Poltergeist Playgrounds: Six Spooky Theme Parks Suspended In Time
Theme parks are normally associated with happy childhood memories, but when the carousel music stops and the attractions are abandoned fairgrounds can become the stuff of spine-chilling nightmares.
Nara Dreamland, Japan
Now resembling the location of a horror film, Dreamland opened to much fanfare in 1961. Modelled on Walt Disney’s first theme park in Anaheim, California, the unofficial Japanese version shut its gates in 2006 due to poor visitor numbers. The park now lies abandoned on the outskirts of the city of Osaka. Where once families would walked the paved streets only urban adventurers now roam, keen to get a glimpse of the rotting rollercoasters and creaking fairground rides.
Six Flags, New Orleans
Pummeled by the might of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, all the joy found at this dilapidated fun park has truly left the building. The now jungle-like site was reportedly due to be redeveloped but, with each passing year rust eats away at its attractions. Today, haunting images show storm debris scattering the gloomy theme park, which was built on former swampland. Scenes from Hollywood blockbuster Jurassic World were recently filmed there and, according to people who have explored the site’s nooks and crannies, alligators reside in disused waterways.
Pripyat Amusement Park, Ukraine
Ukraine’s Pripyat amusement park was four days away from opening when a reactor at the nearby Chernobyl nuclear power plant went into meltdown. The deadly radiation released into the atmosphere meant the city of Pripyat became part of an exclusion zone. Needless to say none of the park’s attractions were ever used and the eerie structures are now a powerful reminder of the day everything changed for its residents back in April 1986.
Left to decay in 1993, the Arkansas amusement park was once awarded to a 17-year-old boy, after he nearly had his throat cut by wire while driving a quad-bike on the abandoned property. The theme park has changed hands since the 2005 court settlement and, unlike many of the locations on this list, is undergoing a clean-up. It’s not clear when the fairground rides might be whirring around again, but Dogpatch USA are now active on Facebook.
Originally called Kulturpark, the Berlin-based fairground was the only one of its kind in the whole of East Germany. New owners took over the running of the site in 1991 but struggled with mounting debts. It eventually shut up shop in 2002 and some of the rides were shipped out to Peru. The once popular ferris wheel still stands, while creepy pictures of a fallen, graffitied dinosaur and multicolored tiger rollercoaster keep the memory of the park alive.
Lake Shawnee Park, West Virginia
We kid you not, this fun park is tainted with the blood of Native Americans. According to Wyoming County Report, a tribe of Shawnee Indians were killed in the area in the late 1700s. Probably not the best place to put a mini-ferris wheel, but a small amusement park sprung up on the site in the 1920s. It has been vacant since 1966 and locals believe the decrepit swings are now the playground for spooks and ghouls.
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