Lake Shawnee Amusement Park
Written By: LFG
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
A significant part of one’s childhood is often spent in amusement parks, to a point where it considered a “happy place” by many. Lake Shawnee Amusement Park was no different. Located in West Virginia, Lake Shawnee was a crowd favorite during its hay day, and even people from nearby towns would frequent the area. However, it eventually closed after a string of accidents that claimed young lives.
Before it became an amusement park, the land initially belonged to a Native American tribe until 1783. All was well until the Clay family, a group of European settlers, decided to take residence in the same area. This sparked a dispute, which ended into a bloody event after a couple of Native Americans killed Bartley Clay, the youngest son of the patriarch, Mitchell Clay. His daughter was also stabbed to death while his elder son, Ezekial, was burned at stake after being kidnapped. The ordeal proved too much for Mitchell, so he sought help from nearby settlers to seek revenge for his slain family. Many locals claim this bloody event seeped through the land, apparently cursing it.
Cursed or Bad Luck?
Many centuries passed, and the land was purchased by a man named Conley Snidow in the 1920s, who developed it to become an amusement park. He decided to take advantage of the booming West Virginia coalfields and knew families would be grateful to have entertainment in the locality. Given the vast area, he put up a beautiful Ferris wheel, swing sets, water slides, and even a pond for swimming.
However, it seems death has jinxed the land after all this time. A few years after its opening, a young girl was reportedly killed in the swing after a delivery truck accidentally hit reverse and crashed the ride while
the girl was in it.
Another death occurred this time in the swimming pool, where a young boy drowned. The park had to fill the pool to avoid further drowning incidents to happen. In total, six lives have been lost since it opened in 1926 up until it closed in 1966.
What Lies Beneath
Fast forward to 1985, when one of the park’s former employees purchased the abandoned area. Gaylord White wanted to restore the park’s former glory and reopen it to the public. Surprisingly, he was able to do so in 1987, but unfortunately, his joy only lasted until 1988 after archaeologists discovered the land was an ancient Native American burial ground. A total of 13 skeletons were unearthed, and it was determined most belonged to children. Artifacts were also dug up in the area. This led people to believe that perhaps this is the reason why the amusement park had so many deaths. Apparently, it’s supposed to be bad luck to put up structures in sacred ground.
Thankfully, Gaylord White decided to forego his reopening plans and ended up closing the park for good as a sign of respect to the bodies buried in the land. He never tore down the structures and left everything to rot with time.
Lake Shawnee Today
Lake Shawnee Amusement Park may have been closed for years, but locals say it’s still brimming with activity—but in this case, it’s of paranormal nature. Even the former owner agrees as he shared the old swings move and are pushed even without wind. One can feel a cold breeze if a person sits in the old wooden swing, and people believe this is the spirit of the little girl who died. One of the White children even confessed that he saw the bloodied ghost roaming around the old park.
Today, it is currently considered as one of the most haunted places in the country. Lake Shawnee has become exceptionally famous for horror-enthusiasts after it was featured in various paranormal TV shows like GhostLab, Scariest Places on Earth, and The Most Terrifying Places in America.
Interestingly enough, the amusement park has welcomed this new reputation with open arms after opening its doors to visitors—but only during Halloween. People can go on a guided tour between October 25 to October 31, so it’s safe to say it’s going to be a thrilling experience for whoever joins the creepy excursion.
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