This story takes place in Eureka Springs Arkansas. The town itself is known as being a "haunted town" (Maybe it's all the limestone they have). It's a tourist town located in the Ozark Mountains in northern Arkansas. If you have never been here, it is definitely a place to visit and one of the most famous places to visit here in this small Victorian town is an old hotel which is set on top of a beautiful mountain. It is known as the 1886 Crescent Hotel. This hotel is known as one of the most haunted places in the United States. My husband and I have visited this hotel on at least 5 occasions (we live only 45 minutes away, and I feel addicted to this place. I always feel the need to go, as if it's calling me back). Of course, others have explored and toured this hotel as well, including TAPS (ghost hunters). Here is a little back story on the Hotel first:
It started construction in 1884. Now keep in mind, this was a time when the "healing waters" of the Ozarks had become well known across the nation. People from near and far were swarming to the area in hopes of curing their ailments and easing their pains. The developers of the Crescent Hotel & Spa planned to take advantage of these many travelers by building the most luxurious resort in the country. Immediately, the well-to-do of the nation began to flock to the luxurious resort hotel. Once there, the guest could not only enjoy the healing waters of the spa, but also a stable of 100 sleek-coated horses, tea dances in the afternoon, and elaborate parties every evening with a full in-house orchestra. However, the prosperity was not to last. After the turn of the century, people began to realize that the acclaimed "healing waters" didn't have the curative powers that the hotel and the city were so known for. Little by little, people stopped coming to the beautiful resort.
From 1908 to 1924, the building was utilized as the Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women. However, after operating for 16 years, the revenues from tuition was not high enough to maintain the costs of running the large building and the Women's College closed. After sitting abandoned for the next six years it briefly reopened as a junior college from 1930 to 1934.
In 1937 a man named Norman Baker arrived on the scene and bought the aging hotel for the purpose of opening a cancer hospital and health resort. Advertising miracle cures that required neither surgery nor painful extensive tests, the Baker Hospital, alleged that its patients would walk away from the "resort" cancer-free.
However, what was unknown to the many desperate patients who flocked to the hospital was that Norman Baker's "miracle" was nothing more than a scam that he had been purporting on unsuspecting patients for years. The man had absolutely no medical training and had been convicted in Iowa in 1936 for practicing medicine without a license! (Scary huh?) Also, the American Medical Association had condemned the many elixirs that were sold for a number of different ailments, including cancer.
While operating the "hospital" Baker was being investigated by federal authorities and in 1939 was finally arrested for mail fraud. One US Postal Inspector estimated that Baker had made as much as $500,000 per year, selling his "miracle elixirs" through the mail while in Eureka Springs. Baker was convicted to serve a four year sentence in Leavenworth. The investigation revealed that over the years Baker had defrauded cancer patients out of approximately $4,000,000. It has been said that many of Bakers patients never returned home after checking in for "treatments". However, more than a dozen people ended up missing. As the story goes, Baker had each of his dying patients write to their loved ones to tell them that they had been cured, and were going to leave the center (and for some reason they were never seen again). He never admitted to killing anyone, but after Baker's death in 1958, a nurse who worked with Baker said that the people who died from "treatments" were most likely buried on the property somewhere after their agonizing deaths.
Over the next several years, the hotel passed through several hands as repairs and more restorations were made. On September 6, 2002, After 5 million dollars in renovations, the grand hotel had been fully restored to its original stately glory.
Now, on to the paranormal stuff: Staff and guests alike tell stories of a number of ghosts that are still said to inhabit this beautiful old hotel.
The most often sighted apparition is that of a red-haired Irish stonemason, who the staff has dubbed "Michael". Allegedly, Michael was one of the original masons who worked on the building of the hotel in 1885. However, while working on the roof he lost his balance and fell to the second floor area and was killed. This area now houses Room 218 of the hotel and is said to be the most haunted guestroom. Michael is often being heard pounding loudly on the walls. Others have witnessed hands coming out of the bathroom mirror and heard cries of what sounded like a man falling in the ceiling. Yet other guests have been shaken during the night, and on one occasion a man ran screaming from the room, professing to have seen blood splattered all over its walls!
The lingering spirit of a nurse, dressed all in white, is often seen pushing a gurney on the third floor. Only spotted after 11:00 p.m., the time which they used to move the deceased out the cancer hospital, the ghostly spirit vanishes when she reaches the end of the hallway. Others who have not seen the apparition have reported the sounds of squeaks and rattles that sound like a gurney rolling down the hallway.
