Facilities Management (FM) is a multifaceted field that often involves managing a variety of unique properties.
Among them, haunted buildings hold a special place due to their eerie reputation and supernatural associations.
These properties, steeped in myths and legends, present a unique set of challenges and opportunities for facilities managers.
In this blog post, we will delve into the intricacies of managing haunted buildings, explore some famous examples, and discuss how facility managers can navigate the challenges while turning them into opportunities.
The Tower of London:
The Stanley Hotel:
Eastern State Penitentiary:
This historic fortress has witnessed countless executions, imprisonments, and even royal dramas. It is said to be haunted by several famous ghosts, including Anne Boleyn and the Princes in the Tower. Tales of ghostly sightings and strange occurrences have persisted for centuries, adding to the Tower’s mystique.
This iconic hotel in Colorado is said to have inspired Stephen King’s “The Shining.” Guests have reported ghostly encounters and strange occurrences, particularly in room 217. The hotel has since embraced its haunted reputation, offering ghost tours and paranormal-themed events.
This former prison in Philadelphia is believed to be haunted by the spirits of former inmates who suffered in its harsh conditions. Paranormal activity includes shadowy figures, disembodied voices, and eerie footsteps. Today, the site operates as a museum and hosts popular seasonal events such as “Terror Behind the Walls,” a Halloween-themed attraction.
Addressing rumors and ghost stories:
Facility managers must be prepared to manage the expectations and fears of occupants and visitors related to the building’s haunted reputation. This includes debunking misconceptions, providing reassurance, and addressing any concerns that may arise due to the supernatural associations.
Ensuring occupant safety and comfort:
Haunted buildings often have unique architectural features, outdated infrastructure, or hidden hazards that can contribute to a sense of unease or fear. It is essential for facility managers to address any potential safety hazards and ensure that the occupants and visitors feel comfortable in the space.
Preserving historical integrity:
Haunted buildings often have significant historical value, requiring facility managers to balance modernization efforts with the need to maintain authenticity. This may involve working closely with preservationists, historians, and other experts to ensure that any renovations or upgrades respect the building’s heritage.
Managing visitor traffic and events:
Haunted buildings often attract curious tourists and paranormal enthusiasts. Facility managers must carefully plan and organize tours, events, and other activities to accommodate the influx of visitors while ensuring minimal disruption to the building’s occupants.
Capitalising on the haunted reputation, FMs can leverage the building’s reputation to generate revenue through ghost tours, themed events, and merchandise sales. These activities not only attract visitors but also contribute to the building’s overall brand and appeal.
Embracing the building’s unique history. The stories behind haunted buildings can be used to create a distinct brand identity and attract visitors, tenants, or buyers who appreciate the building’s historical significance. Facility managers can collaborate with local historians, artists, and other professionals to develop engaging exhibits, installations, or storytelling experiences that showcase the building’s unique past.
Collaborating with local organisations. Facility managers can partner with local tourism boards, historical societies, and paranormal enthusiasts to promote the building and attract visitors. These partnerships can lead to joint events, educational initiatives, and marketing campaigns that benefit both the building and the local community.
To effectively manage a haunted building, facility managers should become well-versed in its lore and legends. This knowledge will allow them to better address the concerns of occupants and visitors, as well as to develop unique experiences that showcase the building’s haunted past
Proactively address any building issues that may contribute to the haunted reputation, such as faulty wiring, poor lighting, or creaky floorboards. Ensuring that the building is structurally sound and safe will help alleviate fears and make occupants and visitors feel more comfortable in the space.
Be transparent and responsive to the concerns of occupants, visitors, and other stakeholders regarding the building’s haunted reputation. Open communication channels can help dispel misconceptions, provide reassurance, and foster a positive atmosphere within the building.
Approach the property with a sense of curiosity, respect, and professionalism, acknowledging its unique characteristics and stories. This attitude will set the tone for the building’s occupants and visitors, creating a welcoming environment that embraces the haunted history while maintaining a focus on safety and comfort.
The Winchester Mystery House in San Jose, California, is a prime example of a haunted building being managed effectively.
The building managers have preserved the mansion’s quirky architecture, which includes staircases leading to nowhere, doors opening to walls, and countless hidden rooms.
They have also capitalised on its haunted reputation by offering guided tours, hosting special events, and collaborating with local tourism boards to promote the site as a popular attraction.
This approach transformed the Winchester Mystery House into a thriving tourist destination while preserving its unique history and appeal.
Haunted buildings present a unique set of challenges and opportunities for FMs, requiring a specialised approach that balances historical preservation, safety, and the desire to capitalise on the property’s supernatural allure.
By developing a comprehensive management plan, forging strategic partnerships, and staying abreast of emerging trends, FMs can successfully navigate the complexities of haunted building management and create unforgettable experiences that honor the building’s rich history while ensuring the comfort and well-being of its occupants and visitors.