Crescent Hotel Ghosts – HAUNTING GHOST EXPERIENCES REVEALED BY THE 1886 CRESCENT HOTEL TOUR GUIDES

(EUREKA SPRINGS, AR) — Every night of the year, dozens of different people wind their way down the hallways and open, serpentine staircases of the five-story 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, “America’s Most Haunted Hotel”.  Final destination: the hotel’s  “morgue”.  They just know they are strolling amidst what some would say are hundreds of spirits who still frequent this Historic Hotel of America located here atop Crescent Mountain.  Each tour patron is eager to see something, feel something, smell something that they would categorize as a ghostlike experience enabling them to share that close encounter with their world.  However, several of those strolling along those same paranormal chGhostBldg_circa1890pathways have been there before, every night of the year.  These are the stalwart souls known as the Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour Guides.

“From smelling mysterious pipe tobacco to seeing an orb entering a boy’s skull, our (ghost tour) guides are exposed nightly to the hotel’s ‘guests who check out but never leave’,” said Keith Scales, director of the hotel’s ghost tour department.  “With that said, each has not only a unique ‘nom de guide’ but a special supernatural experience of their own to tell.  It is their raison d’être for being a tour guide in this world-famous haunted hotel.”

Aunt Reba had always admired the Crescent since moving to Eureka Springs and had her first unexplainable happening while exploring the hotel as a tourist.  The smell of cherry pipe tobacco got her attention when she reached the second floor.  She did not find out until two years later during her training to be a guide that her earlier encounter with that tobacco essence had probably emanated from one of the Crescent’s more illustrious spirits, the hotel’s in-house doctor circa late nineteenth century.  Dr. John Freemont Ellis, whose office was in what is now Room 212, was known for being a heavy pipe smoker of cherry tobacco.

Since then she says that she has detected “that charming aroma” occasionally, both while alone and while leading a ghost tour.  The most bizarre sensing, she explained, came during a recent tour of 24 people,  “We all simultaneously experienced that olfactory sensation for well over a minute.  And let it be understood that our entire hotel is a ‘no smoking’ property and has been for years.”

Duchess Debra, who gives tours and performs in a two-person paranormal play, Not Really A Door, at the hotel on Friday and Saturday nights, was on stage with her co-star during a recent performance.  One scene in the play has the two actors delivering the line “Ghost!” simultaneously.  At that exact point in time, four books used as props on a shelf went flying out toward the audience “as if someone -or something- had tossed them like a Frisbee”.  The books hit no one; however, the unpredictable, unexplainable occurrence got everyone’s attention.

Sweet Lady Sandra had one woman excitedly announce during a tour that she “clearly saw” and “emphatically heard” a man with a buzz-cut hairstyle say the words, “What about my treatment?”  Two others on that same tour said they saw in their peripheral vision a blurred figure of a man go by in that same vicinity at that same moment.

Miss Katherine was standing at the very bottom of the hotel’s open staircase with her tour group pausing before they entered the zigzagging trail to the morgue.  While all were standing still, Katherine experienced a chill causing her to “grow goose bumps” and then momentarily she found it hard to breathe.  The two ladies standing next to her turned pale and quickly asked, “Did anyone feel that?  It’s the little girl.  She is here.  I can feel her!”  They were referring to the story of the little girl that reportedly fell to her death from the fourth floor railing sometime during the early years of hotel operations.  Where she supposedly landed was the exact spot where the tour group was standing during the literal chilling experience.

To add to this story, one man said, “Oh, my.  Look at this photo!”, a photo he had just taken prior to the ladies’ verbal declaration.  He passed his camera around and clearly everyone could see a foggy mist in the shape of a little girl standing right next to the three women.  Unfortunately he did not submit the image to the hotel’s paranormal website AmericasMostHauntedHotel.com as he said he would and as many do when they capture an apparition on a digital device.

Major Tom had a man and wife on a recent tour that had differing attitudes about the plausibility of the paranormal.  She believed in the phenomena; he did not.  The husband said nothing during the entire tour, giving off negative body language throughout.  This was about to change.

