Post by Graveyardbride on Jun 15, 2017 23:22:48 GMT -5
Haunted Hotels and Inns of Arkansas
Arkansas has its fair share of haunted accommodations ranging from cozy bed and breakfast inns to full-scale resorts. Following are seven of the state’s most ghost-ridden hotels and inns where you might encounter anything from a pretty little girl with pigtails, to a former cancer patient who introduces herself, to the floating apparition of a woman in white who is missing her head and feet:
Arlington Resort Hotel (Hot Springs). If you ask the staff at the Arlington Resort (above) if the hotel is haunted, they’ll say no, but guests have a very different take on the situation. Not only do wine bottles have a habit of jumping off shelves when no one is near, but there are persistent reports of a number of apparitions stalking the corridors of the old hotel that first opened its doors December 31, 1924. The luxurious accommodations and location in America’s Spa City have attracted many famous guests, including U.S. presidents Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, George H. W. Bush, and native son Bill Clinton; as well as other celebrities such as Babe Ruth, Tony Bennett, Barbra Streisand and Yoko Ono. The hotel was also a favorite of Al Capone, who preferred Room 442 and reserved the entire floor for his staff and bodyguards. From his room, he could look across the street and observe the activities at the Southern Club, now the Wax Museum.
With such a colorful history, it is understandable why guests sometimes see people in old-fashioned attire who vanish into thin air. The apparition most often reported is a bride in her wedding gown staring out the window at the street as though waiting for someone. Another spook – this one a man in a black suit – waves at those who see him and often wanders into the hotel laundry. A phantom bellhop haunts the fourth floor and the wraith of a little girl in a pink has been seen in the lobby. Guests also have reported flickering lights, faucets that turn on and off (unaided by human hands), disembodied laughter and feelings of “something” brushing against them when no one is there. Room 824, where an evil presence has been reported, is a particular hotspot for paranormal activity.
Basin Park Hotel (Eureka Springs). People at the 1905 hotel aren’t shy about the fact their accommodations are haunted and offer regular ghost tours. Guests have reported numerous paranormal encounters and several spirits are rumored to haunt the property. Two of the most active supernatural residents are a translucent young woman with steel blue eyes and cotton candy-blonde hair, and a little girl with pigtails in a yellow dress. There are also reports of objects moving about of their own accord.
Capital Hotel (Little Rock). Since 1876, the Capital Hotel has been known as Little Rock’s “front porch.” Renovated in 2007, the hotel offers the conveniences of a modern luxury establishment while preserving its historical character. Two ghosts are regulars at the Capital. The first spirit is that of a laborer who is somewhat shy and keeps to himself. The other is the apparition of a young woman believed to have fallen to her death from one of the upper floors. Her wails, as she falls to the ground, are sometimes heard by patrons and she has been known to enter guestrooms, where she moves luggage and other items around.
The Crescent Hotel (Eureka Springs). Not only is the Crescent one of the most haunted hotels in Arkansas, it is one of the most haunted in America. The Crescent dates to 1886 when it opened as an exclusive year-round resort hotel catering to the “carriage set.” However, by the early 20th century, the number of guests had dwindled and in 1908, the huge building served as the Crescent College and Conservatory for Young Women during the fall, winter and spring, and continued as a hotel in the summer months. In 1924, the college closed and in 1937, Norman Baker, who represented himself as a doctor, purchased the Crescent and converted it to a hospital – Baker’s Cancer-Curing Hospital, it was called, and Baker often referred to it as his “Castle in the Air.” Baker was something of a “character,” loved the color purple, drove a purple automobile and had much of the interior decorated in his favorite color. People suffering from cancer flocked to Baker’s facility and many died there. It turned out the doctor’s “cure” was nothing more than a money-making scheme and in 1939, he was arrested and charged with defrauding cancer patients and their families out of approximately $4 million. He spent four years at Leavenworth Federal Penitentiary for his crimes. The building was sold and renovated in 1946 and again operated as a hotel until 1967 when a fire destroyed the fifth floor and severely damaged the fourth. A year later, the derelict structure was facing the wrecking ball, but was saved at the last minute and following repair and renovation, began welcoming guests May 1, 1973.
