There are several iconic haunted places in the United States that seasoned paranormal investigators and novice enthusiasts both have idealized and ultimately visited. Sometimes the largest haunted places are surprising for a number of different reasons than one would initially imagine.
Take for example the Trans Allegheny Lunatic Asylum, formerly named the Weston State Hospital until it was bought for paranormal tourism, in Weston, West Virginia. The sheer size of the building is impressive in writing, but seeing it in person and spending time overnight are another thing altogether. The 242,000 square foot building is just one of many on the 26 acre campus, and that's nearly more ground than one can cover in a single investigation. Similarly, the Waverly Hills Sanatorium in Kentucky boasts a whopping 180,000 square feet of space that even at just over half of what Trans Allegheny has, is still a daunting amount of room to roam. Larger hospitals or prison complexes that are available for investigators to have access to every room and floor translates to thousands of square feet to cover in only several hours. Speaking from experience, there's a few important things nobody tells you before braving the dark in these behemoth haunts.
The larger the haunt, the longer you're spending walking to and from everywhere you want to investigate in the building. You're going to want to forego the Killstar platforms, as cute as they are they're not conducive to anyone spending hours of time on their feet, and spending time going up and down potentially uneven stairs in the dark. Base camp can end up being quite a hike each time you need return for a battery, so it's worth the comfort and recovery from long hours standing to treat your feet right while hiking through these haunts. Trust me, I've tried shoes with no support in Waverly, I was so sore the next day. 😭
There are massive buildings to investigate, which is awesome, but with these spaces tends to come long hallways and attic eaves that are spacious and open, along with enclosed corridors that remain at stable temperatures for hours. Waverly Hills in particular has a portion of nearly every floor open to the elements, making wind and distant sounds echo throughout. Even on the most still of evenings and the calmest weather, the way air moves and stays in different portions of these large buildings can be surprising but completely natural, so truly anomalous temperature changes can be more difficult to discern. A ceramic tiled stairwell can be 10 degrees cooler than the floors above and below it all night (hi again, Trans Allegheny), so it helps investigators to be aware of how these large structures can create pockets of varying temperatures.
No, you likely won't lose time in an unexplainable way in these large haunts, but the time it takes to haul yourself and equipment around larger structures means you're spending a good portion of time just walking. Just like paying attention to your feet, paying attention to time is crucial too. Before you know it, a couple hours have slipped away faster than you'd imagined while investigating, so grabbing a backpack or comfortable bag to hold extra batteries and devices you can switch out while on the go is a great way to use that extra time wisely. More experience speaking here: when it comes to hoofing it back and forth to a base camp or central room, forgetting a light or SD card can mean another 20 minutes of time spent going back and forth again. Not the kind of time slip you want on an investigation!
The size of haunted buildings like Mansfield Reformatory and Moundsville Prison in the Midwest are stunning inside and out. They're built like castles to intimidate and send a message. The endless corridors of prison cells can be disorienting in the dark on upper floors, and at first glance that may be incredibly intimidating, especially to newer investigators. At the end of the day (or night) these buildings and their seemingly endless corridors and gaping doorways are just empty buildings. Fear can take over one's mind very quickly when investigating in the overwhelming atmospheres of these structures, but it's prudent to remember they're just big, empty buildings, and your fear doesn't have to restrain your curiosity or prevent you from a rewarding inquiry into the paranormal.
With the amount of massive, amazing places to rent overnight and spend hours in the dark investigating for paranormal activity, there's definitely going to be things one doesn't expect at first. Spending a night or two in some of these haunts is a privilege and a delight, even for some of the most strange and unexplainable things that can happen in any of them. The sheer size and design of these haunted places can sometimes make for circumstances nobody tells you as a paranormal investigator until you find out first hand. So remember: footwear for the long haul, big unfamiliar places make for drafts and weird temps, a good backpack or bag for gear, and understanding your surroundings can make all the positive difference in your paranormal investigation!
Thanks for reading,