You may be wondering why I would return to The 1886 Crescent Hotel, the most haunted hotel in America AND at night no less? To you I’d say, why not? We are, for the most part, all writer’s here and what’s a writer without a good story to tell?
While we wanted to stay the night, the rooms were fully booked so we stayed nearby and booked the ghost tour. If nothing else, it’d allow us a fantastic tour of the hotel itself and enlighten us to the history, experiences and characters that wrote The Crescent into legend.
Do you believe in ghosts? I, myself cannot find the answer to that. I have had experiences but of what nature those experiences were, I have no idea. Is it merely residual energy? If so, is this energy magnified in certain areas due to specific mineral concentrations? Is it residual or collective memory? Is it relative to time, and that time isn’t a straight forward line but rather overlapping where the past, present and future play out at once or intersect? There are a million theories.
What we can say is, is that these experiences have been recorded by humans throughout eons of time. Even the bible speaks of it. Therefore can we in earnest call these occurrences supernatural or are they merely natural occurrences that we simply do not yet understand?
Did we experience something extraordinary during our tour? I’d say not, save for a slight whiff of cherry sweet fragrance upon exiting the basement morgue and nothing more. But, what I did get from this experience was much more than the trip and price of the tour…it was the story itself.
The Hotel is even more charming at night, aglow in gaslit lanterns yet walking through the doors, we were affronted yet again with the eerie feeling of stepping backwards through time. We checked in at the antique registers desk the ascended to the 4th floor where we met our guide, dressed in full 1920’s flapper attire.
While waiting for the tour to begin, I snapped a photo over the baluster. Little did I know that this exact location had claimed at least 2 lives, one of the earliest and the most recent.
The eternal guests of The 1886 Crescent Hotel
Michael: Michael was a handsome young Irish stonemason who was as loved by the ladies as he loved them. During the construction of the hotel, while setting the stones over the highest point, Michael spied a fetching young lass on the grounds below. Leaning over the edge and waving, trying to catch the young girls eye, he lost his footing. Michael fell through the scaffolding below, losing his life in the area that would become room 218.
He is often seen near the Room which is reportedly the most haunted room in the hotel. He turns the television off and on, toys with the lights, opens and shuts doors, and a number of people have reported hearing loud pounding in the walls in that part of the hotel. Many a female guest has felt his touch. Others have reported hearing the cries of a man falling.
The Unknown Child: Among the early guests was an unnamed little girl said to have fallen to her death in the stairwell after slipping through a fourth floor railing. It is speculated that she was the child of one of the hotel maids. The child had been left unattended as her mother cleaned the rooms. But, while playing, she leaned out through the stair railings. Her mother catching her, yelled, startling the child who then lost her grip and slipped through the bars, falling into the hotels tragic history. At times, it is said that she can be seen there or running down the hallway. The picture above was the exact spot where she fell.
The Unknown Man: Guests report they’ve witnessed a man drinking alone in the bar. He states that he’s waiting for someone then simply vanishes. 2 years ago, a man and wife were drinking in the 4th floor bar. The gentleman walked out of the bar and tumbled over the baluster at the same spot as the young girl and plunged to his death. Could this be him, waiting for his wife’s return?
Dr. John Freemont Ellis: The hotel’s in-house doctor in the late nineteenth century. Dr. John Freemont Ellis, whose office was in what is now Room 212, was known for being a heavy pipe smoker of cherry tobacco. Dr. Ellis himself has been seen wearing dapper attire with a top hat. Guest frequently catch the aroma of cherry pipe smoke, especially near his office.
The Leaping Lady: During it’s time as the womens conservatory, a young woman leapt to her death from a 3rd floor balcony…or did she? The young lady was later found to be pregnant at the time but whether she leapt or was pushed remains a mystery.
One late afternoon while making his rounds, a local police officer pulled up near The Christ Of The Ozarks statue which can be seen from the upper floors of The Cresent Hotel. From his position, he spied a woman in a white gown falling from an upper story balcony. He called in to headquarters and got an ambulance on the way. He raced to the hotel to be met by other officers and paramedics , all confused as there was no such incident to be found! He later recounted the incident he’d witnessed saying too that there was a dark shadow of someone behind the woman that receded back into the room after she had fallen.
