As welcoming as hotels may appear, some are prime spots for unwanted spirits. As rumor has it, few lodgings are as haunted as the Crescent Hotel, where almost every room has at least one ghost. But how did this place become haunted? The haunting of the Crescent Hotel stems from a tragic, horrifying history that goes back more than a century.
The hotel was once a hospital for cancer patients. At the Crescent, a “doctor” reportedly advertised miracle cures and led a fraudulent scheme to scam cancer patients out of thousands of dollars. It’s no wonder the basement once served as a morgue.
Not only is the Crescent Hotel considered one of the most haunted places in Arkansas, but it’s also one of the most well-known haunted hotels in the United States. Do you have the nerve to stay at the Crescent? Read More…
The hotel is home to several rumored ghosts and according to Bill Ott, Director of Marketing and Communication at the hotel, the spirits have made themselves known to guests. “The most famous ghosts we have in the hotel are Michael who hangs out in room 213, he was a stone mason that fell to his death in the footprint of that room. The other one is Theodora in room 419. If you mess up the room or she doesn’t like you, she’ll put your luggage in front of the door which makes it difficult for it to open.” Read More…
In this edition of “Paranormal Adventures with The Crew”, we check in to the historic 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa in Eureka Springs. Touted as one of “America’s Most Haunted Hotels”, The Crescent Hotel was built in 1886. For the first 15 years, it served the carriage set and was an exclusive year-round hotel resort. Due to annual off-season hotel vacancies, the hotel was turned into the Crescent College & Conservatory for Young Women in 1908. The College closed down in 1934. Read More…
For decades upon decades the stories of “the Baker years” at the 1886 Crescent Hotel have been told. With no living eyewitnesses to these stories, they were mere legend. It wasn’t until earlier this year that actual proof of these stories was literally uncovered when the Arkansas Archeological Survey team carefully uncovered the secret bottle grave of the Crescent’s most infamous resident owner, Norman Baker.
Also unearthed, it seems, was additional paranormal activity further validating this historic resort, located atop the Arkansas Ozarks, as “America’s most haunted hotel”. This ghostly moniker has now been chiseled into granite… or more accurately stated: limestone, the predominate rock formations of Crescent Mountain.
Baker, a charlatan from Muscatine IA, owned the hotel in the late 1930s when he operated the structure as a cancer hospital where promises of a cure filled the hotel with suffering victims of the disease. His bottles contained a) several of his “curing” potions, despite the fact that no one was ever cured; and b) fleshy medical specimens extracted from his patients, despite the fact that Baker was not a doctor. Also found was an identifiable section of one of his promotional movies, a find that the archeologists said was like finding Baker’s business card.
“We had heard the stories. We had read the promises of Baker’s promotional material. We had even seen his poster where he proudly displayed his bottled cures and bottled tumors extricated from his patients,” explained Jack Moyer, hotel vice president and general manager, “but it wasn’t until more than 500 bottles from the northwest corner of our 15 acres were excavated during a formal archeological dig, did we actually get to see these antique bottles of macabre proof.”
Added proof of these bottles’ authenticity came during an interview with two ladies, Genevieve Bowman and Dorothy Bridgeman, who once served the hotel as waitpersons while in high school. Each, upon seeing them again, remembers the bottles as those they saw during excursions to the hotel’s basement area that was Baker’s morgue. It was in the morgue where these bottle were stored in a displayed manner.
The legend now proven has spawned such often re-experienced paranormal encounters as children being seen huddled under the morgue’s autopsy table pleading for help; the reoccurrence of a Baker patient who also served as a hospital assistant being seen in and around Room 419, better known as Theodora’s room; the early morning, loud squeaking of wheels in the third floor corridor accompanied by sightings of a nurse pushing a corpse-laden gurney down the hallway only to see it vanish into thin air; and the numerous “conversations” with former patients by way of responses via an EMF (electromagnetic field) ghost meter during paranormal investigations.
The interest in the paranormal aspect of the Crescent Hotel has drawn more than 15 national and international television production companies to visit this Historic Hotel of America and air ghostly episodes on the hotel. Two such notable programs are the Travel Channel’s “Ghost Adventures” and the Syfy channel’s “Ghost Hunters”. With the airing of each episode, ghost aficionados flock to Eureka Springs to see firsthand the hotel and now its bottle find. “Our numbers are growing exponentially,” Moyer added.
The best of the unearthed bottles is now back on display in the Crescent’s morgue. Both the morgue, complete with autopsy table, and a walk-in cooler where Baker stored cadavers and body parts are open for public viewing as part of the hotel’s nightly ghost tour. Even the burial site, the archeological dig locale, has been preserved and is open for viewing during the hotel’s VIP Ghost Tour.
