Monday, October 31, 2011

Halloween 2011: American's Most Haunted Hotel?

Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs
The historic Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs is one of the most cherished structures in Arkansas. It also may be the most haunted.
Built in 1886, just 21 years after the guns of the Civil War finally fell silent in the Ozarks, the Crescent was one of the grandest hotels in America. Visitors came to Eureka Spring by rail to "take the waters" of the community's numerous mineral springs in the hopes that the clear mountain waters held a medicinal secret that would cure their various ailments. The Crescent Hotel was built to provide the wealthiest of these guests with accommodations up to the standards of the most discriminating Americans of the day.

The Civil War had left tens of thousands of Americans sick with lingering illnesses and/or disabled by a variety of horrible battlefield wounds. Human suffering among the soldiers and their families lingered for many years after the end of the conflict. Many of these individuals sought out places like Eureka Springs, hoping that the mineral waters could ease their pain and suffering.

The popularity of mineral baths faded as the Civil War generation passed into history and by the 1930s, the Crescent had fallen on hard times. It was revived, however, as the "Castle in the Sky" of "Dr." Norman Baker, a radio pitchman who claimed to have discovered a way to cure cancer.

Desperate women came from all over the country to try the fake doctor's cancer cure. Many of them died at the Crescent. 

Baker eventually went to prison for mail fraud, but legend holds that his victims still roam the rooms and halls of the beautifull restored old hotel!  In fact, it is said to be the most haunted hotel in America.

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