KINGS ISLAND

6300 Kings Island Drive, Mason, OH

(513) 754-5700

Status: Amusement Park

Website

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History

This Park was originally opened in 1972 as an expansion and move of Coney Island; an amusement park on the banks of the Cincinnati River that was having flooding issues. The Park’s unique roller coasters are credited with reviving the public’s interest in coasters in the 70’s – an interest that continues to this day.

The Park is still known for its coasters – the newest being the Orion which opened in 2020 – and is the third most visited seasonal amusement park in North America behind Canada’s Wonderland (Toronto, Ontario) and Cedar Point (Sandusky, Ohio).

 

Paranormal Activity

There is a small cemetery called Dog Street Cemetery at the north end of the parking lot entrance off of Columbia Road – its between the parking lot and the campground. Although there are about 70 graves – 50 gravestones – the cemetery is actually not thought to be responsible for most of the hauntings; contrary to popular legends.

There are numerous stories of deaths in the park although only a few can actually be verified.

A Safari County Ranger left his jeep in 1976 inside the ride – which operated from 1974 to 1993 - to relieve himself and was mauled to death by a lion. This site is now occupied by the Son of Beast rollercoaster and a storage area.

On Friday, May 13, 1983 a young man – reported as having been drinking – named John Harter was attending a Grad Night thrown by the Park. He climbed into the restricted areas of the Eiffel Tower and fell down an elevator shaft to his death.

June 9, 1991 is known as Black Sunday in the history of the Park. Tim Brenning was relaxing with friends in the Oktoberfest section when he harmlessly dipped his hand into a fountain to splash his friends on the hot day. What he was unaware of is that there was a short in the electric lighting under the water. He was instantly shocked and his friend, William “Eddie” Haithcoat, went in the water to save him. This resulted in Haithcoat also being electrocuted. A security guard also jumped in to save both men.

Both Haithcoat and the security guard received fatal shocks while Tim survived but was crippled for life. Just when the tragedy couldn’t get any worse a woman on the nearby Flight Commander ride tried to see the commotion below better and somehow got out of her harness falling to her death 50 feet below.

There have been some ghost sightings related to these terrible accidents but only one has been accepted into the annals of “Park Ghosts”. The said ghost of John Harter – known as “Johnnie” now – is seen by the fountain in front of the ride or still hanging from the ride. Electrical malfunctions – perhaps unfairly – are blamed on John and unexplained sensor trips are known as “Johnnies” to the staff.

The most famous – and most seen – ghost is the “the little girl in the blue dress”. By her 19th century – obviously blue – dress she predates the park. She is described as being 4 feet tall as well as being not threatening nor scary. Most commonly she is said to just stand there watching the staff and guests go by. Other witnesses have said she seems rather sad seeing so many children having fun while she cannot play with them.

She is thought to have drowned in a pond formerly on site but there is no historical proof of this. Some paranormal investigators call her “Missouri Jane” based on a grave found in the cemetery for Missouri Jane Galeenor who died in 1846 at age 5 – once again there is no proof the ghost is Jane.

The Park staff call the ghost “Tram Girl” based on the number of times she’s been seen by staff on trams after closing time. She often runs onto to the Tram tracks before disappearing causing the drivers to slam on the brakes.

 She is seen all over the park but the areas she is most commonly seen are the front gates, the parking lot, admissions, the International restaurants area and the water park. She also commonly seen after dark by employees patrolling the empty Park.

Another frequently seen ghost is that of “Racer Boy” near the tracks of the wooden rollercoaster Racer. Stories say 2 of the cars on the Coaster are from the old ride, Shooting Star, that’s originally from Coney Island. When the Shooting Star was operating a boy was sitting alone in the last car but was missing when the ride returned. His body was found beside the tracks.

He is most commonly seen by guests who report a small boy standing much to close to the tracks of Racer wooden coaster. The truly strange thing about the sightings is that while the Racer is one of the oldest rides in the Park the ghost has been reported since the 1990’s.

The White Water Canyon ride is haunted with most of the activity at Observation Tower 2. After the last guests have left staff have heard disembodied laughter of a child as well as small rocks pelting the tower. The staff have nicknamed the ghost “Woody”.

The Octopus ride is said to be haunted by a former guest who died on the ride.

Glowing red eyes are reported on The Beast rollercoaster. This activity is also said to be the ghost of a guest who died on the ride.

Some of the activity may also be related to an explosion – that killed 11 people - that took place on the property over a century ago. That explosion and accidents will be covered in a future article on the haunting of the old Peters Cartridge Factory.