Haunted Places in Arkansas: Exploring the Most Frightening Locations in the Natural State

  • By: Timothy Rose
  • Date: 11 December 2023
  • Time to read: 17 min.

“You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another,” a haunting line from Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises,” aptly sets the tone for our exploration of Haunted Places in Arkansas. The Natural State, with its deep woods, winding rivers, and historical richness, is also a land of hidden shadows and ghostly tales.

In this journey, we’ll uncover the most spine-chilling locations across Arkansas. From the legendary hauntings of the 1886 Crescent Hotel & Spa, where guests report more than just a comfortable stay, to the eerie quiet of the Arkansas State Hospital, a site of countless unexplained occurrences, these places hold stories that defy explanation.

Arkansas’s haunted locations are more than mere tourist spots; they are the keepers of untold stories, where the past lingers in the present. The creaking floorboards, the flicker of lights, and the chill in the air are all part of the state’s haunting narrative. Join us as we step into the unknown, where every corner of Arkansas’s haunted history is waiting to be discovered.

Haunted Places in Eureka Springs

Eureka Springs is a small Victorian town located in Arkansas and is known for its immense paranormal activity. The town is considered one of the most haunted places in Arkansas. While some see it primarily as a gorgeous little Victorian village and a wonderful place to relax, others consider it a hotbed for paranormal activity. Both perspectives are valid, of course.

Crescent Hotel

In the late 1800s, Eureka Springs became a bustling spa town. At its heart stood the grand Crescent Hotel, built in 1886 as a luxury resort. Frequented by the elite, it later transitioned to a college and then a controversial hospital.

The paranormal chatter began with Dr. Norman Baker in the 1930s. Claiming to have a cancer cure, he ran the facility as a hospital. However, many patients never left. Whispered tales of their restless spirits began. The most famous is a nurse pushing a gurney on the third floor. Guests report seeing dancers in the ballroom, hearing mysterious laughter, and spotting a man in a top hat.

Crescent Hotel - Credit LilithSativa
Crescent Hotel – Credit LilithSativa

Today, the Crescent Hotel stands as a beacon for ghost enthusiasts. It embraces its eerie past, offering ghost tours and tales of unexplained events. Both skeptics and believers leave with more questions than answers.

Basin Park Hotel

Nestled in the heart of Eureka Springs is the Basin Park Hotel, which opened its doors in 1905. Like its sister property, the Crescent Hotel, it’s a testament to the town’s allure as a spa destination. This seven-story structure attracted tourists with its therapeutic spring waters and majestic architecture.

But the lively crowds didn’t just bring prosperity. The hotel has its share of spectral tales. Among the stories is the legend of a translucent ballroom dancer twirling to a forgotten tune. Another notable apparition is a young boy who’s often seen playing near the grand staircase. Whispers, chilly drafts, and unexplained footsteps are common experiences for unsuspecting guests.

Years have passed, and the Basin Park Hotel remains an iconic landmark. It’s not just a place for a cozy stay, but also a haven for those curious about the paranormal. Ghost tours and stories ensure its mysteries live on, enticing brave souls to visit.

Haunted Places in Monticello

Monticello is a small city in Arkansas with a population of just over 9,000 people. It is known for its historic downtown and beautiful homes, including the Allen House, which is considered one of the most haunted houses in America.

Allen House

In the quaint town of Monticello, Arkansas, stands the Allen House – a neo-classical masterpiece constructed in 1906. The house was designed by Sylvester Hotchkiss and commissioned by Joe Lee Allen, a prosperous businessman. This opulent mansion showcases art glass windows, oak columns, and intricate woodwork, epitomizing the grandeur of its era.

However, beauty often masks tragedy. The house is infamous for the story of Ladell Allen, a member of the family. In the 1940s, heartbroken over a failed love affair, she ingested cyanide, ending her life. Since then, visitors and residents have reported a series of unexplained phenomena. Windows locking by themselves, chilling apparitions in old-fashioned dresses, and soft whispers in deserted rooms. Ladell’s spirit, many believe, never left her beloved home.

