Viral Auburn TikTok creator shares ghost stories from across Alabama – Opelika Auburn News

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Joshua Dairen, a video creator who shares stories about Alabama urban legends on TikTok, speaks at his home in Auburn.
Who doesn’t like a good ghost story, especially around Halloween? If the follower count of local TikTok creator Joshua Dairen is any indication, there are plenty of people with an appetite for the paranormal. Dairen first began uploading videos about Alabama’s urban legends this past June. Since then, his page has gained over 83,000 followers, and his content has amassed over a million likes.
The Auburn native says he didn’t initially begin his TikTok channel with the intent of talking about paranormal content. However, due to his personal interest in the supernatural, Dairen realized he had a niche no one else was covering on the social media site.
“I started doing research and I was like, ‘Woah, nobody’s covering any Alabama urban legends on a frequent scale,’” he said. “‘Nobody’s taking the time to sit and say, ‘Okay, here’s a story, here is the facts, here are the historical people tied to this.’”
When Dairen began uploading daily content about paranormal activity from across the state, his page blew up.
“It was completely unexpected,” he says of explosive interest in his content. “It just kind of shot up. I guess the algorithm really favored that, so I can’t complain.”
With Halloween right around the corner, Dairen is sharing some his favorite paranormal stories from across Alabama.
“Ghost Town Road is one that’s been around for a long time,” Dairen said. “If you go on this road at nighttime, something’s going to happen.”
Dairen said the story of Ghost Town Road, which is near Salem, begins with the Eli Stroud Cemetery. The road connects to the cemetery and people have supposedly seen Stroud’s ghost in the area.
Stroud was a pioneer who lived from 1789 to 1891. He was known for fighting natives and his wife and daughter were killed during the Ogly Indian Massacre in 1818.
“People have seen his apparition there,” Dairen said of Stroud. “They’ve seen a man who was supposedly beheaded on that road as well. They’re seeing children, they’ve seen orbs, they’ve seen people in black robes. They’ve seen a lot of things reportedly on that road along with a place called Altar Rock, which is where rituals are known to happen, also, allegedly. They’ve been finding tons of animal carcasses over the years as well. Radios are known to mess up there. It’s just a well spring. It’s everything that you’d want in a haunted story.”
“Bear Creek Swamp’s probably one of the scarier ones in the state just because of how much activity it actually has, and how much confirmed activity that I’ve seen from other people,” Dairen said.
Bear Creek Swamp is located in Autauga County, in between Prattville and Autaugaville. According to Dairen, the area is ripe with sightings of four-foot-tall apparitions jumping out in front of cars, ghosts looking for babies, and Native American warriors appearing in the swamp.
“People have said that they went out on the road and said ‘I have your baby,’ three times, and they heard laughing come from the woods, they’ve heard screaming coming from the woods,” Dairen said. “They heard what sounds like somebody walking through the woods as well, or running through the woods towards a car. They’ve seen apparitions of soldiers out there. They’ve seen apparitions of settlers out there. And they’ve also seen what they describe as indigenous warriors out there too.”
Additionally, the creepiness of the area was made even more palpable in 2014 when over 20 children’s dolls tied to bamboo shoots appeared in the swamp next to County Road 3. The Autauga County Sheriff’s Office deemed it a Halloween prank.
“It’s basically a mountain full of cemeteries,” Dairen said of his next pick. “It has so many cemeteries, and this is where people say a little bit of occult activity happens.”
Cemetery Mountain is near Munford and, according to Dairen, the site is full of paranormal activity. There are stories of a ghost dog, red eyes floating just above ground level, among others.
“A pair of hunters went out there and they accidentally killed a man’s dog,” he said. “And so the man passed away shortly after. That same group of hunters came back a little while later, and a dog came up to him and then a man shortly followed and said, ‘Hey, have you seen see my dog?’ and they disappeared. That apparition of the ghost man and the ghost dog are frequently seen.”
“Sloss Furnaces has to be on the list,” Dairen said. “It’s known to be one of the most nationally recognized haunted places in the country. Nine times out of 10, if Alabama makes a haunted list, it’s probably because of Sloss.”
Sloss Furnaces, in Birmingham, is an old pig iron blast furnace. Sloss is now considered a national historic landmark and is open to visitors.
“People have just said that there’s been dark activity that’s just been there. People getting scratched, pushed, seeing the foreman, and having disembodied voices telling them to get out,” Dairen said.
“Also, this is one of those places where you go there and you just get a vibe,” he adds. “People have seen apparitions of all kinds, shadow figures, and just never really feeling that great about just being in the area. So, it’s that kind of sense of dread.”
“The Lady in Black is a pretty well-known story, especially in Prattville, and this goes all the way back to when Prattville was founded,” Dairen said.
Daniel Pratt founded Prattville on the banks of the Autauga River as a means to power his cotton gin and manufacturing equipment. According to Dairen, young children were known to work at the factory.
“A boy named Willie Youngblood actually fell off into an elevator shaft and lost his life,” Dairen said. “His mom was said to be overwhelmed with grief for at least around a year.”
According to Dairen, the mother eventually came to Prattville, jumped off the dam, and died.
“From that point forward, there have been just hundreds and hundreds of reports of seeing a lady in black on the property,” Dairen said. “To the point where 50 factory workers at one time say they saw her inside the factory.”
Darien said the ghost of Willie Youngblood has also been seen at the old factory.
“It may not be necessarily scary from an experience factor, but more so scary that so many people have said, ‘I 100 percent have seen this lady in black walking along this factory,’” Dairen said.
Dairen’s TikTok handle is @joshuadairen.
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Joshua Dairen, a video creator who shares stories about Alabama urban legends on TikTok, speaks at his home in Auburn.
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