It’s October, the season of spooks and scares. Whether you’re here when this blog entry and video go live or any other time of the year, I hope you’re ready for some good ghost stories. Let’s talk about 10 creepy haunted places in Alabama.
By the way, I won’t be covering the ghost town of Cahawba because I already covered it here.
Bass Cemetery lies just off a dirt road in Ironale, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. It dates back to at least the 1800’s and doesn’t have any specific ghosts associated with it, but plenty of more vague legends.
Rumors of occult rituals at the cemetery have been circulating for awhile. Several sources report an open grave there with no body inside it. This grave was supposedly exhumed by a cult member who tried to rob it. Dead animals in the cemetery have also been attributed to this alleged cult and their rituals.
Reported paranormal activity in the cemetery includes: Orbs, mists, apparitions and general feelings of unease. Disembodied screams have also been reported — at least I hope they’re disembodied and nobody is actually getting attacked nearby!
Bottenfield Middle School
Middle school is already scary enough. You’re starting puberty and dealing with things like acne and crushes. But students at Bottenfield Middle School in Adamsville have to deal with ghosts as well.
Bottenfield is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former male student, though there’s no word on who this ghost is, how he died or why he’s there. Strange activity attributed to him has occurred in the school’s band hall and choir room, where electrical equipment will sometimes cut in and out on its own.
Another ghost, a tall man in a top hat, has been spotted in or near the school’s gym. The man appears, then vanishes just as quickly. Lights in the gym are also said to turn on and off by themselves, and a piano there once started playing on its own.
Dauphin Island is a pretty popular tourist attraction — and with its gorgeous beaches, it’s not hard to see why people flock there when the weather gets warm. But the island was also the site of an important historical event.
The Battle of Mobile Bay was fought on the island in August of 1864, near the end of the Civil War. It resulted in a Union victory, cutting off one of the Confederate’s last ports and likely helping them a great deal in winning the war the following year. But the battle also resulted in over 1,800 casualties — and if you know anything about ghosts, you know they often congregate on battlefields where plenty of soldiers lost their lives — often brutally.
Unsurprisingly, many of the ghosts of Fort Gains are those of soldiers. Apparitions in military uniforms are often spotted, with one reportedly following visitors around to check on them, then disappearing after they leave. A female ghost has been spotted at night by multiple people, and other things like shadowy figures, whispers and phantom footsteps have also been reported.
Hell's Gate Bridge
This bridge stretches across a portion of Choccolocco Creek in Oxford — at least it did. A 2017 report said it was scheduled to be demolished, but no word on whether that’s actually happened yet.
The bridge known as Hell’s Gate Bridge was opened around 1930. Nobody seems to know what the bridge’s official name is, but it got the nickname it’s known by due to one of the legends associated with it. People say if you stop on the bridge and look over your shoulder, you’ll see the gates of hell behind you.
Another story that supposedly took place in the 1950’s tells of a couple driving across the bridge when their car crashed and went into the water below, killing them both. If you stop on the bridge and turn off your car lights, you’ll sometimes see either the ghost couple in your backseat or, at the very least, a wet spot where they supposedly sat. Is the story of this couple’s demise just another, unrelated legend attached to the bridge? Or did they perhaps crash their car when one of them looked behind them and saw something shocking?
The bridge closed in 2007. That same year, the Oxford Paranormal Society did an investigation there. Members stayed on the bridge for about two hours one night in January, but nobody saw anything out of the ordinary. When they went back later, they took a photo that could have been an orb — or could have been an ordinary dust speck. Still, despite their claims that the bridge isn’t haunted, the stories continue.
A stretch of Highway 5 that runs through Lynn in northern Alabama is said to carry a lot more than just vehicles. As the story goes, a girl and her boyfriend attended prom together, and many teenagers do. But on the way home, they got into a fight and the distraught girl asked her boyfriend to let her out of the car. She planned on walking home from there, but was hit by an 18-wheeler before she could get there. The driver drove away, leaving here there to die.
Ever since, people have reported seeing the girl walking along the side of the road, looking for her killer. She’s said to climb onto the side of any 18 wheelers that make their way down the highway, peeking in the window to see if the driver is the one who killed her. Some truckers reportedly avoid this route entirely so they won’t have to see her. And if she ever did find the trucker who ended her life…well, I’m guessing the consequences wouldn’t be too pretty for them.
Fortunately, I don’t think any truckers need to worry about this girl. The story has all the hallmarks of a classic urban legend, and I found no reports of a girl who matched her description being killed on the road. So I think we can safely write this one off as fiction.
