Sunday, March 12, 2006

1886 Victorian Hotel To Be Focus of GHOST HUNTERS March 22

What's a Victorian hotel without a few resident ghosts? A hotel that's probably losing money. The beautiful Crescent Hotel in the Victorian SPA, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, doesn't have to worry about ghosts or business. They've been conducting their nightly Ghost Tours for years, sometimes with eerie success.
This photo of the 120 year old fireplace in the lobby shows a supposedly ghostly blue image. No, it's not the can of beer stashed high on the far right of the chimney piece: it's the disc-like blue light at the top of the picture.
Yes, this is a real hotel. I stayed in it for the first time with my parents when I was a preteen, and I've spent many nights there during the decades since my first visit. I've always felt a strong sense of warmth and wellbeing there, and I never want to check out. Never noticed anything creepy - but then I'm not "tuned in" like a lot of people. I just enjoy the Victorian ambiance.
If you're not into the paranormal, you can forget that aspect. Just stay here and enjoy the shopping, restaurants, and views - spectacular at any time of the year. There's also a 21st century spa and gym on a lower floor.
People of the town are far prouder of their area history and architecture than they are of their supernatural side. However, the town hosts a big international UFO Conference every year and even the toniest antique shops display "aliens" in their store windows.
The 19th century seems to have contributed two spirits to the Crescent. The first was Ghost #1, an Irish stoneworker named Michael who fell to his death from the roof during construction. He landed where Room 218 would be built and is said to play tricks on guests in the room, which is one of the hotel's most popular.
Victorian Ghost #2 is a formally dressed middle aged gentleman who sports a beard and a mustache. No one has a clue about his identity, but he hangs around the lobby and bar areas without speaking, then vanishes or walks through a wall.
After the boom of the Gilded Age, the hotel and the mountain town fell on lean times. The next hundred years saw the the Crescent change hands many times and serve as many different things.
In 1908, it became the Crescent College and Conservatory. Unhappy Ghost #3 took up residence sometime during the following decades. She was a student who jumped from the roof and supposedly has been seen on the grounds dressed in white.
Ghost #4 is supposedly millionaire inventor, Norman Baker, who bought the hotel in 1937. Not an MD, he opened a Cancer Cure hospital in the hotel. There were many ugly stories in town about "The Morgue" in the basement, and the fact that patients never seemed cured and no one ever returned home. Baker ended up spending four years in a Federal prison for mail fraud and lost the hotel.
Ghost #5 wears a 1930's nurse uniform and pushes an empty gurney down a third floor hall in the wee hours. She vanishes through a solid wall.
Today, paranormal activity has been "documented" in many parts of the building, especially the old morgue. The crew of Ghost Hunters has supposedly
filmed another ghost in the hotel. He's described as wearing a hat and waving to them. They are calling him a Civil War soldier.
I'm so fascinated with this place that I've made it the cornerstone of my current Victorian novel, Reaching Little Rock.
If you watch the Sci-Fi Channel, you might want to check out Ghost Hunters, Episode 213, on March 22, 2006.
Link to Crescent Hotel site.

1 comment:

ferneau said...

Thanks for your edifying article about this fascinating hotel!! So enjoyed reading it...
I have visited this hotel myself, but never knew I was in such close proximity to 5 ghosts!!!
Anxiously awaiting the March 22nd TV show about the Crescent Hotel.