Travel Channel to air findings on haunted Santaquin restaurant
Santaquin • Leslie Broadhead knows the restaurant her family has operated here for 26 years is a favorite haunt.
But visitors who come for the 14-inch scones with honey butter are not the ones who make Leslie's Family Tree so popular.
Rather, it is ghosts who are said to inhabit the Main Street structure, stacking furniture, making noises or touching Broadhead, her daughters and others.
"The one I [saw] was about 7 to 8 years old with dark hair, and he had his hair cut in one of those old-fashioned bowl shapes, like his mom put a bowl on his head and cut," Broadhead recalled. "He had a long, skinny face. That was the thing I thought was weird. Utah people have chubby faces."
The restaurant attracts people who want a ghostly experience, as well as paranormal experts who try to find out what or who is causing the bumps in the night.
On Friday, the nation will get a look when the Travel Channel's "The Dead Files" features the restaurant.
The program's investigators approach claims of possible haunted sites from two angles. Retired homicide detective Steve DiSchiavi takes a more clinical approach, while Amy Allan uses her skills as a psychic medium to detect and learn about the ghosts.
The two work separately, then come together at the end to reveal what they found.
Broadhead said their findings confirm some things she and her family already knew. They also shed light on some things they didn't.
It turns out there are about 60 ghosts on site, most of them dominated by two who draw energy from the rest, she said.
Broadhead's father, Wayne Smith, constructed the building in 1974. Smith and his wife, Nan, ran it as a sporting goods store at first, with an attached gas station and later a bar. In 1986, after Smith's death, the family converted it into a restaurant, which Broadhead has owned herself for the past six years.
The family has always seen and heard things they could explain only as ghost activity.
In one case, a clock's broken second hand started working again in reverse for several hours.
Several times, Broadhead and Bobby Shaw, her daughter, have come into the restaurant in the morning to find chairs stacked on tables.
Shaw is the family's skeptic, but even she believes the ghosts are real.
"If we heard a door slam shut, I would try to make that same noise," Shaw said. "But I couldn't."
Shaw said investigators told them two male spirits dominate the site and bring in others to make themselves more powerful.
What's holding many of them is an American Indian curse laid on the area by a local tribe angry at the white settlers.
While LDS priesthood blessings have quieted the ghosts for a while in the past, Broadhead said the only way to get rid of them is to have a chief lift the curse.
But she's in no rush to do that.
"It's really helping business," Broadhead said. "People really enjoy it."
"The Dead Files"
The episode featuring Leslie's Family Tree in Santaquin airs at 8 p.m. Friday on The Travel Channel.