Birmingham, AL, was founded in 1871, five years after the Civil War, and with it, the need for tons of pig iron to fix America’s crumbling infrastructure. To satisfy the demand, Colonel James Withers Sloss started construction on Sloss Furnaces. A year later, the company opened its doors to hundreds of employees, according to its official website. Working on blast furnaces was an advanced job, and it was also dangerous. That danger was soon realized as many workers started being incinerated in the furnaces and falling to their deaths.
Conditions only worsened in the early 1900s after a cruel foreman, James “Slag” Wormwood, took a job at Sloss. According to Reader’s Digest, Wormwood took dangerous risks in order to increase production. As a result, nearly 50 employees died on-site and many were involved in terrible accidents during his tenure. Allegedly, in retaliation, his workers tossed him into the furnace in 1906.
You can still tour the grounds today, if you dare. While there, you might just hear the voice of Slag telling his employees to “get back to work” along with other paranormal occurrences. Sloss even hosts a fright night every year around Halloween that’s based heavily on the Slag story.
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