Sloss Furnace (sometimes titled "Sloss Furnaces") is the fifth episode of Season 1 of Ghost Adventures. Zak leads the team to Birmingham, AL, to investigate Sloss Furnaces. Built in 1881, this factory was a dangerous place to work. Many workers died and many more were injured. It's the lost souls of these workers that are believed to inhabit and haunt the factory.
Zak, Nick, and Aaron travel to Birmingham, Alabama. Nicknamed "Magic City", this is a town that sprang up metaphorically overnight in the late 1800s after the Civil War by the mid-1860s, with its explosive growth coming on the back of the iron industry. With the economy destroyed from the war and about 3 million slaves freed and who now needed to find work, some entrepreneurs like James Wither Sloss saw enormous business opportunity in the rebuilding. Sloss thus constructed the Sloss Furnaces, which went into blast between 1881 and 1883. Of course, with a place like this with its dangerous working conditions, it is to be expected that a lot of men are hurt over the years. For instance, at the furnace itself in the first decade of operation, they had a problem with a furnace clinker having a piece of coke (processed coal) sticking to its interior wall, and two men attempted to knock the coke off; a small explosion that occurred as a result made the two men lose their balance, and they fell into the furnace and were incinerated.
The tortured spirits occupying Sloss Furnaces, who have died from similar accidents over the years, seem compelled to reveal themselves to the living. Brooke Bowen, an eyewitness, saw a grayish figure peeking its head out and immediately disappearing. Eyewitness Kevin Walden, who was actually a local paranormal investigator here, explains that while in a boiler room attempting to film, his camera and other equipment clicked off and died in rapid succession, and he was slapped full force across the face by something he could not see, leaving a visible hand print on his face shortly afterward. He came running back outside to where his friend Josh Craig was, obviously terrified. The especially strange thing about the point of impact is that to the touch it was still entirely cool.
A former black worker at Sloss Furnace, Houston Williams, leads Zak @ Co. into an underground ore-transportation tunnel where an apparition of a man has been seen since even 40 years ago when Houston used to work here. Sarah Knight, Sloss Venue Coordinator, explains that shadows of men are regularly seen at either end of the tunnel, and as one walks through it, one hears the sounds of workers going behind and alongside themselves.
To further illustrate the sort of dangers working in Sloss Furnaces provided: In Blower Room #1, there are ten machines called Ingersoll Ram Turbo Compressors. In one instance in the past, while replacing one of the valves to one of the machines, the workers bought the wrong kind of valve, causing the compressor to seize up, lock up tight, and split the steam line. All the workers did to "fix" the damage was to weld a plate over the break in the steam line, then they fired up the compressor again, which caused the entire safety valve to produce a massive explosion, leaving both workers badly scalded, though alive. In another area, containing Blowing Engine Number 1 (which the Smithsonian reports is among the largest vertical steam engines in the world), the machine involves huge metallic wheels rotating at 35 revolutions a minute. A worker standing in one particular spot eating his lunch got caught up in the wind updraft and got snagged onto the wheel, and was totally mangled and crushed as he revolved around with the machine.
The deaths at Sloss Furnaces were many and often gruesome. Most were accidental; some were not. Sloss Venue Manager John Hancock saw an apparition at one of the towers which he was later told is identified by the name "Slag". Slag was a sadistic foreman who cruelly put the workers to work. His workers did not like him at all, and eventually decided to murder him by pushing him off a tower, though "officially" the story is that he "just fell". Eyewitness Michael Scoggins recounts a terrifying experience outside on the property where he saw a black figure about thirty feet away from him suddenly appear in front of his face, squeeze both of his lungs internally, and telepathically imprint into his mind "GET OUT OF HERE." Scoggins believes that it is the evil ghost of Slag.
Zak and Nick, after signing waivers, are allowed to climb up to the tallest point of a 90-year-old tower at Sloss Furnaces to where a lot of men used to fall to their deaths back in the day (Aaron stays safe on the ground). The floorboards on the top of the thin-metal balcony areas of the tower are unbolted, rusted, and cracked, which make them very dangerous to walk on at this elevation. The two men observe the various catwalks where men would inhale factory gases, lose their coordination, and fall off and splat like a pancakes on the ground far below.
