While all haunted houses are frightening, there’s something about a place with a real haunted history that makes it even scarier. That’s the case with the Sloss Fright Furnace. This place isn’t some haunted house that a group of people threw together. It has a haunted past that makes it one of the most frightening places around.
Sloss Furnaces opened its doors in 1882, and for close to a century, it turned coal and ore into steel. This furnace played a big role in the industrial revolution. The steel ended up in skyscrapers in New York and automobiles that were being churned out in Detroit. This furnace was responsible for turning Birmingham into a metropolis.
That sounds great, doesn’t it? Things got a little bit darker though.
Meet James “Slag” Wormwood
Ah, you were wondering when this story would pick up, right? This is where things start to get interesting. Now, you’re looking at the early 1900s. A guy by the name of James “Slag” Wormwood is the foreman for the graveyard shift, and he runs a skeleton crew.
He presided over the Sloss crew during those horrible summer months, when it would get up to 120 degrees in the plant. Most people didn’t want to take the shift, so the company ended up hiring the poorest of the poor to do it. Most of the shift didn’t just work there. They lived on-site, too.
Wormwood wasn’t too worried about the bad conditions. He constantly forced his workers to speed up to increase production, and he would call them back to work at a moment’s notice, even when they were finished with their shift.
Forty-seven members of his team died during his reign, which was ten times higher than any other shift. Others had horrible accidents, and six people even ended up going blind.
No More Slag
So this Slag fella sounds like a pretty bad guy, right? Maybe he had a change of heart like Scrooge and ended up giving his team vacations and told them to slow down and be safe.
No, not quite. Instead, he met his own untimely demise. He was standing on top of a furnace known as Big Alice when he took a tumble directly into melted iron ore. That was the only time he was ever on that furnace, and it ended with his death.
Some believe the workers used that story as a cover for feeding him to the furnace. No one actually knows what happened.
The graveyard shift officially closed.
Workers noticed an unnatural presence immediately following Slag’s death, and the stories got stranger and stranger over the years. A worker claimed he was pushed from behind, and supervisors were discovered unconscious and locked in a boiler room. Others claimed to see monsters. There have been more than 100 reports of strange activity, and Slag is believed to be behind all of them.
You’ll surely want to visit the furnace this Halloween, but you will want to make a quick escape if things get too scary. Visit Brannon Honda in Birmingham, Alabama, before your trip to the furnace. We will hook you up with a new vehicle that will give you a quick out if you need to make an escape.