Lake Shawnee: America’s Most Haunted Amusement Park
This abandoned West
Virginia amusement park has a bloody history.
It has been decades since the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park
buzzed with the laughter of children.
But according to local legend, the park is still a
playground for ghosts.
The southern West Virginia park was abandoned in 1966,
after the accidental deaths of two of its young patrons. But it seems Lake
Shawnee’s haunted history reaches much farther back.
Mercer County was home to a Native American tribe until
1783, when a European family’s attempt to settle the land sparked a violent
turf war. The patriarch of the family was a farmer named Mitchell Clay,
according to the Wyoming County Report. While he was out hunting, a band of
Native Americans reportedly killed his youngest son, Bartley Clay. A daughter,
Tabitha, was knifed to death in the struggle. Eldest son Ezekial was kidnapped
and burned at the stake. Mitchell Clay enlisted the help of other white
settlers to seek vengeance for his family. After burying his children, he
murdered several of the Native Americans.
Centuries later, in the 1920s, a businessman named Conley
T. Snidow purchased the site of the Clay farm and developed it into an
amusement park. He built a swing set, a ferris wheel, and opened up the pond
But death still hung over that cursed parcel of land.
A little girl in a pink ruffled dress met her end after
climbing into the circling swing set. She was killed after a truck backed into
the path of the swing. Another little one, this time a boy, drowned in the
amusement park’s swimming pond.
According to Visit West Virginia, the park’s rides were responsible for
a total of six deaths.
The park eventually shut down, but its structures were left
to rot and rust.
The park’s new owner, Gaylord White, says he can hear the
wooden swings creak, though it may not be the wind that pushes them.
“Sometimes the seat will start to move underneath your
hand until you feel cold air blowing through the seat,” Gaylord White II told
Channel. “And when you get to the middle you feel something warm. And we
believe that’s her spirit.”
The younger White said he’s even seen the little girl,
with her dress covered in blood.
“She looked at me and as long as she looked at me, I
couldn’t move,” he said.
Paranormal investigators now frequent the site. It has
also been featured on the Discovery Channel’s “GhostLab” and the Travel
Channel’s “The Most Terrifying Places in America.”
Lake Shawnee has now opened up for daring visitors who
want to see the place for themselves. Flashlights are mandatory, though you may
not like what you see.