Sloss Furnace - Our Experience

On July 3rd, 2010 I took my 10 year-old daughter Isabella to Sloss Furnace in Birmingham, AL.  We love watching shows like Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, and we'd seen the episode of Ghost Adventures where they investigated the furnace. We had joked around about going there and "ghost hunting" at some point, since it was less than 15 minutes away from our  home. We had never attempted any sort of paranormal investigation, and frankly that's not something I would generally consider doing with a 10 year-old child in tow. However, she is a very bright and mature girl, and as we often go places and have pretend adventures, I figured this would be much the same, except we would be pretending to be part of a paranormal investigation team.

I carried the requisite equipment (or what we could cobble together) - video camera, digital still camera - we even purchased a digital voice recorder on the way just to be sure we could capture any EVPs if necessary. We got there around 3:00pm, and with the grounds closing at 4:00pm I figured the best we could do was to check the place out, maybe look for places we had seen in the episode, and scout out locations for a future trip. After spending a few minutes in the museum/gift shop, we ventured out onto the furnace grounds. Isabella fired up the voice recorder, and while I had the video camera with us, I didn't  turn it on immediately (a decision I would later regret).

We began walking through the facility, and were joking and not really yet seriously trying to capture anything. We walked through a couple of sections, and came to a small office just below the tallest structure at the plant (not sure what it's called). It was a small room with brick walls and a dirt floor. There was almost nothing in the room - some trash strewn on the floor, a metal folding chair and not much else. Isabella  was playing her role to the hilt  - "Is there anyone here with us? Can you make a noise? Can you knock on something?"

The room was directly
below this tall structure

"Knock, knock"

"Seriously?" I thought. She asked...and something knocked.

"Daaad?", Isabella asked - her eyes saying "please tell me that was you!". But it wasn't. I have no freaking idea what made the loud knock-knock sound that came from just behind me - where there was nothing but a dirt floor, brick wall and empty space.

We stood there in disbelief for a moment, then began looking around for what could have possibly made that noise. I scrambled to turn on the video camera, realizing that I had just missed something potentially significant, however unexpected.  We asked for it to make another noise, to no avail. Finally, we walked outside so I could look and see if something out there might provide a clue to what we had heard. But no clue was to be found.

We went around to other  areas of the furnaces, recognizing places the Ghost Adventures crew had been and generally having a good time. when we got in the car to leave, I hooked our voice recorder up to the car stereo so we could listen to what we recorded and see if the knocking sound we had heard was caught "on tape". When the event approached, we  both strained to listen, but it wasn't necessary - the knocking had indeed been captured, more clearly than we could have dared to hope for. Chills went up and down my arms as I listened and realized that what we had heard truly sounded like a knock-knock response to Isabella's request for someone to "knock on something". Even stranger, it was so clear and loud, that it was easily recognizable as a knock on wood - except that there was no wood in the room except for some rotten planks on the window that would have made a more dull, flat sound - surely not the tight, quick knock that we had heard.

Listen to the audio clip we recorded at Sloss Furnace

Listen to the clip we recorded in an external player  (731KB mp3 )

I give my solemn word that the sound on the recording was not made by either of us. As far as we could determine, there was no one within 100 yards of us at the time we recorded it. Maybe it was something perfectly explainable, but that explanation eludes me. As it stands, I think what we got is a piece of potential "paranormal evidence" more compelling than much of what we see on the various ghost hunting shows.

If you have had a similar experience, feel free to contact me or leave a comment below.