In 1881 Colonel James Wither Sloss built the furnaces that would later become known as the ‘City Furnaces.’ In the late 1920’s after extensive remodeling the furnaces boasted employment of around 500 people. During that time 400 tons of pig iron were produced daily. In 1971 the furnace ceased production and closed its doors.
In 1981 the Sloss Furnace became one of the first industrial sites to be preserved for public use, and was put on the list as a National Historical Landmark. Today, it also serves as a museum of industry, has a metal arts program, and has earned its place as one of America’s Most Haunted Places.
What is the cause of the hauntings at this site? Many believe the site is haunted by a former sadistic foreman James ‘Slag’ Wormwood. He was foreman to about 150 workers. On his watch, 47 men lost their lives on the job and many others were injured due to accidents. James Wormwood also lost his life on the job. He feel into a pool of melted iron ore after loosing his footing. There was speculation that one of the workers may have pushed him, but nothing could ever be proven. A total of 60 men lost their lives at the furnace while working.
After his death and accident many workers reported feeling a sense of evil in the furnaces. Strange noises, foot steps, and voices have all been heard. A night watchman in the 1920’s claims to have encountered Slag. While on his watch he was pushed hard from behind and heard a voice telling him ‘Get back to work!’. He searched the grounds but never did find the source of the voice.
In 1947 another strange event occurred. Three supervisors were touring the facility when their guide turned to them to point something out he discovered that they were gone. A frantic search found them unconscious and locked in a boiler room. Strangely enough none of the men could remember how they had gotten there, but all agreed that a badly burned man yelling ‘push some steel!’ was the one who put them there. To date over 100 suspected reports of paranormal activity have been recorded in Birmingham police records.