The abandoned Lake Shawnee Amusement park has a long and sordid past that has lead many of its visitors to believe that the land it sits on is perpetually haunted. The park is normally closed to the public but it is occasionally opened for tours, paranormal investigations, and during October its annual “Dark Carnival”. We had the chance to take a rare look inside one of West Virginia’s most haunted attractions. Come along with us if you dare…
The sordid tale of the abandoned Lake Shawnee Amusement Park begins in 1775 when the Clay family became the first white settlers in the area. Several years later, in August of 1783, the Clay’s property was attacked by the Shawnee Native American tribe. As a result of this attack, two of the Clay children were killed on site, and the third was taken prisoner and later burned at the stake in what is now known as Ohio. The property has been said to be haunted since the attack, leaving us to wonder why an amusement park was then developed on the property more than a century later.
In the early 1950’s the amusement park rides were brought to Lake Shawnee, and the park’s lake was dug out to form a swimming pool and paddle boat ride.
Shortly after opening though disaster struck. A delivery truck was driving through the park and struck a young girl riding the swings fatally wounding her and killing her on site.
Several years later another disaster struck, when a young boy drowned in the amusement park’s pool.
There was another attempt to open the park in the mid-1980’s, this time there were no deaths, but the park failed to draw enough visitors to remain open. After its closing, it was determined that the park would be developed as real estate. That’s when a tragic discovery was found: A Native American burial ground. Developers unearthed several skeletons and other artifacts on the site and it’s estimated to contain several hundred skeletons. Prudently, it was decided to leave the remains at rest and once again abandon the amusement park and the surrounding land of Lake Shawnee.
To this date, visitors of the park report unique and different experiences that can only be described as paranormal. Visions of a little girl playing on the swings is common, as are sightings of children near the ferris wheel.
There are also the cases of more insidious happenings. A TV crew member was trapped in an abandoned ticket booth even though the doors have no locks.
In addition to the original amusement park structures, other items have come to the site, and never left.
On our visit to the site, there was a strange energy and vibe to the location, before we even heard any of the stories of hauntings and sightings. We didn’t see any activity though, then again, we weren’t there at night. I’m not sure if I could or would spend a night in the now abandoned Lake Shawnee amusement park.
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Details and Tour info: Abandoned Lake Shawnee Amusement Park
470 Matoaka Rd
Rock, West Virginia
Visit WV Page
The operators of Lake Shawnee abandoned amusement park offer occasional private tours in addition to their annual Dark Carnival event in the late fall. You can contact them directly for more information.