The ghost of a young girl wearing an early 1900s white dress has been reported to walk through the Birch Hill Cemetery. A dark floating apparition and a little boy about seven or eight years old dressed in 1930s-era clothing have also been spotted.
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.
The Kimo Theater was opened in fall, 1927. It was not long after that a young boy was killed in a fatal accident – a hot water pipe on the theater boiler burst, hitting him with metal and scalding water. He now haunts the theater, as two other spirits who seem to be much older than the boy.
Oakglen Road was home to an elderly woman whom locals deemed a witch. She was believed to have put a curse on the area; many believed that the cause of a tragic accident leading to the death of a group of teenagers was the curse. Now, it is said that if you park your car on the road, the ghosts of the kids will push it up the hill (some skeptics believe this to be an illusion). The stairs to the woman’s house can still be seen.
The Turner and Stevens Mortuary is haunted by the spirits of a mean elderly woman, the little boy she is after, and the man protecting the boy. Activity includes slamming doors, books flying across rooms, and disembodied footsteps. Sometimes, when people walk by the mirrors in the hallway, the apparition of the woman or the man appear in the reflection, only to disappear.
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.
The authorization for the Eastern State Institution for the Feeble Minded and Epileptic was approved by the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1903. A commission for figuring the numbers of “insane” residents of the state was founded; they discovered that there were 1,146 “feeble-minded” citizens in mental hospitals, and another 2,627 in almshouses, county-care hospitals, reformatories, and prisons.
The Queen Mary began construction in the December of 1930 in Clydebank, Scotland. Due to the Great Depression, work on the ship was ceased in December, 1931. In order to complete the project, Cunard (the construction company) applied for a loan from the British Government. It was approved, and there was enough leftover money that a second ship – the Queen Elizabeth – could be constructed.
The cause of the hauntings at the Jerome Grand Hotel remains a mystery. The apparition of a woman in white has been seen roaming the halls. A ghostly nurse with a clipboard is seen in one of the hotel’s rooms. Lastly, the ghost of a little boy has been known to run through the bar area in search of his mother during the late hours of the night. Screaming and apparitions are all consistently witnessed at the Jerome Grand Hotel.
The Schroyer Cemetery began its operation in the late 19th century when several members of the Schroyer family were buried on the half acre of land on the hill. Today, there is only one remaining grave, belonging to Mr. Schroyer. Visitors have reported seeing blue orbs floating around the area, demonic voices speaking to them, and the apparition of an elderly man walking through the cemetery.
It is said that during the mid-1800s, a young boy fell off the Union Covered Bridge and drowned in the river below. Now, at night, the apparition of the boy can be seen, and he tries to touch anyone who walks across the bridge. The identity of the child remains a mystery.
The Maryville Center for Medically Complex Children was built as an asylum for drug-addicted, handicapped, insane, and foster children. Due to asbestos, the center had to be shut down and boarded up.