Skip to main content

A Great American Haunting: The Bemberg Factory

The American Bemberg Rayon Factory as it sits today.

The American Bemberg Rayon Factory as it sits today.

The Old Factory

In the early 1920s a German company called, J.P. Bemberg came into the area and started construction on it's newest American factory. The factory made rayon, a synthetic type of silk. The rayon was mainly used for parachutes at the time the plant was opened in 1926.

By 1928 the factory employed over 2,500 locals, even surviving several small strikes. Labor problems would continue to dominate throughout the history of the factory.

In early 1929 a violent strike broke out and resulted in several deaths. My Great Uncle ,who was employed at the factory, said that 10 people were killed during this strike.

In 1931, the corporation experienced a surge in production of the synthetic silk yarn. After an explosion and huge fire in 1932, nearly 100 people lost their lives.

Reconstruction of the factory lasted several months and contruction workers said that they would hear phantom screams inside the building at night, if they were working later into the evening.

Falling Woman

Bemberg has stood with a void since the mid to late 70's. The building was condemned in the late 1980s. Since the factory was shut down it began to be a place for homeless people to stay. Local businesses would report to the police that they would see people going in and coming out of the condemned factory, forcing them to go in and remove the folks that were seeking refuge from the outside. But the continuous patroling of the area wasn't always enough to stop it.

In 1998, a homeless woman, her true identity unknown- locals called her "Martha", fell from an upper story window to her death. Not really sure if she "fell" or if she was pushed. The trajectory of where she landed suggests that she could've been pushed, but the case was ruled a suicide.

There are two businesses that opperate on the property of Bemberg. A construction company and a fencing company. A woman, whom wishes to remain unnamed stated that she seen a woman falling from a window in the old factory. Once her and another associate ran to the scene, they found nothing.

A local cop, who gave permission to use only his first name and initial of his last name, Clyde C., said that he was patroling the area one late evening and saw a woman falling to the ground. He ran to the scene, calling for emergency units to come to the area, but found nothing. "I saw her, plain as day, falling in front of the building. There was no body, no blood, no nothing. Nobody could fall from that height and walk away without a scratch."

The last sighting of the falling woman came on February 25, 2006.


The Phantom

I was down at the site a few weeks ago taking photo's and EMF. With the building in condemned status, no one is allowed inside due to safety reasons and you cannot obtain permission to go inside, but the area around it is fair game.

After I took a couple of photo's, I decided to walk along the outside of the building and try to pick up EMF. I had nothing from the east end all the way down three-quarters of the factory. I hit one area that picked up a small reading, but it wasn't enough for me. Out of the corner of my eye I saw something move. Once I looked I saw nothing. The further down the west end I walked, my detector started hitting. I made it down to the end of the building, reading minimal and I turned seeing a black fog like object rushing towards me. Once I turned facing the area it was gone, but EMF was hitting hard. I felt an odd feeling- described as best as I can describe it, and thought it was time to leave. I took several more photo's of the area from my car before I left, hoping to pick up some little something to prove that I wasn't just giving myself the creeps, but after studying the pictures, I found nothing, but a lot of them were blurry. Which is odd considering I have a pretty steady hand. Some of the photo's looked like I took them while I was running past the building.

I can't say that this place has something going on inside, but there is reason to believe that there is.


Nobody has reported any kind of sightings for awhile now, but hopefully we can research the area a little more and pick something up definite. Will we see the Phantom or will we see the falling woman? Nobody knows for sure that we'll see anything, but the best part is the wait.


Donna on December 27, 2015:

Jesse hall, did you get any sense of the place being haunted while shooting your video there?

Jesse hall on December 26, 2015:

We shot our music video for Anthems there. The county commisioner let us in but he had to put up the dogs inside the factory that guard the gated area. So if you hear dogs barking that would be them.

Scroll to Continue

Jhicks on December 26, 2015:

Jordannt- I own a crossfit gym located inside this building literally on the other side of J&L Metals lol. The dog you heard was probably my dog Jax who frequently stays in them gym with me. I workout regularly late at night. There is a ton of activity, pictures flying off the walls, our equipment is sometimes moved around, and miltiple members have heard the voices of an older woman yelling at them. Its actually pretty damn cool place! Anyone wants to test there gumption, stop by CrossFit Kolóna and I'll show you around!

Chris on December 26, 2015:

I actually used to work here back in the early 90's. It was in a newer section of the plant. there were older areas that were in bad shape back then. When working on 3rd shift you could see "things" and have eerie feelings in and near the older parts of the building.

Shmitstomper on December 26, 2015:

There was a band that got permission from the county commisioner to shoot a music video inside the gated property you can watch it on youtube if you look up Anthems- call to arms

KB on February 07, 2014:

That black foggy object you saw was a bad spirit. I suggest you don't go looking for something you don't want in all actuality to find. I am surprised you saw it, they usually don't show themselves too often.

