We can’t quite figure out why, but there is something just so spooky and unearthly when it comes to old, abandoned amusement parks. Maybe it’s the creepy 1960s character faces awaiting you at each turn, or that ominous feeling that everyone left in a hurry and never came back, whichever way you slice it, you wouldn’t find us at Lake Shawnee Amusement Park after dark, but you can find us diving deep into its haunted past. Let’s take a look.
Conley Snidow had big plans for an amusement park back in the 1920s and he thought he had found the perfect spot to start building his dream. And while at first glance it was, until he discovered the land itself had a bloody past that many believed was (and still is!) cursed.
It was the late-1700s and Mitchell Clay, his wife Phoebe, and their 14 children settled on an 800-acre farm in Mercer County. They too thought they had found the perfect plot of land to call home until the first tragedy struck when members of the local Shawnee Native American tribe killed two of the Clay children while they were out doing their chores, later tragedy struck again when another son was kidnapped and burned at the stake. In an attempt at retaliation, Mitchell killed a number of Native Americans and legend has it, the land was never the same again.
For years the land sat, eventually becoming a burial ground, which Conley Snidow had no knowledge of prior to funding a Ferris wheel, swing rides, a dance hall, and even a swimming pool for his future amusement park. Not long after the park opened, a number of strange things began to happen such as a little girl dying while riding the swings when a delivery truck backed into her seat killing her instantly, and a young boy drowning in the swimming pool after his arm mysteriously got stuck in a drain pipe. In total, there were six deaths and in 1966 the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park closed its doors.
In the 1980s Gaylord White acquired the park and decided to revive it, funding, you guessed it, a Ferris wheel, even a swing ride that resembled the swings that were once there. Unfortunately, after a spike in insurance costs, the family could no longer afford to keep the park open, forcing them to once again close the doors. However, the family wanted to keep the land active so they opted to host a number of community events such as fishing tournaments and mud bogging. While digging up the land to create a mod bogging track, the family, well, dug up something a little more interesting. Not only did they find a number of artifacts from the Shawnee tribe that once called the land home, but they also found mass graves.
Paranormal investigators have been drawn to this area from all over the country, Travel Channel even named it one of the most terrifying places in America, but whether it’s haunted or not, we couldn’t say for certain. Guests have reported seeing a little girl in the park, things moving on otherwise calm days, and even a little boy near the park’s entrance. If you’re interested, guests can enjoy a guided tour of the amusement park and are even encouraged to leave an offering as a sign of respect to the Shawnee tribe.