When Marty and Elise Roenigk purchased the Crescent Hotel in 1997, they inherited a confused association with the paranormal and what seemed to be a hundred years worth of ghost stories. At that time, years before the TAPS Team of the popular SyFy Network’s Ghost Hunters program paid a visit to this Historic Hotel of America, many hotel owners might have hesitated to publicize the fact that their establishment was haunted, but the Roegniks were interested and decided to take a different approach.
That path was to restore the hotel as a destination spa resort but also pursue what many had claimed: the 1886 Crescent Hotel was America’s Most Haunted Hotel. A key part of that early pursuit included Mr. Roenigk pursuing and hiring two certified mediums, Ken Fugate and Carroll Heath, both of San Francisco CA natives, to “read” the building. Their findings, plus the startling number of repeated sightings that had been recorded over the decades, became the basis of what has become the nightly Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour. It is only now, however, that one of the most compelling discoveries from that initial reading has become ever so clear.
Jack Moyer, hotel general manager for the Roenigk Era, recounted, “I clearly remember Carroll Heath stating that he had discovered a portal to ‘the other side’ for those who are on the same ‘frequency’.” Moyer, a skeptic at the time, laughed and continued, “I remember asking myself ‘what were we thinking’ trying to explore this unexplained world. But after more than a decade of working around the paranormal, I now assuredly recognize how many people truly connect to the spirits here at the Crescent. And there is a new and specific reason why.”
Moyer’s reason is the fact that after 18 years he has been confronted with the realm of a chilling coincidence that caused the original portal discovery to resurface. It started with dialogue involving Moyer and current hotel ghost tour manager Keith Scales.
“Keith came to me to share a concern about a phenomenon that had been reoccurring on his nightly tours,” Moyer explained. “That phenomenon included multiple guests who had grown faint, with a few passing out briefly, at the same tour stop with no reasonable explanation. Then Scales described the location and it was the area that had been indentified as a portal more than a decade ago by Heath.”
“Scales then took me to the place and pinpointed the portal phenomenon as happening just outside the hotel’s ‘annex’ entrance, exactly where Heath had identified the location of his portal years ago,” Moyer disclosed.
This phenomenon has guests suddenly turning pale, falling against and then sliding down the wall in a faint. Although the loss of consciousness does not last very long and complete recovery is immediate, it tends to further substantiate the hotel’s legendary supernatural connection to the paranormal.
Moyer went on to say, “What made that moment most chilling was when Keith and I realized that this portal was directly above the ‘morgue’ located in the bottom level of the hotel.”
Now in its seventeenth year, the ghost tour of the 1886 Crescent Hotel continues to increase in popularity. Paranormal evidence in the form of personal experiences, orb sightings and other anomalous photography keeps coming in, oftentimes on the tours themselves lending credence to the ghostly legend.
“That legend continues to grow as yet another phenomenon is recognized, one that occurs with uncanny frequency about every couple of weeks or so,” Scales added. “What makes it legendary is that seems to rise up in a vertical plane from the notorious Norman Baker’s morgue.” (It should be noted that Norman Baker from Muscatine IA purchased the hotel in 1937 and operated it as a “cancer curing” hospital until late 1939 when he was arrested for mail fraud.)
Scales was quick to point out the Crescent Hotel is super-cautious about accepting events as supernatural. He stated that 95 percent of reported paranormal phenomena can be explained by normal means but there is always a residue, maybe five percent of experiences, that defy explanation, “We don’t know why some people have a tendency to faint at this particular place, we only know that they do at the place where activity of various kinds has been reported over decades. ”
Both Moyer and Scales agree that the most curious fact is that this event has never been known to occur anywhere else on the tour except at this one, specific location, a location that sits directly above the infamous morgue.
“Whether there are portals to other realities here at the 1886 Crescent Hotel or not, no one can say, confirm, nor deny,” Moyer concluded. “It’s all part of the mysterious, unexplained happenings of America’s Most Haunted Hotel.”
Other paranormal encounters and photographed images may be found at AmericasMostHauntedHotel.com.