The haunted history of the 1886 Hotel Crescent in Eureka Springs

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Arkansas is famous for its hot springs, a top tourist attraction in the region, with hotels and agencies promoting their healing properties. Located atop the Ozark Mountains overlooking Eureka Springs, the Crescent Hotel and Spa was advertised as a secluded spot where wealthy individuals could enjoy the healing springs of Arkansas in 1886.

However, due to financial problems, the Crescent Hotel and Spa wasted no time in closing its doors. Later, the building housed different businesses and several witnesses confirmed the rumors that the place is haunted. For travelers looking to explore some of the most haunted places on earth, the Eureka Springs Crescent Hotel is open for reservations and promises a unique paranormal experience.

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The story behind the building

The building’s first tragedy occurred during its construction when a stonemason, identified only as Michael, had a fatal accident. Many years later, people still claim to see his ghost hanging out in the same room where he fell. The accident did not overshadow the inauguration of the Crescent Hotel and Spa, celebrated with a gala ball for VIP guests, including the most influential and wealthy people in the region. Shortly after the inauguration, the hotel ran into financial problems and closed its doors to guests.

Between 1903 and 1924, the building was the address of Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women. This period is marked by another accident: one of the students falls from one of the windows and dies. After Crescent College closed, other people tried to use the building for new business, but all failed.

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The Crescent Hotel And Spa was a hospital

Despite the accidents, the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs has become one of the most haunted places in the United States, thanks to Norman Baker. The man bought the building in 1937 and decided to open a hospital and spa for cancer patients. He was a charlatan and had no medical training but managed to attract dozens of patients by announcing miraculous treatments on the radio.

Barker’s elixir consisted of a combination of ingredients including watermelon seeds, corn silk and clover. He would only accept patients without close relatives and promised that if they were cured within six weeks they would not have to pay. However, Baker’s exams consisted of tossing and staring at patients.

His treatments were far from harmless. Baker would torture the patients, injecting his elixir through a hole in their skull. He would isolate the suffering patients in a so-called psychiatric wing.

Many authorities and doctors tried to stop Baker, but he always managed to find a way out. He was eventually arrested for mail fraud and imprisoned for four years. Yet the history of the hotel still impacts people who visit the building today.

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The hotel is open for guests

After the hospital closed, the building lay derelict for many years, and a fire nearly burned the place down in the 1950s. In 1997, it was purchased by Marty and Elise Roenigk, who spent six years in renovate it and were determined to reopen the hotel. Since then, the hotel has received numerous accolades, including by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of America’s Twelve Distinctive Destinations.

The hotel embraced its reputation as a haunted place and used it to attract more tourists. Guests can join their haunted tours throughout the year, spooky shows, ghost stories and exciting events, especially during Halloween. Ghost tours included visiting the room Barker used as a morgue and autopsy room. Each year, they receive more than 3,000 guests who try to unravel the mysteries of the hotel.

Ghost packages

They have different offers for customers, like the Midweek Ghost Packagewhich includes one night at the hotel, two tickets for the ghost tour and some souvenirs. Another option is Crescent Spirits, which offers a hotel night, ghost tour, souvenirs, dining credit and a resort pass. It is also possible to book only the visit.

While paranormal activity is the hotel’s main attraction, they also host weddings and other events. The place also offers plenty of trails and spa activities for guests who prefer to stay away from ghosts.

  • Prices: $275 (midweek ghost package) and $450 (Spirits of the Crescent)
  • Ghost ride price: $29.95

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paranormal activities

More than 40 people died in the building when it was a hospital retreat, and it’s not something you’ll forget. In 2019, more than 400 glass bottles containing human tissue and tumors were unearthed from the hotel’s backyard, making headlines again.

The Crescent Hotel is known as the most haunted hotel in the United States, and there are several reports of paranormal activity on the building. People often say they see ghosts of doctors, nurses, patients, and even pets. The most haunted place is room 218, the same place where the stonemason building the hotel fell to his death.


The place has become a popular destination among paranormal investigators studying the area. They believe that the secret of its paranormal activity lies in its foundation. The hotel was built on an eighteen inch thick limestone, and this stone is believed to release electromagnetic and psychic energies.

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