Maple Hill Cemetery
The history of one of Huntsville’s oldest cemeteries stretches all the way back to the early 1800’s. And, as with many final resting places, it comes with plenty of ghost stories attached.
A few ghosts do haunt the cemetery proper, including a man named Phillip Flanagan. Flanagan was married to a woman best known as the ‘Black Widow of Hazel Green.’ Elizabeth Routt reportedly had numerous husbands — and was suspected of killing all of them. Now, her second husband is said to wander the cemetery, not sure of exactly why he’s there. Other stories include that of a Confederate soldier who doesn’t talk to people but nods at them in acknowledgement as they pass, and Albert Erskine, who’s said to haunt his family mausoleum.
But the most haunted place in the cemetery is said to be the Dead Children’s Playground, unsurprisingly said to be occupied by the ghosts of children. Apparitions and strange sounds and noises have been reported there, especially at night — when no kids should be out there. The uploader of one YouTube video from 2010 claims to have captured the ghost children’s voices. And swings on the playground are said to move on their own — presumably when there’s no wind.
But why is this playground haunted? One theory suggests the most obvious explanation: That these are the ghosts of children buried in the cemetery. There’s also a rumor that the playground was built specifically for the ghost children. Other stories claim multiple children were abducted and murdered years sago and their bodies were dumped on the playground. Whatever the case, a dead children’s playground at a cemetery has got to be one of the creepiest things on this list.
Consolation Church and its adjoining cemetery once stood deep in the woods of Red Level, Alabama. These hauntings are some of the most disjointed, random stories I’ve ever heard attached to a haunted place, and there doesn’t seem to be any sort of origin story for any of them.
While it was standing, the church was reported to be the home of banshees, hellhounds, a Confederate solider ghost and even a haunted outhouse! Shrieks and sobs inside were attributed to the aforementioned banshee and, like with all banshees, they were said to be a sign that someone inside the church would soon die. A pickup truck is said to drive on the road by the church at night, following other vehicles. If it catches up to you, the legends say, your vehicle will crash and everyone inside will die. If you’re driving by and need a quick pit stop, you should think twice before using the church’s outhouse. If you go in, the door is said to lock behind you from the outside. Unless someone else comes along and unlocks it for you, you’re pretty much screwed.
The church cemetery is reportedly home to a ghost boy and girl. The girl likes to skip down the road, then disappears. Cars are unable to pass by her; if they try, they’re stopped by some unseen force until the girl is ahead of them.
The ghost boy likes to play with a ball, as many living children do. But if his ball rolls toward you and you pick it up and roll it back to him, that means you’ll die soon. Apparently the paranormal entities that haunt Consolation Church are even more obsessed with death than most!
In 2012, reporters at the Greenville Advocate visited the church and reported seeing no paranormal activity. Unfortunately, the church was destroyed by a fire in 2015. The fire was ruled as arson but, as far as I could tell, theperson responsible was never caught. I guess we’ll just have to take the word of Greenville Advocate reporters and write these stories off as fiction.
Gadsden, Alabama is a pretty decent sized tourist hot spot. But somehow I doubt many people who venture here are told to visit the woods just off of Hinds Road, where the ghost of a very creepy woman is said to still be hanging around.
Local legends tells the story of the “witch in the woods.” This woman was said to live in the area in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s and loved harassing people. She was especially fond of children, as many witches are. Kids who went in the woods to look for her often didn’t return. Stories began to spread that the witch would kill the children, bathe in their blood to keep herself young and decorate her house with their bones. Another version said she drank the children’s blood.
Finally, after 20 years, the mayor formed a group of vigilantes to find the witch. On the way out to her shack in the woods, they found a pond that was stained red with the blood of the missing children — and their various body parts.
After this, the group found a cave that smelled horrible. One person went inside, let out a horrific scream and ran back out. He never spoke again.
Finally, they found the witch’s shack. They opened the door to a beautiful young woman with black hair, naked and covered and blood. It was the witch. The group burned the cabin down with her inside it. People in the city said they heard her screams even from out in the woods. In some versions, the witch has a son and both walk into the woods, on fire, never to be seen again.
Today, rumors of satanic rituals in the area swirl. Cars on the road stop running, seemingly on their own, and won’t start back up again for several minutes. People who venture into the woods will see a shack, but come back later and not be able to find it. Did they just get lost and become unable to retrace their steps? Or is this the witch’s magic at work?
Legend also says that if you walk along the road at night, a woman will run up to you, screaming about how she sold her soul to the devil — something the witch was also said to have done. Is this the witch’s ghost, wanting everyone to know her story? Or is it just a drunk woman who didn’t want to get an Uber?
