A Vanishing Hitchhiker in Puhi

Informant: Female/38/Korean ancestry
Location: Puhi, HI

My father told me that my great-grandfather worked for the sugar mill in the early 1900's, but at one point was laid off. Not knowing how he was going to support his family, my great-grandmother told him not to worry: she had been saving money, and gave it to him, telling him to buy a car to carry fares as a taxi driver.

One night my great-grandfather was driving southbound past Puhi in an area that is now near Kaua`i Nursery and Landscaping. Just before approaching the dip in the road, he saw a woman on the side of the road. It was dark, so my grandfather pulled over and offered her a ride. The woman accepted and got into the back of the car. Looking in the rear view mirror, my great-grandfather could see that she was an old Hawaiian woman. She said she was going to Koloa, and my great-grandfather took off in that direction. After passing through Puhi, he looked in his rearview mirror to speak to the woman, and was shocked to see that she was gone. There was nobody in the backseat of his car. My great-grandfather was sure that it was Pele. 

My dad told me that you're not supposed to bring pork through that area, and I was shocked to hear that because I had never heard it before. I heard that you're not supposed to bring pork through the tunnel of trees, but I had never known about that area. But then I remembered something that happened a few y ears ago. 

My coworkers and I were driving back to the office in Lihue from Koloa. Right when we were passing by Kaua`i Nursery and Landscaping, our car died. We pulled over on the side of the highway right next to the nursery, right after the dip in the road...right about where my great-grandfather's passenger would have vanished from his backseat. 


The Lava Rock - 1985

Informant: Female/81/Hawaiian, Chinese, Portuguese ancestry 
Location: Honolulu, HI 

It was that time of the year again. I was back at the Capitol working at the legislature. Gloria and I were in the House Print shop with Dot as the manager. A skeleton crew was brought to work in December to get things ready for Session. The paper we used to print the bills had to be ordered, and the presses had to be serviced all before January. Some of the old timers were coming back; news that I was glad to hear of. It was my place as the daytime supervisor to train the new clerks and have them ready by opening day. Forty of them had to be trained before being split into two groups. On top of that I had just one week in which to do it, and that was cutting it close. Gloria was a big help; she knew what had to be done and did it. It was one worry out of the way, and it also took a load off my mind.

The crew arrived on Monday; the week Session opened and it was a mad house at first. With all of them here space was a problem, but not for long; we would spilt into two shifts before the bills came in. Most of the crew would be kept on days; this is where the bulk of the work came in. The night shift did reprints and caught up on the backlog.

During the Introduction of Bills, I was able to observe the crew: I had to know what each one was capable of doing. Bills were laid on the tables to see how fast they could collate them. Those who had a problem walking were put on stapling machines, which suited them just fine. By doing it this way, the bills went out faster and after three days of hard work the rush to the floor was over. By that time, the crew was broken in, and it made my job easier. There were just the reprints to do; we could breathe a lot easier.

Virgil, one of the new clerks, was a happy-go-lucky sort of a person: he always had a smile on his face and knew how to make people laugh. What I found amusing and liked about him was his smile. His upper front teeth were missing, and when he smiled, you couldn’t help but notice it. He looked like one of the clown faces that you see at a carnival; the clown with the big toothless mouth shaped like a heart, the one the kids threw beanbags at. When he smiled, Virgil’s face looked just like that clowns, only his was a lot cuter. I liked him the day he walked through the door.

He had a gift for reading a plain deck of cards. He was told that I could read cards too, but that I used a tarot deck. He came to me: “I heard that you read tarot cards. Could you read for me?” “Not today, my cards are at home. But I’ll bring them tomorrow.” He asked, “Who taught you to read?” I looked at him. “No one, it just comes naturally, I was born with a gift and started reading at the age of twenty-six. I was living in California at the time and a friend took me to a psychic bookstore. There was a card reader in the store that day, my friend sat for a reading while I looked around. When it was my turn, I shuffled the cards and she laid them out. She looked at the cards and told me, 'You should be reading for me, you are a natural'. She explained what she saw and told me to get a deck and what to do with them for three days. My friend heard her and she bought me my first deck. I’ve never had to buy any of my cards, when the deck got worn from use, someone always gave me a new one.”

The next day at lunch we read the cards while the crew looked on. Some were fascinated by what we did. Since that day, he made it a point to sit nearby. We spoke of many things, but things of a psychic nature and the occult was of interest to Virgil. Many have felt that the word occult had to do with black magic and the devil. But that’s not true, and is far from it. Don’t get me wrong, there is such a thing as black magic or what is known as The Black Arts. This is what some have called it when a gift is used for evil purposes. The Mystic Arts, as they are called, is used for good in times of need. Many have the ability to see the future; it is called second sight lets them see things without logic. They don’t know how it works; all they know is that it does. I accept the gift I have as coming from the Man above.

