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The terrifying Lake Shawnee Amusement Park was built on an American Indian burial ground and many believe to be horribly cursed

Located in what’s now known as Mercer County, the abandoned Lake Shawnee Amusement park has a long and sordid past. It was built in 1926 on the site of a Native American burial ground in Princeton, West Virginia.

Stories of eerie happenings make this place a favorite with paranormal groups and those who like a good scare.

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In the 18th century, the area’s first European settlers arrived, the Clay family. The patriarch of the family was a farmer named Mitchell Clay.

In 1783, Clay’s property was attacked and three of the Clay children were killed. While Mitchell Clay was out hunting, a band of Shawnee Native Americans killed his youngest son, Bartley Clay.

His daughter, Tabitha, was knifed to death in the struggle and his eldest son Ezekial was kidnapped and burned at the stake. Photos: Forsaken Fotos/Flickr

Clay buried his children and led a group of settlers in bloody retaliation, killing several natives.

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Centuries later, in the 1920s, a businessman named Conley T. Snidow purchased the site of the Clay farm and developed it into an amusement park. He built a swing set, a Ferris wheel, and opened up the pond for swimming.


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Unfortunately, at least two children were killed while the park was in operation.

In the 1960’s, a little girl died when a soda delivery truck accidentally backed into the path of the rotating swing ride and a young boy drowned in the amusement park’s swimming pond.

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After the death of the two children, the park was closed down in 1966 and has been decaying into ruin ever since. According to local legend, the park is a playground for ghosts.

Some paranormal investigators have visited the site and claim to hear children laughing and the swings moving all by themselves.

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According to archaeologists, the area around Lake Shawnee was home to at least two separate Native American settlements and was abandoned several hundred years before the first white settlers arrived.

An archaeological dig in 1988 has revealed a Native American burial ground containing the bodies of 13 people, mostly children. They believe there may be as many as 3000 bodies of Native Americans buried on the property.


The park is closed to the public, but it is occasionally opened for tours, paranormal investigations, and during  its annual “Dark Carnival” in October.


David Goran

David Goran is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News