In October, the leaves change color, pumpkins are carved and everyone is eager for our favorite scary holiday, Halloween! Along with costumes and candy, Halloween conjures up stories of ghosts and strange sightings. Even crazier is that some people actually seek out these phenomenon for kicks!
If you’re looking for scary things to do for Halloween, these haunted houses and locations around Fayetteville should put you on the right track. But beware, these tales are not for the faint of heart!
Inn at Carnal Hall
Originally built in 1905 as a women’s dorm on the University of Arkansas campus, the Inn at Carnall Hall is now a 50-room hotel with a restaurant, Ella’s. Its founder, Ella Carnall, was an English professor who died suddenly of typhoid fever and is said to be seen floating the halls. Witnesses have seen a floating apparition of a woman in a ball gown, without a head or feet. Additionally, witnesses have claimed to see indentations on their bed, as if someone was sitting on it. Other phenomena recorded here include photos taken that later show reflections of ghosts sitting in furniture and lights fixtures that turn on by themselves. Now if it would just carry my luggage to the car!
Tilly Willy Bridge
Although the old Twilly Will bridge was demolished several years ago, visitors have continued to have strange encounters near the White River on South Wilson Hollow Road. Legend has it that in the 1970s a woman drove off the bridge, along with her children, killing everyone. A phantom car has been seen driving across the bridge, and her apparition has been spotted in a white dress, twirling in a nearby field. (Clearly, someone is reliving the ‘70s!) Park as close as possible to the old bridge, turn off your lights and let your windows fog up … handprints might appear on your windows.
Yacht Club Killer?
In 1948, a freshman at the University of Arkansas, Henry Booker “H.B.” Doodie, took his own life with mercury cyanide poison. Afterwards, it was discovered that he left a note directing investigators to a secret fountain pen. Inside contained the combination to a lockbox, in which there was a note confessing to the 1946 Texarkana “Moonlight Murders” (the subject of the 1976 film, “The Town That Dreaded Sundown”).
Though Doodie was never officially deemed “The Phantom Killer,” who took the lives of five people and wounded three, the site he committed suicide at was 617 N. College, where the Fayetteville Yacht Club food truck court stands today. Visitors almost always claim to experience amazing food at the location, and some have even testified to seeing a mysterious teenager with an older sense of style woofing down Dot’s Nashville Hot Chicken.
Arkansas Air & Military Museum
Guests travel back in time at the state’s largest and most fascinating aviation collection, Fayetteville’s own Arkansas Air & Military Museum. Located at Drake Field, the historic hangar that houses the museum is one of the nation’s few remaining all-wood structures from the World War II era. It’s also one of the most continuously haunted places in Northwest Arkansas.
It’s reported to have at least one male spirit – likely an aviator – who makes regular appearances. He’s usually seen in the museum library. Considering the Arkansas Air & Military Museum holds collections of classic aircraft from the 1920s and ’30s to modern planes from the post-World War II era, it almost certainly is home to other ghosts associated with the historic aircraft. “Mayday! Mayday! We’ve got a spooky specter!”
There is no creepier place than a cemetery at night — especially around Halloween! Fayetteville was founded nearly 200 years ago, so it’s only natural that one of the oldest cities in Arkansas would be home to several cemeteries (more than 20, according to Google). Many house the mortal remains of those who perished under ghoulish conditions, but none more than the Fayetteville National Cemetery and Confederate Cemetery, the final resting spots of hundreds and hundreds of soldiers cut down in the throws of battle. In fact, the first interments of the National Cemetery were remains moved from two nearby battlefield cemeteries, the Battle of Prairie Grove and the Battle of Pea Ridge. Sadly, many are unidentified.
The small Walker family plot next to the Confederate Cemetery is especially eerie, and the woods to the east are known as “Ghost Hollow.” Ghosts known to haunt the woods include a headless bride, as well as another bride whose dress caught aflame and was tragically killed; her cries of pain still haunt the hollow, according to legend. The Evergreen Cemetery, located right off Dickson Street on West Center Street, has been the source of student ghost stories for generations. It is home to historical Arkansans such as U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright.
*Cemeteries are solemn and historic locations. If you visit, use good manners and be respectful.