It’s almost Christmas. I know this because our local merchants are madly trying to unload their Halloween merchandise, pumpkin patches have seen a steep upswing in daily visitors, and cable television is bombarding us with horror movie marathons, creepy versions of normal programming, and live episodes of my favorite (and least favorite) paranormal shows.
But for those of you who prefer getting your creep on in a more up-close-and-personal way, take a look at this list of local spots where you can spend a little time – and perhaps a little money – and possibly have your own ghost story to share around the campfire.
War Eagle Mill
11045 War Eagle Rd, Rogers | Website | Bird’s Eye Map
A confederate soldier has been seen walking the shores of War Eagle River near the mill. There are also reports of poltergeist activity in the 3rd floor restaurant, with noises coming from the kitchen, chairs changing position, and lids of tea dispensers flying across the room after hours. While you’re there looking for evidence of ghosts, be sure to try their beans and cornbread and buy a couple of their homemade jams!
Prairie Grove Battlefield State Park
U.S. 62, Prairie Grove | Website | Bird’s Eye Map
Approximately 2,700 Confederate and Union soldiers lost their lives here during a bloody battle on December 7, 1862. One report from a witness of the battle wrote that there were so many dead in the area that is now the orchard, the ground ran red with blood. Visitors to the park report hearing cavalry horses, cannon fire, and marching troops at different locations along the marked tour path. There is a great little gift shop and museum on the west side of the park as well.
Tilly Willy Bridge
S. Wilson Hollow Rd, Fayetteville | Bird’s Eye Map
Located in south Fayetteville, this bridge is alleged to be the location of a tragic accident. A man, his wife, and their children were said to have died there after their car plunged into the rushing creek. A woman in a white dress has been seen twirling in the nearby field, a ghost car has been reported to drive across the bridge, and if you turn off your engine and let your windows fog up – with or without help from your significant other – you might see handprints appear on the windows.
75 Prospect Ave, Eureka Springs | Website | Street View Map
Of course, this is one of the most infamous local spots to visit in the search for a scare. The Crescent features a nightly “ghost tour” that will take you by the rooms that are said to be most active and down to the basement where the morgue used to be when the hotel was used as a hospital around the turn of the century. Be sure to take your camera – and ask to stay in room 218 if you’re making a night of it.
Basin Park Hotel
12 Spring St, Eureka Springs | Website | Street View Map
The Crescent is not the only place in Eureka Springs to claim spirit activity. Ghost tours are also conducted at the Basin, nightly from April through November, and stories abound from the staff and visitors. Guests and staff have reported hearing organ music playing in room 308, seeing a cowboy wandering the halls, and even spotting a ghost of a lion.
Arkansas Air Museum
4290 S. School St, Fayetteville | Website | Bird’s Eye Map
This little gem is probably not on your radar of places to visit, but it should be. Not only has there been some interesting paranormal activity experienced by the staff, it just a cool thing to do on a weekend afternoon. There are lots of great displays and aircraft, and if you’re lucky, you might see the man who is sometimes seen hanging out in the museum’s library.
465 N. Arkansas Ave, Fayetteville | Website | Bird’s Eye Map
In addition to one of the best Tuesday lunch buffets in NWA (if you like Indian cuisine), Carnall Hall also has had reports of floating apparitions, sounds of people walking on vacant floors, and unexplained impressions appearing on just-made beds. Seriously though, try the Indian buffet!
While you enjoy getting out and about and collecting your own paranormal experiences, please be respectful of the fact that most of these locations are businesses with posted hours of operation and are private property. Behave yourselves![Photo: Crescent Hotel via Springfiled, Missouri Library]
Laurie Marshall is a guest contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She shops at thrift stores, longs for the beaches of Nova Scotia, and says “okie dokie!” a lot. She has a BA in English/Creative Writing, is co-founder of Paranormal Ozarks Investigations, and wishes her sewing and writing would pay all the bills. Her three kids and husband are incredibly patient and inspiring. For more of Laurie’s contributions, visit her author page.