By Emily Summars
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Lights that flicker and french fries that fly from freezers. Sounds like just another ghost story except this is more than the Halloween haunting.
Kendall’s restaurant in Noble buzzes with people and smells hauntingly of its homemade cinnamon rolls. Wait staff whizzes around carrying food to tables. A dinner roll falls from a plate, “Margaret must be mad,” jokes a staff member.
Four spirits reside at Kendall’s current location, a building of more than 100 years old. There’s Margaret, Theodore, Henry and an unidentified person.
“There has always been stories and people talking,” said Kim Locke, owner of Kendall’s. “This time though, a lady came into the restaurant to eat and said that she was a medium. She thought the restaurant was haunted.”
After researching Oklahoma Paranormal Research and Investigations group, Locke said she found them to be reputable and agreed to let them investigate Kendall’s.
OKPRI Director and Founder Christy Clark said she heard about Kendall’s from a friend.
“Our goal is to reach out and help those people who experience hauntings,” Clark said. “We go in and research the property, the land and anything that might explain why this place is experiencing a haunting.”
OKPRI, a nationally known paranormal team, plan to investigate Kendall’s again because the restaurant displayed an abundance of activity. Clark said there was so much activity in the back of the restaurant, the team had to turn off the motion sensors.
“The motion sensor that activated was facing the wall that way no one walking by would set it off,” Clark said. “It activated a couple of times. When things happen that may be paranormal, we try to go back and recreate the situation to see if one of us set it off. The thing that was funny: No one was in the room when it happened.”
Clark said some team members were physically touched, heard voices, sounds and saw shadows. Locke, who was present during the investigation, said it was creepy but she never felt unsafe.
“I’d always heard about the bangs, bumps, cold and all of the traditional stories,” Locke said. “All of those I discounted to the age of the building. There are repeated stories about kitchen doors opening and closing by itself.”
Locke said since the news of Kendall’s ghosts became public, she’s heard a variety of stories. Parents tell her their children talk to non-existent kids in the play area, things bang around and fall in the kitchen and wait staff remain freaked out when in the rear of the restaurant.
Kathleen Moore, waitress at Kendall’s, said she believes the restaurant is haunted.
“The back rooms are just creepy,” Moore said. “When we used to sit in the back at the end of the night, the kitchen door would make weird noises and open, like someone was bumping their hip against the door to open it.”
Moore said there’s always been a joke about ghosts but she didn’t think it was actually real until one Friday. Moore was serving food to her table when a roll fell off the plate. Joking that a ghost must have pushed it off, Moore and another waitress passed two locked doors. As they passed, the doors began to shake.
The ghosts are now the brunt of every joke and mishap.
“A couple of days ago, I went to get some cinnamon rolls from the freezer,” Locke said. “I heard this loud bang, turned back and the freezer is open and a bag of French fries are on the floor. I looked at the dishwasher and said, “The ghost just threw some fries out. Can you put them back please?’”
But, not all of the staff agree there are ghosts.
David Combites has worked in the kitchen at Kendall’s for eight years. He claims nothing has ever happened to him and he chalks it up to the Halloween ghost buzz.
“Joe [a fellow worker] claims that something held the back kitchen door open one time,” Combites said. “I think it was probably just trash stuck in the door.”
Ghost or no ghost, Locke said she no longer works at the restaurant by herself.
“The other day I was sitting in the back room and I kept hearing this dripping noise,” Locke said. “At first I thought someone had left the wall AC on, then I thought the roof was leaking. Finally I said, ‘OK, if this is something supernatural, could you please stop freaking me out.’ And it stopped, which freaked me out even more.”
Clark and Locke both look forward to OKPRI revisiting Kendall’s but in the meantime, Kendall’s will continue to bake cinnamon rolls and serve customers from around the country with super-sized chicken fried steak.
For more information, visit OKPRI’s website www.okpri.com. For more information on Kendall’s visit www.kendallsrestaurant.com.
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