I’ve been contacted a bit recently about this former amusement park. I spent all of 5 minutes in the place, but was on my way home. I plan to visit again soon – it was a very cool place and I hope to see and learn more. However, since I have been contacted about it so much recently, I felt the need to post at least SOMETHING about it.
It has been called one of the most terrifying places in America, and though I am not one for ghost hunts and the study of the paranormal, I don’t doubt that some restless spirits haunt the eerie lands of this former amusement park.
The first terrible mistake made was the decision to build this park directly over a Native American burial ground. Oh wait, this is America – we do these things regularly, yeah? If this wasn’t bad enough, the decision was ultimately made worse, as the land was also home to the infamous massacre of the Clay family.
In August of 1783, in the town of Clover Bottom, a dispute between the white settlers and Indians was sparked, igniting a literally red-hot, violent killing of the three Clay children. In this month, Bartley and Tabitha Clay, children of Mitchell and Phoebe Belcher Clay, were brutally murder by the Shawnee Indians. Their third child, 16-year-old Ezekial was captured while out gathering supplies. The Indians dragged him back and he was burned at the stake.
Years later, Clover Bottom became what is known today as Shawnee Lake. The land was developed into an amusement park in the 1920s, and it was not long after the park’s opening, that children began dying on the land. It has been documented that the first death, was that of a young girl. She sat quietly at a swing, enjoying what she was unaware were soon to be the final moments of her life, as a truck backed out from a stand killing her. Not long after, the park would see another death – this time a young boy, who drowned in the lake. With both odd occurrences being the death of children, it was decided they would shut the park down for good.
The park was shut down in 1966, and has since become a haunting memory – an overgrown jungle of wetlands and rust. Two rides remain, towering above the brush, creaking eerily as their swings sway in the West Virginia winds. People claim that you can still hear the laughter of children amidst the silence of this bizarre land. Sometimes I wish we could just replay the past, and truly look into the tales we are told. I feel like there is so much more to learn, and so much more to see. All we are left with are gruesome memories.
The previous owners passed away a few years ago, shifting hands of ownership. The land still sits on private property, but as of late 2014, the current owners had still been known to offer ghost tours or private tours of other sorts. If you’re up for visiting one of “the most haunted amusement parks in the world,” you can reach them at 304-921-1580. I can’t guarantee anything, but they may be able to work everything out with you.