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As if tales of ghosts and hauntings at the famous Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs isn’t disturbing enough, a landscaper at the hotel recently discovered something pretty creepy buried on the grounds. It appears they’ve dug up old bottles filled with human body parts.
Among the many tales about the history of the hotel, is one about Norman Baker, a former owner, who they say ran the property as a cancer hospital.
Well, the discovery of the first bottle has led to a full-blown archaeological excavation.
It started when hotel groundskeepers found the first bottle 3 months ago.
“And really didn’t have any idea what was going on, until I picked up the first bottle that had a clear fluid in it, with something in it,” said Crescent Hotel landscaper Susan Benton.
So far, they’ve discovered 500 bottles that point to the stories of Norman Baker using the hotel to treat cancer patients back in the late 1930s.
Hotel ghosts tours manager, Keith Scales says he recognized the bottles from a display.
“We have this displayed in the hotel, where we do the tours, so I see this every day,” Scales said, “Some of the bottles are medicines. Some of the bottles are…medical specimens. What he claimed were tumors that he had taken out of his patients — put in alcohol or formaldehyde and kept in bottles as evidence that his cure was working.”
Although the dig area was considered a dump site, archaeologists say they can tell a lot of thought went into the disposal of these bottles.
“You have these lined walls here that they actually did do hand excavating to actually dig a pit first, said archaeologist Jared Pebworth, “So, they were thinking about how they were going to get rid of their trash instead of just coming up here to the hillside, throwing it down the hillside.”
Archaeologist Michael Evans says they also dug up 16-millimeter film.
“The films in really bad shape… but, we were able to lift a few little images from the film — and one of the images said, after.. before Baker treatment,” said Evans, “It’s a unique find, very exciting.” Archaeologists also found an old bone saw they believe Baker may have used to work on patients.