Thursday, October 21, 2010

EUREKA SPRINGS and the Haunted Crescent Hotel

Perhaps the most popular haunted Arkansas destination is the legendary Crescent Hotel, constructed in 1886. The long history of the hotel is represented through the ghosts that still inhabit its halls and walls. Not only do tourists learn about secret underground passages, they also receive a special treat of visiting the basement room that was once the morgue. It still contains an old autopsy table. That room was part of perhaps the strangest chapter in the Crescent's history from 1937-39, when Norman Baker of Iowa bought the hotel and converted it into his third cancer facility, naming it the Baker Hospital of Eureka Springs.
Thus, the only ghost stories told by the guides are those with experiential evidence that have also been checked. The guides have also had numerous experiences of their own within the walls of the historic Crescent Hotel.
Probably the most well-known ghost of the Crescent is Michael, a stonecutter who helped build the hotel. He fell to his death at the location of Room 218, now the most requested room in the hotel. He's said to have been a good-looking man who often got in trouble for flirting with the ladies. The tour guides suspect that he could have been flirting when he fell to his death. Michael is still known for turning his attention and tricks to women guests.
Dr. John Freemont Ellis is another "long-time" guest of the hotel. He was hotel physician during the Victorian Era. Dressed in top hat and fine clothing, he is sometimes seen on the staircase from the second floor to the lobby. It has been reported the smoke from Ellis' tobacco pipe is sometimes smelled near the elevator.
According to reports, late one evening a woman was videotaping her husband sitting in the lobby of the hotel. Replaying the tape, the couple noticed a blur. Slowing it down, frame by frame, the blur turned out to be "a proper Victorian man in a tall top hat" walking through the lobby in front of the couch where the husband was sitting. The ghostly apparition on the tape is presumed to be Dr. Ellis.
Michael and Dr. Ellis are just a few of the Arkansas urban legends to whet the appetite. Some of the others include one of a disappearing pool of blood, the morgue ghost who hangs out by the old autopsy table, two nurses completing their duties, a young girl who visits the hotel's public bathrooms and a couple of guests that took a ghost home with them.

Other stories of strange happenings include those from bartenders who worked at the hotel. What is now the New Moon Spa in the hotel was once a bar. Before that it was the hotel bowling alley. Former bartenders tell stories of glasses and bottles of whiskey rising from shelves and crashing to the floor.

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