Be Prepared to Get Scared: A Look at Alabama's Most Haunted Locales
November 15, 2017 By Cait Russell
Birminghan's Sloss Furnaces is believed to be one of the most haunted places in all of Alabama.
Photo by: Melissa Dooley, via Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)
Do you believe in ghosts? Across the state of Alabama, there are all sorts of real haunts, many of which are undeniably haunted by spirits that have chosen to stick around in this world instead of moving to the next one. Some of these places are so spooky, so eerie that even the biggest of non-believers would have a hard time denying that there's something creepy going on at these real haunts.
- Sloss Furnaces - Birmingham, Alabama - After the Civil War, there was a boon in Birmingham, in large part due to Sloss Furnaces, which churned out pig iron that was used in thousands of steel projects across the country. But the industrial boon came at an incredibly high cost. In the early 1900s, a ruthless foreman of the graveyard shift, James "Slag" Wormwood, pushed his workers to work faster, and more efficiently, which ended up causing the deaths of at least 47 people who were forced to work in dangerous conditions in order to speed up production. There were also countless workers permanently disabled due to horrific accidents, including six that were blinded in an explosion under the tyrannical reign of Foreman Wormwood.
Well, as luck would have it, the foreman went missing one day in October of 1906, and while no official reports were ever confirmed, it's widely believed that the workers, fed up with the constant dangerous work conditions and abuse, fed him into one of the furnaces, where he met his firery death. Since then, all sorts of creepy things have happened - workers reported being shoved by an unseen force and told to "get back to work", and on three separate occasions, supervisors were found locked in the boiler room, unconscious, and emerged telling stories of seeing a burned man that shouted at them to "push more steel". During the time it was open, there were over 100 reports of similar ghostly experiences reported to the Birmingham Police, and the property has been investigated by numerous professional paranormal investigators.
The countless reports and general creepiness factor alone should be enough to convince you of the existence of ghosts at the Sloss Furnaces, but you can tour the facility yourself if you'd like to encounter some of the terrifying trapped souls there first hand.
- The Kali Oka Plantation / The Oak Grove Plantation - Saraland, Alabama - There's not much creepier than a haunted plantation, is there? This particular one is home to a few spirits - a white woman who can be seen lighting candles in the windows of the home, and a seven foot tall black man, who is said to have been either the lover, body guard, or both of the woman. According to legend, the black man was killed by the plantation owner, the woman's husband, and he still haunts the property to this day, abd is believed to stay close to the plantation in order to protect the mysterious woman for whom he cared deeply.
Another version of the story alleges that the woman lost her child, who drowned in a nearby river, and not only does the woman's spirit stay behind looking for her child, but the body guard stays to protect her, and keep her company. Oh, and if that wasn't strange enough, the ghost of the small child also haunts the nearby roadways, where you can hear its screams and cries during the dead of night.
- Jemison Center & Old Bryce Hospital - Northport, Alabama - Something about former insane asylums just keeps the spirits coming on back, and the Jemision Center, also known as the Old Bryce Hospital, is certainly no exception to that rule. During the time that the hospital was open, reports of deplorable conditions were common, so it's no wonder that spirits of former patients are still haunting the place. While this real haunt is not open to the public, those who have visited have reported all sorts of terrifying paranormal encounters, including seeing the tails of a doctor's coat roaming through the halls, hearing screams, footsteps, and seeing items move seemingly out of there own accord.
There seems to be a consensus that there are few places as haunted as abandoned mental facilities, and with good reason - many of the mental hospitals open in the 1800s and early 1900s performed all sorts of experimental procedures on patients, and engaged in a variety of practices we'd now consider to be inhumane, and bordering on torture, by today's medical standards. After experiencing unspeakable horrors at the hands of those sworn to "do no harm", it's no wonder that the spirits of former patients are still haunting the halls of the facilities where they underwent their terrifying "treatments".
- The Bill Sketoe Hole - Newton, Alabama - This is a truly unique real haunt site. Haunted by Minister William Skeltoe, Sr., who was lynched by the community over his position during the Civil War. The townspeople, not accounting for Skeltoe's height, tried to hang him, but frankly, he was too tall, so they did what any reasonable lynch mob would do, and they dug a 2.5 foot deep hole below the lynching tree, so that Skeltoe couldn't escape his fate. Despite being filled in countless times over the years, the Skeltoe Hole has been known to empty itself mysteriously, and it continued to revert back to its original empty dimensions until 1990, when a tremendous amount of rock was deposited not just in the hole, but the surrounding area, to prevent flooding.
With the hole permanently filled, the townsfolk decided to build a monument to old Bill Skeltoe, which was erected at the site of his lynching in 2006. Hopefully, the statue will appease the spirit enough to stop coming back to the spot of his murder, but only time will tell.
Have You Visited Any of Alabama's Real Haunts? Share Your Experiences in the Comments Below!