As Halloween approaches, now is the perfect time to get into the paranormal and study up on all of the haunted houses, hotels and more around the country. But what about haunted amusement parks? Lake Shawnee Amusement Park is an abandoned park in West Virginia that many believe is actually cursed as well as haunted by its dark past.
When Conley Snidow first showed up with the dreams of building a carnival back in the 1920s, he had no idea about the bloody history of the land itself. It all started in the late 1700s when Mitchell Clay and his family were the first to settle in Mercer County. Mitchell and his wife Phoebe had 14 children together and settled on their 800-acre farm.
Tragedy struck the first time when members of the local Shawnee Native American tribe killed two of the Clay children, Bartley and Tabitha, while they were working on their daily chores. Their son Ezekiel was kidnapped and burned at the stake. After Mitchell killed some of the Native Americans in retaliation, the Clay family and their property would never be the same.
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Fast forward to the ’20s when Conley Snidow is working on his park with no knowledge that it’s actually a burial ground. He funded a the Ferris wheel, swing rides, a dance hall and even a swimming pool. But the haunted history of the area started to catch up with the park and strange things began happening. A young girl passed away while riding the swings and a little boy drowned in addition to four other deaths. By the ’60s, the park became an abandoned place that seemed doomed.
In the ’80s, Gaylord White purchased the property in hopes of building new neighborhoods. But after they started getting into the land they realized that there was more buried than just the Clay family. It was an ancient Native American burial ground that experts believe long predates the Clays, full of children’s bones as well as Native American artifacts. White decided not to mess with that kind of history and allowed the amusement park to rust over, now looking as haunted as its past.
Paranormal investigators have been drawn to the abandoned amusement park for years and it quickly earned a reputation for being a spooky hot spot. Travel Channel even named it one of the Most Terrifying Places in America. In order to allow visitors on the private property, the park hosts regular haunted tours and every October holds what they call the “Dark Carnival.” You’ll visit the haunted park from 8 pm until midnight where you’ll get to hear firsthand accounts of ghost sightings and creepy events by the light of a bonfire in addition to a tour of the grounds in the dark of night. There is also a haunted trail through a corn maze. Creepy clowns may or may not be involved (as if you needed something else to scare you).