As a paranormal investigator, the holy grail of all experiences has to be seeing a full-bodied apparition. The adrenaline rush of seeing something that you realize is no longer on this plane of existence is like nothing I had ever experienced before. My experience took place in 2016 at Lake Shawnee Amusement Park in Princeton, WV.
Lake Shawnee opened in the 1920’s as the one and only amusement attraction in the area. It was the hub of the community, equipped with a swimming lake, bath house and carnival rides, and it remained open until 1966. However, the park had a tragic past that dated back to the 18th century. During that time, the land was inhabited by the Shawnee Indian tribe. The first English settlers in the area, the Mitchell Clay family, attempted to settle the property. They were met by tragedy when members of the Shawnee tribe stormed the property and slaughtered two of their children. Those children are still buried on the Lake Shawnee property.
During excavation in the 1980’s, a Native American burial mound was also unearthed, revealing numerous skeletons, mostly those of children. The amusement park itself also saw several tragedies, including a small boy drowning in the lake during swim time, and a young girl killed on the mechanical swings when a truck backed into the ride.
Paranormal claims abound on the property. A young girl has been seen numerous times around the property, usually close to the mechanical swings. The swings move at their own accord, as does the old ferris wheel. Native Americans have been seen as well, along with unexplained balls of light. Disembodied voices and screams have been heard and documented across the property. Because of these claims, Lake Shawnee has been featured on national television on Travel Channel’s Most Terrifying Places in America, Discovery Channel’s Ghost Lab, and ABC’s Ten Most Haunted Places in the World.
Needless to say, we were more than excited for this investigation. We spent the day touring the property with Chris, the owner. He directed us to the hot spots and showed us some of the evidence they collected over the years. After that, we were on our own to camp on the property.
As night fell, we began having activity and experiences. A fellow investigator became very ill suddenly and was not able to investigate. We saw one of the mechanical swings moving on its own. As I sat beside our campfire, I noticed a shadowy figure moving in the field across from us. It was time to begin our investigation. Lonnie, a member of our team, and I moved through the field to set up stationary cameras. The area was completely dark, with the exception of moonlight. As we walked across the field, we both stopped in our tracks when we saw a lone man walking down the narrow two lane country road that ran parallel to the property.
Lonnie and I turned to look at each other, curious as to why this man was here. He was walking at a rapid pace, almost running, with his arms crossed across his chest. The man was tall and thin, and wore a light colored shirt. Lonnie turned to me and said “What the hell is this guy doing out here?” We had seen no one else that day, so it was completely unexpected. On top of that, we could see several miles down the road in each direction, and had not seen the man approaching. We watched, curiously, and a car drove up the road behind the man. The headlights of the car completely illuminated him, but the driver of the car did not acknowledge him, did not slow down or swerve to avoid hitting him. As the car passed, the man took about four steps, nearing a cluster of trees. The man stepped behind the trees, and never reappeared.
Lonnie and I, completely stunned, looked at each other as Lonnie uttered the baffled words “What did we just see?”
Convinced that it was someone playing a prank, we took off running across the field, shouting that trespassers would be arrested. We came to the road, and realized the man was not there. There was nowhere he could have gone. The road went for miles in each direction, with no buildings, covers, or hiding spots. The man we had watched for 15-20 seconds on the road had vanished.
For more than an hour after this happened I sat in the field, waiting for him to reappear. I was reeling from the experience. What did I see? How did this happen? Why couldn’t I have caught this on camera? The experience was amazing, but also a little disturbing. For the duration of the investigation, I caught myself looking every few minutes to the road, hoping this man would make his presence known again. He never did.
Investigations have come and gone, and although I have had some great experiences, nothing has surpassed the mysterious man that made his presence known at Lake Shawnee. A second investigation there proved interesting, but still no apparition. However, the one factor I took away from the experience was this- my days of paranormal investigating had just begun.
That experience was the reason I began my career in this field, and left me with a deeper passion than ever. Will I ever see this man or any other beings like him again? There’s only one way to find out! If you’d like to be part of our journey, follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at COPS Paranormal or @COPSofWV.