Every October here in Eureka Springs, a historic village of 2,000 in the Arkansas Ozarks, the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa becomes the epicenter of heightened paranormal activity. Even though encounters with hotel “guests who check out but never leave” are experienced the year-round in this mountaintop spa resort, experiences not easily explained in this Historic Hotel of America seem to increase exponentially during the weeks just prior to Halloween.
Empirical experiences disclosed to the hotel’s nightly ghost tour guides might tend to legitimize The Crescent’s claim of being “America’s Most Haunted Hotel”. Here are six of those recently reported experiences in the guide’s own words:
o “Of late, some people on my ghost tours are getting touched, poked, and pinched. Nothing harsh, mind you, just gentle touches and nudges. One of the most extraordinary recent happenings took place when one tour was being seated in the morgue (a leftover from when the hotel was purchased and utilized as an alleged cancer-curing hospital by a charlatan named Norman Baker in the late 1930s). We heard a loud squeaking sound and the large, heavy, sliding door behind the seating area moved several inches ‘on its own’ on the rusty track from which it was suspended. We all practically jumped out of our skins! We all wondered which ghost in the morgue did that!”
o “A three-year-old girl who came on the tour with her family started saying, ‘Bye-bye, baby. Bye-bye, baby’ and waving goodbye in one certain direction as we exited the morgue. No one could see to whom she was speaking. She had been silent the entire tour until that point and then she kept looking directly at one ‘empty’ point in the room saying ‘Bye-bye, baby.’ over and over again. Her father, the one carrying her, was impressed since he already believed in ghosts.”
o “Apparently some girls in the morgue during one of my recent tours asked the EMF meter (electromagnetic field reader used by many as a ‘ghost meter’) if Michael (an Irish stonemason who fell to his death during hotel construction) was listening. The meter responded in the affirmative. Their next question involved whether Michael preferred brunettes, blondes, or gingers. At the mention of ginger hair, the EMF reader went crazy-fast. So, in the minds of those witnesses, it is official that Michael, said to be a well-known ladies’ man even in his ghostly state, likes redheads the best!”
o “My sister-in-law stayed at The Crescent about a year ago and the Jacuzzi and tub water kept turning itself on and off even after getting out of the tub. It happened about three times, coincidentally each and every time she would post ‘This better not happen again on her Facebook page. The timing of it was almost comical. She called the bellman and asked him about it and he said it doesn’t usually happen in her room but has happened in several other rooms. She joked that The Crescent must be an ‘equal ghost room visitation opportunity’ hotel since you never know where things will happen when a spirit’s energy starts moving around.”
o “Recently, I got a rather unexpected reaction from a couple on my tour. It was during my explanation of Norman Baker’s suite, the one he used while operating his hospital. I mentioned that he had two giant St. Bernard dogs for protection. The lady next to me snapped her head in my direction with wide and startled eyes. She then looked at her husband pointedly as if in silent communication. I smiled and stopped and asked if she had a question. She said that they stayed in that room the night before and that they kept hearing scratching noises in the stairwell outside the door all night. They kept telling themselves that it was nothing, nothing. But, when she heard about those huge dogs she said that she was afraid to stay in their same room again that evening. I assured her that nothing bad has ever happened to any of our hotel guests, only that they sometimes hear or see odd things.”
o “ “One night, right after our tours had ended, a young woman who had been on one of my tours came running out of the bathroom telling me, ‘I just went in the bathroom and as soon as the door shut behind me I proclaimed out loud that I didn’t believe any of this! And immediately after I had said that water started pouring out of the ceiling! I couldn’t get out of there fast enough!’ I investigated to find the sprinkler head and the floor were both wet but had no flowing water. Maintenance could not explain how or why it happened. Needless to say, she had turned from cynic to ghost believer in the space of just a few short moments.”
“October is a wonderful and crazy month for The Crescent,” said Bill Ott, the hotel’s director of communications. “People love the dual reason for a visit at this time: awesome fall color and a chance to have a close encounter with one or more of our previous guests who have ‘crossed over’.”
“Interest around the world in our paranormality seems to grow during October. Numerous international and national radio and television stations call or come by the hotel for an October interview. For that same reason, many of the nationally-released television network programs like ‘Ghost Hunters’ seem to replay their Crescent episodes more often during the tenth month of the year,” Ott concluded.
This may be why the thousands of guests who step inside the 129-year-old five-story limestone structure during the 30 days leading up to Halloween will inevitably inquire at check-in, “Is the Crescent really haunted?” Desk clerks reply with, “Please let us know when you check out.”
For more information on the paranormal aspect of the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa, go to americasmosthauntedhotel.com.