In March, the subject of “Divination” was brought up. Virgil asked, “What method or tool is used to see into the future?” I said, “The Holy Bible was the tool chosen by my grandmother. She used it to help the people who came to her doorstep. She was also a born healer. As a child I saw her mend and heal a broken leg.” I told him the story. Then I told him of the lava rock that she used at times. He got a little excited. “Tell me about the rock.” “She had seven of them. Each one had the power to heal. I don’t know how, but they were able to heal. When she was 44 or 45, one of the rocks disappeared.” “Could you describe it?” “Oh yes! She said it was shaped like a pyramid with steps going up. No one knew what happened to it. One day it was gone.” “What of the others? What happened to them?” “I’m not sure who has them now. I do know of one; my sister has it my grandma gave it to her. I think it was a brown rock. She said it looked like a pyramid, that it was shaped like one.”

On Friday, the 12th of April, I came down with a fever and it felt like the flu. I had a lot of aches and pains. By Sunday night, I had gotten worse. I told Gloria, “Please tell Dot I won’t be in tomorrow, I’ll call her in the morning.” The next day I called and spoke to Dot. “I’m sorry I couldn’t make it to work. It feels just like the time my grandmother died, but not as bad I’ll try to come in tomorrow. If not, I’ll give you a call.” The way I was feeling, I didn’t think I would.

On Monday, I just stayed in bed and slept all day. The fever wasn’t bad this time around. Manny called; he was coming by after work to pick me up. While waiting for him I thought of what I said to Dot -- that it felt like the last time. I wondered if talking to Virgil about grandma might have caused it. More so, because tomorrow is the 16th, the day on which she died.

The next morning on the 16th I called to cancel. I was still sick. Gloria answered. “It’s me, please let Dot know that I won’t be in”. Gloria then said, “Jackie, Virgil brought you something.” “What is it?” “I don’t know the bag is tied.” “Do me a favor, put it on my bed in mama’s room. I’ll be home in the morning to go to work.” I slept the rest of the day until Manny came by to pick me up.

When I left the house, I took the seven candles with me that I had gotten after grandma died. I was going to light them that night after he was asleep. That evening, just before six, the smell of gardenias came into the patio. It was coming from the box the candles were in that was sitting on the end table. As it got later the scent got stronger. We were on the sofa watching TV when Manny asked, “Jack! Can you smell the gardenias? The smell is strong in here. It’s weird, because I don’t have any growing in the yard.” He caught me off guard. I said, “You can smell them? I thought I was the only one who could.” I then said, “Today is the day of my grandmother’s death. The gardenia was one of her favorite flowers. When I smell them, it tells me she is near.” I told Manny what happened to me when she died in 1978. It got to him, and he was more than a little spooked. More so when he knew that the smell came from the box next to him. He got up and moved. Manny was quiet the rest of the night. After he fell asleep, I lit the candles and asked for guidance from above. I said my prayers, blew out the candles, and went to sleep. I told him no matter what happens during the night he was not to wake me.

The next morning, Manny said, “Last night you were in a deep sleep, I thought you were gone. It was like your body was here, but you weren’t.” I said, “Don’t get upset, but you are right. I wasn’t here, I was traveling with my grandmother. She came for me. She called it 'Awana Hele' or astral traveling.” The look on his face said it all. I said, “I know it is hard to believe but I did.” He just shook his head then said, “Come on I’ll take you home.” Manny was quiet as he drove me home.

After getting ready for work, I took the bag from Virgil into the kitchen. Inside was a pu`olo made out of ti leaves. As I parted the leaves, I could smell the gardenia in it. I thought it was happening again. But this time it was a real one. Lying inside was a beautiful gardenia blossom. As I picked it up, a tingling sensation went through me. I knew why when I saw the rock beneath it. It was shaped like a pyramid; it had steps going to the top. After all these years, grandma's rock came home. There was no trace of a gardenia in the house before; but now the smell of it filled the whole room.

We were on the way to work when I spoke. “Gloria, last night the smell of gardenias came from the box the candles were in. Manny could smell them too...he got scared. The gardenia I have in my hair was in the bag with the lava rock.” “Jackie, you giving me chicken skin. I got goose bumps just listening to you.” Gloria asked, “Do you know what day yesterday was?” “Yes, it is the day of puna’s death.” “Yes, but did you know it made seven years to the day since she passed away?” The hairs on my arms rose. I broke out in goose bumps. “I didn’t realize it had been that long until just now. And to think it is seven years later and I decide to light the candles for the first time, last night, on the anniversary of her death. Talk about weird. She told me the seven was a part of us. After what happened last night, I believe it.” I got a little scared as I thought about it. It’s not something that just happens. Why now, after seven years? What did it mean? What was I missing, or did I? So many things went through my head. Is it to let me know that I needed to believe? Well, I do. I always did.

