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Lake Shawnee Amusement Park

The silhouette of long-forgotten Ferris wheel stands against the bony branches of bare trees. Beside it, the looming

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park - haunted?  photo by Jaime Pettry

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park – haunted? photo by Jaime Pettry

structure of a tier, arms reaching out into the open field, deteriorated wooden swings dangling from each pole. There is no wind, but the chains rattle lightly as one of the seats creaks calmly, smoothly back and forth…

According to local lore, that’s one of many ghostly spirits still at play in the abandoned, haunted Lake Shawnee Amusement Park near Princeton, WV.

The young girl who died on the swings still appears to many park visitors.

Back in the park’s heyday, the little girl, in her pink ruffled dress, had boarded the circling swing set. But as she swooped around, a truck backed into the path of the swing.

The impact killed her, but that hasn’t stopped her from enjoying Lake Shawnee.

She wasn’t the only lost soul lingering among the scattered attractions you can still find in the park— the swings that still rattle, the old hot dog stand still tended to by ghostly figures, and that same seat on the ferris wheel where you’ll swear you see a man sitting. One glance at the ride’s rust-blanketed hinges and weed-enveloped bars should tell you you must have imagined it; it’s no longer open for passengers. And the position of the opened leg locks would make it, well, impossible.

And then there are the souls whose last rides are no longer standing, but somehow seem to remain tethered to Lake Shawnee Amusement Park. Another young boy, left to play by his mother, was found drowned in the pool, his arm stuck in the drain. The pool was filled shortly after, but you can still hear the laughter of lost children echo through the park.

The owner of the property claims the park’s rides took at least 6 lives. It is a tragic fact of life that accidents happen from time to time.

But were the deaths just a coincidence?

Or perhaps a curse? It turns out, there is a whole ‘nother layer of spiritual unrest at the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park. The site was built over the bones of the Native American cultures that had once roamed its fields. An archaeological dig uncovered 13 bodies… mostly of children.

The dig also confirmed that the site was a long-time settlement for the Native Americans. Perhaps that describes the chanting— yet another regular creepy occurrence at the amusement park.

The documented, tragic history of the site dates back even before the amusement park. A historic marker just down the

Clay Memorial Park

Clay Memorial Park

road commemorates three more murdered children. The first European settler to the area, Mitchell Clay, returned home to find his son slain and scalped by Native Americans, alongside his murdered daughter. His third son, the youngest, was nowhere to be found.

Mitchell took off in pursuit, but he was too late to save his son. The tribe had burned him at the stake.

Strange that an amusement park would eventually lay on the grounds that seem, historically, to be particularly inhospitable to children.

But so the tale goes. The area has been explored by many paranormal investigators, and featured on television shows like Discovery Channel’s “GhostLab,” Travel Channel’s “The Most Terrifying Places in America,” and ABC Family’s “The Ten Most Curious Places in the World.”

Want to see these hauntings for yourself? You can take haunted tours of the site, and maybe you’ll get a glimpse of an apparition watching from the ferris wheel.

Set up your own stroll through the haunted amusement park by calling 304-487-1819.

Southern West Virginia: 2012 Halloween Hauntings and Happenings

Do you live for Halloween and all the scary fun that the holiday brings? Well, southern West Virginia is ready to celebrate this spooky holiday in full force.

From now until the end of the month, this area is chock full of ways to get your spook on. Get started this weekend and you may be able to experience them all.

(For Trick or Treat and other kid friendly happenings: http://www.visitwv.com/calendar/188/309-Southern-WV-Trick-or-Treat-Times-Events)

Little Beaver State Park Haunted Trail

October 24-31, dark until 10:00pm weekdays, until 11:00pm on weekends. $8 for adults, $6 for children. 304-763-2494

Annual Fright Nights at The Resort at Glade Springs

October 26 and 27, 7-10:30pm. 304-763-0165

Fright Nights @ The Resort at Glade Springs

Once the sun sets, visitors travel down the Haunted Trail where the nightmare begins. This year’s theme is the “Zombie Apocalypse” and features Zombie Hunt Laser Tag!

18th Annual Second Creek Haunted Trail

October 15, 16, 22, 23, 29, and 30. Open from dark to 11pm. Admission is $5 for adults and $2.50 for under 12. No children under 5 allowed. 304-645-7450 or 304-645-2696.

This is a haunted trail that benefits the community as well as families in need. It’s the 18th year of operation and the trail sees upwards of 1,500 guests each year!

