Spooky Tales from the Arkansas Delta

Kimberly J. Williams


Most cities and towns throughout Arkansas have local legends that have been passed down by the generations. There’s the Gurdon Light, which was featured on Unsolved Mysteries. The Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs is believed to be home to several ghosts, including a nurse and a former owner of the historic hotel.

In the Arkansas Delta, paranormal investigation teams have visited two locations known for strange occurrences. The two homes – the Allen House in Monticello and the Rush-Gates House in Forrest City – are open for tours and even offer special tours that focus on their peculiar and unusual histories. 

In Monticello, businessman Joe Lee Allen built the Allen House in 1907. His daughter, Ladell, drank mercury cyanide-laced punch in the home’s master suite on Dec. 26, 1948. She died one week later. Her mother sealed off the room and no one entered the room for almost four decades. The house was converted into apartments in 1956. Tenants would tell stories about hazy figures and furniture being inexplicably rearranged. Many people reported seeing a lady sitting in a turret window.

In June of this year, Louisiana Spirits Paranormal Investigations conducted a full paranormal investigation of the Allen House. It was the group’s second visit to the home – the first visit was cut short when a large limb fell on a power line the backyard, pulling the electrical meter off the house and cutting all power, despite no wind or severe weather in the area. During the second visit, Louisiana Spirits did capture several electronic voice phenomenon during their investigation, along with photos and a video clip.

On Oct. 30 and 31, the Allen House will be open for special Halloween tours. The tour includes all three floors of the home, with tour guides providing historical information and pointing out Allen family artifacts. During the Halloween tours, guests will also hear five of the voice phenomenon that were captured during the Louisiana Spirits investigation in June. To learn more about the historic Allen House and the special Halloween tours, log on to www.AllenHouseTours.com or phone 870-224-2271.

In Forrest City, the Rush-Gates House was built 1906 for Dr. J.O. Rush and his family. Rush had the house built near the railroad tracks because he served as surgeon and physician for the railroads. The house was filled with patients at all hours of the day and night, many which were involved in railroading accidents. After Dr. Rush’s death in 1961, the house stayed in the family until 1995. Over the years, the stories of weird occurrences and shadowy figures in the windows continued to flourish. Many would say it was ghosts of patients of Dr. Rush who died in the home. After renovation was completed in 1998, the Rush-Gates House became the home of the St. Francis County Museum.

It was the rumors and stories surrounding the Rush house that helped lead to the formation of Paranormal Research in Unknown Phenomenon. The organization was established in January 2008 and uses the Rush-Gates House as a training facility. The organization’s mission is to find proof – whatever the outcome – using state-of-the-art equipment, such as electronic voice phenomenon and electromagnetic field meters.

The St. Francis County Museum now offers A Night at the Museum program at various times throughout the year, including Halloween. Guests come to the museum and spend several hours inside the house alongside members of the paranormal investigative team, including the chance to hear electronic voice phenomenon captured inside the museum. For more information on scheduling A Night at the Museum tour, contact the St. Francis County Museum at 870-261-1744 or visit www.SFCMuseum.org.

To learn more about the Allen House and the Rush-Gates House, click here. To learn more about other heart-pounding, spooky and scary special Halloween events throughout The Natural State, click here.


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