Now here's something incredibly creepy. The basement of this Hotel, was once used as the morgue, and this area still houses "Dr" Baker's old autopsy table and walk-in freezer! Also located on the third floor is the laundry area, where a hotel maintenance man once witnessed all of the washers and dryers inexplicably turning on by themselves in the middle of the night.
The hotel's Crystal Dining Room, is another place in the hotel that is said to contain frequent paranormal activities. Here, other Victorian dressed apparitions have often been encountered. Many have seen groups of 1890's dancers, in full-dress attire, whirling around the room in the wee hours of the morning. Other reports tell of a 19th century gentleman who has been seen sitting at a table near the windows. When approached, he says, "I saw the most beautiful woman here last night and I am waiting for her to return."
The apparition of the greedy "Doctor Baker" himself, has also been seen in the old Recreation Room in the basement and at the foot of the first floor stairway. Dressed in a purple shirt and white linen suit, and looking somewhat confused, the apparition appears identical to old photographs of the infamous "quack".
Another remnant of the old hospital days is a ghostly figure who calls herself "Theodora." Most often seen by housekeepers in Room 419, Theodora courteously introduces herself as a cancer patient, before quickly vanishing.
One other often reported spirit is that of a young female who once attended the Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women. According to the tale, the young girl either jumped from, or was pushed from a balcony to her death. Today, guests report hearing her screams as she falls.
On my first visit to this historic hotel I entered the lobby and was greeted by a cold burst of air. My husband and mother were both with me at the time and neither of them felt the cold rush that I got. While in the lobby, a female guest was complaining to the front desk that she kept getting a text message every few hours on her phone, but there was no number there. The text kept saying 12-31-01. She couldn't understand it. The front desk told her that he was baffled as well; however, the Hotel was closed on that exact date because of a terrible ice storm and the people who were staying at the Hotel were stuck there for a good week. That just freaked her out and she returned to her room.
I immediately went in to use the bathroom (after hearing how haunted it was) and was a little disappointed. Nothing ghostly happened in there.
The Hotel, however, was beautiful. The spiral type staircase went from the basement to the 4th floor. On our way up the stairs all 3 of us got the feeling of vertigo and my husband started feeling sick. He said it was like an inner ear infection or something. He just felt so incredibly dizzy.
As we made our way to the 2nd floor, we decided to ditch the stairs and use the elevator (big mistake). I got in the elevator and instantly got the feeling as if I was going to have an immediate panic attack, and I don't have panic attacks! I told them that I would take the stairs and meet them on the 4th floor to see the beautiful view. I kept finding myself holding on to the railing for dear life.
I passed another guest on the stairs who was having the same problem. He laughed as he passed me and said, "You know a 5-year-old died a while back on this very staircase. He was on the 4th floor and had an inner ear infection. He lost his balance and fell all the way down to the basement. Died instantly. Since then these stairs have been impossible to climb without hanging on." I thought... "Inner ear infection?! That's what my husband mentioned and we had no idea about that." Scary.
Upon reaching the 4th floor, I noticed there was a nice little restaurant and bar up there, right across from what used to be Dr Baker's office! It was even labeled as such. They also had old diagrams hanging on the wall of the human body that Dr Baker used to use. That really freaked me out. My mother said that most of the weird happenings are probably brought on by the fact that they still have all of that old stuff from when it was a hospital. Somehow that would not surprise me.
The view was gorgeous from the 4th floor. We took a lot of pictures in and out of the hotel. I got lots of orbs and weird specks of light. You can Google the Crescent for pictures and see other ghostly pictures that have been taken by others.
It's a scary place, but also very awesome place to go ghost hunting. You don't even have to be a registered guest at the hotel to go in and explore. The front desk and housekeepers are used to curious people coming in to see one of the most haunted hotels around.
Of all the times we have been to this Hotel, we never saw anything like a ghost pushing a gurney or a woman dressed in a Victorian gown, but on my last visit to the Hotel I kept hearing the name Michael whispered in my ear over and over again. It felt like a guy was following me and whispering in my ear. I think my husband thought I was losing it until he went in to use the bathroom and all of the water faucets came on while he was in there. I was outside the door and no one else came in or out the entire time he was in there.
We haven't been back since then, but I would jump at the chance to go right back there again. I am very much intrigued with this place and just love to hear all of the strange paranormal happenings that take place there. Thank you for reading my story. I hope it wasn't too long.
If you ever find yourself in northern Arkansas in the Ozark mountains, maybe you'll want a nice haunted place to spend the night:)