Human Specimens Buried at the Crescent Hotel

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crescent hotel

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.

Bizarre Discovery at a Eureka Springs (AR) Mountaintop Spa Resort Reads Like a Chilling Novel



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.

crescent hotel dig findings

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 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 dying 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 ambiance 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.”



Read more on the 400 glass bottles that have been unearthed in the backyard of the Crescent Hotel.

Daily Schedule ESP




3:00 p.m. CHECK-IN begins at the 1886 Crescent Hotel front desk. SIGN UP at ESP WELCOME TABLE in the Living Café in the Conservatory for:

  • GHOST TOURS (included in your package)
  • ESP ASSESSMENT (included in your package)
  • Psychomanteum -Telepathy testing -Remote Viewing experiments
  • PRIVATE SESSIONS with Certified Hypnotherapist MELANIE BELL (not included in your package: details available at ESP Welcome Table)
  • PSYCHIC SALON – – three psychics, three kinds of readings. (not included in your package: details available at the Salon in the lobby)
  • Don’t forget to pick up your t-shirts and all-important ID tags!
  • While you’re in the Living Café, introduce yourself to JOHN HEALEA, live-wire host of Hotrod Paranormal Radio. John will be interviewing investigation participants for a program about ESP19 at the Crescent Hotel.

Please feel free to explore the hotel, check out the CRESCENT COLLEGE HISTORY PROJECT exhibit (4th floor), indulge in the SKYBAR GOURMET PIZZARIA (4th floor) or CRESCENT CONFECTIONS (lobby), find souvenirs at the ESP SUPERNATURAL SUPERMARKET (Living Café) or SERENDIPITY AT THE CRESCENT art gallery (lobby) and visit the NEW MOON SPA (garden level).

  • 5:00 p.m. OPENING THE DOOR – Welcome Reception. Light refreshments in the Living Café (Conservatory on the lobby floor). KEITH SCALES, Tour Manager at 1886 Crescent and 1905 Basin Park hotels, Creative Director of ESP weekends, will introduce our headliners and the themes of this year’s conference.
  • 6:00 p.m. Certified Hypnotist MELANIE BELL presents a demonstration of PAST-LIFE REGRESSION. Participation strictly voluntary. Observers welcome.
  • 7:30 p.m. NOT REALLY A DOOR: Back From the Dead, With Baggage! A one-hour, two-actress, supernatural-comedy-murder-mystery thriller, now in its fifth year of performance at the Crescent Hotel, featuring Rebecca J. Becker and Debra Holman Workman. (Living Café)
  • 8:30 p.m. DINNER BREAK

The following activities and events will take place beginning at 9:00 p.m. FRIDAY

  • PSYCHOMANTEUM (scrying chamber) will be available 9:00 p.m. Friday to 3:00 a.m. Saturday. 15-minute sessions. SIGN-UP AT ESP WELCOME TABLE. Sessions will be held in the North Penthouse, Room 502 (Norman Baker’s private suite).
  • GHOST TOURS 9:00, 9:30, or 10:00 p.m. ESP special tours. (Public tour at 8:00 p.m.) An introduction to the most active areas in the hotel and the stories of uncanny experiences that have been handed down for generations – – and still occur! Invaluable preparation for the night’s investigation. IMPORTANT! RESERVE YOUR PLACE ON A TOUR AT CRESCENT HOTEL FRONT DESK and plan to arrive at least ten minutes before your tour begins. ALCOHOL-FREE ACTIVITY. (Tours begin in the Faculty Lounge, 4th floor.)
  • 11:00 p.m. MELANIE BELL Melanie leads a workshop in SELF-HYPNOSIS. A way into the Zone… Voluntary participation, observers welcome. (Living Café)


***SATURDAY JANUARY 5TH AND 12TH 2019*** The Investigation Begins!

  • 12:00 midnight TOAST TO THE GHOSTS Join us to raise a glass in honor of the spirits of the Crescent. Champagne provided. (Skybar, 4th floor)

SHUTTLE available to the BASIN PARK HOTEL (ask at front desk), but it’s only a five-minute drive if you’d rather take your own car. Parking available on the street.

  • 12:30 – 6:00 a.m. NOCTURNAL INVESTIGATION OF KNOWN ACTIVE AREAS What you came for! Free roam or work with our lead investigators, LARRY FLAXMAN, DAVE HARKINS, and BUD STEED. (Gather in the Faculty Lounge, 4th floor at the Crescent, or in Barefoot Ballroom, 6th floor, at the Basin Park Hotel.) PLEASE NOTE: BASIN PARK investigation will begin with a guided tour of the building.
  • 3:00 a.m. SMALL HOURS SNACK PARTY Share results, take pictures, recharge or wind down. (Living Café at the Crescent Hotel, Atrium Room at the Basin Park Hotel.)
  • 3:30 a.m. A FLICKERING TALE. A spooky story for the witching hour, delivered by one of our famous Crescent Theatre storytellers. (Fireplace in the Lobby of the Crescent Hotel or the Atrium Room at the Basin Park Hotel.)