Whipple Company Store Haunted History Tours

Every Friday and Saturday in October, 8:30 to 11 pm. $25 per person. Flashlights provided. Call for reservations 304-465-0331. No one under 21 yrs of age.

This one’s at the Whipple Company Store in Scarbro. This is NOT a haunted house of smoke and mirrors. In fact nothing is fake; this is authentic haunted history. Explore dark corners and hidden spaces in this old coal company store.

Lake Shawnee Haunted Amusement Park Guided Walking Tour

Open October 25th – October 31, tours begin at dusk. For more information call 304-487-1819 or 304-921-1580.

This location was featured on the Travel Channel’s Most Terrifying Places in America, the Discovery Channel’s Ghost Lab, and ABC’s Ten Most Haunted Places in the World. Digital cameras and audio recorders are welcome. You must bring a flashlight.

Bridge Walk Haunted Tours

October 26,27, 28, $49 per person. Guests are encouraged to dress for the Haunted Walk and those who do will participate for ½ price, $24.50. Reservations are required. This is an outdoor event lasting approximately two hours. Some limitations/restrictions may apply.

Bridge Walk invites you, your family, and friends to walk underneath the New River Gorge Bridge. And who knows what lurks in the Bridge’s shadows and below? The Haunted Walk is a guided tour on the catwalk of the New River Gorge Bridge with “scaracters,” props, and “rigatronics” designed to intentionally scare visitors. You will be fastened to a safety system. Shrill shrieks, screams, and groans are just part of the experience that awaits the brave guests. This walk is not for the faint-of-heart.

Lewisburg Ghost Tours

Every Friday and Saturday in October, 8:00 pm. Tickets are $20 for adults, $15 for students and children under 7 are free.  There is also a special Halloween Tour on Oct 31st at 7pm.  Spaces on the Halloween Tour are limited so please call to reserve. 304-256-8687

Enjoy a candlelit walking tour of the Lewisburg Historic District where ghostly tales are shared, based on local legend. Tour stops include the historic General Lewis Inn and the Lewisburg Cemetery, dating back to the 1800s. Tour departs from the General Lewis Inn.

Haunted Trail

This trail is at the old Songer Whitewater at Miller Ridge Road on Route 19 from October 26-28. This haunted trail is filled with scary elements. Don’t miss this last weekend. Admission is only $3 and it runs from 8-10 pm. The proceeds benefit the New Haven Toy Project.

Frankenstein

October 26 and 27 at the Historic Fayette Theater. The theatre will be presenting a dramatic reading of Mary Shelley’s classic “Frankenstein” and the “Hitch Hiker.” Shows starts at 8pm and cost is $5.

Bluefield Walking Tours

Fridays and Saturdays in October. Tours begin at 7pm at the Historic Bank Lobby in Bluefield. $12 per person. For more information, call 304-887-7606.

Bluefield, West Virginia was founded in the late 1800′s and over the years has accumulated a rich history…in ghost stories. The tour will discuss the history of the town, but will focus on ghost stories of the historic buildings. Entertainment will be provided before and after the tours. Paranormal equipment is utilized on the tour.

Gary Bowling’s House of Art Psycho Circus Haunted House

Oct 26, 27, 31 in Bluefield from 7pm to midnight. Tickets are $6 per person, or $5 with the donation of a canned food item. 304-324-4242.

Live actors and robotics create killer clowns, a bearded fat lady, gorillas and much more.

Any of these events sound like a spooky good time? Then get on out there and get your fright on!

Anything and Everything Halloween in Southern WV

This Halloween season, are you hoping to put a little bit of fright into your nights?  Do you get a kick out of haunted trails?  Or are you intrigued by paranormal historic haunts?

Authentic Haunted History @ Whipple Company Store

Well, no matter your preference, you’re in luck.  That’s because here in southern West Virginia, there are all kinds of ways to get your scare on.  From haunted trails to ghost walks, a haunted catwalk tour to hayrides, you won’t be disappointed in any of these spooky events.

So let’s get started, because the spirits are restless and the ghosts are calling your name…

Haunted Happenings in southern WV . . .

Lewisburg Ghost Tours– Friday and Saturdays through October 29th

Enjoy a candlelit walking tour of Lewisburg Historic District where ghostly tales are shared based on local legend. Tours stops include the historic General Lewis Inn and the Lewisburg Cemetery, dating back to the 1800’s.  Tours depart from the General Lewis Inn at 8pm.  Tickets are $20, Children under 7 are free.

