Blue Ridge Country - September/October 2017 - 62
Thousands of miners were embalmed within the walls of the Whipple Company Store.
behind the ring toss kiosk. Her body
showed no signs of trauma and her
death was ruled "natural causes,"
but they could never explain what
caused her demise.
The final tragedy at Lake Shawnee Amusement Park claimed the
lives of two brothers. While riding
the ferris wheel, the siblings were
wrestling in their passenger car
when they got a little too rambunctious. Just as the ride rounded the
top, their cart tipped over and they
spilled out. The younger brother
fell immediately, dying as his body
slammed into the ground. The older
boy held onto the iron frame for
almost 10 minutes, screaming for
help. Before help could arrive, he
too plunged to his death.
The park shut down shortly after
their deaths and has remained closed
since 1966. The rides were left to rust
and rot. The buildings decayed and
caved in. As in the years after the
Clay family tragedy, the land stood
empty. At one point the ground was
going to be developed for a housing complex, but when they started
moving earth, workers discovered
a Native American burial mound
which contained hundreds of graves.
The project was quickly abandoned
and the mound covered up.
Those who dared venture onto
the ground, whether to fish the
pond or just take in the sights,
reported the sounds of children
screaming in pain, the galloping of
horses hoofs and sometimes they
even saw the ferris wheel move
with ghostly riders hitching along
for the ride.
Lake Shawnee received some un-
expected publicity in 2004 when it
was featured on a television show
called "The Scariest Places on Earth"
and in the years since, it's become
a popular paranormal hotspot. It's
been featured on "Most Terrifying
Places in America," "Ghost Lab,"
"Ten Most Haunted Places in the
World" and even the antique show,
"American Pickers." The ground was
only recently opened to the public,
by appointment only and with access highly limited.
I was fortunate enough to swing
by Princeton on my epic, 1,000-plusmile drive through West Virginia's
southern regions. It was kismet
because I was able to explore Lake
Shawnee and even though I was
only there for about half an hour,
I can certainly understand its skincrawling reputation.