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June 3, 2013

King novel based on Canobie Lake Park

Salem attraction likes attention, even if geography's off

SALEM — Stephen King may be a world-renowned writer, but his geography is a little off.

In an interview with National Public Radio last week, the Maine native told of how he was inspired to write his latest thriller, “Joyland,” to be released tomorrow. The story, featuring crime, horror and the supernatural, takes place at a haunted amusement park in the 1970s.

As he described his fascination with fairs and carnivals as a child, King mentioned how he searched amusement park websites online to find a park to use his book.

He found one — Salem’s own Canobie Lake Park.

“I wanted one that was nice and clean and sunlit, but wasn’t too big,” he told NPR’s Terry Gross. “So, I didn’t want a Disney World, I didn’t want a Six Flags park, and I settled on a place called Canobie Lake Park, which is in Massachusetts ... .”


Yes, Massachusetts.

But Canobie Lake Park spokesman Chris Nicoli isn’t concerned that King is telling a nationwide radio audience the park is in Massachusetts. As a matter of fact, he’s thrilled.

“We’re just happy to be part of it,” Nicoli said.

Since Canobie is only a short distance from the Bay State border, it’s easy for some people to think the park is in Massachusetts, Nicoli said.

Luckily for Canobie, the thousands who travel to the 111-year-old park on a typical summer day know where to find it.

Besides, King and his staff know exactly where Canobie is located, Nicoli said.

“There have definitely been Stephen King sightings in the park in the past,” Nicoli said.

Staff members saw the famous writer at the park on at least a few occasions years ago, he said.

King’s friend and adviser, Russell Dorr, visited the park for about three hours in February 2012, Nicoli said.

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