Allen House - Credit angel1238812
Allen House – Credit angel1238812

Today, the Allen House is not just an architectural wonder but a magnet for paranormal enthusiasts. Guided tours narrate its tragic love story and mysteries. Some come for the history, while others hope for a brush with the unknown.

Haunted Places in Little Rock

Little Rock, the capital city of Arkansas, has its share of haunted places that are sure to give goosebumps to the brave-hearted. The city has a long and fascinating history, and many of its older buildings are rumored to be haunted by the spirits of former residents.

MacArthur Park

Sprawling in the center of Little Rock, Arkansas, is MacArthur Park, a historical and recreational landmark. Established in the 19th century, it’s home to the Tower Building of the Little Rock Arsenal – the birthplace of the famed World War II General Douglas MacArthur. Over the years, this serene park, with its picturesque pond and lush greenery, has seen many phases of history unfold.

Yet, amidst the calm, there are whispered tales of spectral figures and eerie occurrences. Some locals say they’ve seen soldiers from bygone eras, possibly remnants of the Civil War or World War I, drifting silently near the old arsenal. There are also murmurs about a lady in white, wandering near the pond, lost in her own melancholy world. Nocturnal visitors often speak of cold spots, unexplained mists, and sudden gusts of wind on still nights.

Today, MacArthur Park is a blend of history and mystery. While families come to enjoy its natural beauty and the adjacent art center, ghost hunters are drawn to its twilight tales. Every shadow and rustle might just be a glimpse into its rich, haunted past.

Old State House

In the heart of Little Rock stands the majestic Old State House, Arkansas’s original state capitol building. Completed in 1842, this Greek Revival structure has witnessed countless political dramas, high-stakes debates, and pivotal moments in the state’s history. Its hallowed halls echo with tales of early legislators, governors, and influential figures.

Old State House, Arkansas - Credit marnie webb
Old State House, Arkansas – Credit marnie webb

But not all narratives are confined to historical records. The Old State House has its fair share of ghostly tales. One recurring story speaks of a woman in a black, Victorian-era gown, often seen gazing out from a second-story window. There’s also talk of phantom footsteps, hushed whispers in empty rooms, and old-time music drifting through the air. Some attribute these eerie happenings to the memories of a deadly duel between two legislators that occurred on its grounds.

Today, the Old State House serves as a museum, bridging the gap between the past and present. Visitors are drawn not only to its rich history but also its paranormal allure. With every artifact and ghostly tale, it invites you to step back in time and experience a world that straddles reality and the unknown.

The Empress of Little Rock

Amid the historic district of Little Rock, Arkansas, stands The Empress of Little Rock, a beautifully preserved piece of Victorian grandeur. This bed and breakfast, originally known as the Hornibrook Mansion, was constructed in 1888. James H. Hornibrook, its original owner, was a prosperous saloonkeeper, and the house was his testament to opulence in the late 19th century.

But beyond its stunning architecture and period-appropriate furnishings lies a tapestry of tales that make the Empress more than just a B&B for some. Over the years, guests and staff have recounted inexplicable events. Whispers of ghostly apparitions, footsteps in hallways devoid of people, and objects moving of their own accord abound. One recurring story is of a lady in white, speculated to be a spirit from the Hornibrook family or perhaps a guest from a bygone era, who sometimes appears in reflections or in the dimly lit corners of rooms.

Today, while many visitors to The Empress of Little Rock come for its luxurious lodgings and a taste of Victorian elegance, others are drawn by its paranormal allure. They hope, perhaps, to have their own ephemeral encounter with the past, be it through a fleeting shadow, a soft whisper, or a momentary chill in the air.

Mount Holly Cemetery

Tucked within the heart of Little Rock, Arkansas, Mount Holly Cemetery stands as a testament to the city’s storied past. Dubbed the “Westminster Abbey of Arkansas,” this cemetery, founded in 1843, houses the remains of many of the state’s most influential figures, including governors, senators, and Confederate generals. Its intricate tombstones, wrought-iron work, and beautiful statuary tell tales of the area’s history and the lives of those interred.

