Some time last year, (2018) a friend of my husband's invited us to visit the fire station in downtown Mobile; it's known as the Central Fire Station. Knowing that I enjoy writing about ghost stories that feature the city and county of Mobile, I think Don, that's our friend, wanted to get our take on what was happening there. Or at least share his love for the historic lamdmark. As a former employee at the fire station, Don had experienced quite a few strange things in the old building, as did some of his coworkers. Needless to say I was ecstatic about the visit. But as a sensitive I did my best not to delve too deeply in the lore before my walkthrough. I prefer to pick up the paranormal details from the places I visit independently and then confirm what I'm seeing/sensing/feeling with actual historical facts. I admit that I'm late in coming to terms with the fact that I am a sensitive but now that I understand my weirdness has a name I've decided to embrace it. (But please don't ask me to do a reading. I can't. Don't know how and don't want to. I scan places, not living people.)
However, as much as I wanted to do the walk through without contamination it was impossible to avoid hearing about the alarm board incident. So full disclosure. Somewhere around 2010, as best as I can establish, the Gamewell Alarm System lit up. This massive, wall sized system was used to summon firemen to specific stations around the city. It was installed in 1925 and used until about forty years. Telephones and computers made such antiquated equipment unnecessary. At some point the batteries in the system were removed and the board was disconnected from any electrical source. That didn't stop it from lighting up one evening and it stayed lit for days. To make things stranger the two lights that came on were the 10 and the 4. (10-4, good buddy?) As I said, the board stayed on a few days and eventually went dark again. The board remains on one of the upper floors but as far as I know there hasn't been a repeat performance. Needless to say I didn't pick up anything near or around the board. I must say though it is a shame that the equipment is being housed in better conditions. What a great addition this would be to a museum!
Other paranormal reports at the station were phantom footsteps on the top floor and in the fire watch area on the roof. Don's office was once at that floor, he's since retired, and he related to us how one secretary moved her office to his floor, presumably to prevent having to walk up and down the stairs multiple times a day. But the phantom footsteps got too much for her and she decided to move back to one of the lower levels. She's just one of dozens who claim the place is haunted. The fire station is well kept but it is clearly an old building which adds to the charm of the Central Fire Station. Don told us that a paranormal group came in to investigate but they didn't record any evidence.
They were completely wrong. The place IS haunted.
Here's what I got.
I started "listening" on my way to the fire station. The first person I made contact with was a woman named Carla. She died not long ago and considers herself a caretaker of the fire station. She was adamant that I not "cast the fire station in a bad light." She said it was a good place with good people in it. I agreed with her request. I got the impression that she was a little nosy, more so now since she could eavesdrop on conversations without anyone noticing her. She had a son that she was very proud of and he was either a fireman at the station at one time or worked at the location. I got that she had short brown hair that she liked to color it blonde and she had thin eyebrows. After I assured her that I wasn't interested in writing anything negative about the fire station she left me alone but she did follow me around during my walk.
The second encounter I had was in the station. I saw a man pushing a broom. He wasn't wearing a shirt, just old fashioned pants, suspenders and boots. He apologized for being bare chested but he said he was hot. That keeping the place clean was a hot work. He was pushing a broom and cleaning the floor and I got the impression that he did this constantly. He was clean shaven with short hair, except for his mustache which he took great pride in. I would say he was in his late twenties or thirties but I think he was older when he died. He was kind of frenetic and had a lot of energy. I got that he died from a fall and that he struck his head. In life he was dedicated to his purpose. People might hear him knocking brooms around because he's kind of clumsy. He hasn't quite got the hang of handling his death. He isn't aware that he's bothering anyone. I got that he died in the 1870s. He stays mostly on the bottom floor. He likes to be close to the action.
The third person I encountered was a man on the top floor. He hardly noticed I was there and doesn't like for people to see him. He was a much older dead person, he died sometime in the 1830s. He doesn't like the thing on the roof, which he describes as a creature. He thinks the creature is trying to get in and this man feels that it is his job to keep it out. The man stays on the top floor and runs up the stairs whenever he hears the creature on the roof. People would hear him walking on the top floor and in the cat walk. He didn't want to talk to me and I couldn't get his name or anything else about him. If he's on the stairs when people come up he makes himself really flat against the wall to avoid detection. However, sometimes people see him as a shadow, when he can't get out of the way fast enough.
On the first encounter, I have no verification about the lady named Carla. I believe her that she feels connected to the place but I have nothing to prove she was ever there. In regards to the second encounter I know who this was. Don took us to the "break room" to meet some of the guys and I was surprised to see a painting of the man that I saw downstairs.
No wonder I saw him pushing brooms around! That had been his original job as a young man at the station. Housekeeping would have been one of his duties. The injury to his head could either have been from a fall from the buggy (he was clumsy for sure) or the stroke which would have most certainly been a head injury.
I don't know who the third person was that I met but I got the feeling that he wasn't limited to that one building. And he's certainly "at war" with something that only he can see.
So that's it. If the opportunity comes about that I can investigate the place more fully I will. I'll keep you posted. In the meantime, I do plan to write about Fire Chief Sloan and the man on the top floor in one of my Gulf Coast Paranormal books. The title is The Ghosts of Phoenix No. 7. It won't be out until later this year but I'll keep you posted. I will be dedicating this book to the First Responders of Mobile. It was an honor meet so many of them. (Did you know Mobile currently has twelve women serving as firefighters? How awesome is that?
As a kid, I never wanted to be a superhero but I would have traded all my Barbies to be Nancy Drew. That love for mysteries and a total obsession with ghost stories is what led me to become a writer. I just love a mystery!
I'm a true blue Southern girl who loves living on the Gulf Coast. When I'm not playing the trumpet or hanging out with the people I love, I'm probably daydreaming.
It's really what I do best.