But I sure don't write as much as I used to! Why?
I've been writing it elsewhere, honestly. With two pieces into the published compilations of The Feminine Macabre and my first National Novel Writer's Month 17 day win, (58k and goin'!) I've been laying down many words in places that just aren't this blog.
I blew through my Master's dissertation twice over and in 1/8th the time. I learned, wholeheartedly, the extreme difference between writing a research paper and writing a ghost story of the New England gothic style. One is f**king difficult, the other is a damn joy.
And so that leaves this poor blog alone for months on end, festering wound-like with old ideas and musings from earlier this year. What's changed?
We've completed, as a duo, several investigations and video uploads that were nearly two years in the making, and we're on our way to more already for 2022. Long drives and good friends behind and ahead, along with what will be a long plane ride or two next year as well. I don't want to divulge plans way too early, but Ryan and I are eager to set next year into motion. I truly spend the darker months of winter in a semi-hibernation but for the weekend adventures, and those are fraught with a solid dose of weather-induced anxiety because Nor'easters can really suck the ease out of traveling between December and April. We detoured away from the frozen hellscape of Erie, PA on our last trip home from Indiana - and with good reason - I was driving when we were caught up in lake effect snow drifts and high winds on the way out there. Full Dark is Full Northerners and snow tires and years of experience. It still sucks though! So repeating that felt nightmarish and we detoured south of the Great Lakes from Columbus to nearly Philly - only for Ryan to be driving when we met another squall on top of the Allegheny Mountains. Leave it to mountains.
But also - I wouldn't want the tornados of the plains or the earthquakes and fires of the west so I'll move along in my 4-wheel-drive and get to the ghosts.
We wrapped that weekend in Indiana at the newly opened and rentable Haunted Indiana State Sanatorium. The former Lee Alan Bryant healthcare facility was far, FAR more than Ryan and I knew about or expected it to be. Meeting up for the first time with fellow fine weirdos, Shane and Kelly from Ohio (envy dat short drive), we dove into 3 to 5 more buildings than we realized were there. And tunnels. And abandoned cars, houses and a hearse. This was more than the tuberculosis treatment center we thought it was. We were all rather stunned at the extensive history of the property and how it'd come to house tuberculosis patients, mentally disabled adults and a geriatric residential home in one lifespan. Leave it to the formidable custodial styling of mid-1900's health care systems to build a place like this, and leave it to the desolation of rural Indiana for it to have remained largely untouched and undamaged for almost 2 decades. The leftovers are stunning and sad, and in nearly all cases, they're the personal items of the patients who once resided there. I asked how the place was spared from layers of graffiti and was told, no holds barred, there's just very few people in the area, and those who knew of it left it alone. The owners seem to care deeply for the history and what work they've done so far to preserve their new very old buildings, is impressive, and very admirable.
There's an especially sensitive aspect to investigating a place like a mental health facility. There's the aspect of pouring hundreds of dollars into restoration and preservation at these locations by renting a night, but there's the caveat of how one conducts an investigation inside these places, how that extremely grave and bittersweet history is handled.
Having spent a night in the former Trans-Allegheny Asylum (the Weston State Hospital) in West Virginia earlier in the year, we knew that patient names and attempting to invoke or communicate with any one in particular was off limits. Our ethical rules of self-governance during an investigation are just that - ours. We can't and won't claim to try and police anyone else doing the same thing we are, in the dark and in the earliest hours of morning. We just hope not to cross paths with those who are rude or selfish or utterly horrible while doing this, is all, and hold our own standards up as we go. Nothing major, but keeping in mind the history and profundity of any location and the lives that were impacted in it, means keeping all of the personal stuff very off camera and in our consciousness at all times.
We learned as well that Shane and Kelly might in fact be us, but with southern accents. It's wild to find those as weird and enthusiastic as oneselves in the endeavors of the strange. The personal people in one's own life are of course the closest and longest-standing, but they tend not to always be the most understanding when it comes to being a Weirdo. Something about the hobby of the Odd creates a need and want to be a part of the paranormal and to experience and pursue it endlessly, and in as many ways and places possible. The people who know us closest are not the ones who always join us on that journey, nor do they feel the Weirdness like we do. Reaching out to strangers can be difficult (says me, the general introvert), but outstandingly rewarding. Indiana was one such case precisely where collaborating was ideal. The previous year's meetups and collabs have been just as rewarding and eye-opening. Chris, Tylor, Tamra, Joey, Michael, Christine, Justin, Lydia, Jen, Marcel, Hobie, Mari, Annette, Turtle, Don, Eva, The GBPI, Greg, Dana, Tenney.....we're so lucky. Our world rocked pretty hard this year, actually. And for me to say that with a smile, knowing there's so much more to come for FDPE? OH snap. It's been a dark year and a half globally, so I will ride this good tide as long as I can. The highs and lows are feeling way lower and way higher in 2021 than they have ever felt, so as our queen Cardi B has stated, "if it's up, then it's up, then it's up, then it's stuck." It's not beef, it's just a wave of gratitude but let it stay stuck.
16 hours in the freezing night of west Indiana proved odd indeed. Overall nothing terrifying, the only reason to scream was a bird that bombed our EVP sesh and startling ourselves in the mazes of rooms. There were an abundance of deliberate noises and escalating responses to the inquiries we made in the buildings, and thus far I've scrubbed through only one of the 4 different buildings on the property we traversed. It's going to be a December of Indiana videos and reminiscing, and we're hoping we can meet up with friends next month to try again to get weird in the dark and cold corners of haunted locations.
Check out some Indiana State Sanatorium:
Thanks for this trade of words and time,