House of Ill Repute Becomes a Hospital

Huntsville Hospital is located in downtown Huntsville, Alabama, and it has a very interesting history.

The city started out with a small infirmary, but the building was inadequate.  Huntsville Hospital moved to its current location in 1904.  Mollie Teal donated the building and land to the city.  Prior to the donation, she used the property to run a prostitution business.

From house of ill repute to city hospital, I think that’s an interesting story.

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Children of Shame – A Documentary

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The documentary Children of Shame exposes atrocities committed at a home for unwed mothers in Tuam, Ireland.  The home was founded in 1925 and closed in 1961.

At the time, religion was an important part of the Irish culture.  Purity was viewed as an essential trait and failure to live up to that standard brought extreme shame, so unwed mothers were sent to special homes.

The unwed mothers were forced to live and work in these homes against their will.  They were treated as criminals, even though fornication was not considered a legal crime.

The babies could be put up for adoption by the home, regardless of the mother’s desire to keep her child.  Children remaining in the home were treated poorly.  They were malnourished, abused, and did not receive appropriate medical care.  This resulted in a mortality rate for babies born out of wedlock that was six times higher than the norm.

Legislating morality has been a hot topic in the United States.  For example: should gay marriage be legalized and should birth control be easily available to all women.

However, stories like this one remind me of the dangers of strictly legalizing morality.  The appearance of purity can become more important than people.  The end result is evil acts are committed to hide immorality.

The Anti-Christ by Friedrich Nietzsche

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Nietzsche was extremely critical of Christianity in the book “The Anti-Christ.”  There are scholars who believe the title of his book should have been translated as “The Anti-Christian.”  It fits with the wording and matches the book’s theme.

According to Nietzsche, “The very word ‘Christianity’ is a misunderstanding — in truth, there was only one Christian, and he died on the cross.”

Nietzsche felt Christianity pushed pity on followers, to the point of creating suffering among the believers.  He viewed religious leaders as manipulative liars and hypocrites.  He also believed faith was used to push people to accept what the church teaches, without questioning and without seeking for factual information.

His words were harsh; however, a quick review of the history of Christianity will reveal they were not unfounded.

I think, sometimes we need to pay attention to those who are critical of our belief system.  I admit, it’s not an easy thing to do.  However; we may find discrepancies or inadequacies that were previously missed by us.  If what we believe is true, it will hold up to research and questioning.  Therefore, there is no reason to refuse to check the facts behind what we are being taught.

Yellow Bluff Fort – Historic State Park

Thursday morning, Malia and I were ready hours before our scheduled time to board the ship, so we decided to do a little more exploring.

We went to Yellow Bluff Fort, which is a historic state park in Jacksonville, Florida.  The park is dedicated to the Confederate soldiers that fought and died trying to maintain control of Jacksonville.

The Union forces were able to seize control of Yellow Bluff, which was an encampment and not an actual fort.  This allowed the Union Military to access the ports in the area around Yellow Bluff and was an essential part of successfully take control of Florida.

American Indian Genealogy Research

I took a class on researching American Indian ancestors at the Huntsville Madison County Public Library.  It was an introductory course, but I learned a great deal about the topic.

The instructor showed us how to use Ancestory.com to research federal and state census records.  We also researched the Indian census rolls conducted by the Department of Indian Affairs.  This department was founded in the late 1800’s, and was responsible for tracking the Indian population.

The teacher explained the significance of the Dawes Commission Records and showed us how to access that information.  The Oklahoma Historical Society website has the completed records and provides an easy search engine for research purposes.

The class ended with a discussion about other records that might help people find information about their American Indian ancestors, such as:

  • Indian Removal Records
  • Indian School Records
  • Will and Probate Records
  • Church Records
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs Records
  • Military Records
  • Employment Records

Sloss Furnace – Birmingham, Alabama

Sloss Furnace began operation shortly after the Civil War and continued until 1970.  It was a huge producer of iron and steel, which was used in buildings all over the United States.  Sloss Furnace also provided the necessary material for weaponry during times of war and even produced common household products.

Sloss Furnace is also considered the most haunted place in Alabama.  An untold number of men lost their lives at Sloss Furnace, due to the dangerous working conditions.

In the 1990’s, a foreman named James “Slag” Wormwood was in charge of the night operations at the furnace.  In spite of limited visibility and extremely dangerous working conditions, Slag wanted his shift to produce at the highest level.

Slag refused to allow the men to have any breaks.  He would push them to work beyond their limits and completely disregarded the safety of his crew.  As a result, substantially more men were killed in workplace accidents whenever Slag was in charge.

Slag died one night when he “fell” into the largest furnace at the facility.  The workers claimed Slag slipped off the walkway; however, Slag would have no reason to be on that walkway and the story was viewed with great suspension.

In spite of the lack of evidence, everyone believed the night crew murdered Slag by throwing him into the furnace.

Various people have claimed to see Slag haunting the area.  He appeared to them as a badly burned man or as a man on fire.  They said Slag would push them and yell for them to “Get back to work!”  A few people that claimed to have seen Slag, also suffered severe burns when touched by him.

The hauntings at Sloss Furnace have been investigated by numerous paranormal investigative teams, including Ghost Adventurous, Ghost Hunters, and psychic investigators from AIRLINE.