At the Most Haunted Places in Alabama, the Past Is Alive
Haunted| | By Jason Owen
Throughout the country, there are hundreds of thousands of stories of weird sightings and occurrences at “haunted” locations, but Alabama may contain some of the most gruesome and terrifying of them all. Think you know scary? Wait until you read about the most haunted places in Alabama.
Would you dare venture to any one of these? Tell us your favorite spot in the comments, and if you know a scary spot that we missed, let us know so we can share it with others who love a good scare!
Sloss Furnaces – Birmingham
Starting off is maybe one of the most haunted places in Alabama, if not the country. Sloss Furnaces has been in operation for more than 100 years. In 1906, a notoriously tyrannical foreman, James “Slag” Wormwood, fell into a pit of molten iron ore. Stories swirl over whether Slag accidentally slipped … or if a disgruntled worker pushed him in. Through the years, there have been stories of a presence at the worksite. In 1947, three supervisors were knocked unconscious by an angry man with horrific burns who scolded them to get back to work. In 1971, night watchman Samuel Blumenthal was “beaten” by an unknown entity, which left burns on Blumenthal’s body where the being struck him. Yeah, … we’ll just go ahead and skip this place on our next trip.
St. James Hotel – Selma
The St. James Hotel was constructed in 1837 (known then as the Brantley) and housed Union soldiers during the Battle of Selma in the Civil War, as well as reportedly serving as a favorite destination of American outlaw Jesse James and his wife Lucinda. After the hotel reopened in 1997, guests and workers reported seeing apparitions of figures they claim are James and his wife. James typically stayed in rooms 214, 314, and 315, where many of the sightings take place. Lucinda also reportedly had an affinity for the scent of lavender, which many claim to smell inexplicably throughout the hotel. Oh, and they often see the full form of a woman walking the hallways. Hmm, I wonder if they have any rooms available for the weekend?
Fort Morgan – Gulf Shores
This old Civil War fort has a ton of history down on the Gulf, and plenty of spooky stories to go along with it. Numerous visitors report hearing and seeing two separate entities throughout the grounds. In the early 1900s, a prisoner supposedly hung himself in the barracks late at night. Nighttime visitors have reported hearing screams from the grounds. Other visitors have reported seeing a female figure walking the fort, possibly in search for “justice” after she was dragged into the fort in the latter part of the 19th century and beaten to death by male attackers. The men were reportedly never caught.
Gaines Ridge Dinner Club – Camden
You’ve heard of “dinner and a movie,” but how about “dinner and a ghost?” That’s what you could get at one of Alabama’s top food destinations. Along with the dinner club’s top-rated “Black Bottom Pie,” guests may get a taste of the macabre from the ghostly apparition that screams and calls out names, as well as pushing or holding doors shut. Since there’s pie, I’m willing to risk this one.
Bear Creek Swamp – Prattville
Who doesn’t love a good swamp? Nobody raising their hands? That seems about right. Well, if you like the paranormal then maybe this will be the one exception. What sets Bear Creek Swamp apart is that you don’t even really have to “visit” the swamp to see or hear anything. All you have to do is drive through it, as many motorists have reported a 4-foot-tall, child-like apparition appearing in front of their car. If you do decide to stop, you may be treated to phantom cars, strange orbs of light, or even the ghost of a mother searching for her lost child. An urban legend persists that if you say, “We have your baby” three times, the mother will attack you. Don’t think we’ll be testing that theory any time soon.
Boyington Oak – Mobile
In the Church Street Graveyard in Mobile, Alabama, is a large oak tree known as the Boyington Oak. Legend has it the tree sprouted from the grave of Charles Boyington, who was convicted for the murder of his friend Nathaniel Frost in 1835. Despite professing his innocence, Boyington was executed for the murder. Boyington said that a tree would grow from his grave as proof of his innocence, and that’s exactly what happened. Some have claimed to see a ghostly figure sitting solemnly at the base of the tree.
USS Alabama BB-60 – Mobile
Completed in 1942, the USS Alabama BB-60, a South Dakota-class battleship, served three years to the end of World War II before being decommissioned in 1947 and eventually becoming a museum ship. The Alabama sustained only five fatalities during the war, which were unfortunately friendly fire deaths when dual five-inch 38 caliber mount No. 9 accidentally fired into mount No. 5. Visitors to the museum report hearing disembodied footsteps, popping, and tapping noises in the bulkhead, as well as seeing steel hatches slamming shut on their own.
W.C. Rice Cross Garden – Prattville
While W.C. Rice’s Cross Garden may not be “haunted,” per se, we’re including it on sheer creepiness alone. Rice started the makeshift memorial to his mother in 1976. What has grown from that is an eerie collection of white crosses and hand-painted Bible scripture signs that tell anyone who reads them how they’re most likely going to hell, which is, according to some of the signs, “Hot, hot, hot.” Is that what that song’s about!?