Happy Haunt: WV Abandoned Theme Park Provides Spooks and Thrills

West Virginia

Most amusement parks are known for providing all sorts of thrills, but an abandoned amusement park in Southern West Virginia is known for its chills. 

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park opened back in 1936.While its been more than a decade since the park has been filled with children, sometimes you can still hear the echo of lost laughter. 

“We feel it’s an amusement park for the dead,” said White. 

White and his family have owned the land since 1985. Previously White’s father, Gaylord, worked the amusement park as a child. It was his dream to someday own the park. His dream came true and the Whites ran the park for a few years back in the ’80’s. 

“The intention was to be an amusement park, not what it is today,” White told 13 News. 

Today, thousands of visitors flock from across the country each year to hear about the park’s haunted history. 

“The thing that amazes me most is that this is a 100 acre track of land and there is so much history that happens here.” 

A dark history that dates back even farther than the amusement park. The story of Lake Shawnee begins with Mitchell and Phoebe Clay, who first settled in what would eventually become Mercer County back in 1775. Three of the Clay’s children were brutally murdered by Native Americans. 

“People say you can hear the chants of the Natives when the sun goes down,” said White. “That’s just the beginning,” he added, “People claim to see the a little girl on the swings and a man in the ferris wheel.” 

Today, the park has become a destination for professional and amateurs alike – all in the hopes of seeing a shadow for themselves. 

“I could tell you what everyone experiences here,” said White with a smirk. “But it’d be more fun for people to come experience it on their own.” 

While the park is open year round, October is undoubtedly it’s busiest month. In October, they put on an event called the dark carnival. The night features a haunted history side that features spooky Lake Shawnee stories by campfire. 

There is also a haunted house in October. The proceeds from the attraction go to Make-A-Wish. 

“It generally takes about 5-7 minutes,” said White. “Depending on how fast you can run.” 

For those who are brave enough to check out the event for themselves, tickets can be purchased here. 

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