These 2 Women Died In A Factory Fire In 1911. Now, Their Spirits Have A Message

by Brittany Bennett
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It's baaaack — an all-new episode of Bustle's original series What's Up, Boo?, that is. You don't need to quiver under your blanket for this series, though: Despite the "boo" in the name, there are no gimmicks to conjure a guttural scream, flashlight-lit faces, or spirits crawling out of TV screens here. For the paranormally curious, fearless host Alex Dickson immerses herself episode after episode in the supernatural exploration of female ghosts — our feminist sisters, in other words. Her mission is to gather advice for the contemporary woman by learning about the past from the female souls who stuck around long after their deaths. In the fourth installment of the series, Alex encounters the energy of sisters Sarah and Rosie Brenman, who perished in a 1911 tragedy known as the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

As the episode reveals, the site of the inferno is now home to New York University's Brown Building of Science in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of Manhattan. As would be expected, the lower Manhattan tower is rumored to be haunted; amongst the roaming spirits, Sarah and Rosie are said to be accounted for in those who roam the floors of 29 Washington Place.

Rosie and Sarah Brenman were immigrants who followed the American Dream to New York City, which was quickly blossoming into the garment capital of the world. The sisters, along with their brother Joseph (who survived the fire) endured long hours and poor working conditions — including lack of ventilation — in effort to build a better life for their family in the East Village.

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On March 25, 1911, 146 people were killed in a garment factory fire — and of those 146 people, 123 were women, including the Brenman sisters. The tragedy is of the sick-to-your-stomach variety mainly because the whole thing could have been avoided if standard fire safety precautions were taken seriously. A number of protests for reform and protection were led by women of the factory leading up to the fire. Frustratingly enough, the owners of the factory allegedly scoffed at the strikes and devastation followed.

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To tell the sisters' tale, Alex first explores the building with New York-based medium Marina Margulis. along with the grandson of the Brenman sisters' brother Joseph, Dr. Jerome Charyn. Marina walks into the building and shivers from the misery that she reports has remained in the foundation of the building from over 100 years ago. It's obvious that the vibe is a bad one, considering the devastation that took place in the building years ago. But are the Brenman sisters at peace?

After her experience with Margulis, Alex wonders about the significance of the sisters' deaths. After all, the owners of the shirtwaist factory were fined a measly $10 for the disaster — a charge so low, it's offensive.

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As offensive as the charge is, the fire sparked a fury in garment factory workers — mostly populated by women — who took a stand against the man for the sake of their rights. This would eventually translate into stricter labor and safety laws.

Soon after her visit to the building, Alex meets with intuitive counselor and shamaic reiki healer Ilka Pinheiro at the sisters' shared gravesite in Staten Island, N.Y., with the permission of the Brenman family. Pinheiro offers a post-mortem healing session to the soul of the Brenman sisters' brother Joseph, who carried guilt about their deaths to the day he died because he survived the fire while his sisters tragically didn't. After, Ilka channels the young sisters to get a sense of the state of their spirits in the afterlife as they wander through the modern day. How do they view their deaths and what's become of work conditions today? Do they recognize the change that's come since, or is there more work to be done?

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Tune in to the fourth episode of What's Up, Boo? below to see the full story of the Brenman sisters, and the messages that they were able to send from beyond the grave that shed some light on their tragic deaths.

Check out the entire 'What's Up, Boo?' series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.