A haunting series of photographs showing abandoned theme parks has been released by an activist who travels the world to find them.
Seph Lawless’s collection includes eerie pictures of a carousel in an Ohio forest, a ‘Calypso’ ride in Indiana, the graffiti-strewn remnants of a park in New Orleans and a roller coaster at Geauga Lake surrounded by overgrown trees.
It also features a yellow brick road in North Carolina, an abandoned roller coaster in Berlin and an overgrown dinosaur park in Michigan.
The photographer, from Cleveland, Ohio, came up with the idea for the series when working on his initial abandoned location project – a voyage that resulted in a book titled ‘Autopsy of America: The Death of a Nation.’
Through that book – which looked to document the forgotten parts of the United States – Seph, 38, came across a number of deserted theme parks, which were a genre of location, he said, that fascinated him most, along with the likes of asylums and schools.
Continuing his Autopsy of America series, at home and abroad, Seph has traveled to 13 amusement parks in total.
Seph Lawless’s collection includes eerie pictures of a carousel in an Ohio forest, a ‘Calypso’ ride in Indiana (pictured), the graffiti-strewn remnants of a park in New Orleans and a roller coaster at Geauga Lake surrounded by overgrown trees. The above picture was taken at Fun Spot Amusement Park and Zoo in Angola, Indiana. The park opened in 1956 but was closed in 2008. It had 30 rides – three of which were roller coasters
Lawless, from Cleveland, Ohio, USA, came up with the idea for the series when working on his initial abandoned location project – a voyage that resulted in a book titled ‘Autopsy of America: The Death of a Nation.’ Theme parks, he said, are ‘a poignant look at United States,’ adding, ‘America is like a ride at an amusement park. We’ll keep saying our country is great and fun until it stops working.’ Pictured: The Six Flags park in New Orleans, which first opened in 2000 as ‘Jazzland’. It closed in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina and has never reopened. It had 24 rides, including four roller coasters
Through ‘Autopsy of America’ – which looked to document the forgotten parts of the United States – Seph, 38, came across a number of deserted theme parks, which were a genre of location, he said, that fascinated him most, along with the likes of asylums and schools. Pictured: Enchanted Forest in Toledo, Ohio. It shut down over a decade ago – 2000 – after only five years of activity
Continuing his Autopsy of America series, at home and abroad, Seph has traveled to 13 amusement parks in total. That includes Geauga Lake in Bainbridge Township and Aurora, Ohio. It opened in 1887 but closed in 2007. It had 54 rides, including eight roller coasters
The collection has since been made into a book, ‘Abandoned: World’s Most Hauntingly Beautiful Theme Parks,’ which was released in October of 2017. Pictured: Two more roller coasters at Geauga Lake in Ohio underneath a daunting sky
In order to visit such decaying wonders, Seph relies on a number of sponsors, admitting that he rarely uses Google to search for them. Pictured: An abandoned bridge at Disney World, Florida
The series, Seph said, is ongoing, and with more books on the horizon, he also plans to add to his documentation of abandoned shopping malls also. Pictured: The yellow brick road at the Land of Oz, North Carolina, which was opened in 1970 and shut ten years later
Seph added: ‘As a known activist, my work isn’t going to stop anytime soon. I’ll continue to exploit social media platforms and raise social awareness to important issues affecting our country.’ Pictured: Dinosaur World, Michigan, which was opened in 1963 and shuttered in 2002
‘I encourage social activism amongst the half of million fans that follow me and often times, my images lead to social change,’ Seph said. Pictured: Joyland Amusement Park in Wichita, Kansas. It operated for 55 years, from 1949 to 2004, but closed permanently in 2006. It had one roller coaster – the Nightmare
Lake Shawnee Amusement Park (pictured), which was opened in the 1920s by an optimistic businessman, Conley T Snidow, who built a swing set and a ferris wheel and turned the pond into an open-air swimming pool. Several tragic accidents would hit the park over the years, claiming six lives, including a little boy who drowned while swimming. Eventually, in 1966, the cursed park shut down. In 1988 an archaeological dig on the site found 13 bodies, mostly children, confirming suspicions that it had been used as a Native American burial ground
The Six Flags amusement park in New Orleans, Louisiana (pictured), which shut down after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the region in 2005. The 140-acre site was submerged under seven feet of floodwater for more than a month after the hurricane battered America’s southern coast – and has been closed ever since. The carousel has not turned in 12 years, the still Ferris wheel creaks in the wind and the roller coasters are slowly reclaimed by nature as ivy snakes its way up the eroding supports
Chippewa Lake Park in Chippewa Lake, Ohio, was closed in 1978 – almost exactly a century after it opened in 1878. Much of the park, however, is still standing – though the rides are worse for wear
Bushkill Park in Philadeplia (pictured) opened more than 100 years ago and closed in 2007 after being hit by three floods in three years. But its previous owner, former Ringling Bros clown Neal Fehnel, still dreams about seeing it reopen it one day. It would cost at least $20,000 to turn the power back on at Bushkill Park and bring its attractions back to life
Spreepark, also known by its older name Kulturpark Plänterwald Berlin, opened in the East German capital in 1969. It closed in 2002, more than a decade after German reunification
The city of New Orleans terminated the lease of Six Flags in 2009 and has been looking for a way to develop the 150-acre site. Pictured: Abandoned rides at the park
Pictured: A roller coaster at Spreepark in Berlin. The park was bought by the city in 2014 and guided tours of the ruins – previously popular- were stopped
Spreepark dinosaurs lie on the ground at the site in Berlin. Huge debts forced it to close and it has remained abandoned for many years
In 2009 Six Flags (pictured) planned to work with Nickelodeon to create the company’s biggest-ever theme park, which would create 600 jobs, but the $165million project failed to materialize