Esoterica: From Beyond the Grave, Residual Hauntings and 19th Century Ghost Ships



Do loved ones bid farewell from beyond the grave?

Nina De Santo was about to close her New Jersey hair salon one winter's night when she saw him standing outside the shop's glass front door.

It was Michael. He was a soft-spoken customer who'd been going through a brutal patch in his life. His wife had divorced him after having an affair with his stepbrother, and he had lost custody of his boy and girl in the ensuing battle.

He was emotionally shattered, but De Santo had tried to help. She'd listened to his problems, given him pep talks, taken him out for drinks.

When De Santo opened the door that Saturday night, Michael was smiling.

"Nina, I can't stay long," he said, pausing in the doorway. "I just wanted to stop by and say thank you for everything."

They chatted a bit more before Michael left and De Santo went home. On Sunday she received a strange call from a salon employee. Michael's body had been found the previous morning -- at least nine hours before she talked to him at her shop. He had committed suicide.

If Michael was dead, who, or what, did she talk to that night?

"It was very bizarre," she said of the 2001 encounter. "I went through a period of disbelief. How can you tell someone that you saw this man, solid as ever, walk in and talk to you, but he's dead?"

Today, De Santo has a name for what happened that night: "crisis apparition." She stumbled onto the term while reading about paranormal activities after the incident. According to paranormal investigators, a crisis apparition is the spirit of a recently deceased person who visits someone they had a close emotional connection with, usually to say goodbye.

Reports of these eerie encounters are materializing in online discussion groups, books such as "Messages" -- which features stories of people making contact with loved ones lost on September 11 -- and local ghost hunting groups that have sprung up across the country amid a surge of interest in the paranormal.

Although such encounters are chilling, they can also be comforting, witnesses and paranormal investigators say. These encounters suggest the bond that exists between loved ones is not erased by death.

"We don't know what to do with these stories. Some people say that they are proof that there's life after death," said Steve Volk, author of Fringe-ology: How I Tried to Explain Away the Unexplainable-And Couldn't, a book on paranormal experiences such as telepathy, psychics and house hauntings.

Scientific research on crisis apparitions is scant, but theories abound.

One theory: A person in crisis -- someone who is critically ill or dying -- telepathically transmits an image of themselves to someone they have a close relationship with, but they're usually unaware they're sending a message.
Sometimes you just sense the presence of someone close to you, and it seemingly comes out of nowhere.

Others suggest crisis apparitions are guardian angels sent to comfort the grieving. Another theory says it's all a trick of the brain -- that people in mourning unconsciously produce apparitions to console themselves after losing a loved one.

A telepathic link between loved ones

Whatever the source for these apparitions, they often leave people shaken.

Nor are apparitions limited to visions. The spirit of a dead person can communicate with a loved one through something as subtle as the sudden whiff of a favorite perfume, Volk says.

"Sometimes you just sense the presence of someone close to you, and it seemingly comes out of nowhere," Volk said. "And afterward, you find out that person was in some kind of crisis at the time of the vision."

Many people who don't even believe in ghosts still experience a mini-version of a crisis-apparition encounter, paranormal investigators say.

Did you ever hear a story of a mother who somehow knows before anyone told her that something awful has happened to her child? Have you ever met a set of twins who seem to be able to read each other's minds?

People who are extremely close develop a virtual telepathic link that exists in, and beyond, this world, said Jeff Belanger, a journalist who collected ghost stories for his book, Our Haunted Lives: True Life Ghost Encounters.

"People have these experiences all the time," Belanger said. "There's an interconnectedness between people. Do you know how you're close to someone, and you just know they're sick or something is wrong?"

An eerie phone call at night

Simma Lieberman said she's experienced that ominous feeling and has never forgotten it -- though it took place more than 40 years ago.

Today, Lieberman is a workplace diversity consultant based in Albany, California. In the late 1960s though, she was a young woman in love.

Her boyfriend, Johnny, was a mellow hippie "who loved everybody," a guy so nice that friends called him a pushover, she said. She loved Johnny, and they purchased an apartment together and decided to marry.

Then one night, while Lieberman was at her mother's home in the Bronx, the phone rang and she answered. Johnny was on the line, sounding rushed and far away. Static crackled.

