|Albertville, Alabama 1908|
It was April 24, 1908 in the north Alabama city of Albertville. The people in town had noticed the rainy and humid weather that day but in that time, severe weather was simply a part of everyday life living in tornado alley. The area had always been prone to tornado weather but no emergency warning system or any amount of human intuition could prepare the city for the devastation that was coming.
In the late afternoon, severe wind and rain began to fall on northern portions of Alabama, dumping hail and sleet for miles. As the warm air of the hot Alabama spring hit the cooler air masses, a change in the weather went from bad to worse. By 4 o’clock, a tornado had touched down near Albertville and was spiraling quickly toward the small town. Hiding was futile as the monstrous cyclone ripped through the city. It left a trail of destruction and devastation for almost ten miles; straight through the heart of town.
Albertville was almost completely destroyed. The rows of stores along Main Street had been ripped clean off the facade. Entire buildings collapsed under the crushing winds and the small wooden homes in the region were spun about the country side. One of the homes was the McCord residence. It wasn't destroyed but the heavy winds from the tornado picked it up off it's foundation and dropped it back down as it passed by. Unfortunately, young Eric McCord had taken refuge under the house and when the house came down on top of him, it crushed him to death.
|The ghost of Eric McCord is believed to be one of the many spirits that haunts the Main Street businesses located in Albertville, Alabama. He was crushed to death during the tornado of 1908.|
There were people both dead and missing in the wreckage. The result was 35 people killed from Gadsden to Albertville and 15 of those people were residents of Albertville.
Since the great cyclone of 1908, other storms have devastated the region as well, earning that particular part of the United States the nickname, “Tornado Alley”. It’s a dangerous place to live but tougher still to live among the scores of ghosts who still consider Albertville their home. The City library was one of the most haunted locations in Albertville until it was destroyed by another tornado in 2010.
Ironically, the storm happened 102 years to the day of the great cyclone disaster. The library was built on the grounds of a former home and the spirits who haunted the library were apparently the long dead people who used to live there. Slamming and stomping inside the library were a every day occurrence when the librarians arrived to open for business. The facet in the bathrooms often turned on and off by itself, scaring the daylights out of many of the patrons.
Other parts of Albertville are also exclusively haunted by the spirits of young children. Main Street has been a source of paranormal sightings since the 1908 tornado. One apparition of a little boy, wearing khaki colored suspender nickers and a white shirt has been seen running barefoot through the street late at night. He’s reportedly stopped a few cars by darting out in front of them, giggling hysterically as he runs by.
One resident of Albertville had an experience she would never forget when she lived in the small apartment building complex located on Main Street. As she looked out of her apartment window one late summer night, she peered down at the street and saw several young children, dressed in 19th century clothing, playing and walking along the streets and sidewalks. She knew it was much too late for young children to be out and in the middle of the street. What self-respecting parent would allow such a thing? She watched the children for a long time and said as the dawn broke over the horizon, the little children simply faded away.
|Main Street in in Albertville, Alabama has been a location closely associated with the sightings of many "ghost children". They are believed to be the spirits of those who died in the great cyclone of 1908.|
If that isn't odd enough, other business locations in town also claim to have seen the ghost children of Main Street inside their shops and restaurants. A flower shop recently contacted the Alabama Ghost Hunters for an investigation regarding their supernatural experiences that was featured on The Weather Channel's, Twisted Believers. The ladies who worked in and owned the flower shop said they often heard banging beneath the store floor and sometimes the front door would open and close, as if someone was leaving the store. One of the most unnerving experiences came one afternoon as the ladies were working inside and heard the front door chime as if someone came inside. As they turned to greet their customer, no one was there. But, they could hear the sound of footsteps approaching the back counter as if someone had come in and walked toward the register. Several minutes later, as the ladies looked through the store, baffled by the experience, the front door open again and the footsteps stopped.
Other strange experiences from the city cemetery, located just a few blocks from Main Street, have locals wondering about the spirits that haunt Albertville. The small cemetery is located in a residential area but many of the graves here are now covered or no longer marked. Encroachment has made the cemetery much smaller than it was originally, but residents who live in the surrounding homes and neighborhood, say they close their windows and lock their doors at night, but it doesn't keep the ghosts from coming in.
|The City Cemetery - Albertville, Alabama|
Albertville has suffered weather related tragedies for over a century. The Cherokee people who inhabited the region before 1830 called the area, “gi-ga-ha-i e-qu u-no-le” which translates too, “land of great winds”. They obviously knew the dangers that came with living in the area and the devastating consequences. It's doubtful that anyone in 1908 would have known that the terrible storms that impacted the region would have produced such a haunted town. However, much like the cyclone of 1908, the weather related tragedies of the city are still a very real threat to the people who live in Tornado Alley. But for the ghosts of those who were killed in the storms, they will forever take refuge among the living.