The Crescent Hotel
The Most Haunted Hotel in Arkansas
"America's Most Haunted Resort Hotel
The city of Eureka Springs
is located in the northwestern part of Arkansas in the enchanting Ozark Mountains. The entire city is listed in the "National Register of Historic Places" due to the ever popular "Eureka Springs Historic District" which is one of the most popular destinations for tourists. With its 72 rooms, Crystal Dining Room, and New Moon Spa and Salon, the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs is well known as one of the best places to stay when visiting this historical city. However, the Crescent Hotel also has another well known reputation....it said to be the most haunted hotel in Arkansas and possibly the United States.
Construction and Grand Opening
During the late 1800s, several areas in Arkansas received national attention due to the natural hot water springs that were said to have healing powers. In 1884 a man by the name of Powell Clayton who was then President of the "Eureka Springs Improvement Company" along with his colleagues selected a majestic piece of land that consisted of twenty seven acres in the Ozark Mountains to build what was to be called by many "the most luxurious hotel in America". The company hired a man by the name of Isaac Taylor who was a well known architect at the time. Unfortunately, during construction tragedy struck when one of the construction workers fell to his death from the roof of the uncompleted structure and landed near the area where room number 218 is located today. Construction continued on the hotel which celebrated its grand opening on May the twentieth in the year of 1886.The hotel became extremely popular among the wealthy class as they came from all over the country to take advantage of the "healing waters".
The Downfall of the Crescent Hotel and the Infamous Doctor Baker
Unfortunately, around the turn of the century the hotel experienced financial troubles due in part to the discovery by many individuals that the "healing waters" of Eureka Springs didn't seem to be living up to their reputation and the Crescent H began losing the business of the many wealthy cliental who frequented the hotel. From 1908 on, the building was used as a college and rented as a summer resort when the school was closed. In 1937 the building was leased to a man by the name of Norman Baker. Norman considered himself a doctor although he never had a medical license and claimed that he had the cure for several types of ailments including a cure for cancer. These claims had already led to his arrest and conviction back in the state of Iowa for the practice of medicine without a license and the AMA or “American Medical Association” took action by denouncing all of his “cures” or supposed medicines.
However, Baker ended up buying the hotel which he remodeled and proceeded to move his patients who were back in Iowa into the hotel. Baker claimed that the AMA had offered him one million dollars for his cancer cure with the intention of never utilizing it but keeping it off the market in order to force patients to obtain other more expensive procedures. Baker also claimed that the AMA was a threat to him and during the remodeling of the hotel he installed secret passageways and kept machine guns in the hotel in case he needed to make his escape from the “enemy”. Baker continued to operate his “health resort” within the hotel until the authorities including the AMA after many attempts finally were able to convict him in 1940 of mail fraud for advertising his “services” through the “United States Postal Service”. Baker was sent to Leavenworth Federal Prison where he remained for four years until his release in 1944 after which he retired to the State of Florida.
The Numerous Hauntings of the Crescent Hotel
Many stories have been told of what actually occurred at the “hospital” during the time that “Doctor” Baker was running his practice, however, none of these have been officially documented. These stories include claims that many human experiments were performed at the resort and that during later
years when the hotel was being renovated human skeletons were found as well as jars that contained body parts which were preserved. Some of the stories also told of experiments that baker performed on patients with brain tumors in which he exposed the brain by opening the skull and pouring his “miracle cure” directly on the brain. It has been said that many patients died and in order to hide this fact, the bodies were secreted away until they could be disposed of by incineration during the night. The hotel remained closed until the year of 1946 when it was taken over by new owners and renovations began which have continued over the years and today, the hotel has once again earned the reputation of many as being one of the best places to stay when visiting Eureka Springs.
Regardless of whether or not the stories of these experiments are actually true, the fact is that the numerous employees and guests of the Crescent Hotel have experienced and reported many strange occurrences over the years that seem to be related to the paranormal. Room 218 seems to be one of the most active as many employees and guests alike have reported many different experiences including a traveling salesman who claims he was physically shaken by the shoulder as he lay in bed in the middle of the night. Others have reported doors slamming shut, strange sounds, and odd physical sensations in room 218. Many believe that the man who fell to his death during the construction of the hotel is responsible for these occurrences and some say he makes this room the most haunted room within the hotel.
Many individuals have also claimed to have seen a nurse who is thought to have worked for Norman Baker and hearing the sound of a gurney being pushed down the hallway. An old switchboard that was thought to be utilized during the time that Baker owned the hotel was finally removed after complaints from the staff that they kept receiving phone calls from one of the old unused and locked rooms in the basement. When they would go down and unlock the room to check it with the only available key behind the front desk, no one could be seen and the phone would be off the hook. One employee reported that after having received a call with no one on the other end coming from the recreation room, he proceeded to check the room which was empty, however, the phone was off the hook and the employee expressed that despite the fact he saw no one else in the room, he “felt a presence” and upon locking the door and returning to the desk the switchboard buzzer sounded again with a call coming from the very same room.
Many guests and employees have also claimed to see a woman in room 419 who has spoken to them stating that she is a cancer patient. The Crystal Dining Room in the hotel also seems to be another extremely active area with many guests reporting seeing individuals dressed in Victorian era clothing either seated at the tables or seen in the mirrors. And last but not least, an apparition that appears to be the good “doctor” himself is said to have been spotted wandering around the hotel looking lost and confused. They say he likes to hang out mostly in the area of the old recreation room. These are just very few of the numerous stories that have been reported from the Crescent Hotel over the years earning it the reputation of the most haunted hotel in Arkansas and one of the most haunted hotels in America today. The hotel offers ghost tours seven nights a week with many special rates and packages especially for the paranormal enthusiast. If you are looking for one of the most haunted hotels to stay in the State of Arkansas, you can’t go wrong with Crescent Hotel! Check for the lowest price, get directions, view photos, and read the reviews and traveler tips for the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa.
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