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For the last post in the 2021 October Ghost Stories Series, we head south of Joplin, to the pretty town of Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Tucked into the Ozark Mountains, this small community offers Victorian charm, an artsy attitude and incredibly interesting energy!
Although I typically offer five haunted locations from the cities I write about, I’m only featuring two in this post. Both of these spots have such a density of hauntings that I could write multiple posts documenting them.
Grab a cup of tea and curl up under a cozy blanket and read ghost stories from Eureka Springs.
Eureka Springs Arkansas
Located in northwest Arkansas, Eureka Springs is home to about 2,300 people. The town clings to the mountains…in Arkansas, these are more like big rocky hills…earning it the nickname of Little Switzerland.
Native American legends told of the Great Healing Springs in the area. Indigenous peoples long visited the springs and considered them sacred. When European settlers arrived, they found the springs restorative as well.
Eureka Springs incorporated as a city in 1880 and by 1881 became the fourth largest town in Arkansas. Within a few years, the city attracted thousands of people who built Victorian style homes and established commercial enterprises.
The city continues as a tourist town, offering unique shops, cafes, arts and crafts. It’s a mecca for artists, writers and those who appreciate a creative, diverse lifestyle. Check out more of the town’s history HERE.
Perhaps because of all the springs…at least 62 of them…and the limestone in the area, it presents strong, unusual energy. Additionally, Eureka Springs lays claim to the most haunted hotels in the US.
The Basin Park Hotel
Located next to Basin Park, in historic downtown Eureka Springs, this hotel was constructed in 1905, on the site of the former Perry House. That first structure burned to the ground in 1890.
The current lodging contains 100 rooms and a top floor ball room. It is considered the second most haunted hotel in Eureka Springs! Ghost tours are offered daily in the hotel, beginning at 10:30 PM.
Some of the spirits that checked into the hotel…and never checked out.
A six foot tall cowboy occupies room 309. Guests report waking up and seeing him at the foot of the bed, dressed in boots, spurs and a long duster.
Guests in room 321 report sharing that space with a man wearing a brown suit. He’s known to enter the room…but not through the door!
A young girl with pigtails, wearing a yellow dress, skips through the lobby. Visitors also encounter a blonde-haired woman, in turn of the century clothing, drifting along on the third floor. Although smiling, the translucent spirit stares at those who see her with penetrating icy blue eyes, leaving them feeling unsettled.
Another ghostly woman, with curly red hair, frequently drinks milk and eats cookies in the coffeehouse. Or you might encounter the woman in white wandering the hallways.
And wait…there are more ghosts!
A tall thin man sporting a long brown beard, tan suit and hat appears in two places, the upstairs ballroom and room 519. And a friendlier spirit pops into room 408.
Other Paranormal Activity in the Basin Park Hotel
Besides apparitions, staff and visitors report orbs floating by, footsteps that follow you, disembodied voices, doors that slam close on their own and the sensation of being watched.
Guests also experience objects moving about in their rooms. Or items falling off tables, shelves and counters. And perhaps because of the fire in 1890 that destroyed the former hotel, people sometimes capture what looks like flames in photos.
Shadow figures lurk in the ballroom and faces appear in windows…on the top floor. Staff and guests pass through inexplicable cold spots. And one paranormal investigator claims invisible hands chocked him while in the ballroom.
The hotel maintains a log of spooky experiences and encourages guests to report any paranormal encounters.
The Crescent Hotel
This building carries the distinction of being one of the most haunted hotels in the US. Built in 1886, the Crescent opened as a luxurious resort. It sits majestically on West Mountain, overlooking the town below.
Due to slow business during the winter months, Crescent College opened in the building, providing education to young women until 1934. In 1937 Norman Baker bought the former hotel and college, remodeling it into the Baker Cancer Clinic.
This charlatan claimed to have a cure for cancer. His spurious treatments and practices did not heal patients. Rather, they suffered, worsened and died. In the morgue set up in the basement, bodies were hidden away and eventually secretly removed from the “hospital”. At least 44 people died in the Crescent, during the 20 months that Baker ran his clinic. However, according to a tour guide, 300 patients who checked into the hospital were never accounted for afterward. Baker was arrested on mail fraud charges in 1939, for defrauding his victims out of nearly 4 million dollars.
In the years following, the Crescent changed hands frequently, until a couple bought it and the Basin Park Hotel in 1997 and restored them.
This hotel also conducts nightly ghost tours. Check out info HERE.
