The Sloss Furnace
The Sloss Furnace in Birmingham, Alabama is one of the scariest places on Earth. In 1882, this particular industrial establishment began transforming the coal and various types of ore that was located in the area into steel. This steel was used for a variety of things, such as skyscraper construction, automobile construction, and other projects. Today, it is believed that several spirits haunt the Sloss Furnace, and that is why it is thought to be one of the scariest places on Earth.
James Withers Sloss constructed the furnaces that are now called the Sloss Furnace. Construction was completed in 1881, and the first operation started in the following year. When it opened in 1882, the furnace was referred to as ‘City Furnaces’. In the 1920 the furnaces were refurbished and modernized. It was at this time that at least 500 people were employed by there and they were producing steel at the rate of 400 tons daily.
The men who worked at the furnace also lived at the facility. Colored and white men both worked in the furnace. Until the time of the 1960’s there was a high degree of segregation at the facility. There were different time clocks, bathing houses, and eating areas. Despite being separated by color, the workers at the furnace were united in their work. They worked in severe conditions. The temperatures were very hot and the other factors of the jobs were extremely dangerous. Several hundred men died as a result of working at this facility.
One of the hauntings that occurred at the Sloss Furnace appears to be a man by the name of Theophilus Jowers. This man was extremely proud to be a part of the iron industry. He often bragged to his wife and his friends that the furnace was his ‘friend’. Unfortunately one day he slipped and actually fell into one of the furnaces. It is believed that his death was instantaneous, but it is his spirit that is believed to walk among the catwalks and performs his duties in Sloss Furnace.
Another ghost that seems to be haunting the Sloss Furnace is a man by the name of James Wormwood. It is said that this individual was overtaken by methane gas while working. When this happened, he was at the top of ‘Big Alice‘ the highest furnace at Sloss. When he blacked out, he fell and was consumed by the scorching fires within the furnace. Seeing that it was not his job to work on top of this furnace, several are under the belief that other workers actually threw him into the furnace because of the fact that he created harsh work conditions.
Other apparitions have been seen at Sloss Furnace. From the pictures that display the workers that were employed at the facility, witnesses to the paranormal activity have been able to identify these two particular individuals in the picture. In addition to this, several other spirits are believed to linger around the plant. There are also several different other hauntings that are said to occur at this facility.
If you are interested in visiting Sloss is currently used to hold metal arts classes, Muse of Fire shows, and concerts. Being a reportedly haunted location, it is also an annual Halloween haunted attraction. Once a year, Sloss Furnaces hosts a “Ghost Tour”. Sloss Furnaces has been investigated by Ghost Adventures and also by Syfy’s Ghost Hunters.
In June 2012 a formal groundbreaking ceremony was held at the site, starting the construction on a new 16,000 square foot Visitors and Education Center to be located on the southwest corner of the furnace site. The new complex, funded by both the City of Birmingham and the Sloss Foundation, will host educational exhibits relevant to the site’s history, administrative offices, as well as additional multipurpose space for public events.
The Phantom Steamboat of the Tombigbee
The Eliza Battle is a ghost ship that is seen along the Tombigbee River in Alabama. She was a side-wheeled paddle steamer that was launched in 1852. She was a luxurious riverboat that hosted presidents and dignitaries alike. The story of the disaster that struck her has become apart of southwestern Alabama folklore.
On March 1, 1858 carrying fifty-six passengers and a crew of forty-five and fully loaded with more than 1200 bales of cotton. It was in the early morning hours a strong north wind picked up, the temperature decreased rapidly by 40 degrees in only two hours. Tombigbee River waters ran high at this time of year. Around 2 a.m. near Beckley’s Landing it was discovered that several cotton bales on the main deck were on fire.
The crew realizing the blaze was out of control ordered the passengers, many still in their nightclothes, to abandon ship. Some survived by floating on cotton bales. Other survivors were found along the flooded river in treetops and rescued by local residents.
In the aftermath it was found that twenty-six people had perished. All of these casualties were attributed to exposure to the extreme cold during the night. The steamboat by herself, continued out of control downstream. Finnally coming to rest above Kemp’s Landing, near what is today the bridge near Alabama State Route 114. What was left of the ship sank, the burned wooden hull is still here, located 28 feet below the surface.
27 Apr, 2016
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