"I just want you to know that I love you, and I'll never be mean to anybody again," he said.

There was more static, and then the line went dead. Lieberman was left with just a dial tone.

She tried to call him back to no avail. When she awoke the next morning, an unsettled feeling came over her. She said it's hard to put into words, but she could no longer feel Johnny's presence.

Then she found out why.

"Several hours later, I got a call from his mother that he had been murdered the night before," she said.

Johnny was shot in the head as he sat in a car that night. Lieberman thinks Johnny somehow contacted her after his death -- a crisis apparition reaching out not through a vision or a whiff of perfume, but across telephone lines.

She's sorted through the alternatives over the years. Could he have called before or during his murder? Lieberman doesn't think so.

This was the era before cell phones. She said the murderer wasn't likely to let him use a pay phone, and he couldn't have called after he was shot because he died instantly.

Only years later, when she read an article about other static-filled calls people claimed to have received from beyond the grave, did it make sense, she said.

Johnny was calling to say goodbye.

"The whole thing was so bizarre," she said. "I could never understand it."

He had a 'whitish glow'

Josh Harris' experience baffled him as well. It involved his grandfather, Raymond Harris.

Josh was Raymond's first grandchild. They spent countless hours together fishing and doing yardwork in their hometown of Hackleburg, Alabama. You saw one, you saw the other.

Those days came to an end in 1997 when Raymond Harris was diagnosed with lung cancer. The doctors gave him weeks to live. Josh, 12 at the time, visited his grandfather's house one night to keep vigil as his "pa-pa" weakened, but his family ordered him to return home, about two miles away.

Josh said he was asleep on the couch in his home around 2 a.m. when he snapped awake. He looked up. His grandfather was standing over him.

"At first, it kind of took me by surprise," said Harris, a maintenance worker with a gravelly Southern accent. "I wondered why he was standing in the hallway and not in his house with everyone else."

His grandfather then spoke, Harris said.

"He just looked at me, smiled and said, 'Everything will be OK.' "

His grandfather then turned around and started walking toward the kitchen. Harris rose to follow but spun around when the phone rang. An aunt who was in another room answered.

"When I turned back around to look, he was gone," Harris said.

As if on cue, his aunt came out of the room crying, "Josh, your pa-pa is gone."

"No, he was just here," Harris told his aunt, insisting that his grandfather had just stopped by to say everything was OK. He said it took him a day to accept that his grandfather had died.

"Honestly, before that, I never believed in the paranormal," he said. "I thought it was all fake and made up. But I just woke up and I saw him. It couldn't be my mind playing a trick. He looked solid."

Fourteen years after his grandfather's death, there's another detail from that night that's still lodged in Harris' memory.

As he watched his grandfather walk to the kitchen, he said he noticed something unusual.

"It looked like there was a whitish glow around him."

I never believed in the paranormal ... but I just woke up and saw him.
Josh Harris on his grandfather's appearance

'Can you come out and play?'

Childhood is supposed to be a time of innocence, a time when thoughts of death are far away. But crisis apparition stories aren't confined to adults and teens.

Donna Stewart was 6 years old and growing up in Coos Bay, Oregon. One of her best friends was Danny. One day, Danny had to go to the hospital to have his tonsils removed. Stewart played with him on the morning of the surgery before saying goodbye.

She said she was in her bedroom the next day when she looked up and saw Danny standing there. He wanted to know if she wanted to go out and play.

Stewart trotted to her mother's bedroom to ask her if she could play with Danny. Her mother froze.

"She went white," Stewart said. "She told me that wasn't possible."

Her mother broke the news. Danny had an allergic reaction during surgery and died, Stewart said.

"When I went back to my room, he was gone," she said.

Stewart, now an Oregon homemaker and a member of PSI of Oregon, a paranormal investigative team, said the encounter changed the way she looked at death.

"These experiences have made me believe that those we love are really not that far away at all and know when we are not doing as well as we could," she said. "Just as they did in life, they offer comfort during crisis.''

Still, Stewart often replays the encounter in her mind. She asks the same questions others who've had such encounters ask: Did my mind play tricks on me? Could he have been alive? Did it all really happen after he died?