Tiptoe time! You may continue exploring independently but please be considerate of sleeping guests.

  • 6:00 a.m. Time for bed. Security will be locking down the active areas at this time.
  • 8:00 – 10:00 a.m. BREAKFAST available in the Crystal Dining Room (not included in package)

The following INTERACTIVE EXPLORATIONS will take place between 10:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. E.S.P. (Extra-Sensory Perception) manifests in many ways. Some people believe we all possess these faculties, and simply need to locate them within ourselves. Are you in touch with your psychic abilities? ESP!19 provides the opportunity for you to explore your PSI potential. SIGN UP AT THE ESP WELCOME TABLE for:

• TELEPATHY TESTING: Two-person, 15-minute sessions starting at 10:00 a.m. (Governor’s Suite, Room 101 off the lobby, Crescent Hotel)

• REMOTE VIEWING EXPERIMENTS: Time and Place to be announced

• PSYCHOMANTEUM: Open up a conduit to your own mind – – or is it the Other Side? One-person, 15-minute appointments available 2:00 p.m. Saturday, to 2:00 a.m. Sunday. (Norman Baker’s penthouse, room 502.)

• PSYCHIC SALON: three psychics, three kinds of reading. Appointments taken at the Salon. (Lobby) (Not included in your package.)

• PRIVATE SESSIONS with Certified Hypnotist MELANIE BELL: Further information and sign-up at ESP WELCOME TABLE in the Living Café. (Not included with your package.)


  • 5:00 p.m. READINGS AND BOOK-SIGNINGS Best-selling authors Larry Flaxman, Keith Scales, Bud Steed and others read their favorite passages from their paranormal works. (Living Café)
  • 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. THE PURSUIT OF APPARITIONS Intrepid researchers of supernatural mysteries, DAVE HARKINS and BUD STEED share their adventures. (Living Café)
  • 7:30 – 9:00 p.m. DINNER BREAK
  • 9:00 p.m. LARRY FLAXMAN PRESENTS ESP Weekends’ lead investigator since 2013. Larry’s multimedia presentations and live commentary never fail to challenge and inspire his audiences. (Living Café)
  • 10:30 p.m. SOCIAL HOUR Light refreshments and a FLICKERING TALE. An opportunity to mingle with your fellow investigators, catch your breath and prepare for the night’s adventures! (Living Café)




SHUTTLE available to the BASIN PARK HOTEL (ask at front desk), but it’s only a five-minute drive if you’d rather take your own car. Parking available on the street.

  • 12:30 to 6:00 a.m. NOCTURNAL INVESTIGATION Investigate the active areas of 1905 Basin Park and 1886 Crescent Hotels. Gather in the Faculty Lounge, 4th floor at the Crescent, or the Barefoot Ballroom, 6th floor, at the Basin Park Hotel. PLEASE NOTE: BASIN PARK HOTEL investigation will begin with a guided tour of the building.
  • 3:00 a.m. SMALL HOURS SNACK PARTY. (Living Café at the Crescent Hotel, Atrium Room at the Basin Park Hotel.)
  • 3:30 a.m. A FLICKERING TALE. (Fireplace in the Lobby of the Crescent Hotel or the Atrium Room at the Basin Park Hotel.)

Tiptoe time! You may continue exploring independently but please be considerate of sleeping guests.

  • 6:00 a.m. Time for bed. Security will be locking down the active areas at this time.
  • 9:00 a.m. – 1 P.M. BRUNCH available in the Crystal Dining Room. (Not included in package.)
  • 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. PANEL DISCUSSION and Q & A in the Living Cafe with our experts next year’s theme:


Farewells and photo-ops.

ESP Weekend 2019

Eureka Springs Paranormal Weekend

January 4, 5, 6 & 11, 12, 13 2021

Book Tickets & Package below.

Eureka Springs Paranormal (ESP) weekend at the 1886 Crescent Hotel has evolved over seven years.  What began as an opportunity for paranormal investigation groups to explore the active areas at night for one weekend in January, has grown to a two-weekend, two-hotel investigation  – and not only of ghosts.

The phrase Extra Sensory Perception refers to the mysterious powers that some people (and maybe all people) possess, that seem to defy the laws of space, time and even logic.

You will have many opportunities to explore your own psychic abilities at ESP19, our interactive weekends – opportunities to share your experiences, feelings, questions, realizations with other companions on the quest.  And at night we will be attempting to communicate with those who linger in this hotel long after their bodies are dead and buried.

This Year’s Headline Investigators

2019 Agenda

Buy Your Conference Pass



Paranormal Investigation

As part of our Do The Ozarks Halloween series, The Arkansas CW Crew went back this year to the famous haunted hotel The Crescent Hotel.  Built in 1886, the first 15 years it served the carriage set and was an exclusive year-round hotel resort.  During our tour, we had a chance to go into Theodora’s room, Michael’s room, and the Morgue.  Read More…