In Other News

Local spook-seekers rejoice: Come March 18, Relics Restaurant and Roadhouse will be featured on the Travel Channel’s “The Dead Files.”

“The Dead Files” is a paranormal investigation series featuring psychic medium Amy Allan and former New York Police Department homicide detective Steve DiSchiavi as they independently examine sites purported to be haunted. Neither expert communicates with the other until the end of the show, when their separate conclusions — which often, but not always, coincide — are shared with the managers of the properties.

Relics is the first Northern Arizona property to be examined in the show, and the first Sedona site to be featured in a major television network paranormal investigation. According to Relics co-owners Joe and Karen DeSalvo, the Travel Channel reached out to them after seeing information about ghostly encounters Relics employees and diners have documented for years.

“We have had literally hundreds of reports in the last 15 years we’ve owned the place,” Joe DeSalvo said, adding that the first sighting, documented by a photo of a couple in the restaurant surrounded by a purportedly paranormal “mist,” happened about a decade ago — beginning an increasing trend of reported encounters. “We’ve had people stop in their tracks at the door.”

Though Joe DeSalvo said he has never experienced a paranormal encounter, Karen DeSalvo claimed to have experienced more than a few in her lifetime, several of which have occurred in Relics, a set of buildings with a century-long history. The ground itself, she noted, was once sacred to American Indians who lived in the area.

“There was a movement of objects, something that brushed up against me ... and peripheral sightings,” Karen DeSalvo said, adding that the experience is most powerful for people who define themselves as sensitive to the paranormal and other arcane energies. “The psychic people who enter this building have the most effect.”

During filming last year, Relics was closed for three full days and nights to accommodate Allan and DiSchiavi. Prior to arriving, Allan’s partner removed or covered up any items in the restaurant that might provide clues for Allan about the nature of reported hauntings. DiSchiavi traveled around Sedona, collecting bits of history and interviewing locals who might know something about the property.

“We weren’t here, so we don’t know what happened,” Karen DeSalvo said, but added that by the close of the investigation — when Allan and DiSchiavi finally revealed their findings to each other and the DeSalvos — “they were close on a lot of things .... [and] I’m excited to see what comes out of it.”

Joe DeSalvo said that the American Indian aspect came into play during the investigations. In addition, the show’s producers created a sketch of an encounter with several apparitions that Allan experienced in Relics’ Gibson Room.

For skeptic Joe Desalvo, all the attention is confirmation that something odd is happening in his restaurant.

“We didn’t know the place was haunted when we acquired it,” he said. “No one communicated that to us.”

According to Karen DeSalvo, she and Joe are considering a “cleansing ritual” following the airing of the show, but neither is quite sure what that will entail. They’re torn about getting rid of their spectral inhabitants. Having a haunted restaurant, especially when the ghosts don’t offer any kind of threat, is good for business.

“Many people are excited about these things,” Karen DeSalvo noted.

The episode, “The Offering: Sedona, Arizona,” premieres Saturday, March 18, at 10 p.m. ET/PT on the Travel Channel.


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