PRINCETON, WV (AP)- As the sun set over Lake Shawnee on a Saturday night, hundreds gathered for a ghost hunting experience at the lake’s abandoned amusement park. The site, rumored to be cursed and haunted, is a Native American Burial Ground and home to violent deaths and freak accidents according to Lake Shawnee’s website.
The event was hosted by Ghost Hunt Weekends, a company that provides overnight paranormal experiences. Owner of the company, Chad Morin said the events are a mixture of a concert and celebrity meet and greet. “You get to be a part of the show,” he said.
Chris Smith, Mike Goncalves and Brannon Smith from the Travel Channel’s Haunted towns and Steven Gonsalves and Dave Tango from SciFi’s Ghost Hunters were in attendance for a meet and greet, question and answer segment and to hunt ghosts with attendees.
Chris Smith had his first paranormal experience in 2004 in his grandfather’s barn. “It terrified me at first, but that fear turned into curiosity,” he said.
“This area is rich in indian history,” Smith said. “It is an abandoned amusement park, why wouldn’t I want to investigate this?”
Since 2004, Chris and his brother Brannon Smith have been paranormal investigators. Brannon focuses more on the technical side of ghost hunting, but both encourage any enthusiast to stay skeptical. “Don’t just blindly believe, experience it for yourself,” Chris said.
“Who is to say paranormal activity is limited to asylums, prisons and battlefields,” Brannon Smith said. “I would like to come away tonight with evidence. I like when they appear on camera because that is how I learn how they work.”
Mike Goncalves, a fellow host of Haunted Towns noted that amusement parks are usually known as happy places, but that the site has layers of paranormal evidence and history of tragedy.
“We are hoping everyone experiences the stories we have heard,” Goncalves said. “We all want to capture something but your best experience is your personal experience.”
Dena Egbert from Portsmouth, Ohio heard about the event on Facebook and decided to come after investigating the paranormal for about 20 years. “Hopefully we get some activity tonight,” she said.
Jim Palmer of Columbus, Ohio has been attending Ghost Hunt weekends since 2016. He said he has been interested in the paranormal from a young age and has experienced shadow people, electronic voice recordings and even being touched by disembodied hands.
“The first time I heard about Lake Shawnee, I knew it was on the list of places I wanted to go,” Palmer said.
Lake Shawnee hosts many events including the “Dark Carnival” in October. For more information about upcoming events call 304-921-1580.