I’ve always had a fascination with the unknown and unexplainable. What better day than Friday the 13th to explore just that in a city with a rich history and eccentric cultures. Check out these 5 places in Birmingham that’ll give you goosebumps.
1. Birmingham Oddities
Don’t judge me, but Birmingham Oddities is one of my favorite places for all things weird, wacky and downright creepy. This intimate shop is full of surprises. Every nook and cranny is occupied with some of the most chilling yet fascinating objects. It’s like walking into a mad scientist’s lab but in the best way possible.
Looking for taxidermy rats imitating Vulcan? Or maybe you’re in the market for a skull or two? If those aren’t your vibe, maybe the creepiest vintage bunny costume head I’ve ever seen will suit your fancy. Think Donny Darko vibes.
2. Sloss Furnaces
Are you up for a little ghost story?
Sloss Furnaces operated from 1882 to 1971. Workers were often forced to work in terrible conditions. Sometimes the temperature at the plant could reach 120 degrees with low visibility.
Along comes James “Slag” Wormwood who creates an unbelievably cruel work environment by making workers take dangerous risks to speed up production. No breaks. No holidays. During his time, 47 workers lost their lives and several were severely injured.
In October of 1906, Slag loses his footing atop the highest furnace known as “Big Alice” and falls into a pool of melted iron ore. Of course, no one can survive that. Ever since then, countless people have reported paranormal activity like being pushed, hearing screaming, and even being hit so hard bruises appear out of nowhere. Have you come face to face with Slag?
From first-hand experience, I can confidently say that Sloss is haunted. If you’ve been here—not at the musical festival (R.I.P)—you know the atmosphere can give you full-body chills.
Sloss Furnaces has been dubbed as one of the most haunted places in America by national publications and featured on Ghost Hunters. Take one step into the infamous underground tunnel and it becomes pretty obvious how Sloss earned its hair-raising reputation.
3. Books, Beans, and Candles
Books, Beans, and Candles is Birmingham’s largest metaphysical and coffee shoppe. They specialize in occult and metaphysical supplies. They also happen to brew a mean cup of coffee. I don’t know about you but this is right up my alley. Not sure what that means? Here’s a rundown:
- Occult (n.) – supernatural, mystical, or magical beliefs, practices, or phenomena
- Metaphysical (adj.) – relating to metaphysics or the study of what cannot be reached through objective studies of material reality a.k.a the unexplainable
They have a team professional psychics, palm readers and aura photography that’ll definitely give you goosebumps. Sign me up ASAP!
4. Century Plaza
Gosh, these pictures bring back memories. I’m only 22 but I remember going to Century Plaza when I was younger. As the times have changed, it kind of serves as the poster child for the death of retail.
The 700,000 square-foot mall closed in 2009 after facing competition with other local malls. Now it sits dormant. The word that best describes Century Plaza is kenopsia—the eerie, forlorn atmosphere of a place that’s usually bustling with people but is now abandoned. If you’ve ever wandered through school empty school hallways, you know the feeling.
5. Carraway Hospital
We all know that iconic blue star atop the abandoned Carraway Hospital. However, many of us haven’t ventured into the desolate structure. It’s become a playground for urban adventurers although illegal. Besides the occasional ghost story, there’s something chilling and eerily beautiful about abandoned buildings.
Take a quick look inside and you’ll see why this hospital made the list.
The historic hospital won’t be there for much longer. Carraway Hospital will be demolished but in its place will be a multi-use redevelopment project to help move Birmingham forward.