Zak & Co. have access to the entire plant for their investigation and lockdown. At 8:15 PM, before they even have the chance to prepare their equipment for the investigation, Zak sees in the darkness a male figure wearing blue overalls and a white T-shirt, a typical worker's uniform from the old days of Sloss. Then, they hear paranormal footsteps. Pumped up for the rest of the night, they grab their gear and begin their investigation. First, they go to the underground tunnel. As they ask questions, they hear and record a very clear vocalization of a little child. Then, Aaron is suddenly poked in the eye by something that isn't there, shaking him up - possibly the same unseen force that slapped Kevin Walden. They continue through the tunnels (the old railroad tracks constantly trip them up while in the pitch darkness), and soon Aaron reports he heard footsteps walking fast behind them.
By 12:03 AM, their investigation is back above ground outside, and while they set up static night vision cameras in various areas, Zak sees and records a brief glowing ball of light moving in the distance. One camera they set up at the base of Furnace #2, where Scoggins had his physical experience with the dark entity that he saw, records a ghostly, glowing mist briefly forming between two sets of railings, while the sound of workers pounding on old metal is heard. Zak & Co. proceed to use a thermal imaging camera as they go down into the boiler room. They hear a slight pipe noise, then another one. While Zak attempts to goad the spirits, Nick witnesses something moving "big time".
Because Scoggins and Walden were by themselves when they were attacked, the investigators try a new approach: they set up a nerve center on the premises where Aaron will watch two monitors, each one showing a static night vision camera set up at a place where they investigated earlier - one in the underground tunnel, the other at the boiler room. Then Nick goes back to the underground tunnel alone while Zak goes back to the boiler room alone so that they can perform individual investigations in full view of Aaron.
Nick captures a garbled EVP that appears to say "I hate Zak". Zak hears some noises that the static camera records, and his body gets very cold. Then while he attempts to egg the spirits, he gets shocked by a physically loud screeching noise that is recorded, and he immediately captures a breathy EVP that appears to say "Come here." Nick, by 4:17, catches another EVP that sounds like a male voice screaming something indeterminate. Then, as Aaron watches the camera in the underground tunnel focused on Nick, Nick immediately bolts up and was startled to runs away. Aaron decides to leave his station to meet up with Nick, who has apparently fallen down. Nick relates that he had heard a ghostly voice breathe into his ear the words "COME ON". Also, right after Nick tripped and fell, the static night vision camera recorded the faint image of a mist-like figure floating and morphing at the far end of the tunnel before disappearing into thin air.
The lock down eventually concludes, and the Ghost Adventures crew travels to Temecula, CA, to have their evidence analyzed. Bill Tolley, lead investigator for PIMPS, verifies that one EVP appears to say "I hate Zak", and shows how the mist-like figure in the underground tunnel appears to be human-shaped.
- EVPs: "I hate Zak!", "Come on"
- Residual Noises: Pipes banging
- Apparition: A faint mist appears and vanishes behind a railing.
- Apparition: In the tunnel where Nick sat, a faint mist forms and fades in mid-air after he was startled by a nearby voice (which he says whispered, "Come on") and moved off camera.
- Visual sightings: Before they could even set up their equipment, Zak saw a full-bodied apparition wearing a blue overall and a white t-shirt walked across the wall.
- Physical harm: In the tunnel, Aaron was slapped in the eye (possibly by the spirit of Slag) and afterwards, both Zak and Nick denied slapping Aaron in the face.
- Richard Neely, PhD. - Sloss Historian
- Patrick Shelby - Former Sloss Employee
- Michael Scoggins - Eyewitness
- Brooke Bowen - Eyewitness
- Kevan Walden - Eyewitness
- Josh Craig - Eyewitness
- John Harnock - Sloss Furnace Manager
- first of the War torn location
|Season 1 Episodes|
|Bobby Mackey's Music World • Houghton Mansion • Moundsville Penitentiary • Riddle House • Sloss Furnace • Abandoned NJ Psychiatric Hospital • Edinburgh Vaults • Old Idaho Penitentiary|