Samantha on December 31, 2013:

This place is highly contaminated with asbestos!! Take extreme caution!!

paula on December 28, 2013:

I worked there from 1992 til it closed when I entered the building for every shift it was creapy. Always felt like something was with you

me on December 27, 2013:

They have now begun to tear down bemburg factory wonder if the nee townhomes will have paranormal activity

haunted on December 27, 2013:

So I would love to step foot inside this building before the level it. Considering u could smell the building when it wasn't even up and running ought to mean something. I have never heard of the woman jumping off a high elevation but that doesn't mean it didn't happen I recommend Pete take extreme caution if exploring here and never go alone u never go

brittany on December 27, 2013:

I have lived hear my hole life and when i was little I remember the smell that came from the run down factory, even though it had been shut down for years already. Now walmart sits confront of it and they are tearingnthe building down now. I have beento several place that have been "claimed

Taylor on December 25, 2013:

I live in Elizabethton.. Bemberg always looked interesting... But there's a spot down from it next to the river that's interesting as well if you ever want to check it out. Not as out in the open. I think it used to be a water company or something. Looks like a call of duty game.

Jesika H. on December 25, 2013:

Hello, I live in a town right beside of Elizabethon TN. My father worked at this particular factory. We visited not to long ago. I wouldn't describe it as creepy but more as interesting or sketchy.

John Dunn on May 10, 2013:

I grew up in Johnson City, one town over, and remember the sulfur dioxide smell of the Bemberg when I was a kid. Here's a little known 1933 when Hitler became German Chancellor, the plant raised a Nazi flag. Locals protested and they took it down, but for a very short period of time the National Socialist flag actually flew over Elizabethton!

Chelsie on October 08, 2012:

my grandparents all worked there at one point and they have never mentioned a haunting.. i will deff lookin to the story, very interesting

armyman on December 04, 2011:

I love history soo much,and I hope that someday I will be able to go inside to see what it was like to work there!

Shawna P on November 23, 2011:

I spent the summer in Johnson City in 2004. I went to the Wal-Mart almost weekly & always wondered about the abandoned building behind it. Asking locals about Bemberg was not very helpful. Beyond mentioning the tragic fire, no one wanted to even talk about it. That only made me more curious. I'm glad I found this site, unfortunately it shot down my hopes of ever getting into the building.

Blah on April 06, 2011:

I drove past this building on the way to my track meet. Me and my friends were like "what is that building used for?", so i wrote 'Bemberg' on my phone and googled it and found this!

justin on September 10, 2010:

i actually live in elizabethton and have nuck in a few times and spent several hours in there and can say there is some creepy things and noises in there and always a feelin of somebody watchin u.

jackie on April 13, 2010:

it is so cool! Goin to visit one day soon!

erin on February 12, 2010:

We should get taps the ghost hunters over there!

breanna on February 12, 2010:

That is awesome i would like to visit bemberg!

Mxgrl on December 06, 2009:

I drove past the factory a couple of months ago when I was up visiting family. I got a really bad feeling, and felt that there was something there. It really disturbed me, so I googled the factory and tried to get some info on it. After reading the history, I know my feelings were not unfounded. That place really just gives me the creeps and I get an unesay feeling even looking at the pictures on this site..........

ben on April 04, 2009:

me and a couple of friends just went there tonight, no joke. that place is so creepy but it is really cool. it looked like a lot of gangs might have been there at some point lots of writings and scrapings inside on the walls. also there were some "cots" that were obviously used by homeless people to sleep on. very weird, but very cool. the place does have asbestos though.

jbraly on February 14, 2009:

This is about the same factory. The tag line aristocrat of rayon was used by ABC. All the paper box liners were printed with that line the aristocrato of rayon. Each employee had a small id pin for gate entry with ABC on it for American Bemberg Corportion. That name was used until it was bought by Beaunit Fibers.

viktor on December 30, 2008:

There is a video on youtube about Bemberg, I wonder if it is related to this factory. the tittle of the video is " vintage fashion 1940"

acmecatalyst on October 20, 2008:

Hi - I was driving from Tennessee thru Elizabethton for the first time this week on way to Beech Mt. On my way back west I stopped behind the Magic Market at the old place and took some pictures. I have a special interest in old places like this. I was asked to leave and or be careful by one nice woman. I had no idea I was treading on such lore. I am very interested in learning about this location.

Joey Parsons (author) on September 20, 2008:

Thank you Veronica and G-Ma for the comments! G-Ma, I've not been on an actual "hunt" in awhile. My objective was going down to Bemberg and taking some photo's for this article, but something didn't want me there on that day. I do have a group of people willing to dive in and go on hunts while I research the project. I loved hunting and searching for the answers inside the project, but that was when I was young. I find it more fun finding out about the history. I've seen several "items" in the past and no matter how often you see or hear something, you never really get used to it- well, I never have.

Merle Ann Johnson from NW in the land of the Free on September 20, 2008:

wow you actually hunt for ghosts...for real in real life??? ..How did you ever come to this? Stories are great and what will you do if you actually find one? Have you ever found one? sounds pretty ghostly too me...gotta Love ya G-Ma :o) hugs

Veronica Bright from Nebraska on September 20, 2008:

I like your stories...hopefully one day you'll catch something!

Related Articles