The Cursed Park at Lake Shawnee

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The Cursed Park at Lake Shawnee

Cursed Park at Lake Shawnee

Deep into the trails of Princeton, West Virginia lies Lake Shawnee Amusement Park.  Built in 1920s, the amusement park was a popular summertime retreat for coalfield families and their children.  However, since 1966, the park has lied abandoned and forgotten after two tragic deaths.  Considering it cursed, most locals steer clear of the dangerous area.

The land was not always dedicated to the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park, however.  The area was initially settled and built over a native american burial site.  Over thirteen bodies were uncovered, mostly of children.  Mercer County was a native american settlement until a vicious war was started in August of 1973.

European settlers made their way to the area in 1973.  Initially, they attempted to live peacefully among the Shawnee tribes that were on the land.  Unfortunately, relations did not go well and the two peoples became involved in a deathly feud.  The patriarch of one settlor family, Mitchell Clay, returned from a hunting trip one afternoon to find his youngest son, Bartley, had been scalped by the Shawnee tribe.  His daughter Tabitha was knifed to death.  His oldest son, Ezekiel, was kidnapped and later found burned at the stake by the tribe.

(images:visitwv/flickr)

(images:visitwv/flickr)

Some say the curse was started as a result of the deaths of the innocent Clay children.  Some say it was as a result of the Shawnee tribe after Mitchell Clay and other settlers tracked down and killed as many tribal members as they could find.  Either way, a short hike from the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park will allow visitors to see Clay Memorial Park, a commemorate marker for the deaths of Bartley, Tabitha, and Ezekiel Clay.

In the 1920s, the park was bought by Conley T. Snidow.  He purchased the land and developed it into the amusement park by adding a swing set, ferris wheel and a swimming pond.  The park remained open and frequently visited until two tragic deaths of young children.

(images:55229469@N07/flickr)

(images:[email protected]/flickr)

The first was a six year old girl.  Described as a tiny blonde with a pink ruffled party dress, she climbed on to one of the swings, expecting to ride gaily around, the wind blowing through her ringlets.  Unfortunately, as she made her first turn, a truck backed up into the path of the oncoming swing and killed the girl.  The second awful death was a young boy, whose mother looked away just for a second when she heard screams coming from the pond.  There, the boy was floating face down.  Records indicate a total of six deaths at the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park.  It was shut down and wastes away, rotting and rusted.

While the park is no longer visited by traveling families, it seems there is still plenty of activity.  Current owner, Gaylord White, commonly reports feeling patches of cold air, seeing rides turn on and off on their own accord, and finding things moving on their own.  He has seen the poor girl who died on the swings, walking around in a bloody pink party dress.  He hears laughter and the sounds of children, even as the park lays abandoned.  He has even seen the weathered disembodied employee still attempting to man their station.  His reports were so popular that the site has been featured on many ghost hunting shows.  Gaylord White even opens the park for one week a year to host haunted tours.

Megan Borchert
Megan Borchert
Lover of all things unusual, Megan is a staff attorney for the state of South Dakota. When she's not stuffed in an office writing case synopses, you can find her at home with her army of Schnauzers, snuggled up with some strong wine and a good book.

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