De Santo, the former New Jersey hair salon owner, has taken the same self-inventory. The experience affected her so much she later joined the Eastern Pennsylvania Paranormal Society, which investigates the paranormal.

She said she checked with Michael's relatives and poured through a coroner's report to confirm the time of his death, which was put at Friday night -- almost 24 hours before she saw him at her salon on Saturday night.

She said Michael's body had been discovered by his cousin around 11 Saturday morning. Michael was slumped over his kitchen table, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot.

De Santo was baffled at first, but now she has a theory.

Michael started off as a customer, but she became his confidant. Once, after one of her pep talks, Michael told her, "You make me feel as if I can conquer the world."

Maybe Michael had to settle affairs in this world before he could move on to the next, De Santo said.

"A lot of times when a person dies tragically, there's a certain amount of guilt or turmoil," she said. "I don't think they leave this Earth. They stay here. I think he kind of felt he had unfinished business. He needed to say goodbye."

And so he did, she said. This is how she described their last conversation:

As they chatted face to face in the doorway of her shop, De Santo said they never touched, never even shook hands. But she didn't remember anything unusual about him -- no disembodied voice, no translucent body, no "I see dead people" vibe as in the movie "The Sixth Sense."

"I'm in a really good place now," she recalled him saying.

There were, however, two odd details she noticed at the time but couldn't put together until later, she said.

When she first opened the door to greet Michael, she said she felt an unsettling chill. Then she noticed his face -- it was grayish and pale.

And when she held the door open for him, he refused to come in. He just chatted before finally saying, "Thanks again, Nina."

Michael then smiled at her, turned and walked away into the winter's night. - CNN

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Residual hauntings (maybe) explained

I am (or was) a restoration architect. Old buildings are my domain. Having been on a ghost hunt or two, I believe I have a plausible way to explain what are called “residual haunts” – events that play over and over, with no apparent reason for occurring in an endless loop that is mistaken for paranormal activity. Some of these are captured as EVP (electronic voice phenomenon) – sounds to faint for the human ear.

Many ghost hunters will tell you that an entity needs electricity to manifest. Then, residual activity has been described as like an audio or a film reel that just plays and plays. Well, let’s look at that.

The basic components necessary for a simple tape recorder are an energy source, magnetic film, and small electromagnets. Tiny electromagnets add a magnetic flux, or charge, to the surface of the metal-coated tape as it slides over the electromagnets, which are iron cores wrapped in wire. An audio signal is sent through the wire, creating a magnetic field in the core that magnetizes the metal coating on the tape. During playback, the tape creates a magnetic field in the core and a signal in the coil is amplified through speakers.

Old buildings contain all of these items.

Before 1977, almost all paint contained lead. Thus, every surface of an old or historic structure, unless it has been gutted or abated, contains a thin metallic film on almost every surface except its floors. We have a film source to record on.

Iron was a staple material used in buildings for centuries. With the advent of basic electricity, many electrical circuit loops were grounded to something fixed and metallic – like iron – by wrapping the grounding wire around it. Thus, we have the core of an electromagnet.

Electricity can be achieved numerous ways. First, many historic homes still contain bare knob and tube wiring. It has been my experience that if you find knob and tube, there is often a good chance that you will find a charge in the bare wire. But even in buildings with no electricity, there can be a positive charge. Many old buildings have metal roofs, usually made of tin or an alloy called terne. The problem is, these materials can be mistaken for one another. If one then needs a repair made, a skylight trimmed, or a plumbing vent stack to penetrate the roof, craftsmen use a soft metal, like copper. Copper + tin + water = a chemical galvanic action that corrodes your roof material. It also forms a simple battery everytime it rains. Consider that most ghost hunters find that stormy, rainy nights are the best times to capture paranormal activity.

Simple microphones and speakers can be made from numerous objects, as the mode to transfer sound to or from the recording tape is essentially vibration. The explanation for many EVP might be that the “speaker” or delivery system for the recorded sound is unamplified and simple.

Essentially then, most buildings built prior to 1977 are, in effect, giant tape recorders. If the conditions were just right in the past, sounds of that age were recorded right onto the house, itself. When the conditions are just so in the present, the house plays back the sounds it recorded.

