LIFE

Photographer Takes Chilling Photos Of Abandoned Amusement Parks

by Anna Halkidis
Anna is a native New Yorker who loves concerts, travel, good coffee, and her Jack Russell terrier, Charlie. She’s a multimedia journalist who earned her master’s degree from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Her true passion for telling stories keeps her inspired.

Ohio’s Geauga Lake was once an amusement park full of life housing the famous Big Dipper ride. It was open for decades before shutting its doors in 2007.

Now it’s a gloomy shell of what it once was.

Yet, this is just one of many abandoned amusement parks that can be found throughout the United States as well as overseas. They sit unmaintained and in ruin.

Pseudonymous photographer Seph Lawless decided to showcase some of these defunct theme parks in his book Bizarro: The World’s Most Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned Theme Parks. He also added some extremities to the photos by shooting at sunset or during thunderstorms — the latter almost put him in life-threatening scenarios.

“It was entirely unorthodox as a photographer to do that, but I never really considered myself one anyways. I’m merely an artist that tries to offer different creative perspectives,” he says.

These theme parks might not have ghost tales attached to them like Lawless’ abandoned homes series, but the photos are just as eerie and speak to a bigger issue.

“This project showcases America’s economic decline that rips into heart and soul of our country,” says Lawless, who examined the same idea when he photographed deserted shopping malls. “Images of an abandoned amusement park once filled with laughter and joy eerily sitting abandoned and forgotten sends the viewer on an emotional roller coaster. That was the goal.”

View the photos of various closed amusement parks below and please SHARE if these creepy photos shocked you!

Land of Oz in North Carolina

Land of Oz in North Carolina
Seph Lawless

Grover Robbins’ theme park was open from 1970 to 1980. It was everything a Wizard of Oz fan would hope for.

Geauga Lake in Ohio

Geauga Lake in Ohio
Seph Lawless

This once glamorous and famous theme park was founded in 1887. It stayed open until 2007. The park is still for sale.

Chippewa Lake in Ohio

Chippewa Lake in Ohio
Seph Lawless

This park operated from 1878 to 1978. Now it sits in Ohio unmaintained as trees take it over.

Six Flags in New Orleans

Six Flags in New Orleans
Seph Lawless

This park closed right before 2005’s devastating Hurricane Katrina. There have been talks to rebuild this park, but it still remains in abhorrent condition.

Spreepark in Berlin, Germany

Spreepark in Berlin, Germany
Seph Lawless

The park, opened in 1969, hasn’t been opened since 2002. In 2014, a fire destroyed large parts of what remained of the amusement park.

Enchanted Forest Playland in Southern U.S.

Enchanted Forest Playland in Southern U.S.
Seph Lawless

There are still some rides standing in this undisclosed location, but they look like a scene from a horror movie.

Joyland in Kansas

Joyland in Kansas
Seph Lawless

Once the largest amusement park in Kansas, it was open from 1949 to 2004. It closed down for good in 2006. 

Funtime Amusement Park and Zoo in Indiana

Funtime Amusement Park and Zoo in Indiana
Seph Lawless

This small theme park was open from 1956 to 2008.

Shawnee Amusement Park in West Virginia

Shawnee Amusement Park in West Virginia
Seph Lawless

This theme park, abandoned in 1966, sits on a native burial ground.

Dogpatch USA in Arkansas

Dogpatch USA in Arkansas
Seph Lawless

This one opened in 1968 and closed in 1993. There are talks that it might reopen one day. 

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