As part of the tours’ conclusion in the morgue the lights are turned off.  Guests, standing next to the autopsy table and the walk-in cooler that once stored cadavers and body parts during the cancer “curing” hospital days of the building, are encouraged to take digital photos to see if they could catch the image of an orb, the “energy essence of a ghost”.  While Major Tom’s back was turned, a frightful scream was heard and all witnessed the skeptic running out of the morgue.  The lights were quickly turned back on and the ashen gentleman was invited back into the room whereupon he meekly confessed he had seen an orb with his naked eye as it flew between his face and his camera.  Result: the non-believer had become a believer and his wife had a great story to tell friends and family once they got back home.

Willow also had a strange morgue experience.  Each guide carries an EMF (electromagnetic field) meter during the tour to detect any electrical emissions that might be given out by a nearby spirit.  Reacting to one lady saying she sensed that this one certain spot on the morgue’s floor was energy filled, Willow laid her meter down on that spot.  As the entire tour witnessed, the meter went crazy beeping and flashing.  To follow up, Willow asked, “If there is indeed a spirit in this room, please make the meter slow down.”  It slowed down immediately.  After moments of heartbeat-like pulses, the spirit was asked to speed the meter back up; it did for a few more moments then went dormant.

But perhaps the most macabre-lite morgue story happened during one of Marshal John Law’s spooky sojourns through the hotel.  At the very end of the tour, after the lights come up in the morgue, the guide usually asks if anyone would like to enter the morgue’s infamous walk-in cooler and have the door shut behind them leaving them in total darkness.  Only two brave souls stepped up, a mother with a video camera and her 12-year-old son with a look of cautious zeal on his face.  They stepped into the space that had housed hundreds of dead bodies and innumerable severed body parts during the hotel’s hospital days and the door was closed behind them.  After about thirty seconds the door was opened and the boy, looking ill, staggered out from the cooler with his mother saying, “Please, move.  My son is getting sick.”

The lad plopped into one of the two chairs always kept near the entrance of the morgue for just such occurrences since ever so often someone will feel faint or ill from their time spent in a room where time had ended for so many during the three years a charlatan killed rather than cured unsuspecting cancer patients.  Once the mother was assured her son was okay and with the whole tour group watching, she announced, “You have to see this!”  At which time she played the video she had captured in the closed, darkened cooler.

The video showed an occasional glint of colored light coming from a dot high over her son’s head illuminating his face just enough for brief recognition.  One such dot did not fade like the others but began swinging back and forth.  As this light did begin to fade, a larger, brighter, white light, “as bright as a camera flash”, appeared and continued to glow just above her son’s head.  It slowly descended and disappeared as if it were entering his head only to suddenly reappear seemingly escaping from the boy’s skull just a nanosecond before the door opened allowing the boy to make his quick and queasy exit.

“Something as bizarre as these stories does not happen every night on every tour,” Scales concluded, “but sometimes they do happen.  It is this unknown factor and these documented accounts that have made the ghost tours here in our mountaintop spa resort so popular.  That is why believers and non-believers alike can enjoy and co-exist on our tours.  Some come to find proof, some come to debunk, but all come to have fun.  And that’s what the Crescent Hotel ghost tours are all about.”

For more stories visit: www.americasmosthauntedhotel.com

Purchase a Ghost Tour Ticket, click here.

HISTORIC HOTEL OF AMERICA CELEBRATES THE GRAND RE-OPENING OF ITS MORGUE

The Grand Re-Opening of the MORGUEMorgue_WalkInCooler_1886CrescentHotel&Spa_7x10

Throughout the decades, members of Historic Hotels of America have celebrated re-openings of such hotel facilities as their restaurant, lounge, spa, etc., but only one HHA member has ever made plans to re-open their “morgue”.  Now, just in time for Halloween, the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa, located in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, will celebrate the re-opening of its “morgue” throughout the month of October.

