October Thrills: Re-Opening of the Morgue at Crescent Hotel

Morgue and Baker's autopsy table
Morgue and Baker’s autopsy table

You have to admit it’s a bit unusual – a hotel re-opening its morgue. First of all, it’s pretty rare a hotel would even have a morgue.  But the historic 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa in Eureka Springs does, and it’s re-opening it throughout the month of October.

“Our morgue is one of those historic infamies that has made us famous in the world of the paranormal and those interested in that world,” said Bill Ott, the hotel’s director of marketing and communications. “It wasn’t part of the original business plan of the Eureka Springs Improvement Company who built this mountaintop spa resort more than 125 years ago, it just turned out that way.”

The history of the hotel includes a stint from 1908 to 1934 as The Crescent College & conservatory for Young Women.  Due to the depression, it closed in 1934. Its misfortunate years that lead to it containing a morgue came in 1937 when it opened as The Baker Cancer Curing Hospital. Eureka Springs had long been known as a place of healing from its natural springs, and Norman Baker promised a cure for cancer at his facility. Few found a positive treatment. Mostly people just lost their savings and their life here.

Baker was arrested in late 1939 for mail fraud and convicted in 1940. From 1946 to 1997, a host of hotel owners operated the building as a hotel again. It was not until 1997 when Marty and Elise Roenigk purchased the property, investing time love and money back into it, the its grandeur was restored and its stories of haunted activity began to be heard.

Morgue Walk-in Cooler
Morgue Walk-in Cooler

The hotel now offers ghost tours with the morgue as a focal point. It includes placards and photos -dramatically illuminated- telling the Baker story; inclusion of a wheelchair from the Baker Hospital as well as other medical artifacts from that era; the addition of a micro-theatre; and easier access to the walk-in cooler, autopsy table and the locker made famous by The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS) in a Syfy Network “Ghost Hunters” feature episode.  For it was in front of the “2” emblazoned locker that TAPS captured a full-bodied apparition on their thermal imaging camera, something they called “the holy grail of ghost hunting.”

For more information regarding the morgue and other paranormal facts surrounding the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, visit americasmosthauntedhotel.com.


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