Theodora’s room without a knob.
Theodora: Some believe she’s the spirit of a cancer patient, others, that she was the trusted assistant of Dr Baker as her room was just below his in room 419. Theodora has been encountered standing outside the room and looking for her keys. The room itself had later been added to another room and the handle to it’s original door has been removed. It is said that she is a very tidy woman and guests will often find their things neatly folded.
A particular young married couple staying in the room had a nasty argument. The young husband stormed out and the young bride ran after him. Ultimately, the young couple kissed and made up but upon returning to the room, discovered the door to be blocked! With help from staff, they were finally able to force the door open only to find that all of their belongings had been neatly packed and barricading the door from the inside! Apparently, Theodora is particular about the behavior of her guests as well.
Norman Baker: The Little Shop Of Horrors. Norman Baker was a vaudeville actor, radio star and tabloid paper owner who claimed he could cure cancer without surgery, radiation or x-ray’s. He opened the Baker Institute in Iowa. But, above all, he was a snake oil selling con man. Prior to being ran out of his home state for practicing medicine without a license, Baker had 5 trial cancer patients that he advertised as being helped by his strange elixir. Dispite the fact that all 5 died, the dubious Baker reprinted in his tabloid that the cancer had been cured!
He had been ivestagated by The Journal of the American Medical association and The Des Moines Register conducted their own investigation into Baker. Their investigation revealed that many patients of the Baker Institute had died and that Baker’s claims of having a cure for cancer were completely false.
Baker Left the area for Mexico but soon returned to his old tricks and set his sites on The Ozarks where he bought The Crescent Hotel and turned it into his Cancer and Wellness Center. He was quite flamboyant, always wearing a white or lavender suit and played a Circus calliope type instrument “to sooth the patients”.
Upon being admitted into his center, Baker would advise patients who had no family nearby, to write three letters in advance to request more money. He would send these out as the patient’s condition would deteriorate, or in some cases, died, advising the family member that he would need extra money for extended care. He would admit hypochondriacs so that they could appear to have been cured and healthy individuals to sit on the front balconies during press advertisements to create the illusion of thriving patients.
Baker used no pain medications so as the patient’s got worse, they would be moved to higher floors so that their cries would not frighten the new or prospective patients. He even built an annex that was removed from other patients to hide the ones who were suffering. It eventually got to the point where the staff ,who lived on site, would have to take the dead out at night as not to concern the other patients. Experiments were often done in the hospital morgue under the guise of performing autopsies.
Baker’s formula turned out to be a useless concoction of alcohol, glycerine, carbolic acid mixed with tea brewed from watermelon seed, brown corn silk, and clover leaves that he injected into his patients.
Baker was ultimately arrested for mail fraud, I suspect for the letters extracting money from deceased patients, and spent 4 years in Leavenworth. Afterwards, he lived out his life pleased with the wealth he’d built upon bilking the desperately ill… right up to his death from liver cancer due to cirrhosis .
The Night Nurse: A nurse dressed in white has been seen a number of times pushing a gurney on the third floor near the annex Baker built to hide the dying. The sightings have always occurred after 11pm which is when the deceased cancer patients were moved out of the hospital. There have been reports of hearing the sounds of squeaky wheels and the rattle of a gurney when none are in the hallway
The Cooler In The Morgue:
The last stop on this ghastly tour is the morgue. While it’s claimed the original autopsy table is there, it isn’t, merely the drain in the floor, the work table and the cooler where the bodies were stored.
In an adjacent room, shelves are lined with the recently discovered jars of tentures and body parts with tumors, unearthed while digging to expand the parking lot.
Guests are offered to enter the cooler if they wish and spend a few moments locked inside the pitch black room. Did I do it? Heck ya! Did I have an experience? Yup. My husband being his typical 10 yr old boy self, poking me and whispering in my ear like a goob! I’m sure our giggling antics were quite enough to warn off the dead. Lol
Sweet Dreams My Friends💕