Ghostly Happenings at the Crescent Hotel

Built in 1886, there have been hundreds of tales of paranormal experiences at the Crescent Hotel & Spa. Given its history, it’s not surprising. Besides being a popular mountaintop resort, the hotel has served as both a girls’ college and a cancer hospital–where “Doctor” Norman Baker claimed to have the cure for cancer. Announced as America’s Most Haunted Hotel by the likes of Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, an abundance of extraordinary experiences have always attracted the attention of paranormal investigators who have traveled to the property to study and research the hotel’s supernatural activity.

Famed tales include: • Room 218, where Michael, an Irish stonemason who fell to his death when building the hotel is known to hang out. • Theodora, a cancer patient is known to be seen fumbling for her keys outside Room 419 as well as tidying up for guests when they leave the room. • Breckie, a 4-year-old child of Richard & Mary Breckenridge Thompson who died in the hotel due to complications from appendicitis. He has been seen throughout the hotel often bouncing a ball. • Dr. John Freemont Ellis, the hotel’s in-house doctor circa the late nineteenth century is most often seen–or his cherry pipe tobacco is smelled–near his office which is now room 212. • Morris, the famed hotel cat, was known as the Hotel General Manager for 21 years, and later buried on the hotel property is regularly seen and heard.

While the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs has many ghost stories of the past, what makes it America’s Most Haunted Hotel is the activity of today and the throngs of paranormal investigators who study throughout the year and who travel to the property each year in January to share findings.

Many paranormal investigators have come to believe that limestone has a special ability to absorb and release electromagnetic and psychic energies. Crescent Mountain, the hilltop the hotel sits on, is predominantly limestone. The massive eighteen-inch-thick stones used for the body of the hotel were made of limestone as well. These factors may very well contribute to the abundant paranormal activity the hotel guests’ experience.

Part of the Mystery Unsolved

A recurring phenomenon happens in a spot on the 3rd floor where the hotel connects to an “annex” built onto the hotel when it was a hospital. The area has been said to be a portal to the other side. Multiple guests have grown faint, with a few passing out briefly, at the same stop on the nightly ghost tour with no reasonable explanation. The occurrences go in spurts, many happening over several weeks or months, and then none for some time. Guests suddenly turn 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.

Reports Continue from the Days of Being a Hospital

“There has been quite an uptick in activity in the morgue. I think we have stirred things up a bit with the discovery of the remains” says Debra “The Duchess”, manager of the nightly ghost tours referring to the 2019 uncovering of a secret bottle grave of the Crescent’s most infamous resident owner, Norman Baker. A certified archeological dig found hundreds of bottles of Baker’s “secret formula” as well as jars containing “medical specimens” that had been surgically removed from patients.

A dark figure has been seen recently in the morgue and there has been an increase in cold spots and reports of people being touched.

Throngs of Amateur Investigators

Year-round, the hotel hosts paranormal thrill-seekers.  Over 35,000 of these ghost hunters will take the tour annually. This interest has spurred an entire community of paranormal enthusiasts who participate in a Facebook group called The Crescent Hotel Ghost Tours.  Over 5000 members from across the country have shared thousands of their photos and paranormal experiences while visiting the hotel. 

Researchers Meet Every Year to Study Findings

Annually, the hotel hosts a conclave (Eureka Springs Paranormal Weekend), to bring together interested investigators of all experience levels with nationally known paranormal investigators for overnight ghost hunts and to seek answers. One weekend became two weekends as headliners for the weekends’ best-selling author Larry Flaxman and founder of the Ozarks Paranormal Society, Dave Harkins found both the evidence of the paranormal and the interest level of amateur investigators more than could be served in one weekend.

Flaxman noted what draws so many ghost hunters back to the hotel, “The rich history of the Crescent Hotel, including the unscrupulous acts of Norman Baker and the physical, emotional, and mental pain of his cancer patients who occupied the Crescent during its time as a hospital, has left an indelible mark. Hauntings are common in locations where there has been extreme trauma and tragedy and the long history of tragedies at this property has lent itself to producing an environment highly conducive for paranormal activity and making the Crescent Hotel America’s Most Haunted Hotel.”

Evidence of the haunting came to the forefront at the 2021 Paranormal Weekend, as a full-body apparition was captured on camera with the help of a ghost hunting tool called a laser grid that creates pinpoints of lights. If a light or group of lights are missing it’s because they are being blocked by something. The picture was taken during an investigation by an amateur investigator in the Crystal Dining Room. A figure had often been reported in this location sitting on the window sill waiting for someone and now that has been backed by evidence.

