Haunted Arkansas: Fort Smith Museum of History

The Fort Smith Museum of History, one of Fort Smith’s oldest buildings has become home to many ghost tales over the years.

Located in the 1907 Atkinson-Williams Warehouse Building, the museum hosts more than 35,000 artifacts in its collection.

Standing four stories tall, many employees say they remain fearful of the museum’s third floor. The third floor is an employees only section full of old historic artifacts and is barred off from the public, perhaps with good reason.  Leisa Gramlich, the Fort Smith Museum’s executive director says many of the museum’s haunting tales come from that part of the building.

Gramlich says one of her most frightening experiences happened one day as she arrived to the third floor. 

“We got off the elevator and heard a child’s voice plain as day, like a child running and yelling. Playing is what it sounded like, and I even walked from the elevator back to the back here and said, ‘Who’s up there?’, and I hear the voice jump from that corner to this corner so I came over here and there was nothing here,” said Gramlich.

The third floor is also home to an old voodoo doll that many are frightened of.  That’s because every time they’ve attempted to take a picture of it, museum employees say a light covers it up, preventing it from being seen.

The third floor isn’t the only spooky area though.  Other paranormal investigators report getting a sudden cold chill in the museum’s basement.  On the 2nd floor, some have also said they’ve seen a child’s face out of the corner of their eye. 

The 2nd floor is also home to the old furniture from Fort Smith’s “Hanging Judge” Isaac Parker.  In this area many have reported suddenly hearing the slam of a gavel when no one is around.

Gramlich says many ghost legends show spirits will attach themselves onto old items and possessions.  If that’s true, with more than 35,000 items in the Fort Smith Museum’s collection there are bound to be at least a few ghosts lurking around that building.

For those wanting to experience the haunting experience of the Fort Smith Museum of History, the museum is offering a frightening thrill.

The “Blood on the Border Haunted House” takes place in the museum’s basement Oct. 26-27 and Oct. 30-31 at 7 p.m.  Admission is $5 per person.

Members of the Western Arkansas Ballet also will also perform free dances to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” at 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. each night in front of the museum.

The museum is also sponsoring the Murder and Mayhem Trolley Ride Friday, Oct. 26-27 and October 31 at 5:30 p.m.

The tour includes cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and ghost stories at the museum before riders embark on a 6:30 p.m. tour.

Tickets to the trolley ride cost $25.

Reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 783-7841. Those attending the Murder and Mayhem Trolley Ride must be 21 or older.

For more information on the Fort Smith Museum click here.

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