This is but one simple explanation. Assuming this to be correct, might it be possible for a structure to record a faint, “ghostly” image, as well? Theoretically, sure – every building also contains the rudiments of a glass lens, too. There are other similar scenarios involving certain rock formations and other materials that could be “recording” history, and playing it back as what we commonly refer to as residual paranormal activity. In no way does this explain “active” hauntings or other unexplained phenomenon.

It just shows how if something happens repeatedly, “Like a recording playing over and over,” that just might be exactly what you are experiencing. - heraldparis

Click to listen - SINGING: Actual EVP captured in a church (turn it up!)

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Mystery of lost 19th century ghost ships

It's been described as one of the greatest Victorian gothic horror stories of all time. Two ships with 129 men on board and fitted with the latest technology, vanish with barely a trace left behind. One hundred and sixty years of searching -- one attempt as recent as last month -- have failed to find "HMS Erebus" and her sister ship, the somewhat appropriately named "HMS Terror" -- the two vessels lost in the Arctic.

In 1845 British Royal Navy captain Sir John Franklin set out with some of the finest sailors of the time on a mission to map the Northwest Passage. Franklin's expedition wasn't the first to the region, but it is the most infamous.

"Why did this fail when all the others didn't," asks author William Battersby. "There was something jinxed about the expedition." Battersby is one of many to be transfixed by the mystery of Franklin's last voyage. "We love adventure stories, of derring-do, win against all odds, but in this story they don't and we still don't know why."

The environment of the Northwest Passage is unforgiving. The landscape is vast and deserted, comparable only to Jupiter's moons. The winters are unrelenting and bleak. Franklin's men were faced with particularly brutally harsh temperatures and blizzards when they reached the region.

Despite the ships being reinforced with steel and holding three years worth or provisions, it appears the environment got the better of the crew. "Man proposes, God disposes," says Bob Headland from the Scott Polar Research Institute, who regularly visits the region. '"And the ice gods are a fickle lot."

The disappearance of the Erebus and the Terror has prompted the longest search mission in history: Although there have been numerous attempts to find the ships, there has been no sign of them.

Ryan Harris from Parks Canada led the most recent mission to try to locate the shipwrecks. Last month, his crews spent hours scouring the ocean floor, searching waters up to 50 meters deep. "It's an incredible story. It's got shipwrecks, the remoteness of the Arctic, putting the might of English industrialism against Mother Nature," says Harris.

Since 1997 Parks Canada has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars attempting to locate the "Erebus" and "Terror." The tale of the Franklin expedition has enthralled Canadians -- the wreckage has the dubious honor of being the only national historic site in Canada that hasn't been found yet.

"Once Franklin received his orders that sealed his fate," Harris explains. "In directing them south-west into ultimately the Victoria Strait it took them to the ice choke point. Once they fell into the clutch of that area, their fate was sealed. There's not much wildlife there and it is isolated."

The last known account of the "Erebus" and "Terror" came in 1848. A rock cairn with a message on it indicated that the harsh conditions had already claimed their first lives, with only 105 men left alive.

Franklin was one of the first casualties of his own expedition. That same year the men abandoned their ships, archaeologists believing they began making their way south in a desperate bid to find food.

However the harsh environment supported little, and with few animals to hunt and over 100 men to feed, the chance of survival was low. It's been suggested that the men may have resorted to cannibalism in their last-ditch efforts to survive. "There were far too many men to live off the environment. What man plans and what nature allows are two different things," says Headland.

Archaeologists have relied heavily upon oral Inuit history to try to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Based on their accounts it is thought some of the men lived for another three or four years after abandoning ship.

But questions remain over exactly what happened to them. In 160 years only two skeletons and three perfectly preserved bodies have been uncovered. It is likely diseases such as scurvy claimed many lives but Battersby believes it may have been the ships themselves that killed the sailors.

His theory is that the men succumbed to lead poisoning derived from the internal pipe system used to melt ice into drinking water. It's hoped the discovery of the ships will provide answers.