Ghost at the Crescent Hotel

Is the hotel really haunted? Numerous people believe it is. According to many, it is considered the most haunted hotel in America. There’s only one way to find out for sure. Book a stay at the Crescent Hotel and join the community of paranormal investigators.

Paranormal Pair

Paranormal Package

Get into the Halloween “spirit” and plan a getaway to two of the most haunted hotels in Arkansas.

Since its beginning in 1886, there have been tales of paranormal experiences at the Crescent Hotel & Spa.  Given its history, it’s not surprising. Besides being a popular mountaintop resort, the hotel has a sorted past that includes serving as both a cancer hospital and girls’ college but has also gone through periods of sketchy ownership and closure.  Now on solid ground, the legacy of the past continues with regular visits from “past” guests and hotel characters while guests of “today” resist fainting at the portal or fend off the chill in the morgue. Featured on Ghost Hunters, Ghost Adventures, CNN, The Travel Channel, and many more, the abundance of extraordinary experiences still attracts international ghost hunters and expert paranormal investigators.

The Basin Park, The Peoples Hotel was established in 1905 and so started the stories of illegal liquor, slot machines, late-night card games, and illicit activity.  Soon thereafter, came stories of paranormal activities connected to the site and its notorious personalities. Many believe that the hauntings are due to the hotel being constructed on the site where The Perry House perished in a fire in 1890, others point to the Osage Neutral Ground of Basin Spring Park.  What all agree, something is happening with the whistler, the gambler’s throat, the bishop, and in the cave that once served as a hidden speakeasy.

For a limited time, The Paranormal Pair Package allows thrill-seekers to enjoy a night at each hotel with two tickets to the Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour and two Basin Park Paranormal investigations.  All at nearly $200 off retail cost.

Eureka Springs Haunted HotelPackage Includes: 1 Night Stay at the Basin Park Hotel 1 Night Stay at the Crescent Hotel Plus 2 Crescent Ghost Tour Tickets 2 Basin Park Paranormal Investigation Tickets $350 plus taxes and fees. Valid Monday through Thursday October 25th-November 4th, 2021.

Call 877-643-4972 to book


Confessions to Ghost Tour Guides of The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa

As Southern Living Magazine recently boasted, “The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa is Known to Have Ghostly Guests”.  Many of these ghostly guests have become well-known thanks to nearly 20 nationally and internationally syndicated paranormal television programs that have produced and broadcast episodes on “America’s Most Haunted Hotel”.   However, here are a few new tales, as told to the hotel’s ghost tour guides; stories that even the paranormally savvy might not know but will enjoy, nonetheless.


Paranormal Report 1: Last week I met a couple that was staying here at the Crescent on the first floor near the Governor’s Suite. They said the first night of their multi-night stay nothing happened; explaining that they had heard that you need to be in the hotel at least a couple of nights before anything strange happens. They said on their second night, when they were going to bed, they folded the blanket and comforter back onto the foot of the bed and just slept with only the sheet covering them.  The husband awoke in the middle of the night sweating, turned on the bedside lamp, and woke up his wife in dismay. The blanket and comforter were not only pulled up over them but someone or something had tightly tucked them in.  He said that happened three times that same night.  Whoever or whatever was in the room,  he said, wanted them tucked in and tucked in tightly.  After that, during the rest of their stay, they would discover upon awakening or returning to their room that things would had been moved around in the room from where they were before going to sleep or departing from the room.  They said that items moved were just small insignificant things but enough to let them know someone or something was or had been there. They concluded by stating that they really enjoyed their stay and that they would indeed be returning to the Crescent.

Paranormal Report 2: Room 419 is the room said to still be inhabited by the spirit of Theodora, a prim and proper woman.  She is believed to have been a live-in member of Norman Baker’s “Cancer Curable Hospital” staff during the late 1930s and Room 419 was her room.  Records show that Room 419 is the Crescent Hotel’s second most requested room because of Theodora’s rumored “housekeeping service”, tidying up after guests who stay in that room but only if she enjoys their company.  I have been told by guests staying in Room 419 that they conduct experiments in that room, purposely leaving messes in hopes that Theodora will make her presence known by folding their clothes, organizing their closet and/or attractively arranging personal items that had been scattered around the room.  All told me that, evidently, Theodora must not have given them the ghostly nod of approval.  Then, just recently, a couple told me they had purposefully scattered their loose change around the room on tabletops, nightstand, etc., shortly before leaving for dinner downstairs in the Crystal Dining Room.  Upon their return, they were overjoyed to find their coins neatly reorganized in stacks of quarters, dimes, nickels and pennies and all placed together atop their dresser.  No one knows how Theodora determines whom she favors but this couple, it appears, had managed to make a good impression which they said was “quite cents-able”!

