When it comes to road trips, nobody wants a shock; unless, of course that’s the reason for your trip. If you want to get into the “spirit” of Halloween this fall, plan a ride down to Eureka Springs, Arkansas where ghostly encounters are just part of the experience.
Located just 45 minutes southwest of Branson, Missouri, this is one of the most scenic fall rides you will ever take. We’ve ridden to Eureka Springs several times, and each trip is a special treat. I never get tired of riding the beautiful twisty roads in and around Eureka Springs, and when the leaves are turning, it’s hard to keep your eyes on the road.
There’s several ways to get there, and no matter what route you take, when you hit the Ozark Mountains, it’s going to be scenic. If you’re in no hurry, one of my favorite routes from Kansas City is to take US Highway 65 south through Branson, then go west on State Highway 86 to State Highway 23 south. This takes you across a beautiful old bridge that crosses Table Rock Lake south of Branson and twists around through the Ozark Mountains before dumping you out on the north side of Eureka Springs.
If you’re short on time, or are in a hurry to do some serious ghost hunting, the quickest route from Kansas City is to take US Highway 71 south to State Highway 62 east, which brings you in on the east side of town.
Now that you know how to get there, let’s move on to the spooky stuff!
Crescent Hotel & Spa (1886)
The Crescent Hotel & Spa in Eureka Springs, Arkansas was built in 1886 and was known as the “Queen of the Ozarks.” It was later transformed into a girl’s school, then a cancer hospital, and then back to an elegant American Gothic hotel.
Room 218 is one of the more active hot spots, which just happens to be where a mason plunged to his death during construction. Guests have reported hearing cries and have even seen hands coming through the mirror. Now if that doesn’t grab ya, I don’t know what will!
When the building was a hospital, dozens of patients died under the care of a charlatan known as Dr. Norman Baker, who promised miracle cures for cancer. One patient, Theodora, has introduced herself to guests in room 419, and another female apparition has been seen walking through the garden. There have also been reports of a gentleman by the name of Michael, wandering throughout the hotel, and some guests have reported seeing nurses still roaming the halls going about their business.
The hotel has a long history of hauntings, and you can check it out for yourself by contacting the Eureka Springs Ghost Tours Office, which is conveniently located in Suite 212 at the Crescent Hotel. Eureka Springs Ghost Tours also offers tours of the Eureka Springs Cemetery, which claims to be “the best cemetery tour in the country.” For more information, call (479)253-6800 or check out their web site.
Basin Park Hotel (1905)
The Basin Park Hotel, which is considered the hub of Historic Downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas has become quite the hotspot for paranormal sightings. Although the hotel doesn’t offer ghost tours, some of the more frequent sightings include:
- A translucent young woman with blonde hair and steel blue eyes, dressed in turn-of-the-century clothing, has been seen floating on the third floor.
-A little girl in a yellow dress with brown pigtails has been seen skipping through the lobby and coffeehouse.
-A full-figured lady with curly, red hair occasionally drinks milk and eats cookies in the coffeehouse.
-An unseen apparition has also been known to frequent room 408 and “sexually charges” guests in residence (this would be my choice of rooms).
-A tall, thin man with a brown beard wearing a tan suit and hat has been seen in the Grand Ballroom and in Room 519.
- Employees who work late in the seventh floor ballroom have reported cold spots as they clean up after events.
- Even the Rooftop Billiards Room has seen some odd activity, in which the pool ball rack has been seen flying off the wall and landing between two tables with no one standing nearby.
The hotel keeps a log of unexplainable reports they receive from guests, current employees and past employees so people feel more comfortable in reporting their experiences.
The Basin Park Hotel is located at 12 Spring Street in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. Their phone number is (800) 643-4972 and you can check out their web site.
Story by Mike Schweder