After ghost hunting all over Arkansas, you want a safe place to sleep away from all the ghosts and monsters … wait a second. Do you? You’re a ghost hunter. You want to sleep in a haunted hotel! Lucky for you, Arkansas has just that.
Let’s head up to Eureka Springs to check in at the Crescent Hotel. This is a real hotel and you can stay here … if you’re brave enough. They don’t really hype the ghosts as much as they do their architecture and history, but you can take a ghost tour of their hotel and learn all about the spirits who haunt it.
The hotel was designed by the architect Isaac L. Taylor in 1886. It was used as a hotel for several years before it could no longer sustain itself financially. In 1908, the hotel was opened as the Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women. Soon it couldn’t afford to stay open as a school either. The school closed in 1924 and then reopened from 1930 to 1934 as a junior college.
The Crescent was leased as a summer hotel after the school closed. In 1937, it got a new owner. Norman Baker turned the place into a hospital and health resort. Baker was an inventor and had made millions of dollars by 1934. Baker wasn’t happy just inventing things because he thought of himself as a doctor (even though he had no medical training). He claimed to have discovered a number of “cures” for various ailments, including cancer. He was sure that organized medicine was conspiring against him. He had recently been run out of Iowa for practicing medicine without a license.
Baker moved his cancer patients to Arkansas and he advertised the health resort. The “cure” was basically drinking the natural spring water. No one was really harmed by this, but it wasn’t really the advertised “miracle cure”. Federal charges were filed against him for mail fraud and he spent four years in prison. The Crescent Hotel was left ownerless.
The hotel stayed closed until 1946 when new investors took it over and began trying to restore this odd and historical piece of Ozark history.
On to the haunting, staff members receive frequent reports from overnight guests of strange goings-on in their rooms and in the hallways. Room 424 has had several visitations and Room 202 has had a ghost photographed in it. The most famous haunted spot is Room 218. Several guests and employees have encountered strange sounds and sensations in that room. Doors have slammed shut and some people have been shaken awake at night.
Room 218 was the location of a bizarre death. A workman fell from the roof during the hotel’s construction and landed in the spot room 218 was to be built. He was killed instantly. Hotel staff says he was a younger man, Michael, and he likes to flirt with the ladies, much like he did while he was alive.
Just because you don’t get a haunted room doesn’t mean you won’t see a ghost. People report seeing a middle-aged man with a mustache, beard and formal clothing in the lobby and bar area. He never responds when talked to. He only sits quietly and then vanishes. In 1987, a guest claimed that she saw a nurse pushing a gurney down the hallway in the middle of the night. The nurse reached the wall and then vanished. Others have reported seeing similar things. Even crazy old Norman Baker has been seen!
Why is the area so haunted? Many people that the spring water that flows underneath the hotel is high in energy and it attracts ghostly apparitions. Is this just a gimmick to help a failing hotel? It could be, but actually, the hotel was starting to do well before the ghosts were sighted.
The burning question, did I see any ghosts when I was there? I’ve stayed in two different rooms, including room 218. Sorry, no actual sightings but it was a bizarre night in a hotel. I could definitely hear bumps and weird noises in the night. I also had a strange feeling of being watched as I walked down the hallway. In my head? Who cares? If you’re ghost hunting in Arkansas, nothing is better than this hotel. If you are really brave, request room 218. Just keep your camera ready and be careful who you talk to at the bar, bwhahahahaha.
You can reserve a room at the Crescent by calling 1-800-342-9766 or visiting their website. Rooms range from $65-225.