However, the serene beauty of the cemetery belies the eerie tales that have emerged over the years. Visitors and locals alike whisper of ghostly apparitions that roam the grounds, especially during the twilight hours. Among the tales, there’s a story of a spectral woman, draped in a flowing gown, seen weeping beside a tombstone. Others have reported hearing the distant sounds of funeral hymns when no one is around, or even the soft, echoing laughter of children from a time long past.

Mount Holly Cemetery - Credit Brad Sims
Mount Holly Cemetery – Credit Brad Sims

Today, Mount Holly Cemetery remains an important historical landmark for Little Rock, attracting history buffs, genealogists, and the occasional ghost hunter. Whether visitors come seeking connection with the past, to admire its art and architecture, or in pursuit of the supernatural, the cemetery promises an experience steeped in history and, for some, a brush with the unknown.

Haunted Places in Fort Smith

Fort Smith, Arkansas is known for its rich history and haunted places. The city is home to many historic buildings, including the King Opera House and The Clayton House, both of which are rumored to be haunted.

King Opera House

Located in the historic district of Van Buren, Arkansas, the King Opera House is a gem from the 19th century. Built in the 1880s by John King, this architectural marvel quickly became the epicenter for entertainment. Plays, musicals, and vaudeville acts graced its stage, drawing crowds from all around.

King Opera House - Credit Tom Check
King Opera House – Credit Tom Check

Yet, behind the curtains, a timeless love story lingers. The tale tells of a young actor who fell in love with King’s daughter. Disapproving of the match, King tried to send his daughter away. The smitten actor, in his desperation, was said to have been killed in a confrontation at the opera house. Today, many claim to see his restless spirit, roaming the aisles and backstage, searching for his lost love. Soft footfalls, whispered lines from old plays, and cold breezes are common eerie experiences.

Now, the King Opera House still hosts performances, preserving its cultural legacy. But for many, it’s not just the live acts that captivate. The theater’s spectral resident offers a poignant reminder of love, tragedy, and the mysteries that linger in the shadows.

The Clayton House

In Fort Smith, Arkansas, amidst the historic landmarks and preserved remnants of a bygone era, sits the Clayton House. Built in the 1850s and later inhabited by William Henry Harrison Clayton, a prominent prosecutor, the home bears witness to the bustling legal and frontier activities of the late 19th century.

The house isn’t just a relic of legal proceedings and frontier history. Whispers among locals speak of apparitions and mysterious occurrences. The most pervasive legend is of a woman, thought to be a member of the Clayton family, seen moving through the home, particularly near the grand staircase. Soft footsteps, the rustling of old-fashioned dresses, and even fleeting perfumes evoke memories of a distant past. Some also speak of spectral children giggling, their innocent laughter echoing through the hallways.

Today, the Clayton House operates as a museum, inviting guests to step into Fort Smith’s rich history. Yet, amid its period furnishings and artifacts, an air of mystery remains. As daylight wanes, one can’t help but wonder if the Clayton family’s spirits still walk its corridors, forever tied to the home they loved.

Haunted Places in Gurdon

Gurdon, a small town in Arkansas, is known for its haunted attractions. The town has a rich history and many legends associated with it.

Gurdon Light

Nestled in southern Arkansas is the small town of Gurdon, renowned not just for its timber industry past but also for a peculiar and spine-chilling legend: the Gurdon Light. This mysterious phenomenon has been a topic of intrigue and speculation for decades.

The story goes that in the 1930s, a railroad worker was brutally attacked and his head was separated from his body. Some versions of the tale identify the victim as William McClain, killed in a confrontation during a labor dispute. Legend says the eerie light, which can still be seen along the old railroad tracks, is the lantern of his ghost, endlessly searching for his lost head. Witnesses describe the light as a floating, sometimes bobbing, orb varying in color from blue to white to orange.

