“Denali” means “High One”, referring to one of the most sacred sites in North America – the 20,320-foot-tall Mount McKinley (named for President McKinley). The Athabascan natives believe that the mountain is home to Sa, the sun shaman who is considered to be the master of life itself; the legends date back centuries. Today, mystics consider Mount McKinley to be a transmitter of cosmic forces under the control of the Great White Brotherhood.
In 1775, the first European settlers, led by Mitchell Clay, arrived in Princetown, West Virginia. Clay and his family worked together in farming on the land that would later become the Lake Shawnee Amusement Park. Their seemingly safe new life took a tragic turn in 1783. While the men were away hunting, Clay’s two children, Bartley and Tabitha, were attacked by Native Americans in the area. Bartley was murdered and scalped, and Tabitha was killed while trying to save her brother. Their younger brother, Ezekiel, was later kidnapped by the tribe. The men returned to find the children missing, and they took off after the third child.
The Natives took Ezekiel to Ohio, where they proceeded to burn his body at the stake shortly before the rescue group could catch up to them. After defeating the warriors, the search party took strips of skin off the Native Americans’ backs to use as razor straps; the trophies remained in the Clay family for years to come. The chief permitted Mitchell Clay to take the body of his son back home to be buried. The bodies of Bartley and Tabitha were exhumed so that they could be relocated to the hill behind the farmhouse where Ezekiel had been buried.
Two centuries later in 1926, C.T. Snidow purchased the property and turned it into Lake Shawnee Amusement Park; he was entirely unaware of the dark history that lingered on the site. The features of the park included a swimming pool, carnival rides, concession stands, a racetrack, a dance hall, occasional Wild West shows, and guest cabins. Very quickly, it became a popular summer vacation for families.
Tragedy struck again after a mother dropped her son off at the park one morning. When she returned later that afternoon, she found her son’s limp, lifeless body floating in the pool. In order to prevent any further accidents, the owners filled the pool with sand. A few years went by peacefully without any more accidents. During the early 1950s, a truck delivering soda to a drink concession stand accidentally backed up into the path of a swing ride operating at a high speed. The truck collided with one of the swings, killing the young girl riding in it. The fatalities caused the park to close in 1966.
Gaylord White, a former employee of the park, bought the abandoned Lake Shawnee Amusement Park in 1985 with plans to divide up the land and sell it as residential lots. However, his investment plan went south when he found a number of Native American burial sites and artifacts. Instead, he reopened the amusement park – but it only lasted for three years.
After some research, archaeologists discovered that two separate Native American settlements surrounded the area around Lake Shawnee before any European settlers arrived. In 1988, both the Marshall and Concord Colleges worked on digging around the area. They found that the settlements were arranged in a circular formation, and they were inhabited for a long period of time. However, they were believed to have been abandoned several hundreds of years before the settlers arrived. During their study, they found thirteen skeletons, most of them belonging to young children. There are as many as three thousand bodies buried on the property.
Today, the Ferris wheel, the swings, and several other rides remain at the park, which is haunted by a number of spirits. Paranormal activity includes orbs, disembodied voices and footsteps, Native American chanting, odd sounds, and the defunct carnival rides moving by themselves. A male apparition has been seen several times on one of the Ferris wheel cars (the one at the 9 o’clock position). The swings are said to have cold spots just above the wooden seats, which are known to move on their own.
Gaylord White reported having felt someone touching his shoulder or his arm from behind several times while working at the park. He also had a feeling of a presence washing him at the park. However, his most notable interaction was when he was clearing out brush from the field with his tractor shortly after purchasing the property. While doing so, he witnessed a full body apparition of a young girl wearing a pink dress with ruffled sleeves. White now believes that the girl was the one who was killed on the swing ride. Because she liked watching his tractor, he parked and left it for her to enjoy.
Tao Dan Public Park is said to be haunted by the apparition of a young man who floats through the park trying to find someone. Close to a decade ago, he and his girlfriend were attacked while enjoying their privacy at the park.
The south end of Lemon’s Park is believed to be cursed. Once, there was a man who drove to the southern end of the park, parked his car, and proceeded to commit suicide. In another incident, a fatal car crash took place at the same end of the park, killing several children. The cause of the curse may be from the satanic worship that has been known to take place in the forest in the same region.
The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland is haunted by more than the 999 ghosts it is said to have. The ride holds the world record for the most visited dark ride. It took seven years to finish the ride: beginning in 1962, halted in 1966 because of Walt Disney’s death, and opening in 1969. Rumor had it that the ride was being re-designed because it was so scary that it caused a man to have a heart attack; it is unknown if it is true or not.
Jackson Park is haunted by the ghost of a girl named Molly. Molly went out after the prom with her date. On the following day, she was found hanging by her neck in the park’s trees, dead. Rumor has it that her date killed her after she refused to have sex with him. Since no one was ever charged with murder, it is likely that the mystery will remain unsolved. Now, at the stroke of midnight, Molly’s screams can be heard coming from Jackson Park.
Founded in 1822, the Maple Hill Cemetery is Alabama’s oldest and largest cemetery. “Dead Children’s Playground” is located within the cemetery’s limits, sitting in a cove surrounded by a rocky cliff and paths through the woods.
Washington Park in Alamogordo, New Mexico has had a history of violence. Years ago, a shootout took place, resulting in three injured and one killed. If you visit the park in the afternoon, it is said that you will hear footsteps in the grass. In the park’s now defunct swimming pool, the sound of moaning and crying can be heard. When you get near it, it will stop. Cold spots also litter the park.
Dracut State Forest is haunted by ghosts who linger in the woods and tend to appear during Cutter Farm’s horseback trail rides. One of the spirits is a Native American man from the reservation who walks along the trails from sunset into the night. The sounds of screaming and whispering from young children can be heard, as well as the shouting of Native Americans.
During the late 1800s, the property of land that now serves as Cheesman Park was a graveyard known as Prospect Hill Cemetery (which opened 1858), located near the land that is now the Denver Botanical Garden and Congress Park.
Six Flags Magic Mountain opened in 1971 in Valencia, California, located just north of Los Angeles. Famous for its terrifying rides, its horrifying haunted history is lesser known.
Confederate Park is a state park located in Higginsville, Missouri. It is filled with several graves of American Civil War soldiers, predominantly the Confederate soldiers. They are said to haunt the park.