The Crescent Hotel Ghosts
Numerous spirits roam the Crescent. Some of the most frequently spotted ghosts include the following.
During construction of the hotel, an Irish stone mason fell to his death, landing in what is now room 218. This is the most paranormally active location in the hotel. Guests report hands poking out of the bathroom mirror, a man’s cries coming from the ceiling, orbs and distortions in the room and a door that opens and slams shut on its own. The staff refer to the entity as Michael.
In the hotel dining room, staff and guests report spirits in Victorian dress. Objects move around in this space, typically overnight while the dining room is closed. A Victorian couple, looking at each other as if in a wedding, appear and disappear. Others see a man sitting by the window, waiting for someone, while others come across ghosts dancing around the room, in the wee hours of the night.
As might be expected, several ghosts from Norman Baker’s time in the building haunt the Crescent, including the fake “doctor” himself. He appears in the hotel lobby wearing his favorite lavender shirt. A nurse pushing a gurney rattles down the hallways and former cancer patient Theodora haunts room 419. In the basement where the morgue once existed, washers and dryers sometimes turn on by themselves…all of them at once.
There’s the ghost of the college student, who jumped to her death from a balcony. And another spirit of a young girl lingers around the stairs. She fell to her death from the fourth floor railing soon after the hotel opened.
Other Paranormal Activity in the Crescent Hotel
In the kitchen pots and pans fly off shelves. And a little ghost boy wearing glasses plays in that room.
The smell of pipe smoke emanates from room 212, once the office of the legit on-site hotel physician, who loved to smoke cherry tobacco in his pipe.
Staff and guests report cold spots, orbs and misty shapes captured in photos. People feel touches from invisible hands. Cameras and recording devices lose their battery charges in the former basement morgue. And some feel nauseated in that space.
Others, while on the nightly ghost tour, faint at the same location on the third floor. That exact spot is where an annex was added, when the hotel served as Baker’s hospital.
There’s even a cat ghost, Morris, who likes to lay in a chair in the lobby.
My Experiences in Eureka Springs
I tell you truthfully, that as much as I love exploring this beautiful little town, I cannot spend the night within the city limits. The energy there is that strong for me. When I stay overnight, I choose lodging outside of town.
I’ve been in the Basin Park Hotel lobby, without difficulty. I hoped to attempt an overnight in the hotel this month and experience their ghost tour. A minor accident prevented me from carrying out my plans, due to pain and swelling in my left foot. Staying in the Basin is a future adventure.
I pick up on pools of tragedy in Eureka Springs, and no where as intensely as the Crescent. When I’m within a mile of that hotel, I feel it as discomfort across my back and scalp. At the Crescent, my chest feels heavy and I eventually get a headache and feel ill.
After attending a wedding there, I returned to my hotel room outside of town, unable to sleep due to hearing screams and cries in my head all night long. It was after that experience 12 years ago that I looked up the history of the hotel and learned it served as a hospital for cancer patients under Norman Baker. I feel despair there, and the hopelessness of those who suffered.
Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour
In 2010, my family gathered in Eureka Springs, to scatter my father’s ashes. He loved riding his motorcycle in this hilly town. While family members all stayed at lodging outside of town, my sisters and I, and our children visited the Crescent one evening, for the ghost tour.
What an incredible experience we had. We saw orbs and caught images in digital photos. And in the famous room 218, haunted by the Irishman Michael, I felt so dizzy and disoriented. I caught bizarre light distortions in that room with my camera.
Heading downward, into the morgue area, we all checked our phones and cameras, to make sure batteries remained fully charged. Within minutes of entering that dark space, all batteries were drained. I felt like I couldn’t breathe down in the basement. It was past time for me to leave the building.
Sadly, all the photos I took at the Crescent disappeared forever when the computer they were stored on crashed a couple of years later. However, I have one left from that night, emailed to me from my niece Ashley who captured something in the dark. It’s posted below, an enlargement of the orb in the photo above
Do you want to see what a ghost looks like? There it is, hovering above the hotel.
While I intend to attempt an overnight in the Basin next year, I do not think I can ever spend the night at the Crescent.
Could you? Would you?
The Rest of the 2021 Ghost Stories from Posts
The end of October means the end of the ghost stories, for this year! Thank you for reading along. Are you a believer yet? Have you had paranormal experiences of your own? Share them with me in the comments below.
And if you missed any of the earlier post from this month, they are listed below:
Peace, Love and Eureka Springs Arkansas tee. Click picture to order.
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