Bramwell Ghost Tour October 22nd

In this historic boom town, spirits return from their wanderings to tell their own tale to onlookers. Ghosts include coal barons, coal miners and children whose apparitions are still seen today.  Spirits will start to gather at 5pm at the Bramwell Depot and along Main Street.  There will be live music and food at the Bramwell Café.  Ghost Walk begins at 7pm. Tickets are $15.

MSU’s Forensic Investigation Assoc Haunted House October 12 – 31st

MSU’s Crime Scene House will be taken over for Halloween.  Located on South Kanawha Street in Beckley the Haunted house will be open October 12 – 31st (closed Sundays).  Times:  Mon-Wed 7-11pm, Thurs – Sat and Halloween 7 to Midnight.  Cost is Mon-Wed $8 and Thurs – Sat and Halloween  $10.

Lake Shawnee Haunted Amusement Park October  14, 15, 21-31st.

Tours begin at dusk.  This location is on the Travel Channel’s Most Terrifying Places in America list.  Digital cameras and audio recorders welcome.  FLASHLIGHT NEEDED! Cost is $8 for adult and $5 for children.  Private tours available year round. Overnight camping for private groups available.  Form more information call 304-487-1819 or 304-921-1580.

Haunted ‘Catwalk’ of the New River Gorge Bridge October 16, 21, 22, 23, 28-31

Who knows what lurks in the Bridge’s shadows and below? The Haunted Walk is a guided tour on the catwalk of the New River Gorge Bridge with ‘scaraters,’ props and ‘rigatronics’ designed to intentionally scare the walkers.  Shrill shrieks, screams and groans await you – this is NOT for the faint-of-heart.  Dress warm but dress up! Cost is $49 but for those who come “dressed for the occasion’ will pay half price! $24.50.  Tours begin at 7pm. You will be fastened into a safety system. 2 hour tour, some restrictions apply. Reservations required.  www.bridgewalk.com  304-574-1300

Haunted History Tours @ the Historic Whipple Company Store Friday-Saturdays in October

The Historic Whipple Company Store is rich in history and hauntings. The elevator shaft, the ballroom, the walk in safe, the hidden floor, the embalming room, the Basement! This is not a haunted house of smoke and mirrors – nothing is fake.  This is authentic haunted history.  No one under 21.  Flashlights provided.  Fridays and Saturdays in October from 8:30 pm to 11 pm. Cost is $25 per person. Private haunted tours by appointment.
www.whipplecompanystore.com/hauntedhistorytours.html

Little Beaver State Park Haunted Trail

Fright Nights @ The Resort at Glade Springs October 21, 22, 28-31st

Once the sun sets, visitors will travel down the Terror on the Gorge Haunted Trail where the nightmare will begin.  Cost is $15 per person.  There will also be haunted hayrides and carriage rides, a (not so scarey) Halloween Homes Tour, bonfire and plenty of food. Some additional costs may apply.  http://www.facebook.com/FrightNightsWV

Princeton City Park Haunted Trail October 22, 28, 29th

Hours will be from 7pm – 11pm.  Park at the Princeton Rec Center then take a hayride to the park.  The Trail will be in Princeton City Park.  Admission is $6 – there will also be trick or treating on the trail from 5 – 6:30 on Saturday October 29th.  Info:  304-487-5040

Terror at Tams – Haunted Walking Trail – Burning Rock Adventure Park October 14, 15, 21, 22, 28, 29, 31

730pm-10:30pm; $10 per person ($5 under 12) The setup: Some college kids from ‘up north’ wanted to investigate the hills of West Virginia. They heard about ATV rentals at Burning Rock and decided it would be a lot of fun, however, when they got lost in the deep words they encountered Zombies. They wrecked their ATV and… well, you’ll just have to come out and see what happens next! www.burningrockwv.com

Little Beaver State Park Haunted Trail October 21-31st

Bring someone to hold onto as you walk this spooky trail around the park – you never know what is going to come out of the woods . . . Starts at Dark.  Weekdays til 10pm, weekends til 11pm.  $8 for 12 and up, $6 for 11 and under.