To add to the enhanced paranormal interest during the month of October, hotel guests will also be able to take part in such extra resort offerings as “Flickering Tales”, a campfire circle where Ozark ghost stories are told under a nighttime sky; and a private paranormal panel entitled “Ghost Tour Guides: Their Inside Stories”, a forum where veteran Crescent Hotel ghost guides tell of their personal hair-raising encounters while touring the “Grand Ol’ Lady of The Ozarks”.
In the 1930s, a man claimed he had miraculous cures for cancer in Eureka Springs.” One of the people who is very prominent is Norman Baker, the guy who ran this place as a faux cancer hospital for a couple of years,” said Keith Scales, the ghost tour manager at the Crescent Hotel. Read More.
A new Ghost Adventures season will start Saturday evening with one of the most anticipated lockdowns in the reality show’s history. Zak Bagans and the crew will be seen investigating the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spain Eureka Springs, Arkansas, which made headlines for an oddity unearthing just after the crew left the property. Read More.
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 archaelogical excavation.
It started when hotel grounds keepers 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 1930’s.
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 everyday,” 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 archaelogist 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.” Archalogists also found an old bone saw they believe Baker may have used to work on patients.
On February 5, 2019, while working to extend a parking pad at the north end of the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa’s 15 acres of mountaintop property, a chance discovery was made by the hotel’s landscape gardener, Susan Benson. There in that first scoop of dirt were a couple strange, medical-looking bottles. Knowing part of the hotel’s history that it was once a “cancer curing hospital” in the late 1930s, Benson called the hotel’s ghost tour manager, Keith Scales. Upon his arrival, Scales realized the bottles he was looking at were identical to those that appeared on an advertising poster of the late Norman Baker, the charlatan who operated the hospital.
Careful hand-digging uncovered a few more -even more dynamic- bottles, one of which contained “something” floating in a nearly clear liquid. Again, from what was on the faux-doctor’s poster, it was perceived to be what looked like a cancerous tumor that Baker used as a “look what i can do” advertisement for his magical, medicinal albeit false claim of curing cancer. The hotel’s general manager was called.
That call led to a “stop order” on any future digging until archeologists from the nearby University of Arkansas-Fayetteville could offer their advice. That advice included calling the local police (who called the state crime lab) and the local fire department (who called in a hazmat crew). Each gave their okay on moving forward on “the dig”. Fast forward two months….
On April 9, 2019, team members of the Arkansas Archeology Survey (AAS), part of the University of Arkansas system, arrived from the nearby Fayetteville campus, to begin their meticulous study. They began to carefully peel back layers of dirt and rock. Cutting root clusters as needed, the “find” was slowly uncovered.
With each descending layer of soil, the find became more and more miraculous. AAS team members and hotel management got very excited for the the lost dump site for a notorious, infamous charlatan, Norman Baker, who turned the resort hotel into a cancer hospital in the late 1930s, had surprisingly been found.
Baker treated hundreds of people, patients who were grasping at straws trying to be cured of their deadly disease, but no cure ever occurred. He did however extract literally millions of dollars from his endeavor; money scammed from the families and trusting patients of the Cancer Curable Baker Hospital with many of the patients dyeing at hands of Baker.
All the folklore, all the hair-raising stories, all the rumors were now proving to be true with each and every bottle, medical specimen jar, gruesome surgical tool, etc. as they arose from their 80-year-old grave. Physical remnants of Baker’s Cancer Curable Hospital could now be seen, studied and displayed. The discovery echoed throughout the United States thanks to such news outlets as Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, CNN, and Newsweek, to name just a few.
“What surprised us the most,” said Jack V. Moyer, general manager and vice president of operations of the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, “were several calls from eyewitnesses who remember the ‘Baker years’ and some of whom actually saw these same bottles in the area of the building that Baker used as his morgue and autopsy room. Both of those rooms, which are now a key component of our nightly ghost tours, were stripped bare of artifacts before the current owners came on board in 1997.
“We had been told those artifacts had been taken to the dump. We thought that meant the county’s solid waste dump but low and behold they had been dumped on hotel property.”
Moyer explained that these bottles would become part of a special display in the morgue, adding to the macabre ambience of the ghost tour, and that the bottle burial site itself will be encased and available for viewing on special tours. The planned date for this shocking debut is set for June 1.
“What we wait for now is how this find and the resurrection of these bottles has spiked our paranormal activity,” Moyer concluded. “Already paranormal experts and ghost hunters are waiting to return to ‘America’s Most Haunted Hotel’ to see at what higher level there must be following this bizarre bottle exhumation.”
CHAPTER THREE awaits.
Read more on the 400 glass bottles that have been unearthed in the backyard of the Crescent Hotel.