We interview the lead paranormal investigator of the haunted Basin Park Hotel in Eureka Springs, AR, who is often too focused on her work to notice there’s yet another cowboy ghost standing right behind her.

Episode Summary: Paranormal Investigations and Ghost Tours in Downtown Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Being a professional paranormal investigator and ghost tour guide sounds like an amazing job. But does it come with risks? Because this is the type of job where you don’t want to take your work home with you, no matter how badly your ghostly coworkers want to follow you back to your house.

Today, we speak with lead paranormal investigator Diane, who works at both the Crescent Hotel and Basin Park Hotel in Eureka Springs. She’s had quite a few encounters both on the clock and off the clock, and she’s sharing them all. Let’s hear about some haunted hotels and ghost tours in Arkansas, today, on Homespun Haints.

About the Guest: Diane Newcomb

Diane has been leading paranormal investigations at the Basin Park Hotel and Crescent Hotel for years. The pair make up the most haunted hotels in the state of Arkasas. She’s such a fixture on these sites that the ghosts follow her home looking for her when she tries to take time off.

Diane has curated a vast collection of photos sent to her mostly by tourists who caught ghosts on camera during her tours at the two historical buildings. She was a fabulous guide for the Basin Park Paranormal Investigation, energetically sharing fascinating history and people’s true ghost stories despite the late hour. We loved her style from the moment the haunted doll greeted us at the beginning of the investigation. We were honored and thrilled when she offered to come on our show and tell some of the real ghost horror stories she’s collected over the years!

How to protect yourself from ghosts while paranormal investigating

This is a topic many a paranormal investigator has felt was very important to bring up in past interviews. We have heard many suggestions for how to protect against spirits. The methods Diane uses include a “spirit dump,” which we’re picturing is like a colonic for dead things that may be clinging on to you or intend to follow you home.

She also taught us an Aramaic prayer for protection, which one of her investigation participants shared with her. We found the following Hebrew version at keysofenoch.org: “KODOISH, KODOISH, KODOISH ADONAI ’TSEBAYOTH.” That website translates this prayer as “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God of Hosts.”

Sorry, but your princess is in a different castle

Interestingly, many of the ghosts at the Basin Park Hotel are actually not haunting the Basin Park Hotel, per se. Diane could not confirm if anyone has ever died on the property in its current iteration. Before the hotel was built, a lodging called the Perry House stood at the same spot. Well, where the South Wing now stands, at least.

Diane tells us that newspapers at the time reported that nobody perished in the fire that claimed the Perry House. But that doesn’t mean there were never any deaths on the property. If any cowboy died on the land to become one of the numerous ghosts photographed at the modern day Basin Park, they would’ve likely done so during the Perry House years. Given the time frame during which the Perry House stood, it’s a lot more likely someone would’ve died due to accident, injury, illness, or even murder, while lodging at the Perry House. The many ghosts that tourists spot walking through walls on the current property supports this idea. There’s a theory that, when an earthbound spirit walks through a wall, it is actually passing through an area that would’ve been open and passable during that person’s lifetime.

Healing water and snake oil

Diane tells us that the healing waters that founded the town were actually well-known to the Osage people. Once word spread that the waters could cause miraculous cures for multiple illnesses, the wagon stop became a tent settlement, which then became a town. Given the rampant risks and shenanigans that happened in 19th century medicine, it’s no surprise that sick people were willing to travel by wagon up a windy mountain road just to drink some spring water. Hell, people still do things like that.

At the height of the expansion of Eureka Springs, enter the Crescent Hotel. At a budget several times what a normal luxury hotel would cost, in a remote, mountainous area almost impassable in the icy dead of winter, the Crescent almost instantly became somewhat of a money pit. It repeatedly changed hands, and even purposes, attempting to stay in the black. The most notorious part of its history was the late 1930’s. The so-called Baker Hospital subsumed the entire hotel. This serial fraudster claimed a 100% cure rate for all forms of cancer. It wasn’t until very recently that the details of the ruse finally came to light.

In 2019, excavation on an undeveloped part of the hotel grounds lead to the discovery of both creepy human remains and the actual formulas used in their cancer treatment. Diane tells us that the first people to really get their hands on these new discoveries were the guys from Ghost Adventures. Analyzing the nearly century-old samples, local university labs found ingredients like corn silk, red clover, ground watermelon seeds, and carbolic acid.

Diana has a little more to tell about it in her recent stay at the Basin Park Hotel:

Wait, those supplements sound familiar.

Now, to be fair, as only a couple generations removed from Appalachian granny witches, we do appreciate the value of nutraceuticals. According to clevelandclinic.org, corn silk is a traditional supplement that is traditionally used for fighting inflammation. (Fun aside: corn silks are basically corn fallopian tubes! We like how corn just lets it all hang out like that.) Red clover does actually contain isoflavones that can influence sex hormones, according to nccih.nih.gov, an imbalance of which could be related to several forms of cancer. The lycopene in watermelon seeds also influences sex hormones and is currently undergoing research as a potential anti-cancer agent.

So these “cures” weren’t just a random assortment of cheap local plants that someone blended together haphazardly. The continued modern use and study of these exact nutraceuticals supports the notion that, at some point, someone at the Baker Hospital potentially had good intentions and a justifiable plan to enact those intentions.

You know what we appreciate more, though? That it’s illegal nowadays to claim that a natural supplement has a 100% cure rate for cancer. Bizarrely, some of the nutraceutical components Baker used may have potentially been sincerely beneficial in some ways. The accompanying lies, secrecy, and abuse were pretty obviously not.

It’s not a tumor

And all the strange human tissue samples in bottles labelled as “tumors”? Those were apparently displayed in the lobby of the hospital. They served as “proof” to visitors that the tumors were no longer inside the patients. But all treatments performed at the hospital were non-surgical (thank you, Jesus). So…how’d those tumors get out, then? Perhaps they were remnants from psychic surgery? If so, what do you think they really were?

Would you stay in a hotel room haunted by a cowboy ghost?

If you’re planning a trip to Eureka Springs, and you want to stay in a haunted room at the Basin Park hotel, book in advance! None of the most haunted rooms were available when Diana visited. Diane suggests you stay in one of the following.

  • Room 310, which the spirit of famous cowboy John Chisum haunts, and where kids see ghosts of other children.
  • Room 308, where guests report getting touched.
  • Room 408, where the notorious “ladies’ man ghost” may give you a sexy foot massage.
  • Rooms 514 and 515, where more nameless cowboy ghosts apparently share a suite.
  • The entire third floor, where the paranormal investigators get constant readings on their EMF meters all over. The rampant beeping and flashing suggests the presence of some sort of fear cage on the floor. A fear cage may cause false positives in ghost hunting. It is also thought to feed spirits energetically.
Diana looking for a cowboy ghost at the haunted Basin Park Hotel in Eureka Springs, AR.
Diana looking for a cowboy ghost at the haunted Basin Park Hotel in Eureka Springs, AR.

In fact, Diana stayed in room 506, and two nights of her stay, a loud furniture scooting sound woke her up right around the witching hour. The sounds were coming from the floor above, which was unoccupied and locked. In fact, right above her room was a locked-up, apparently haunted bathroom. So no matter which room of the haunted Basin Park Hotel you stay at, you’ll probably have a spooky day!