Arkansas offers paranormal enthusiasts ghostly thrills with spooky historic battlefields, hotels, dark roads, and museums filled with haunted artifacts. The haunted places of Arkansas attract chill seekers hoping to encounter apparitions or experience the phantom sounds of a battle fought long ago. Explore haunted Arkansas, and you may wind up with your own ghostly tale to tell.
Basin Park Hotel
The Basin Park Hotel in Eureka Springs is open about its spirit residents, unlike many hotels. Not only do guests run into ghostly figures, but the hotel offers several ghost tours and paranormal investigations. Some hotel spirits you might encounter include a young woman with fluffy blonde hair and steel-blue eyes who makes herself at home and wanders about the hotel. The spirit of a young girl in pigtails wearing a yellow dress appears in the hotel when guests and staff least expect it. Orbs float around the hotel and even show up in photos and videos. You might see objects move on their own and hear phantom footsteps following you, but if you turn around, there won't be anyone there, at least, no one you can see.
Malco Theatre in Hot Springs was built to replace the Princess Theatre that was destroyed by a fire. Home to silent movies, vaudeville acts, and sound films, the theater hosted many specialty productions. Some paranormal activities include disembodied voices and various poltergeist activities. The glowing apparition of a woman gets around town. She likes to visit the theatre and wanders into other areas of the city. Disembodied screams come from the building when no one is inside. The apparition of a woman appears in the theatre basement. She's the spirit of a woman who was part of a magic show but disappeared during the show and was never seen again.
The HSDFI (Hot Springs Documentary Film Institute) became the sole proprietor of the Malco in 2008. In 2013, the Malco was purchased by a private owner, Rick Williams, who maintained the Malco's relationship with the HSDFI. The theater holds 320 people with an additional 75 seats in the balcony. In 2010, the theater was added to the National Register Listings. The theater closed in 2015, but reopened in 2019 after being fully renovated.
Prairie Grove Battlefield
The Prairie Grove Battlefield is the site of the one of the bloodiest Civil War battles in Northwest Arkansas and is part of the state park system in Prairie Grove. In the span of one day, 2,500 to 2,700 soldiers from the Confederate Army of the Trans-Mississippi and the Union Army of the Frontier died. Hundreds of bodies lay in the yard of the Borden family home as the epicenter of the battle, and the house burned to the ground. The family rebuilt the house in 1868.
The Arkansas Paranormal Investigation team recorded an EVP telling them to go away. The phantom sounds of the battle sound throughout the battlefield. Clashing swords, gunfire, cannon fire, the stamping feet of marching troops, and snorting horses are all part of the visitor experience. The spirit of a little girl looks out from a window of the Borden House. If you visit the battlefield, don't be surprised if you hear phantom footsteps following you. You can participate in a self-guided driving or walking tour, enjoy weekend events, or attend the biennial (even-numbered years) re-enactment held on the first weekend of December.
St. Francis County Museum
The Arkansas Paranormal and Anomalous Studies Team (ARPAST) place St Francis County Museum in the top ten haunted buildings in the state. The St Francis County Museum was originally known as the Rush-Gates House, home of the surgeon, Dr. J.O. Rush. The doctor located the house near the railroad tracks for the ease of treating patients. Unfortunately, many died in his home, and their spirits haunt the current museum. Workers see ghostly silhouettes in the windows, and objects vanish with no explanation. According to the Encyclopedia of Arkansas, local hotels partner with the museum to conduct haunted tours. You can also book private parties with professionals who train you how to conduct a paranormal investigation of the museum house.
Fort Smith Museum of History
The Fort Smith Museum of History is in one of the oldest buildings in Fort Smith. The 35,000 artifacts are often blamed for the vast amount of paranormal activity that goes on in the building. The third floor of the museum is used to store the artifacts not currently on display. Employees don't like to be on the third floor, especially by themselves because of the spirits that hang out there close to the artifact they're connected to. A young child runs and plays on the third floor. The disembodied child's gleeful shouts and yells are unmistakable. The third floor isn't accessible to the public, so you won't be able to venture up there. However, there are plenty of spirits to go around.
The phantom sound of a gavel rings out from the hanging judge, Isaac Parker, who resides on the second floor, where all his furniture is displayed. You may feel like you're being watched, see shadow people, or hear phantom footsteps when you visit the museum.