Paranormal Report 3:  Guests who revisited our hotel recently and retook the ghost tour took delight in recounting a story that had happened to them at the Crescent some 10 years earlier.  They said that they had arrived around two o’clock one spring afternoon for an early check-in.  They got their one key to Room 221 and proceeded to take the elevator to the second floor.  When the elevator door opened, standing there, seemingly waiting for them, was a man in an all-black Victorian-style outfit.    The man asked if he could show the couple to their room.  Thinking he was a hotel employee; they told the man they were in Room 221 and handed him their key.  Upon arriving at Room 221, the helpful man unlocked the door and pushed it open. The man remained just outside the doorway, smiling and tilting his head side to side repeatedly.  The guest quietly turned to her husband and suggested that perhaps the man wanted a tip.  In the nanosecond that it took the husband to turn to hand the man a tip, the man had disappeared, nowhere to be seen down the long hallway.  Puzzled, but not concerned, the couple relaxed in their room until they left for their scheduled evening ghost tour.  Following the tour, they returned to their room only to discover that their key would not unlock their door.  They went down to the front desk where the clerk apologized that, by mistake, he had given them the key to Room 321 at check-in.  The couple explained that the key worked for the employee who let them into their room, describing the helpful man and his attire.  The front desk clerk informed them that they had no employee who fit that description and no employees wear that kind of attire.  The couple never saw that “helpful man” again.

Bill Ott, the hotel’s director of marketing and communications, said, “Guest experiences such as these are quite varied and numerous, and guests seem thrilled to share them with hotel employees.  What makes them believable, unbeknownst to them, is that many of their individual experiences are often identical to a story that was shared two weeks, two months, two years ago by someone they never knew who stayed in the same room or visited the same locale in the hotel.

“And oh, and by the way, the most requested ‘active’ room in the hotel is Room 218, Michael the Irish stonemason’s room.  He is said to have died in the footprint of that room into which he fell while helping build the Crescent Hotel back in 1885… but you’ll have to take our ghost tour to get the full story.”

This Hotel Was Once A Cancer Hospital, And Ghosts Of The Patients Are Reportedly Still There

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…

Eureka Springs Paranormal Weekend 2020

esp weekend 2020


In Search of the Supernatural

BY NIGHT: paranormal investigations  – explore both the Crescent and Basin Park Hotels from midnight to dawn,  in the company of  veteran ghost hunters.

BY DAY:   explore your own extra-sensory perceptions! through telepathy testing, a psychomanteum –  and more!

January 3-5 or 10-12, 2020

1886 Crescent Hotel, with excursions to the Basin Park Hotel Eureka Springs, Arkansas – the “Miracle City in the Ozarks.”

CONFERENCE FEE:   $150.00 per person, per weekend



  • Welcome reception and keynote address
  • T-shirt
  • Ghost tour
  • Overnight ghost hunts at 1886 Crescent and 1905 Basin Park hotels
  •  Hands-on activities including telepathy assessment, remote viewing and automatic writing experiments
  • Psychomanteum
  • 24-hour Paranormal Café
  • A paranormal play
  • Supernatural storytelling
  • A visit to the recent important archeological discovery on the grounds of the Crescent hotel– and more!

Keynote speaker and presenters: Larry Flaxman, Dave Harkins and Tiffany Olsen.



americas most haunted hotel

Friday/Saturday January   3, 4–$99.00 per person

(based on Double occupancy) for two night stay!

Friday/Saturday January  10, 11–$129.00 per person

(based on Double occupancy) for two night stay!

Please note: these exceptional rates are only available to conference attendees – reserve early!


Purchase Tickets



ESP weekend 2020

Haunted History in NWA

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 stonemason 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…

Arkansas CW Crew checks into the Crescent Hotel…

crescent hotel arkansas cw

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…

Ghostly Legend at America’s Most Haunted Hotel Enhanced in 2019

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”.