'"There's a charm to the story," acknowledges Harris. "By solving a mystery it takes the allure away." But having said that, Harris is determined the search will go on until the "Erebus" and the "Terror" are found. Parks Canada insists that their searches have not been futile and they'll continue to gather information to help with future efforts. "I hope we're the last," says Harris.

But after 160 years it's possible that this tale may be frozen in time forever. "These are the last of the ghost ships," says Battersby. "It is the world's biggest ghost story." - CNN

Resolute: The Epic Search for the Northwest Passage and John Franklin, and the Discovery of the Queen's Ghost Ship

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Crescent Hotel Says a Celebrity Ghost Discovered

Spirits from various places and various eras make up the "guest register" of those "guests who checked out but never left" what many consider America's most haunted hotel," the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa.

This five-story mountaintop spa resort each year seems to discover yet another one of those famous "guests" by name. This year it was dancing legend of the early to mid twentieth century, Irene Castle.

"We were thrilled to find out that Ms. Castle still visits the hotel as she did during her final years here as a resident of Eureka Springs (AR)," stated Bill Ott, marketing director of this Historic Hotel of America, "and it was only as we linked casual references of a young girl describing a paranormal encounter were we able to piece together that her encounter was with someone who once frequented our property."

Irene Castle and husband Vernon were the best-known ballroom dancers of the early twentieth century. They operated ballroom dancing clubs and would travel the country charging as much as a thousand dollars an hour for lessons. She appeared in a Broadway show and several movies. Her popularization of social dancing with her husband was portrayed in a movie starring Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire entitled "The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle."

"It was after the death of her fourth husband when Irene moved to Eureka Springs in 1959 to be near her son from her third marriage," Ott explained. "She bought a house on a small parcel of land just blocks from the Crescent, a place she called Destiny Farm. She died in 1969 while living here in Eureka."

Ott said that locals have told him that it was her love of the social life in her latter years that brought her to the Crescent on numerous occasions. It is said of Irene that even in her sixties that she was still "trim, lovely and fashionable lady with nothing to do but embrace the social scene of Eureka Springs" for whom the Crescent was the epicenter.

"It was a family that vacations annually at the Crescent who were part of the encounter where links to Irene came to the fore," Ott said. "This story, which was recounted on a recent episode of the Biography's Channel My Ghost Story, takes place when the mother was giving her daughter a bath in their room and the young girl began talking as if she was having a conversation with someone.

"The young girl said there was a princess standing right behind her mother but the mother saw no one. The mother thought it was unusual because her daughter was using such words as pirouette, ballerina, tango, princess, castle and bob.

"It wasn't until the girl's father read about Irene Castle's connection to the Crescent on our hotel blog was he able to the puzzle pieces of that encounter together. He writes, 'the strange words my daughter had said that we had made note of began to make sense. The princess was someone in a costume. That princess did not live in a castle; she was Castle. Bob was a hairstyle popularized by Ms. Castle. Those dancing terms were words commonly used by a professional dancer. It was clear, my daughter had been talking to Irene Castle.'"

Ms. Castle is only one of many paranormal guests who have been named at the Crescent. "Two of the better-known nom de spirits are Michael, the Irish stonemason who fell to his death during construction of the hotel in the footprint of Room 218; and Theodora, the cancer patient who fumbles for her key outside Room 419," Ott noted.

Whether named or nameless the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa has become a haven for those wanting to encounter the shadow, the whisper, the tingling touch of someone, something who stealthily walks the halls of the hotel proper. Nightly ghost tours have been selling out for years. In fact, hotel management now encourages guests and visitors to purchase ghost tour tickets in advance to ensure their opportunity to walk with these Ozark specters on the night they desire.

"October sees the interest grow exponentially in the paranormal aspect of our hotel," Ott concluded, "however the frenzied interest is year 'round. It has escalated so much that later this fall we will be introducing 'Midnight In The Morgue: A Portrait of Norman Baker'. This exciting new, multi-media theatrical presentation will give our guests and visitors a chance to 'meet the man' who purchased the Crescent and operated the hotel in the late '30s as a cancer curing hospital." - todaysthv

Vernon and Irene Castle's Ragtime Revolution

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From 11/10/2008

Crescent Hotel and Spa: Possibly America's Most Haunted Hotel


Ken Fugate and Carroll Heath are mediums.