Arkansas Air & Military Museum
The Arkansas Air & Military Museum is located at Drake Field in Fayetteville. This historic hangar dates back to World War II and is one of a handful of remaining original structures in the US. It is also considered a highly active site for paranormal activity. Many people claim the museum is haunted by various ghosts attached to the planes from different eras. Visitors and staff see the spirit of an aviator hanging out in the museum library and other areas. Northwest Arkansas News (KNWA) interviewed a 20-year employee who came face-to-face with the ghost that had a corporeal form. The employee mistook the spirit for a visitor, asking if she could help him. As soon as she spoke to the ghost, he vanished. Shadow people and ghostly apparitions move about the museum.
The Phantom Caboose was first sighted in the 1930s by homeless men riding the rails through Springdale, Rogers, Fayetteville, and Lowell. The strange phantom caboose careens down the tracks without an engine or other train cars. In the Ozarks, multiple witnesses see the lone caboose speeding through the Ozarks. The caboose was seen mostly in the Springdale area. Strange noises seem to follow the tracks as well as odd lights. Your best location for spotting the ghost caboose is the Springdale area, since it has the most reports of sightings.
Pea Ridge National Military Park
The Pea Ridge National Military Park in Garfield is highly active with the spirits of Union and Confederate soldiers who died during the bloody 2-day battle in March 1862. The uniformed apparitions wander the battlefield. Nearly 3,400 soldiers died on the Pea Ridge Battlefield. The phantom sounds of cannons, gunfire, and cries of the wounded fill the night as the ghosts of the battle emerge from the darkness. Their full-bodied apparitions move about the battlefield, some appearing to be engaged in the battle, while others are wounded. Disembodied drumming and shouts into the dark echo across the battlefield. Visitors feel someone following them, but when they turn around, no one is there.
Said to be the most haunted place in Arkansas, the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs has been featured on many ghost and paranormal TV shows. Built in 1886, the hotel was originally a health retreat to take advantage of the nearby natural hot springs. The criminal Norman Baker purchased the hotel in 1937 and ran a scam for a cancer cure, luring hopeful patients into his trap of abuse and torture. Some of the ghosts wandering the hotel include the spirits of nurses, who push gurneys through the hotel hallways on their way to the basement morgue. Norman Baker, dressed as a doctor, pops up in various places in the hotel. Rooms 221, 218, and 419 have the most ghostly activity with resident ghosts tidying up the room, flirting with female guests by touching their hands or tapping their shoulders, and helpful ghosts assisting lost guests in elevators or hallways. The hotel is located at 75 Prospect Ave, Eureka Springs, AR 72632.
Tilly Willy Bridge
The Tilly Willy Bridge in Fayetteville is no longer there; it was demolished in 2010. However, you can still go to the spot to chance an encounter with a ghost. The spirit of a woman who ran off the bridge, drowning herself and her children, wanders the road now that the bridge is gone. If you dare to stop along the road, be prepared to be scared. If your car windows fog up, you'll know she's near. Her spirit will wander over to your car and press her hands against the windows, attempting to peer inside beyond the fog. Just key in the GPS coordinates (36°00'58.3"N 94°08'27.0"W) to make your way to the old bridge location.
The Allen House
The Allen House was built in 1905 by Joe Lee Allen and his wife, Caddye, in Monticello. They had three children. In 1917, when Joe died, their daughter Ladelle was divorced, living in the house, and suffering as a secret alcoholic. Upon her father's death, Ladelle committed suicide by ingesting cyanide. Her mother, Caddye, sealed off the bedroom, and it remained untouched for over 30 years. Ladelle's spirit wanders the house, with her bedroom being her favorite haunt. She's kept company by the spirit of her son, Allen Bonner. Phantom footsteps and disembodied moans echo through the house. The ghosts can be confrontational. In once incident, previous owners attempted close the closet doors, but it felt as though an invisible person pushed against each attempt. These are just a few of the many paranormal happenings in the house. The house has been featured on numerous paranormal TV shows and hosts various tours and paranormal events.
Visiting Spooky Haunted Places in Arkansas
There's no shortage of spooky haunted places in Arkansas. Choose one or two that interest you and take advantage of any tours and ghost hunts offered for an authentic feel of the paranormal found in this state.