The Crescent Hotel – A Horrific Past

America's Most Haunted Hotel This is the second post in a three-part feature on the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Previously: A Weekend in America’s Most Haunted Hotel

The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, is America’s Most Haunted Hotel Before I get into pictures of the ghost tour, you probably need to know a bit about why the Crescent Hotel is so freaking haunted. So why is it haunted?

First off, the place is old. Aren’t all old places at least a little haunted? The place was opened in 1886 and had its very first death in room 218 during construction in 1885. It really didn’t have the happiest start. The Crescent Hotel, though, has a much more sinister past than just a construction death. The hotel only enjoyed a short time servings its purpose as a playground for aristocracy before falling on hard times.

The depression pretty much brought the good times to a screeching halt, and the hotel tried to make it a go as a women’s college, but they glory days were done. But in the 30s a man named “Doctor” Norman Baker purchased the hotel and turned it into The Baker Cancer Hospital: a “Cancer Curable Hospital.”

Note the quotes.

I know how to use them properly. They are denoting sarcasm.

You see, Baker wasn’t a doctor. In fact he had been convicted in another state of practicing medicine without a license. However, he was a famous radio personality who had a lot of people believing he had found the cure to cancer.

His cure? Death. Well, not exactly. More precisely, his cure was to inject patients with a mixture of corn silk, watermelon seeds, clover, water and carbolic acid. If you’re thinking that doesn’t sound nearly as effective as surgery or chemotherapy, you’d be correct. So rich people desperate for a cure would send their cancer-suffering loved ones to Arkansas because this guy on the radio claiming to be a doctor has them believing that he has a cure to cancer.

His patients would get progressively more sick, and other patients noticed. Family members would complain about the pain their loved ones endured, but Baker explained that was all part of the process toward the cure. Other patients would see their deteriorating health, and they noticed that as their friends’ health worsened, they would just go away.

Baker claimed that they got through the worst of the cancer and its cure, got better and quickly went home. Home, of course, was a stop in the north wing, where the screams of suffering victims could not be heard by the other patients, before they were moved the the morgue for disposal. Baker raked in an estimated half million a year by letting hopeless people die while he siphoned off their riches.

Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour

Tickets to the Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour

The feds were already onto him before he even arrived in Arkansas in 1937, so it was only a matter of time – about two years – before Baker was apprehended, tried and convicted. However, untold dozens – perhaps hundreds – of his patients died and were disposed of in the opulent Crescent Hotel before he was caught.

So that’s the setup to why the hotel is so haunted, in the first place. It was a literally a hospital of horrors, where the hopeless were given hope and then death. Next up, let’s see what happens on a Crescent Hotel Ghost Tour. My next post on the Crescent Hotel will feature photography that I captured during and after the ghost tour.

Next: Part Three: A Ghost Tour

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