The Damned Story: The story starts in 1867 when the Union Metallic Cartridge Company opened shop in the East End of Bridgeport. Successful, the company was later purchased by Remington Arms, who in 1915 expanded the factory to a 73-acre manufacturing complex. During the first half of 20th century, it was among the biggest munitions factories in the world, employing over 17,000 workers and literally producing tons of ammunition and weapons each year. It was a shining example of the Industrial Era, a huge bustling facility in the heart of a burgeoning city that served as both a powerful economic engine and key cornerstone for American military complex.
Of course, like many factories in the Northeast, it was only a matter of time before someone somewhere else could do it better and cheaper. In 1970, Remington moved the majority of its production to a new plant in Arkansas, eventually abandoning the site altogether in 1988; other companies, including General Electric, have also used the site for stretches before finally leaving behind an empty sprawling complex that has slowly been eaten away by urban decay. Gone are humming assembly lines, busy rows of machinery and hardworking employees, replaced by empty buildings, broken windows and . . . the ghosts of the past?
Like any major factory, there have been occasional fatal accidents on the premises, including two different employees falling into giant pots of molten metal. In 1942, during the height of its war-time efforts, a deadly explosion occurred on the production floor, a horrible accident (some say it was wartime sabotage) that killed seven workers and wounded 80 others -- an event that some claim is responsible for the shadowy black figures and dark shadows which have been reported by numerous folk over the years. Old employees still lurking after having punched out from this experience? Or maybe some of the less prosperous locals hiding out for a night?
Or maybe it's the spirit of American freedom, still trying to protect the right to bear arms? (Or to arm bears, which is always so much more entertaining!)
In addition to the shadowy figures seen, there have been reports of various paranormal activities from eerie voices and disembodied screams to spirit orbs and mists. Those who have ventured inside the gates also claim to experience feelings of dread and unexplained cold spots. Bridgeport police officers, often investigating sightings of figures on the grounds, have also reported seeing unusual things on the grounds.
In short, more than one person has labeled Remington Arms as simply "cursed." Considering its unfortunate history, and that the property has fallen into such disrepair, it' s easy to see why.
Our Damned Experience: We visited Remington Arms on a snowy day in December 2008. Although we didn't crawl under the fence and go inside the buildings, we were able to get close enough to get a good look at many of the decaying structures. The spots you see on a few of these photos are rain drops, not orbs! Well, I think they're mostly raindrops -- I'm not quite sure if I can tell the difference (or if there is one).
We didn't see any unusual figures in the windows of the factory, nor on the grounds, although there was a neighbor or two standing on nearby street corners seemingly waiting for something . . .
One of Kate's friend's husband did a bit of work at Remington Arms recently, and talked about it to us, including sharing some odd images.
If You Go: You probably shouldn't -- not because of things otherworldly, but because of people this wordly: drug dealers, gang members and other troublemakers you would expect to find in a poor blighted neighborhood in the cosmopolitan mecca that is Bridgeport. Steve used to deliver legal pharmaceuticals in this neighborhood, and often required police protection to do it!
Remington Arms is located at 812 Barnum Avenue in Bridgeport, and is easily spotted by the dilapidated buildings, barbed wire fences and glaring deterioration.
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