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Abandoned Princeton, WV amusement park open for tours

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PRINCETON, WV (AP) -

An abandoned West Virginia amusement park that's said to be haunted is opening for public tours through Halloween.

The Mercer County property in Lake Shawnee near Princeton was a popular regional amusement park that opened in the late 1920s. It featured a boathouse, swimming pool, rides and log cabins.

The closed property changed hands in 1985 and was reopened as an amusement park in the early 1990s that eventually failed.

The run-down site built on Native American burial grounds has been featured on TV shows like Discovery Channel's "GhostLab," and Travel Channel's "The Most Terrifying Places in America."

Landowners say about a half-dozen people accidentally also have died on the property. And a nearby historic marker also recounts that, in 1783, three of settler Mitchell Clay's children were killed by Native Americans. He and his family lived and farmed on the property that now holds the abandoned amusement park. The marker claims two of the children were killed and scalped. Another was kidnapped, taken to Ohio and burned at the stake.

"A little girl riding on the swings got hit by a pop truck backing up. Two kids died in the swimming pool. In the one, in the '60s the mother left him here while she went to work. They found him in the bottom of the pool with his arm hung in the drain," property owner Gaylord White told The Charleston Gazette in 2010.

The Ferris Wheel on the property is rusted and overgrown with vines, chains also hang from the rusted metal arms of the old swing ride.

"People have seen silhouettes on the Ferris wheel," White said. "They ask, 'Well, how'd that guy get up there?' And I say, well, you can't - the leg guards are turned up into the seat. And they go, 'But I seen a man in a seat!' I'm going, 'That's what you're here for. You're here to experience it.'"

The site will be open for public tours at dusk Saturday through Oct. 31. Flashlights are required. Details about visiting the property are available by calling 304-487-1819.

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