Considering how many workers lost their lives at Sloss Furnaces’ in Birmingham, Ala. when it was in operation, is it any surprise that the former industrial site is said to be haunted?
Working at the furnace, which was in use for nearly 100 years, was considered to be very dangerous, and employees met grisly deaths — either by being incinerated, poisoned by carbon monoxide or falling victim to steam pipes that often burst unexpectedly — on a regular basis.
While the furnace, which was named a National Historic Landmark in 1981, may have closed up shop in 1971, it seems not all of its former employees left, according to The Travel Channel. At night, visitors have claimed to hear the screams of those who died, seen shadowy figures and heard the calls of a foreman deriding his crew.
Like a lot of ghost stories, the tale of Henry Vignes, who is said to haunt New Orleans’ St. Louis Cemetery, is a sad one.
Vignes, a sailor during the nineteenth century, trusted the wrong person with keeping his important documents, including the deeds to his family tomb, according to Ghost City Tours’ website.
The swindler sold the deeds and Vignes died before he could reclaim ownership. Instead of being placed in his family tomb, the sailor was buried in an unmarked grave in the St. Louis Cemetery.
Since his death, visitors of the cemetery have claimed to see Vignes looking for his grave. Some even say his ghost will approach the living and ask if they know where the Vignes tomb is. Others said his apparition can be heard saying “I need to rest!” as he wanders through the tombs.
The Candy Lady is a legendary figure who is said to make children in Austin, Texas, disappear. “Children in the area told stories of how they would wake in the morning to find candy sitting on their windowsills … and would start to find notes on the wrappers, many times asking the children to come and play,” according to UrbanLegendsOnline.com. “The notes were signed ‘The Candy Lady.'”
According to legend, numerous children apparently took the Candy Lady up on her offer. “To this day, any time a kid goes missing, all the locals say The Candy Lady got them. Children believe that she takes them somewhere and pulls out their teeth or stabs them with a fork,” the website says.
When you approach a railway tunnel on Colchester Road in Fairfax County, be careful: This is where the Bunny Man is said to roam. According to local lore, the Bunny Man is a man dressed in a rabbit costume who carries and ax. A story by WAMU.org says, “In 1904, there was an asylum not far from this bridge. Clifton residents didn’t like the idea of mental patients near their new homes, so they got it shut down, and all the patients were taken by bus to Lorton prison.” The bus crashed and one inmate escaped. That story claims the name came from bunny carcasses left in the woods that the escapee had eaten.
The WAMU article reports that people began going to the tunnel on Halloween. Legend says if they see a bright light or orb, the people “are strung up like bunnies.”
The legend of the Bell Witch of Tennessee is arguably the most famous haunting in the country, or at least the best documented. It has been the subject of books and movies across 200 years. The Bell Witch remains popular with tourists today – people can visit the Bell Witch Cave, located on the land where John Bell and his daughter, Betsy, reportedly experienced horrific manifestations between 1817 and 1821 in Adams, Tenn.
It began when John Bell spotted a mysterious creature in the cornfield with “the body of a dog and the head of a rabbit.” Soon after the sighting, the Bell children began hearing scratching noises and experiencing various disturbances, thought to be the result of a curse by a local woman with whom John had a property dispute, Kate Batts.
Pat Fitzhugh wrote: “The encounters escalated, and the Bells’ youngest daughter, Betsy, began experiencing brutal encounters with the invisible entity. It would pull her hair and slap her relentlessly, often leaving welts and hand prints on her face and body.” In 1820, John Bell died, becoming, Fitzhugh said, “the only person in history whose death was attributed to the doings of a Spirit.”
He continued: “In 1817, Bell contracted a mysterious affliction that worsened over the next three years, ultimately leading to his death. Kate took pleasure in tormenting him during his affliction, finally poisoning him one December morning as he lay unconscious after suffering a number of violent seizures.”
The Lizard Man is a legendary creature who roams the swamps near Bishopville, S.C. The Lizard Man is a “connoisseur of delicious chrome trim on automobiles … South Carolina’s very own homegrown monster,” the website says. The creature, with red eyes, green skin and long black claws, was said to attack cars, ripping off mirrors, shredding roofs and ripping off fenders.
It began on June 29, 1988, when a teenager got a flat tire and stopped to change it at the edge of Scape Ore Swamp. “He got out of the car to change the tire when he heard a sound, like someone running, getting louder and louder. Suddenly, from the darkness, it emerged!” Since then, police have responded to numerous reports of damaged cars near the swamp and sightings of the creature continue to be reported to this day.
The Skirvin Hotel was a luxury hotel built in 1910 in Oklahoma City by oil magnate W.B. Skirvin. Skirvin dabbled in illicit affairs as well as oil and got one of the hotel maids pregnant in the 1930s.
“The maid soon conceived and in order to prevent a scandal, she was locked in a room on the top floor of the hotel,” LegendsofAmerica.com says. “The desolate girl soon grew depressed and even after the birth of her child; she was still not let out of the room. Half out of her mind, she finally grabbed the infant child and threw herself, along with the baby, out of the window.”
The unnamed maid’s spirit is said to haunt the halls of the Skirvin to this day.
Also known as the “Ghost Ship of the Outer Banks,” the Carroll A. Deering was a very real schooner at the center of a mystery. The National Park Service website tells the details of the ship’s true fate: In August 1920, “the Carroll A. Deering set sail from Norfolk, Virginia, in tip-top shape, with an experienced captain and a crew of 10 men bound for Rio de Janeiro with a cargo of coal. The ship departed on August 22, and although Captain William H. Merritt fell ill a few days later and had to be replaced by the hastily-recruited Captain W. B. Wormell, the ship delivered its cargo on schedule and set sail to return in December.”
In January 1921, the captain of a lightship reported having seen the Deering and crew at what is now the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, heading for home. When the Deering was next spotted, on January 31, the schooner was abandoned and caught against the Diamond Shoals. “The crew had vanished like ghosts. Gone with them were personal belongings, key navigational equipment, some papers, and the ship’s anchors. Despite an exhaustive investigation by the FBI, no trace of the crew or the ship’s logs has ever been uncovered.” The ship was later scuttled but people say the ship can still be seen floating along the coast of North Carolina.
The story surrounding this grave is pure legend, yet it continues to lure visitors to Glenwood Cemetery in Yazoo City, Miss. A woman thought to be a witch is reportedly interred in a plot surrounded by chain links, which led to a legend printed in 1971 in the book “Good Old Boy,” written by local Willie Morris, who died in 1999 and is buried 13 steps south of the witch’s grave.
According to the legend, the old woman lived on the Yazoo River, and was caught torturing fishermen who she lured in off the river. The sheriff is said to have chased her through the swamps where she was half drowned in quicksand by the time the sheriff caught up with her. As she was sinking, she swore her revenge on Yazoo City and on the town’s people. ‘In 20 years, I will return and burn this town to the ground!” No one thought much of it at the time. Then came May 25, 1904… The Fire of 1904 destroyed over 200 residences and nearly every business in Yazoo City – 324 buildings in total.
This unusual legend has its roots in a modern event. According to a story, a Halloween attraction in northern Louisiana (no exact location is given) was closed after people went crazy in a cube-shaped room or shed, its walls lined with mirrors, near the end of the attraction. Reportedly the room is all that remains of the attraction. Those who dare to venture inside will have their souls stolen by the devil, legend says.