Recently I was in my classroom before school, when Carol, a colleague of mine, walked in and surprised me with a special gift. She handed me a vintage skeleton key, which is supposedly an original room key from the famous Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The hotel’s history goes all the way back to 1886 and has a dramatic and haunted history. One of the most talked about episodes of the Ghost Hunters is an episode from several years back, where they investigated the Crescent. (I know I’ll never forget seeing the very clear heat signature of a human form turn to look at the camera!)
I cannot verify the authenticity of the key, but I’m told that Elise Roenigk, current owner of the hotel, gave the key to my colleague’s sister. I’m now the proud owner of the mysterious key.
I vacationed in Eureka Springs with my family years ago, and we drove by, admiring the absolutely beautiful Crescent Hotel perched high on a hill. I was not the paranerd then that I am now, but if I knew about its haunted history, I’d like to think I would have at least visited the lobby! But since I’ve never been a guest there, I’m not sure if there’s a story to these keys.
In a post from 2012, a blog online displays a picture of two keys that look nearly identical to mine, including the decorative plate engraved with “1886 Crescent Hotel”. In the blog post, they seem to mention that they bought the keys as souvenirs, but they also state that “they still use skeleton keys at the Crescent Hotel…” In the Crescent Hotel’s own blog, a post from September 2013 says the following about an upcoming Halloween event for that year: “This year will be especially interesting as this is the year the Crescent has worked very hard to restore the old morgue in the basement and in doing so has found some artifacts that might be useful during a séance. The items include several room keys that date back to the first time the building was used as a Hotel, as well as a front desk bell.”
So is my key one of several discovered recently in the morgue? Do they still use skeleton keys and I have a room key that could potentially still open a door? Does their gift shop sell cheap old skeleton keys from a local junk store after adding the engraved plate? I’m not sure.
If anyone has special Crescent Hotel knowledge, or if you can speak to the authenticity of this key, I’d love to hear from you! Either way, I think it’s kind of cool how it just fell into my lap. Thanks, Carol!