The Sloss Furnace Hauntings are very real to anyone that has seen them, and if you have, they are something that you will never forget.
These acclaimed furnaces are now a National Historic Landmark in the Birmingham Alabama, area, and they operated from 1882 until 1971.
When they were fully operational, they were one of the largest and most productive pig-iron furnaces in the country.
After they closed, they became one of the first industrial sites to be named as an historical site, by the United States Department of Interiors.
As the Civil War came to an end, most, if not all of the South’s industries were in total ruins.
The Union armies destroyed mutation plants, Universities, as well as most of the manufacturing plants.
Once the reconstruction and rebuilding began in the South, building materials were not only short on supply, but they were also rare.
Pig iron was no exception, except that it was a crude form of iron that needed blast furnaces to smelt it down into usable iron.
Mr. James Sloss built and opened these furnaces in 1881 and was one of the original founders of the city of Birmingham.
Already extremely wealthy, he was looking to capitalize of this reconstruction.
The production of pig iron not only flourished under his direction at this new plant, but it also exploded.
However, after five years, Mr. Sloss sold the very successful operation, and the new owner did things a lot different than Mr. Sloss did.
One of the first things he did was to recruit and bring in new workers from another plant in the city that did not have strict restrictions.
One of the men was named Theo Jowers, and he was what was considered to be a journeyman, who had some experience in this type of furnace business.
Mr. Jowers soon thrived at the Sloss Furnaces, but it was beginning to cause some problems with a lot of the other employees.
Furnaces were notorious for being dangerous, especially the Alice Furnaces, where he came from.
In fact, during a stretch of 15 years, over 47 workers had died at that plant, as the regulations were not as stringent as they once were at Sloss.
One of the changes that were made under the new ownership was excessively long shifts, which made conditions much more threatening.
The on-housing premises that the men lived in, were also so bad that it only added to everyone’s frustrations.
According to folklore, in October of 1887, Jowers was working one of the night shifts, and he was above one of the hottest of the blast furnaces.
Because he, like most of the men were tired and overworked, he lost his footing and feel head first into the furnace.
While slipping may have been the cause, some of the employees that witnessed the accident, did not agree.
Almost to a man, they said that it looked like he was pushed, but there was one major problem with this; there was no one there.
There is another folklore legend about the death of Jowers; the only part of his body recovered was a badly burned heart.
In 1897, a local painter’s body was found at the site, but he did not work the at the location.
However, his body was found in an open water pit, but it he had been boiled alive before his death.
The legends are that someone no one had ever seen was drinking at a bar with him, and he was taken against his will to the furnaces and killed.
It Gets Even More Interesting
However, the Sloss Furnace Hauntings now start to get even more interesting.
There started to be sightings of the ghost of Theo Jowers working alongside some of men who he knew very well.
There were also reports of objects suddenly flying into the water tank where the boiled man’s body was found.
There were also several witnesses that heard voices from nowhere yelling “hurry up” or “watch out for the heat.
But there are still more legends of the Sloss Furnace Hauntings that occurred, and the most famous involved a man named Sam Blumenthal.
He was a night watchman that was hired much later than some of the earlier stories, in the year 1971.
One night while he was working his shift “someone or something” begin to very violently push him up several sets of stairs.
When he finally broke free and turned around, what he saw was horrifying.
It was an apparition of a half man and half beast, and when he went to the doctor, where he had been touched by whatever it was, he had severe burn marks.
The site today that is a national Historic landmark serves as a museum and is nationally recognized for its metal arts program.
However, the Sloss Furnace Hauntings are still alive and very real to several hundreds of people.
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