No, not shirt size. They're clairvoyants. They talk to ghosts.

Specifically, the two communicate with the spirits that roam the halls of the 1886 Crescent Hotel and Spa, which is billed as America's "most haunted hotel," making it a dandy place to spend Halloween or any other dark and stormy night.

Fugate and Heath offer evening ghost tours of the hotel, which they prefer to say is "visited" rather than haunted. The hotel's ghosts are sensitive souls, the two men explain, and those from the Victorian era are particularly spooked by what they see today.

"In their time, women didn't even bare an ankle," Heath said. "They see female hotel guests in shorts and are shocked."

To understand the hotel's ghosts, you must understand the history of the Crescent, which stands on the highest hill overlooking Eureka Springs and is affectionately referred to as the "Grand Old Lady of the Ozarks."

When the Crescent opened in 1886, the local newspaper hailed it as "America's most luxurious resort hotel." For the next 15 years, the hotel was a destination for the country's carriage set. Ladies in long skirts, hats and veils and gentlemen in top hats enjoyed morning horseback rides, afternoon tea parties and evening dances with the in-house orchestra.

The Golden Age was short-lived. Because business was slow in the winter, Crescent College and Conservatory for Women opened in the hotel in 1908, but both the college and hotel closed in 1934 during the Depression.

The darkest hour came in 1937, when the hotel was purchased by Dr. Norman Baker, a flamboyant quack who dressed in lavender colors and claimed he could cure cancer with injections of a mixture that included glycerine, alcohol and a tea brewed from watermelon seeds and clover leaves. The hotel became the Baker Cancer Hospital, until the doctor's arrest in 1939. One investigator estimated Baker defrauded cancer patients out of $4 million and hastened their death.

The Crescent went through a series of owners, and restorations, over the next several decades until its present saviors, Marty and Elise Roenigk, purchased it in 1997. The Roenigks are antique lovers and historic preservationists from Connecticut, and the Crescent became their largest project.

They also bought the town's other historic hotel, the 1905 Basin Park Hotel, and recently added War Eagle Mill, a working, turn-of-the-century grist mill with shop and restaurant, to their collection.

In their first year, the Roenigks remodeled the top floor of the five-story Crescent for their own residence and began restoration of the hotel rooms, which was completed by 2003.

The Roenigks are not into ghosts, although Elise has noted that their old Irish setter, Jazz, refused to stay alone in the north penthouse, one of the hot spots for ghostly sightings. Marty has emphasized that the hotel's ghosts "have been at best friendly, at worst mischievous."

Which brings us to the hotel's ethereal residents, who have attracted the curious from all over the world, including shows like the Sci-Fi Channel's "Ghost Hunters," which used infrared photography to film a shadowy figure in a section of the hotel Baker used as a morgue. The invasion of the TV crews, with their equipment, terrified the ghosts, the clairvoyants said.

Five familiar spirits are said to be living in the Crescent: Michael was a red-haired, Irish stone mason who fell to his death when the Crescent was under construction in 1886. He landed in what today is Room 218, a popular spot for spirit seekers. There's also a nurse seen pushing a gurney after 11:30 p.m., when Baker removed the dead. A gentleman in a top hat usually leaves behind the smell of his cigar. A female student who either fell or was pushed over a railing has been seen re-creating her deadly plunge. Whiffs of perfume means Theodora, a matronly cancer patient, is near.

Fugate and Heath speak fondly of them all. Like Casper, these are friendly ghosts.

"Michael has a wonderful sense of humor," Heath said. In the summer, he'll turn up the heat in Room 218 to tease its residents; in the winter, they'll find the air conditioner on full blast. Occupants wake up to find the window and door wide open.

Like many of the other spirits, Heath said, Michael "doesn't realize he's out of body." Dead, that is.

"The cancer patients came here to be cured," Heath added. "They're still hanging around, waiting."

Fugate and Heath came to the Crescent from San Francisco in 1995, and bought a Victorian home near the hotel that once was owned by Dr. C.F. Ellis, who was the staff physician when the Crescent opened. When they got the contract to do the ghost tours, they wanted to open a headquarters in a hotel room that formerly was the doctor's office. When negotiations with the hotel bogged down, they sought help -- from Dr. Ellis, who they said is the cigar-smoking ghost in the stovepipe hat.

