Thursday, August 11, 2011

Crescent: The Baker Years
In Production
Much of my time lately has been spent on the production of this documentary graphic novel. I thought I'd take the next few weeks to explain a bit of the process that has gone into this project. I first became interested in this story a while back while staying at the Crescent Hotel in Eureka Springs, AR after going on an evening ghost tour. Among the stories of hauntings were accounts of ghostly nurses pushing patients in wheelchairs through the halls late at night. My first thought was why would many of the alleged ghosts be of medical staff and patients wandering a hotel's hallways? And my question was quickly answered when the tour guide began telling the story of Norman Baker, a fraudulent "doctor" who turned the hotel into a cancer clinic in the late 1930's. I found the story to be too unbelievable to be true. Skeptical, I ventured to the local library the next morning and learned that Baker and the cancer hospital were accurate points in Eureka's history. However, I was surprised to find that there were not any definitive books documenting these years of the Crescent's sorted history.

I decided to take on the project, and after exhausting the library of its resources, I began visiting the town's historical museum. I made copy after copy of old photos, microfiche, books, newspapers, magazines, letters, and any other related documents I could get my hands on. I scoured historical databases and interviewed people both face to face and by phone that have ties to the hotel and even Norman Baker himself. I spent much time at the hotel, doing sketches, shooting pictures and interviewing employees. I've recently been awarded a residency at Dairy Hollow Writers' Colony to conduct research and work on this project for and extended time in Eureka Springs. I'll explain more about the process from research to final work in upcoming posts.

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