Ghost Hunting Away from Our Little House
This weekend, we had the opportunity to go to Eureka Springs, about a two-hour drive from Our Little House. Dale and I have been there several times and my parents always vacationed there when I was a kid.
I was on assignment from three different publications to write about haunted hotels. I love these types of assignments. I’m fascinated by history (especially American Victorian Era) and by the paranormal, so these assignments are truly fun for me.
I’m also a chicken, so Dale gets the job of being my protector on all night ghost hunts and is also tasked with taking notes of our surroundings while I shoot the camera.
Until this weekend, I would say the most fascinating assignment we had ever been on was staying the night at Jesse James’ boyhood home in Kearney, Missouri. I was there as a reporter for the Associated Press to write about one of those paranormal investigations. Unfortunately, the only thing we experienced were raccoons in the attic, which led to an unworldly smell.
Reportedly, one of the most haunted (some would argue THE most haunted) hotel is the spectacular 1886 Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, where we stayed Saturday night.
The hotel, aptly named for being built in 1886 was built as a luxury hotel, but in the 125 years since, also served as a women’s conservatory and college. From 1937-40, it was a cancer “hospital,” ran by Norman Baker, a “doctor” who wasn’t. He claimed he could cure cancer and because he couldn’t, this is where many of the ghost stories originate that are now told on the fascinating ghost tours.
Today, the hotel is a luxury hotel once again, a magnificent castle type place that evokes nostalgia for the Victorian age.
We stayed at The 1905 Basin Park Hotel in downtown Eureka Springs on Friday night, another hotel also purportedly haunted. The ghost tour at that hotel filled us in with much of the history of the town, a good primer for the ghost tour at The Crescent the next night.
Typically, on these types of assignments, Dale and I feel a little overwhelmed with room sizes, as they are usually much bigger (and the suites multi-room) than Our Little House.
The rooms at these hotels were much more cozy, typical of smaller rooms built during the Victorian era (although they both do have suites available) and for our purposes, much better to ghost hunt in as we could see all points in each room.
We were on the top floor, supposedly in the corner of the hotel with the most “activity.” (This is the same hallway where “Dr.” Baker’s suite was located and directly below us was the former sanitarium and on the first floor, the former morgue).
After the ghost tour on Saturday night, we headed for Dr. Baker’s Lounge, a bar/restaurant down the hall from our room and ate on the balcony. The balcony offers awesome views of the Ozark Mountains during the day and a wonderful ambiance at night, especially when there is a lovely full moon.
Many people who believe in spirits think that 3:30-4 a.m. is the “witching hour,” or when spirits are most active, so I told Dale we had to get up and do our ghost hunting, photographing the hotel.
For some reason, our television and electric clock in our room weren’t working, but a dream about my parents and Hershey, one of our dogs that is now gone, startled me awake at 3:22 a.m.
I told Dale to get up and switched on the light next to the bed, the only light I turned on. I grabbed the camera from the nightstand and decided to shoot a couple of photos of an old chair in the corner of our room.
I was surprised when looking back at the two photos that one appeared to have a bright ball of light, visible on my digital screen and one did not. You might know from Ghost Hunters (who have described The Crescent as the 3rd most haunted building they’ve ever investigated) that some people believe these to be orbs, or the energy created by spirits.
Others believe they are simply dust particles.
When I got the photo on the computer, I could then see several of these balls on the first photo. None appear to be close to the camera. The brightest one appears to be above the chair toward the curtains. Neither Dale or I was on that side of the room, nor were there any light sources on that side. There were no balls on the second photo taken right after the first one from roughly the same spot.
Of approximately 300 different shots I took around the hotel during the tour and between 3:30 – 4 a.m. (I took two of each shot as I did with the bedroom photo to see if anything did appear, if it was replicated in the next shot), about a dozen of them had these balls that were not replicated in the next shot.
One, taken in our hallway in the middle of the night when no one was around to stir up dust, has multiple balls of light. Two more show what appears to Dale and I as faces, one in a mirror, and the other in a pane of glass.
I definitely have my opinions. But I’ll let you decide.
Do you believe in the paranormal? Why or why not? Would you stay in a “haunted” hotel? Any experiences you would like to share?