girl, in her pink ruffled dress, had boarded the circling swing set. But as she swooped around, a truck backed into the path of the swing.

The impact killed her, but that hasn’t stopped her from enjoying Lake Shawnee.

She wasn’t the only lost soul lingering among the scattered attractions you can still find in the park— the swings that still rattle, the old hot dog stand still tended to by ghostly figures, and that same seat on the ferris wheel where you’ll swear you see a man sitting. One glance at the ride’s rust-blanketed hinges and weed-enveloped bars should tell you you must have imagined it; it’s no longer open for passengers. And the position of the opened leg locks would make it, well, impossible.

And then there are the souls whose last rides are no longer standing, but somehow seem to remain tethered to Lake Shawnee Amusement Park. Another young boy, left to play by his mother, was found drowned in the pool, his arm stuck in the drain. The pool was filled shortly after, but you can still hear the laughter of lost children echo through the park.

The owner of the property claims the park’s rides took at least 6 lives. It is a tragic fact of life that accidents happen from time to time.

But were the deaths just a coincidence?

Or perhaps a curse? It turns out, there is a whole ‘nother layer of spiritual unrest at the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park. The site was built over the bones of the Native American cultures that had once roamed its fields. An archaeological dig uncovered 13 bodies… mostly of children.

The dig also confirmed that the site was a long-time settlement for the Native Americans. Perhaps that describes the chanting— yet another regular creepy occurrence at the amusement park.

The documented, tragic history of the site dates back even before the amusement park. A historic marker just down the

Clay Memorial Park
Clay Memorial Park

road commemorates three more murdered children. The first European settler to the area, Mitchell Clay, returned home to find his son slain and scalped by Native Americans, alongside his murdered daughter. His third son, the youngest, was nowhere to be found.

Mitchell took off in pursuit, but he was too late to save his son. The tribe had burned him at the stake.

Strange that an amusement park would eventually lay on the grounds that seem, historically, to be particularly inhospitable to children.

But so the tale goes. The area has been explored by many paranormal investigators, and featured on television shows like Discovery Channel’s “GhostLab,” Travel Channel’s “The Most Terrifying Places in America,” and ABC Family’s “The Ten Most Curious Places in the World.”

Want to see these hauntings for yourself? You can take haunted tours of the site, and maybe you’ll get a glimpse of an apparition watching from the ferris wheel.

Set up your own stroll through the haunted amusement park by calling 304-921-1580.

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