The urge to find a cure to a terrifying diagnosis may be so strong that people put their trust in unqualified quack jobs. The dark history of the Crescent Hotel perfectly illustrates how people have made fortunes from the desperation of others. Some people have reported mysterious sightings in the building’s long hallways. Could they be the spirits of patients who gave up their life savings just to end up in the morgue? Read on to learn more about this historic site.

Image credit: KATV

Early History:

The Crescent Hotel was constructed in the late 19th century by the famous architect, Isaac Taylor (“Crescent Hotel History”). It was built for $294,000.00 and was named after the mountaintop where it stands in Eureka Springs, Arkansas (“Crescent Hotel History”). Tourists flocked to Eureka Springs because the waters were said to have healing powers. Mr. Taylor used locally sourced limestone from a nearby quarry, one of the many touches that gives the building it’s charm. Once completed, the Crescent Hotel was used mainly as a luxury hotel and club and was dubbed the “finest hotel west of the Mississippi” (“Crescent Hotel History”). During the winter season, the building served as a female college up until 1934 (“1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa”). 

Years as a Cancer Hospital:

The darkest period of the hotel’s history began in 1937 when, Norman Baker, purchased the hotel and transformed it into the Baker Cancer Clinic (“Crescent Hotel History”). Norman Baker had no medical background and used ineffective remedies to “treat” cancer. In fact, in 1936 he was convicted in Iowa for practicing medicine without a license (Weiser). Mr. Baker circulated pamphlets through the mail advertising his services and claiming to have cured thousands of patients over the years (“The Crescent Hotel eureka Springs, Arkansas”). In these pamphlets he downplayed radiation and surgical interventions, and instead, highlighted that his treatments were virtually painless, quick, and did not involve a lot of testing (Weiser).

An example of the advertisements that Mr. Baker was distributing during the years that the Crescent Hotel served as a cancer center. Image credit:

Norman Baker’s treatments were not recognized by the Board of Medicine and although his treatments were not considered to be lethal, they were ineffective. By 1940 he was charged with mail fraud, but ultimately ended up living out the rest of his days in peace before dying, ironically, from cancer. It is estimated that Mr. Baker made roughly $4,000,000.00 from peddling fake cancer cures (Weiser). 

Ghost Sightings:

The Crescent Hotel exchanged hands a few times before being purchased in 1997 by Marty and Elise Roenigk (“Crescent Hotel History”). Preservationists at heart, the couple set their eye on fully restoring the hotel to its original glory. Today, guests can visit the hotel and many large-scale events are hosted there. Of course, it isn’t very hard to believe that a location with such a painful history may house some unusual activity from time to time. Guests and staff have claimed to see a nurse pushing a gurney down the hall late at night. A well known ghost named Theodora is known to hang around room 419 and introduces herself as a patient of the Cancer Center. Another popular room is 218 which is thought to house the spirit of an Irish stonemason who slipped and fell to his death on a floor beam which sits underneath that room. Other occurrences such as strange sounds, objects moving locations, and electronics turning on and off seeming by themselves have been reported. 

Early photograph of the hotel in all its original glory. Image credit:

The Crescent Hotel is made up of 15 acres of land and consists of 72 guest rooms and a spa. If you are curious whether or not the claims made about this place are true, go and see for yourself. Unlike the patients who checked in decades prior, you are likely to check out.

If you liked this post then check out my other horror-related post about being buried alive HERE.

Until Next Time



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