Lake Shawnee Amusement Park

before i die


Lake Shawnee Amusement Park – West Virginia, USA

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park in West Virginia is a place that evokes nightmares through the death of children.  Truly, a ghastly place to visit and one of the top destinations on my personal bucket list.

It is said that numerous children lost their lives on the park’s rides, in the community pool, and even in the nearby lake.  One of the most noted deaths was the tragedy of a young girl while riding on the circling swing set.  She was killed when a box truck backed up into the oncoming path of her swing.

It is said that the departed children’s haunting laughs echo through the park’s acreage.

Were these mishaps just bad luck or a coincidence for the park?  In all likelihood, no.  It is possible that these deaths can be attributed to something more sinister.  The site of the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park was built on top of a Native American settlement.  During an archeological dig of the area, archaeologists uncovered an estimated 13 bodies, most of which were the bodies of children.

The land is cursed in the most dismal of ways.  There is documented history, even spanning back before the park’s establishment, which details several tragedies in the area.

So, are you ready to explore the cursed ruins of the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park?  Well, you are in luck!  Every weekend in October you can experience what it is like to walk through an abandoned amusement park.

For more information, visit the Lake Shawnee Facebook page or the West Virginia travel website.

The ghostly skeletons are all that remain... (c) Jamie Pettry

Ghostly skeletons are all that remain… and maybe a lost soul or two. (c) Jamie Pettry

8 thoughts on “Lake Shawnee Amusement Park

    • The most talked about is the girl on the swing ride who hit a box truck. That one is factual and was witnessed by the owner of the park. There is at least 1 confirmed report of a boy who drowned in the lake. Additional drownings in the lake are said to have occurred. Overall, there are about 6 children deaths at the amusement park, but I am still looking for factual confirmations on how the other children die.

      Prior to the park being established, around 1781, there was supposedly a family massacre on the land. It was dubbed the Mitchell Clay family massacre, and they were executed by a local Native American tribe. Sadly, there are several accounts of the event, and no one knows which account is true. So the truth behind the massacre may never be known.

      It sounds like the land is extremely cursed. Makes good fodder for a story! I am going to do my best to visit next month while they are open to tourists. If I am able to go, I will post all of my pictures 🙂


      • Do post the pictures, please. I would like to see them. And don’t throw them away if you happen to capture an image you did not expect to be there. Faded, vague, shadowy, but really there. I think horror movies featuring sinister children are the best. Right from The Exorcist, to The Shining, Paranormal Activity 3, The Orphan, Case 39, etc, and, in 2012, Sinister starring Ethan Hawke. There should be a movie about the amusement park. The scariest thing about it will be the fact that it is an amusement park–it’s like a clown turned murderous. No more laughter, but profuse bleeding. It could be nice.


  1. I’m not a great fan of the macabre but your blog is fascinating. I must confess I tried reading The Shining on a flight to Europe and had to put it down! Then I became involved in the filming of The Silence of the Lambs – had to delay seeing it until it came out on DVD. I ended up seeing it at my university’s Student Union, where the students’ comments diffused my angst.


    • I am so happy that you find my blog fascinating. I try to keep my posts more on the psychological side, because I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t like the gore. I personally prefer a lighter level of the splatter — but it is definitely not for everyone.

      You mention the Shining and Silence of the Lambs, and those two are pretty heavy on the psychological aspect (with some gore). What was it about those two made you turn away?

      I am always interested in hearing from an individual about how the horror genre affects them.


      • HI Amanda! No, not an entomologist, but I used Manduca sexta, the tobacco hornworm, for my research in endocrinology. Some of the most effective insect control options are hormones! A friend of mine from the USDA who also worked on insects, but not a moth, called me and asked me to talk to a rep from the movie. I told him I was not a fan of gruesome movies, but when he mentioned that Jodie Foster and Sir Anthony Hopkins were in it, I bit. The type of moth used in the movie – the death’s head moth – is not native to the US and could not be imported for obvious reasons. But the Manduca larvae and pupae look much the same, and the insect wrangler painted a death’s head on a clear false nail and glued it to the abdomen of a Manduca adult for close ups. The resemblance was perfect.


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