February 3, 2011

Road Trip Memories - The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, AR

Since I shared a bit about the haunted history of the Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence on Tuesday, I thought today I would share an old roadtrip memory about my stay at the haunted Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas and the paranormal experiences I had there. That's right, I really believe it is haunted because I experienced some really strange things during my two-night stay, enough to convince me that The Crescent Hotel has earned it's title of "America's Most Haunted Resort Hotel."

When I was growing up in Oklahoma, my mother and sister and I would often take weekend trips to Eureka Springs for a weekend getaway. On one such trip, my mother and I decided it would be fun to stay in The Crescent. We were both fans of all things spooky but didn't put too much stock into the reports of apparitions and strange happenings. It was with this bravado that we checked into the room next door to Room 419.

There are numerous reports of ghosts and apparitions throughout the hotel. In Room 419, there is Theodora. In 1937, a man named Baker turned The Crescent Hotel into a health resort and promised miracle cures for cancer. There being no such cure, he was ultimately found guilty of fraud. But in Room 419, there remains the ghost of one of his female patients who introduces herself as Theodora to guests and staff. (Fun Fact: The ghost of Baker is also reportedly seen in the recreation room and on the stairway of the first floor).

Within the first ten minutes of entering our room, strange things started happening. We noticed the digital clock was wrong and so changed it to the correct time. But ten minutes later, the time had changed again. We corrected it several times before we really began to think about it. A clock that was changing the time by itself? Then came the television. It would turn on and off by itself, suddenly change channel, or just start showing static. For anyone who has ever seen the movie "Poltergeist", this was particularly freaky. The there was the flickering lights. They didn't turn on and off, just flickered oddly every once in a while. But still, my mother and I aren't ones to go screaming into the night because of a few electrical problems. We just made jokes about ghosts and let it go.

Until the next morning. I woke up in incredible pain. I was having stomach cramps like nothing I'd ever felt in my life. I remember lying in bed, curled into a little ball and clutching my stomach, with tears running down my face just moaning and begging for it to stop. While I was too distracted by pain to think about a cause, my mother decided she had had enough. She didn't know if there was a connection between the creepy room and my pain, but it wasn't worth the risk. She called the front desk and asked for a different room, explaining the strange things that were happening. The front desk didn't even question it. Apparently, it was not uncommon for guests staying in rooms near the haunted Room 419 to have problems and so we were immediately escorted to a new room in a part of the hotel that was supposedly less overrun with paranormal activity.

And over the next couple hours, my pain subsided. I don't know if it was being so close to that haunted room or if had anything to do with our odd clock, lights, and television. But it was spooky. My mother and I decided that we would stay one more night in our new room, then never stay in that hotel again. Sure, I love ghost tours and supernatural stories. But I don't have even the slightest desire to get that close to the paranormal again.


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