"He told us not to worry, it would work out," Fugate said. "The next day, they offered us the space."

The Crescent has 72 rooms in the hotel proper and I was in 319, one of the rooms that got a recent makeover. The room was spacious, with dark wood furniture, some antique and some reproduction. There was a flat-screen TV and a large combination shower and jetted tub for two in the bathroom.

A pair of French doors opened onto a veranda with a panoramic view of the wooded valley that holds the town of Eureka Springs. Below were the gardens that surround the hotel, and the red-tiled roof of St. Elizabeth's Catholic Church, which celebrates two Masses a week and attracts another sort of spiritual seeker.

Hotel spokesman Bill Ott said the busiest month is October, when the surrounding forest glows. "October usually lasts six weeks here -- we still have good color into November," he said.

Most guests like the hotel because of its rich history, Ott said. "The ghost tour is just a lagniappe -- a little something extra," he said.

The hotel is popular for weddings, and the grounds are landscaped for their parties. The hotel has a gourmet restaurant with crystal chandeliers and an extensive wine list, a cocktail lounge, an outdoor pool and the New Moon Spa. The glassed-in conservatory and gazebo have been restored to their Victorian elegance. As is the case in most century-old structures, something could always use a little updating.

"The creed we live by is, first, protect the irreplaceable," Ott said. "We run a hotel so we can keep this building going. There's been a couple of times when it was about to be razed, and the Roenigks don't want that, and we don't want to let it happen to them."

Most of the spooky "evidence" from the Crescent consists of shadowy images and orbs of light in videos or photos taken by guests and ghost hunters. They can be seen at www.eureka-springs-ghost.com, the site operated by Fugate and Heath, and at www.americasmosthauntedhotel.com.

The mediums said my room, 319, has had its share of reported sightings.

"A woman who stayed there saw the image of a man in the bathroom mirror and screamed," Heath said. "Then, she came out on the balcony about 10:30 that night and witnessed the girl falling over the railing. She took our tour and was so relieved to hear the stories. She said, 'Thank you, I thought I was losing my mind.'"

My three nights in Room 319 went by without incident. I did hear what sounded like a shuddering at the foot of my bed, but I'm pretty sure it was the window air conditioner. And while my room was directly below Theodora's, I couldn't be sure that the occasional sweet smell was, in fact, her matronly perfume.

In fact, the scariest thing about my entire stay was the creaky old hotel elevator, which appeared to be original equipment and had a mind of its own.

I took the stairs. The Crescent already has one red-haired ghost - post-gazette

The World's Scariest Places And Most Haunted Locations

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DAILY 'PHANTOMS AND MONSTERS' NEWSLETTER STATUS

Hi folks....well, a survey of finances and revenue for the blog was conducted the past several days and I have been given some interesting results.

Since the newsletter and feed readers rarely come to the blog site those people do not use the advertising offerings that are posted there. In other words, they receive the posts by email or feed reader and are not subjected to the product advertisements that create revenue.

According to the person who administered the analytics, I am losing about $4400 each year in lost advertising revenue including other out-of-pocket expenses.

Though I do not want to stop the newsletter or charge a fee for this service, I am left with only one option...limit the amount of subscribers.

Those subscribers who are currently receiving the newsletter will continue to do so. I will continue to allow new subscriptions...but there will be an eventual cut-off point in order to maintain a maximum number of subscribers. I am also going to go into the subscriber list and remove those email addresses that (1) stopped receiving emails, (2) continue to return mailings and (3) forward the newsletter to other addresses for purposes other than referral or reference. If you unsubscribe please be aware that you may not be able to reestablish a future subscription.

I feel this is the only fair solution since many readers have made prior donations and I want to honor their loyalty. If you wish to contribute with a donation, there is a 'DONATE' button located on the blog at www.phantomsandmonsters.com or you can go to PayPal.com and use our email address (lonstrickler@phantomsandmonsters.com) as the donation recipient.

Thanks again for reading...Lon


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