So this is quite the story. We’ve got a mix of Baba Yaga and Elizabeth Bathory, along with some Blair Witch sprinkled in. The vigilante group hunting down the witch even reminds me of a similar quest in Skyrim, although that particular story line involved vampires rather than witches. All these different elements — most of them taken straight from fiction — make me think this one’s probably just a local legend — albeit a fascinating one.
Bill Sketoe's Hole
There’s not much solid information on Bill Sketoe that’s easily accessible, but I’ve done my best to cobble together what I could find. As always, take it with a grain of salt.
Sketoe was a Methodist pastor in Newton, Alabama during the Civil War. As the story goes, he was a solider in the Confederate Army who temporarily left to care for his wife, who had pneumonia. He hired someone to take his place on the battlefield, but when he stayed gone for an unusually long time, people started to think he was a deserter.
On December 3, 1864, a group of his fellow soldiers found Bill Sketoe by the Choctawhatchee River in Newton. Convinced he was a traitor, they surrounded him and hanged him on a nearby tree. Bill insisted he he wasn’t a deserter, that he planned on going back, but they didn’t listen. Before he died, he prayed for his killers — but he also said that if they did hang him, they’d never forget that spot.
Because Bill was quite tall, one of the men dug a hole 8 inches deep so he could be properly strangled. Bill Sketoe died on that tree.
Of course, there is some conflicting information out there, including the suggestions that Sketoe was either drafted into the Confederacy against his will or that he never even fought in the war at all. But none of that stopped the stories that soon followed. Any time someone tried to fill in the hole under the tree, they’d come back a few hours later or the next day only to find it empty. No matter what people put in or how much they put in, it was always gone when they return. One commenter on a YouTube video claims he had a friend who filled in the hole with leaves, then slept at the site in a sleeping bag. When this friend woke up the next morning, the leaves were scattered on the side of the hole.
The hole was destroyed in a flood in 1990, but the stories haven’t stopped. Bill Sketoe’s ghost has been said to haunt the surrounding area, including a bridge over the river. If the stories about him are true, he was unjustly executed, without due process or even a trial. Can you really blame him for being upset?
This Methodist college was initially founded in 1854 in Tuskegee, but the campus was moved to Montgomery in 1909, where it remains today. There are a few hauntings associated with the school, but the most popular two center on the so-called Red Lady. Or, rather, Red Ladies.
The first Red Lady story dates back to the early days of the school, when it was still in Tuskegee. One night, a woman dressed in a red gown roamed the dorm halls and was spotted by multiple students. This appeared to be an isolated incident, but it’s been speculated that it was a sign of what would later happen to a student named Martha.
As Martha’s story goes, she was from New York and didn’t want to come to Alabama for college, but her dad said in his will that she had to to go Huntingdon. So Martha begrudgingly packed up her things and moved into the school’s Pratt Hall dormitory.
But Martha’s time at Huntingdon wasn’t a good one. She didn’t have a lot of friends and wasn’t very good at making them — likely due to her desire not to be there. When her roommate moved out, that seemed to be the last straw for Martha, who wasn’t seen again for several days. When her dorm president finally entered the room, concerned about Martha, they found her body; she had taken her own life.
Martha was said to love the color red. All her room decor, as well as many of her clothes and other things, were red. Legend says there’s a red glowing light in her room on the anniversary of her death. Her ghost has been spotted on campus by students, presumably dressed all in red. Some believe Martha’s ghost stuck around as a cautionary tale about what can happen when you exclude or mistreat people. However, there’s no record she ever existed, and no solid date for her supposed suicide is known. So those things do make me skeptical — but if Martha was a real person, may she rest in peace.
The school’s Houghton Memorial Library is also said to be haunted by a male ghost. The man has supposedly been around since the 1980’s and mostly just causes mischief. Books fall off shelves and doors open back up on their own after being closed. People claim to see a foot poking out from behind a shelf when there’s nobody there. Staff members will leave a room, only to come back in and see items rearranged when there’s nobody else in there. This ghost is said to be especially active at night, when students are often completing late night study sessions alone.
It’s not clear just who this ghost is, but in the 1990’s a student suggested a name for him: Frank. Whoever “Frank” is, his antics go beyond mere mischief; he’s also said to maintain the library’s official Facebook page, though no word on how this works.
Back in my college days, I applied to Huntingdon College and was accepted, but ended up going somewhere else. If I had attended, I wonder if I would have had my own encounter with Martha or Frank.
So those are all the haunted Alabama locations I have for you today. If you've ever been to any of these places and experienced anything paranormal, head on over to the corresponding YouTube video up above and let me know about it in the comments.