“Our morgue is one of those historic infamies that has made us famous in the world of the paranormal and those interested in that world,” said Bill Ott, the hotel’s director of marketing and communications.  “It wasn’t part of the original business plan of the Eureka Springs Improvement Company who built this mountaintop spa resort more than 125 years ago, it just turned out that way.”

The history of the Crescent includes years when it was something other than a hotel.  For example, from 1908 to 1934 the hotel -in the non-summer months- was used as The Crescent College & Conservatory for Young Women.  The depression caused the college and the hotel to close its doors but in 1934.  However, thanks to “the man from Muscatine”, the Crescent re-swung her doors open to much fanfare in 1937.

smallIn July of 1937, an established nemesis of the American Medical Association, Norman Baker of Muscatine Iowa, began his boldest undertaking of his greedy, imaginative career: The Baker Cancer Curing Hospital, “Where Sick Folks Get Well”, located in a familiar five-story limestone structure that sat high in The Ozark Mountains above a community known the world over for its miraculous stories of healing.  No longer did guests come to this building for vacation lodging.  Instead, for the next three years, it would be patients who would come to this one-time resort for a “promised” cure from their debilitating cancer only to find pain, suffering, loss of life savings, and often loss of life.  These were the unkept promises of a charlatan in saint’s clothing.

“It is the sad years and sad tales of the Baker Hospital that are the genesis of the Crescent Hotel’s morgue,” Ott explained.  “It was in the morgue where Baker used his large walk-in Morgue_Baker'sAutopsyTable_1886CrescentHotel&Spa_10x7cooler to store cadavers and body parts, and his autopsy table more for studying the cancers removed from patients in an effort to discover ‘what went wrong’ when a patient died hoping to stumble upon a cure.  Both of these gruesome artifacts remain intact as do the stories -and some would say the patients- that surround them.”

From the time of Baker’s arrest in late 1939 on charges of mail fraud followed by his conviction in January 1940, the Crescent’s morgue would sit dormant being used only for some storage by the parade of hotel owners and operators from 1946 to 1997.  A Crescent Hotel renaissance began 1997 when Marty and Elise Roenigk purchased the property.  They invested the time, love and dollars to return “The Grand Ol’ Lady of The Ozarks” to her nineteenth century grandeur.

“Prior to the Roenigks’ purchase, hotel owners would often hear reports of paranormal activity but put the kibosh on the public repeating of these stories thinking it would hurt occupancy.  The Roenigks took the attitude that if ghosts were a part of the history of this historic hotel, why shouldn’t those stories be told,” Ott noted, “and the Crescent Hotel Ghost Tours were born.”

Morgue_Entranceway_MiniTheater_1886CrescentHotel&Spa_10x7“The ghost tours, which have grown exponentially over the past 16 years thanks to exposure on national television programs and in national publications, have always included the morgue,” continued Jack Moyer, hotel’s general manager since 1997, “but until recently that space has had a dual purpose: maintenance area by day, eerie morgue by night.  But now, maintenance has been removed and the morgue readied for thrilling new discoveries by curious ghost tour patrons.”

The enhancement of the focal point of “America’s most haunted hotel” includes placards and photos -dramatically illuminated- telling the Morgue_Locker_FullBodyApparitionSite_TAPS_1886CrescentHotel&Spa_7x10Baker story; inclusion of a wheelchair from the Baker Hospital as well as other medical artifacts from that era; the addition of a micro-theatre; and easier access to the walk-in cooler, autopsy table and the locker made famous by The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) in a Syfy Network “Ghost Hunters” feature episode.  For it was in front of the “2” emblazoned locker that TAPS captured a full-bodied apparition on their thermal imaging camera, something they called “the holy grail of ghost hunting”.

“With the grand re-opening of our ‘morgue’,” Moyer concluded, “our guests and ghost tour patrons will have a brand-new experience in a grand ol’ Historic Hotel of America.”

For more information regarding the morgue and other paranormal facts surrounding the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, one should go to americasmosthauntedhotel.com.