Considering the history of the place, it would be stranger if the Crescent Hotel wasn’t haunted. Among the spirits that stalk the halls of the old hotel are a red-headed Irish stonemason called “Michael,” who fell to his death during the building’s construction in 1885. The location from which he fell is in the vicinity of Room 218, which is said to be the most haunted room in the hotel. A second apparition is that of a white-clad nurse, presumably a former employ of Dr. Baker’s, who haunts the third floor. People say the squeaks and rattles emanating from outside their rooms sound like someone rolling a gurney or tray along the hallway. Paranormal activity has also been reported in Baker’s morgue and autopsy room, which is part of the hotel’s ghost tour. The apparition of con-man himself in a white linen suit and purple shirt has been encountered in the basement. A third spook from Baker’s time is “Theodora,” a phantom who has been known to approach housekeepers in Room 419 and introduce herself.
Other ghosts, presumably former hotel guests from the Victorian era, include a distinguished gentleman who haunts the lobby, dancing ghosts from the 1890s in the Crystal Dining Room, and a second gentleman, this one sitting at a table near the window, who, when approached, declares: “I saw the most beautiful woman here last night and I am waiting for her to return.” The apparitions of a bride (in Victorian lace) and groom manifest occasionally, but not very often. There have also been reports of poltergeist activity in the dining room.
In the kitchen, the wraith of a small boy has been seen skipping about and at times, pots and pans fall – or fly – off their hooks. A phantom waiter carrying a tray of butter walks the corridors of the third floor, and there have been reports of apparitions in Rooms 202 and 424. Of course, a building that once housed a girls’ school wouldn’t be complete without the ghost of a young student who jumped to her death because of a thwarted love affair and the Crescent is no exception. Guests have reported hearing the young lady’s screams as she plunges from an upper-floor balcony toward eternity. With so many ghosts in residence it comes as no surprise that the hotel offers regular ghost tours.
The Empress of Little Rock Bed & Breakfast (Little Rock). Described by the National Register of Historic Places as the “best example of ornate Victorian architecture in Arkansas,” the mansion was built by saloon-keeper James H. Hornibrook in 1888. Unfortunately, two years later, on May 24, 1890, Hornibrook, age 49, died of an apoplectic stroke at the front gate of his newly-constructed home. Three years later, on July 3, 1893, his wife, Margaret McCully Hornibrook, died, also at the age of 49, purportedly of a broken heart. In 1897, the resplendent edifice was leased by the Arkansas Female College. From the Great Depression until the end of World War II, the most beautiful home in Little Rock stood vacant until it was turned into a nursing home in 1948. The old mansion was finally rescued and restored and has been operating as a bed and breakfast inn since 1994.
Such a house requires a ghost or two and the Empress doesn’t disappoint those with a predilection for the supernatural. Owner Robert H. Blair, employees and guests all speak of encounters with long dead. Blair himself saw the apparition of a man in old-fashioned attire replete with a top hat floating down the stair. A painter working in the secret attic poker room found himself locked out even though there was no lock or handle on the door. When he returned with a screwdriver, the door was open and a man fitting the description of the phantom Blair saw on the stair suddenly appeared. There have also been reports of the spirit of a black maid in the maid’s closet, the ghost of a well-dressed gentleman in a Homburg hat, a lady in pink, and an old sea captain who appears in a number of rooms. People have also heard phantom footsteps and disembodied voices.
Inn at Carnall Hall (Fayetteville). When it was built in 1905, what is now an inn was a women’s dormitory and today, it is one of the most haunted hotels in Arkansas. Guests spending the night in one of the 50 rooms have spoken of a variety of spooky occurrences. The most common haunt is that of a woman in a white gown, but without a head or feet, floating in mid air. Patrons have also seen indentations on their beds as though someone just sat down and there are unexplained noises and the lights flicker for no reason. A number of photographs taken in the building appear to show an apparition reflected in the polished surfaces of the furniture.
Sources: Haunted Rooms; Arkansas Legends, Arkansas Dept. of Parks and Tourism; The Arlington Resort Hotel; Capital Hotel; Historical Hotels of America; Kathy Weiser, Legends of America; The Crescent Hotel; Lost Womyn’s Space; Walt Bissell, “Haunted Crescent Hotel,” Angels & Ghosts; “The Hornibrook Mansion,” U.S. History; and The Empress of Little Rock.