Gary Bowling’s House of Art “Haunted Jail Cells” October 14, 15, 21, 22, 27-29

Come Walk the Green Mile – Every jail cell will serve as a different shop of horrors. There will be animations, robotics and live actors. Housed in what was the Bluefield City Hall Jail Complex and is now the Bluefield Area Arts Center on Bland Street. 7pm to Midnight. $5 per person.
facebook.com/pages/Gary-Bowlings-House-of-Art/

Corn Mazes:

Looking for some family fun?  Visit a pumpkin patch and corn maze farm!

Byrnside Branch Farm – Pumpkins, mazes, horse-drawn hay rides, tractor-pulled hay rides, wagon rides. One mile outside of union on Willowbend Road, Union, WV 24983. Phone: 304-772-3131. Open: Friday 4pm-10pm, Saturday 9am to 10pm, Sunday 1pm-10pm Corn Maze is opened September 16th to November 6th. www.byrnsidebranchfarm.com

Cinderella Pumpkin Farm – Pumpkins, hay rides, and corn maze. Route 12 (HC 77 Box 432), Ballard, WV 24918. Phone: 304-753-9818. Great family entertainment. Open September 1st through October 31st from 9:00am to Sundown.

Okes Family Farms – pumpkins, corn maze, tractor-pulled hay rides, Cider mill (fresh apple cider made on the premises. 614 Blue Jay 6 Rd, Cool Ridge, WV 25825. Phone: 304-673-3308. Open Saturdays from 10am to 5:30pm and Sundays from noon to 5:30pm.  okesfamilyfarms.com

Ghost Tours in Southern West Virginia

Full moons.  Creaky doors.  Historic houses.  It’s certain that this year in Southern West Virginia things will go bump in the night.

Greenbrier Ghost Historic Marker

From the scary to the historic, the area is full of ghostly stories and haunted happenings perfect for putting you in the Halloween spirit.


Lewisburg Ghost Tours

He comes here often to visit old friends … to this quiet hillside field. You wouldn’t even notice him were it not for his clothes … tattered and torn relies of the past.


He just walks silently by, a slow, soft shuffle, eyes fixed and staring, as he makes his way to the old churchyard cemetery downtown … where he is buried, along with more than 100 other Confederate soldiers killed here 139 years ago. He is but one of the ghosts who walk the streets of downtown Lewisburg.
(excerpt taken from State Journal article by TL Headley)

Friday and Saturday Evenings through October 30

Enjoy a candlelit walking tour of the Lewisburg Historic District where ghostly tales are shared based on local legend.  Tour stops include the historic General Lewis Inn and the Lewisburg Cemetery, dating back to the 1800s.  Tour departs from the General Lewis Inn at 8pm.  Tickets are $20, children under 7 are free.

3rd Annual Bramwell Ghost Walk

October 23

In this historic boom town, spirits return from their wanderings to tell their own tale to onlookers.  Ghosts include coal barons, coal miners, and children whose apparitions are still seen today.  Spirits will start to gather at 5pm at Bramwell’s train station and along Main Street.  There will be live music and food at the Bramwell Café.  Ghost Walk begins at 7pm.  Tickets are $10 in Advance and $15 at the door.

Lake Shawnee Haunted Amusement Park Guided Walking Tour

Open October 22nd – October 31st.  Tours begin at Dusk.  This location is on the Travel Channel’s Most Terrifying Places In America list.  Digital cameras and audio recorders are welcome.  FLASHLIGHT NEEDED.  Cost is $8 for adults, $5 for children.  Private tours are available year round. Overnight camping also available.  For more information call 304-487-1819.

Bluefield Walking Tours

Bluefield West Virginia was founded in the late 1800′s and over the years has accumulated a rich history…in ghost stories. The tour will discuss the history of the town, but will focus on ghost stories of the historic buildings.  Oct 15, 16, 22, 23, 29 and 30th.  Tour times are 7:30 and 8pm,

Mark Painter, a local paranormal investigator, will lead some of the tours.

Cost is $12 for the Walking Tour or $32 for the VIP Tour.

Beckley’s Ghosts, Legends and Lores

Children playing where there are no children, balcony guests attending a non-existent program, an invisible saxophonist…

These are just a few of the things that have caused chills at the  Soldier’s & Sailors Memorial Building in Beckley.  Join us for the haunted tales of this building and uptown Beckley on Friday, Oct 29th at 7pm.  Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. www.theatrewestvirginia.com or call (304) 256-6800 or (800) 666-9142.

But that’s not all.  Discover more Halloween happenings and places where you’re sure to be looking over your shoulder.

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