It’s Halloween time, and everyone has seen his fair share of scary movies. All those movies seem to end the same way: everyone dies a gory, crazy death, or a ghost pops up that looks like Casper.
So we leave the movie theater wondering why we paid $9 to watch that.
Make this Halloween different; Arkansas is full of scary stories all its own. There are plenty of haunted places and ghosts to encounter.
UCA holds its own share of the supernatural in Hughes Hall; room 219 on the girls’ side is said to be haunted. Freshman Regina Grant, who lives in Hughes’ spooky 219 this semester, said she was happy to find out she was moving into the haunted room.
“I was pretty excited when my RA told us we had the haunted room,” Grant said.
Grant has only had one creepy incident so far this year. She left her room one day, and made sure she had locked the door. Her roommate also checked the door, and it was locked. When they returned, they found their door cracked open.
Although Grant hasn’t had terribly scary happenings in 219, past Hughes residents encountered some disturbing events.
Over the years, residents of that room said appliances turn on and off by themselves. The water facet turns on when no one is close to it. Personal belongings have gone missing, and objects fly across the room. Some residents have even experienced the feeling of someone lying next to them at night.
In Eureka Springs, the Crescent Hotel is full of ghosts to be hunted. The hotel had many owners since it opened its doors in 1886, but it had more uses than just lodging.
In 1937, Norman Baker turned it into a cancer hospital and health resort. Because of Baker’s cruel experiments on cancer patients, the hospital was soon shut down, and the building stood empty until it reopened as a hotel in 1946. Staff members and guests of the Crescent Hotel have since reported some strange happenings.
Doors slam closed, and some guests have been shaken awake at night. Some have seen a ghostly, middle-aged man wearing formal clothes in the lobby or bar. There was one sighting of a nurse pushing a gurney down the hallway. Once she got to the wall at the end of the hallway and vanished. There have also been sightings of a ghost cat.
Ghost tours are available through the hotel every evening at 8:00. Tickets are $18 per person and $7 for children under five. Another historically haunted hotel in Eureka Springs, The Basin Hotel, also offers ghost tours for $15 per person beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday through Thursday during October. The tours begin at 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Traveling southwest to Gurdon, Ark., to see the Gurdon Light is another blood-pumper. Locals say a railroad worker accidentally fell into the path of a train killing him. His head was severed from his body and never recovered.
Locals say they believe the light is from the worker’s lantern, helping him illuminate the darkness in hopes of finding his head. The light is said to eerily move back and forth across the tracks.
While the incident with the rail worker is historically accurate, there is another possibility. In December 1931, there was a murder on the tracks. Railroad worker Louis McBride killed worker William McClain because McClain was getting more hours on the job.
McBride beat McClain to death with a shovel. Even though the light was seen before 1931, some believe that the mysterious light is the spirit of William McClain. Amanda Galiano, a writer for about.com, had a few creepy experiences of her own with the light.
“I’ve been there a few times and you do, indeed, see a swaying, hazy light,” Galiano said, “It never really comes close enough, in my experience, to be too frightening.”
While some people consider these ghost stories fake, others claim to have had real ghostly encounters.
Halloween is the perfect time of year to do a little ghost hunting. And who knows? It could be kind of creepy, but it could be a whole lot of fun.