Despite attempts to scientifically explain the Gurdon Light as swamp gas, refracted car headlights, or other natural phenomena, no theory fully satisfies the curious. Today, countless visitors trek to Gurdon, hoping to catch a glimpse of the enigmatic light and perhaps, just perhaps, come face to face with the restless spirit of a long-deceased railroad worker.

Haunted Places in Crossett

Crossett, Arkansas, has a reputation for being one of the most haunted places in the state. The town is home to several ghost stories and legends that have been passed down through generations. One of the most famous ghost stories in Crossett is about the Crossett Lights.

Crossett Lights

Deep in the woods of southern Arkansas, near Crossett, an eerie phenomenon has been the subject of tales and nocturnal adventures for years: the Crossett Lights. Similar in lore to the Gurdon Light, this phenomenon is a separate enigma, haunting the timber-rich corridors of Ashley County.

The origins of the Crossett Lights vary depending on whom you ask. A popular legend tells of a railroad worker who met a tragic end on the tracks. Some say he fell and was decapitated by an oncoming train, while others believe he was murdered, left on the tracks by an unknown assailant. The consistent theme across all tales is that this worker’s lantern-lit searches continue in death. Witnesses often recount seeing a ghostly lantern light moving up and down the tracks, fading and brightening without any discernible source.

Though many have ventured to these tracks, flashlight in hand, hoping to decipher the mystery, the Crossett Lights remain an unsolved puzzle. Skeptics often attribute the lights to atmospheric reflections, car headlights, or even fireflies. However, for those who’ve seen the lights firsthand, such explanations fall short. The woods of Crossett continue to beckon the curious and the brave, offering a tantalizing glimpse into one of Arkansas’s most haunting mysteries.

Haunted Places in Bentonville

Bentonville is a city in Arkansas with a rich history and a number of reportedly haunted locations. Here are a couple of places that are said to be haunted in Bentonville.

Station Cafe

In the picturesque setting of Bentonville, Arkansas, lies the Station Cafe. A beloved spot for locals and tourists alike, it offers delectable meals and a trip down memory lane with its charming, vintage aesthetics. But beyond the aroma of burgers and nostalgic décor, there’s another layer to its story.

Whispers among the staff and some regulars touch on unexplained happenings. Flickering lights, shadowy figures in the corners of the room, and the occasional feeling of being watched. The most retold tale is of a former worker or patron from years past who can’t seem to say goodbye. Muffled conversations in empty rooms, footsteps echoing in deserted hallways, and mysteriously moved objects are among the reported eerie occurrences.

Station Cafe - Credit nsub1
Station Cafe – Credit nsub1

Today, the Station Cafe remains a Bentonville staple, serving both its culinary delights and stories of the unknown. For those who come for a meal, they might just leave with a side of intrigue, wondering about the spectral patrons who’ve never checked out.

Peel Mansion

Set against the scenic backdrop of Bentonville, Arkansas, stands the majestic Peel Mansion, a living testament to the post-Civil War era. Erected in 1875 by Colonel Samuel West Peel, the mansion offers a glimpse into the opulence and architectural prowess of the Victorian period. With its Italianate villa design and beautifully preserved interiors, it’s a journey into the world of a bygone era.

But history isn’t the only tale that this grand structure holds. Over the years, there have been murmurs of inexplicable occurrences. Tales speak of ghostly apparitions, perhaps of Colonel Peel himself or members of his large family, drifting through the hallways. Soft piano melodies, reminiscent of Victorian tunes, sometimes fill the night despite no one being at the keys. Guests and staff have reported feeling cold spots, hearing mysterious footsteps, and occasionally catching the scent of vintage perfumes wafting through the rooms.

Today, the Peel Mansion stands as both a museum and a silent witness to histories seen and unseen. While many visitors come to admire its historic significance, others are drawn to its ethereal mysteries, hoping to catch a fleeting moment with spirits from the past.

Haunted Places in Fayetteville

Fayetteville, Arkansas is known for its rich history and beautiful scenery, but it is also home to several haunted locations. From theaters to bridges, there are many places in Fayetteville that are said to be haunted by spirits.

