The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa is an icon in Eureka Springs hosting up to 300 weddings a year and known for being a mountain top spa resort. As scenic as the hotel is, it’s also known for its dark, haunted history.
From a stone mason who fell to his death to a woman who doesn’t like messy guests, The 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa has seen its fair share of the supernatural.
The hotel is home to several ghosts and the spirits have made themselves known to guests.
The most famous ghosts in the hotel are Michael who's spirit presence hovers in room 213. He was a stone mason that fell to his death in the footprint of that room. The other famous ghost is Theodora in room 419. If you mess up the room or she isn't particularly fond of you, she’ll put your luggage in front of the door (from the inside) which makes it difficult for you to open it back up to enter the room again upon your return.
And the mysteries don’t stop there. In 2005, when the “Ghosthunters” came and did an episode at the Crescent, they caught a full body apparition in front of one of the cabinets.
In 1934, the hotel became Baker’s Cancer Curable Hospital under the care of con-man Norman Baker. Baker, originally from Iowa, traveled to Eureka Springs during the Great Depression and promised to revive the city.
Baker said that he was going to make everybody rich and he was going to put this town back on the map as a healing center. Ironically, he did those things as Eureka Springs had a very prosperous period after Baker arrived there.
But what happened behind the closed doors of the hospital is what makes Baker’s story even more dark. Baker kept medical specimens in the lobby of the hospital on display as a way to showcase his “success” in curing cancer.
He put out a marketing booklet telling people far and wide to come to his beautiful mountain setting, experience the wonderful healing waters, breathe the air, feel better ... then take his cancer cure and be healed.
Not one human being was cured by this charlatan doctor and the number of people who died at his hand adds to paranormal activity rumored to have happened, and to continue to happen, at the hotel even in present day.
Baker kept cadavers and body parts in a walk-in cooler that he would use not so much in research but to show people how he had removed cancer from some of his patients.
After his four year prison sentence, Baker headed south. He left went down to Florida, bought a yacht, lived on that yacht until he died a few years later (ironically) of cancer.
But Baker’s secrets didn’t stay buried. Last year, in early 2019, hundreds of bottles were discovered by the hotel’s grounds manager, Susan Benson. The bottles found are believed to be the “cures” Baker stored during the time the hotel housed his cancer hospital.
Around 500 bottles have been taken for analysis by the Arkansas Archaeological Survey and the Crime Lab. Those who know the story best say there are more pages to add to this tale as more information gets discovered and uncovered at The Most Haunted Hotel In America - The 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa.
What Baker stored in the jars found by the hotel staff … no one truly knows.
The story lives on...