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Al Tech Steel Factory

Updated on June 11, 2020
Elijah DeVivo profile image

Elijah is an Amazon best-selling author, blogger, previous columnist for an award-winning blog, past creative editor, socialite and traveler

Photograph: Shelby Johnson
Photograph: Shelby Johnson

Introduction

Its funny how you can live in an area your whole life and never know what’s right under your nose. Similar to the train (an article I’ve previously covered), you can be oblivious of your surroundings and stumble upon things by accident. In the Menands/Latham area there is a complex of buildings, some warehouses and factories that are open, but some are not. Al Tech is one of these mysterious sites.

Photograph: Shelby Johnson
Photograph: Shelby Johnson

History & Controversies

The steel factory dates back to 1908, and at one period (World War Two) it employed over 5,000 people. It’s founding company is located in South Korea: Sammi Steel. Al Tech dissolved because of this foreign relationship in which the CEO’s claimed that Sammi Steel was seizing assets for their own personal gain. These business-law conflicts arose in 1998 and shortly after, Al Tech filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The details of the corporate law case were shocking: Sammi Steel’s effected a merger who handled sales in their American division, Al Tech, but this came at a cost. It seemed like literal definition of the saying ”giving someone a white elephant“: the merger brought in over $7 million in assets but when further inspecting the merger it shows nearly $73 million in liabilities! It is no wonder they filed bankruptcy amongst this legal conflict. Shockingly, these are not the final figures on the bankruptcy petition. The real figures are as followed: $90.3 million in assets, and a disturbing $251 million in liabilities. A quarter of a million dollars! The plant was doomed hence forward and the owner hadn’t paid taxes in 11 years because of dry funds. It was seized and is now owned by the state. Since it’s closure, it has mainly fallen out of the public eye, except for the article on old employees reuniting in The Record, the official newspaper of the city of Troy. There have been numerous proposals for cleanups throughout the last decades with expenses estimated from anywhere between $9-$18 million. The cleanup is vital: the EPA revealed that the plant is polluted and dangerous to the public. It has also become an illegal dumping ground and the neighbors in the area have to constantly deal with dumping and even clean up the streets and roads. Later, over 1,300 dump trucks carried out contaminate soil that was contaminated with different acids, and numerous oil leaks over the years. Despite this massive cleanup effort, it is still polluted.

Photograph: Shelby Johnson
Photograph: Shelby Johnson

My Experience

We stumbled up the site by accident, we were driving around innocently, stopped to Walmart to get film and then passed the area. my friends were intrigued and so we stopped by it and decided to get out and see if there was a way in. Strangely, there weren’t signs to warn of consequences for trespassers and the gate was wide open. We walked into a clearing surrounded by various abandoned buildings, and shrubs and trees. Everything seemed to be crumbling and the buildings had strange musty smells inside them. We knew absolutely nothing about the building or it’s history, and we didn’t know that we unfortunately wandered into a hazardous site. My friend heard voices while there, and I thought she was crazy until my other friend heard them as well. I brushed it off despite being creeped out until I heard the voices too. I have no clue who or what was making them. We left the building and when I got home I took to the Internet and discovered the place was called Al Tech. The EPA labels it as a Superfund and a Class 2 sure. It is extremely toxic and posed a significant threat to the public. We had no idea what we walked into, and I will never go back again. Hopefully only being there for a few minutes didn’t cause any bodily damage.

Photograph: Shelby Johnson
Photograph: Shelby Johnson

Disclaimer

Entering is a probable case of trespassing, lots of cars drive by and it is a populated area. The neighbors will call the police! I advise people to NOT EXPLORE AL TECH. It poses a significant threat to your health, and not trying to be dramatic. Wear a paint mask, and enter at your own risk.

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Legends

There aren’t ghost stories circulating the internet from what I’ve seen, however there are a number of people who claim to see a ghostly apparition: ”the woman in white”. According to legends, she can be seen walking the premises or seen out of the corner of one‘s eye. People have claimed seeing her at the entry way, in which they turned around and left before even exploring.

Polaroids

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Frequent Visits & Paranormal Encounters

Against better judgement, I’ve been to this factory about a dozen times more in the last couple of weeks. The first time I went to the factory I had an uneasy feeling that prompted me to leave almost immediately. It was down pouring, and thundering as well, but we braved it. As mentioned previously, we also heard voices. Despite all of this, I went back (this time armed with my baby pink colored Polaroid camera that I recently bought) and photographed and explored more. The only scary things that happened the first few times were construction workers entering the property (that was our cue to run to prevent trespassing charges), and a door opening and closing too close for comfort on the property. Fear of the police was definitely strong but later something changed. One of the times we explored we saw a shadow dart across the room. There weren’t any animals or people in sight, just us. The last scary thing that I heard was a ”ding” noise, resemblant of a bell that plays in a music box. It sounded very much like a music box or a children’s toy jingle, and it definitely freaked me out.

Monochrome Polaroids

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Image belongs to me Hallway where shadow was seen
Image belongs to me Hallway where shadow was seen
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Image belongs to me
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Image belongs to me
Image belongs to me
Image belongs to me
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© 2020 Elijah DeVivo

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