Tilly Willy Bridge

Nestled in the outskirts of Fayetteville, Arkansas, was the iconic, albeit now demolished, Tilly Willy Bridge. A simple structure by design, the bridge carried more than just vehicular traffic—it bore the weight of one of the area’s most haunting legends.

Tilly Willy Bridge - credit clintonhousemuseum
Tilly Willy Bridge – credit clintonhousemuseum

The tale revolves around a woman, sometimes referred to as Tilly Willy herself. As the story goes, following a tragic accident on a snowy night, she drove her car, with her children inside, off the bridge and into the icy waters below. Since that fateful night, many claimed to witness a spectral figure of a woman, drenched and distraught, wandering near the old bridge location. Her ghostly apparition, often accompanied by the distant cries of children, has been said to approach vehicles, leaving wet footprints in her wake.

Though the original Tilly Willy Bridge has been replaced, the chilling legend persists. Many locals and thrill-seekers still visit the area, hoping for an eerie encounter, a connection to a sorrowful spirit eternally bound to the tragic site of her last moments.


There are also several theaters in Fayetteville that are said to be haunted. The Walton Arts Center, for example, is said to be haunted by the ghost of a former employee who died in the building. According to reports, the ghost is friendly and often interacts with staff members and visitors.

TheatreSquared is another haunted theater in Fayetteville. According to legend, the theater is haunted by the ghost of a former actress who died in the building. Many people have reported seeing her ghostly figure on stage, and some have even claimed to have heard her voice.

While there is no concrete evidence to support these claims, the haunted theaters of Fayetteville continue to attract visitors who are interested in the paranormal.

In conclusion, Fayetteville, Arkansas is home to several haunted locations, including the Tilly Willy Bridge and several theaters. While there is no concrete evidence to support the claims of ghost sightings, the legends and stories continue to attract visitors who are interested in the paranormal.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some of the most haunted places in Arkansas?

Arkansas is known for its spooky and haunted locations. Some of the most famous ones include the Peel Mansion in Bentonville, the Fort Smith Courthouse in Fort Smith, and the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs. Other notable haunted places include Old Redfield Road in Sheridan, the Clayton House in Fort Smith, and the Allen House in Monticello.

Are there any ghost tours available in Arkansas?

Yes, there are several ghost tours available in Arkansas. These tours take visitors to some of the most haunted locations in the state and provide them with a glimpse into the history and stories behind the ghosts. Some popular ghost tours in Arkansas include the Eureka Springs Ghost Tour, the Fort Smith Ghost Tour, and the Little Rock Haunted Tours.

What are the stories behind the ghosts of Arkansas?

There are many stories and legends surrounding the ghosts of Arkansas. Some of the most popular ones include the ghost of a young girl who haunts the Allen House in Monticello, the ghost of a soldier who roams the halls of the Fort Smith Courthouse, and the ghost of a woman who committed suicide in room 218 of the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs. These stories often have a historical context and are passed down through generations.

Have there been any documented paranormal experiences in Arkansas?

Yes, there have been several documented paranormal experiences in Arkansas. These include sightings of ghosts, unexplained noises, and other strange occurrences. Many of these experiences have been reported at the state’s most haunted locations, such as the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs and the Fort Smith Courthouse in Fort Smith.

Which cities in Arkansas are known for their haunted locations?

Several cities in Arkansas are known for their haunted locations. Eureka Springs is perhaps the most famous, with its many haunted hotels and ghost tours. Fort Smith is also known for its haunted courthouse and other spooky locations. Other cities with notable haunted locations include Little Rock, Monticello, and Bentonville.

What precautions should be taken when visiting haunted places in Arkansas?

Visitors should always be respectful when visiting haunted places in Arkansas. They should avoid trespassing on private property and should not disturb any potential paranormal activity. It is also important to be aware of any potential hazards, such as uneven terrain or dark areas. Visitors should also be prepared for the possibility of encountering something spooky and should bring appropriate gear, such as flashlights and cameras.

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