Happy Halloween! Here are 13 supposedly supernatural locations in Arkansas compiled by Kimberly J. Williams, travel writer for the Arkansas Department of Parks and Tourism, with input from Larry Flaxman and Amanda Dinwiddie of the Arkansas Paranormal and Anomalous Studies Team.
ARPAST is a science-based paranormal research team that focuses on understanding underlying environmental or quantum variables which might exist in a location believed to be haunted.
1. Built in 1906, the Allen House in Monticello is a ideal example of Queen Anne Victorian architecture that also features gothic and neoclassical design elements such as massive porch columns and multi-storied turrets.
Joe Lee Allen, his wife Caddye and their three daughters lived in the stately home. Allen died at age 54 in 1917. His widow lived there until her death in 1954. The Allens' second daughter, Ladell, consumed mercury cyanide-laced punch on Dec. 26, 1948, in the master suite and died one week later. Her mother sealed off the room and it would not be entered by anyone for nearly four decades. The house remained in the Allen family until 1986. The home was divided into apartments in 1956 by the Allens' grandson. Tenants in the apartments would tell stories about paranormal experiences ranging from hazy figures in photographs to furniture being unexplainably rearranged.
2. The 1905 Basin Park Hotel in Eureka Springs is known for several special guests. A little girl in a yellow dress with brown pigtails has been seen skipping throughout the lobby. Many believe that William Duncan, one of the businessmen who helped build the original hotel, roams the hallways in his trademark brown suit and derby hat. There are tales of a translucent young woman with cotton candy blonde hair and steel blue eyes. Other guests recount the vision of a lovely young lady in a flowing white dress, waiting on her long-overdue bridegroom.
3. Battery C Battlefield Park in Helena-West Helena overlooks a portion of Crowley’s Ridge that saw deadly fighting during the July 4, 1863 Battle of Helena. Since then, there have been reports of phantom cannon fire.
4. The Clayton House in Fort Smith is a restored 1882 antebellum that was home to William Henry Harrison Clayton, the prosecutor for “hanging Judge” Isaac Parker. During his years before Parker, he convicted 80 men of murder, 40 of whom were executed. The family home is now a museum and reports of supernatural activity flourish.
5. Cosmic Caverns in Berryville has two bottomless lakes and one of the region’s largest “soda straw” formations at over nine feet long. Cave owners believe there to be supernatural happenings within and outside the cave’s parameters.
6. Paranormal researchers have studied the Crescent Hotel & Spa in Eureka Springs, a beautiful structure built in 1886, time and again. Claims include feeling the lick of a dog (said to be from the two St. Bernard dogs who died in the facility), the apparition of an Irishman in Room 218, and a ghostly waiter in the hallways.
7. In 1888, when the Empress of Little Rock was completed at a cost of $20,000, it was known as the Hornibrook House. Bob Blair, along with his wife Sharon, has owned the beautifully restored home since December 1993. In January 1994, Blair had his first encounter with a dapperly dressed gentleman in a peaked homburg hat. Since then, workers and visitors have reported seeing the ghostly vision.
8. The Gurdon Lights in Clark County were first reported in the 1930s, and the sightings haven’t stopped since.
9. The King Opera House in Van Buren is a stunning facility, featuring Victorian-era flourishes and details. The theater also has its own legend: the Ghost of the Opera House.
10. The building in Little Rock's MacArthur Park has a long and varied history. It started as the Little Rock Arsenal in 1836. More than 30 buildings would comprise the munitions storage facility; today all that remains is the 1840 Tower Building housing the MacArthur Museum of Arkansas Military History. The building has become well known for the variety of unexplainable activities.
11. The charming Magnolia Hill Bed and Breakfast occupies a beautiful setting on a slight hill along Crowley’s Ridge in historic downtown Helena. The house was built in 1895 for Charles and Gabriella Moore and it was their home in 1939. It was also used as a USO club during World War II. Since 1992 the house has been a working bed and breakfast inn. Past visitors have shared their experiences, including the distinct feeling of someone caressing their hair while sitting on one of the beds.
12. The St. Francis County Museum in Forrest City began life in 1906 as the home of Dr. J.O. Rush and his family, strategically located near the railroad tracks. Rush served as the physician and surgeon for the railroads. Day and night, the home was filled with the maimed and injured, especially those involved in railroading accidents. In the decades to come, many would claim seeing strange movement through the darkened windows. Some local residents claimed that those who were brought to Dr. Rush’s office for medical attention haunted the house.
13. Smackover can trace its history back to the 1830s when settlers with land grants migrated to the area. The town began to boom when in 1922 an oil well struck what would become one of America’s largest oil reserves. Within six months, the town’s population grew from 100 to 25,000. People believe that some of those original boomers still walk the streets of the south Arkansas town.
To learn more about Arkansas ghosts and legends click here.