Virgil was waiting by the entrance for us. He had that smile on his face as we walked in. He had that look, too. It said, "I know something you don’t." As he kissed me, he said, “It belonged to her, you know. The rock, it was your puna’s.” “I know, and thank you.” He noticed the gardenia in my hair and asked, “And where did you get the gardenia from?” I smiled. “It‘s from you, this is your flower.” “It can’t be, Jackie! When I picked it yesterday it was fully bloomed! This one is still fresh, it has no brown spots on it. And it still has a strong smell.” I said, “I know it does, this is her way of saying thank you for returning her rock. Virgil, you remembered when I told you it was her favorite flower.” “Aunty Jackie, I’m getting chicken skin again.” To which Gloria added, “Me, too”. She said. “Tell him what happened since you were sick.” “Yes, but first, tell me. How did you get the rock? And what is in the two bottles?” “One is blessed oil, the other has water from the River Jordan.” “Thank you again.” I kissed Virgil's cheek.

While having coffee, Virgil said, “I had a friend who was a hula teacher, she had the rock. I don’t know how she got it or from who; she didn’t say. She just left the rock and told me who to give it to. She said, 'One day you will meet someone who is the rightful owner. You will know her by what she tells you about the rock. When she does, return it to her. At one time it had belonged to her grandmother.' When you said your puna’s rock disappeared and described it, I knew it was you, Jackie. The rock was hers. need I say more?” Virgil had that silly grin as he said it. Then he added, “It also has the power to heal. When you see a grandchild make shishi in your front yard, you can use it to heal.” I was a little taken aback by what he said. “Is that the reason you asked about her and the rock?” “Yes, I had to make sure that it was hers.” While telling Virgil of what happened, he had goose bumps on his arms. “Jackie, after what you just told me, more so I believe it was her rock.” 

The flower stayed as fresh as the day it was picked. It lasted three more days before dying. For three days it was not in water, it just sat on the table. The crew was spooked seeing it on the table and still fresh. 

10 years later, in 1995, Virgil spoke of a grandchild; that child was none other than Lehua. She was two. What he had said about a grandchild back in 1985 making shishi in the front yard took place 10 years later.

*Gloria, Dot and Virgil have since passed away


"I need to lie down."

Informant: Male/30's/Hawaiian, Native American, Asian, European, Hispanic ancestry 
Location: Lihue, Kauai

It was the Spring of 2007. I was 18 going on 19 that summer, and I was in my first semester at Kauai Community College. I was lying in bed asleep one night, nice and snug in my blankets. It was a cool spring night, nothing out of the ordinary...or so I thought.

I lay in my bed sleeping until I was woken up by a woman’s voice whispering, “I need to lie down.” I thought it was my mom and so I was about to reply, “Yeah, of course.” But for some reason, I was unable to open my mouth. I couldn’t part my lips or anything. All of a sudden I heard the woman’s voice repeatedly saying, “I need to lie down. I need to lie down. I need to lie down.” The woman sounded young, maybe in her 30's. It was even more strange given that the whole time I was hearing her voice it sounded as though she was saying it over a radio frequency. The whole time I heard her voice I was completely unable to move any part of my body. I was unable to move my fingers, my legs, nothing. I wasn’t even able to take deep breaths of air! It was as though someone was on top of me keeping me from making any sort of movement and restricting my breathing!

This strange feeling lasted for what seemed like an eternity, but after what must’ve been a couple of minutes I once again heard the woman’s voice repeatedly saying, “I need to lie down. I need to lie down. I need to lie down.” And just like that, I was able to move and breathe again. The minute I realized I was able to move again I bolted out of my bed, burst into my parent's bedroom, and screamed, “Mom! Dad! The lady was in my room! The lady was in my room!” My parents woke up startled and asked, “What lady?!” My mom thought someone had broken into the house. I said, “No there was a lady in my room and she climbed into bed with me! I couldn’t move or breathe!”

My dad calmed me down and went into the kitchen. He grabbed a small Ziploc bag and filled it with Hawaiian salt and told me to keep it next to my bed. He said it would protect me from spirits. I did just as he instructed me to do. We all returned to bed and at first I was unable to fall back asleep. But after about a half hour I was asleep again. I woke up in the morning wondering if I dreamt it all, but I knew that it really happened. 

I did indeed have a supernatural visitor in the middle of the night.


A Ghostly Carriage in Anahola

Informant: Female/50's/European ancestry 
Location: Anahola, Kauai, HI 

It was around 8:00 p.m. one night and I had just gotten home from canoe paddling practice. My two sons weren't home, so I decided to sit down on the porch and relax before going inside. My porch overlooks the street. On the far right end was the one streetlight, and the rest of the street across of me and all the way down was pitch black. 

I was playing around on my phone when suddenly I saw a light flicker out of the corner of my eye. I looked up and looked toward the streetlight and for a split second saw something that looked like a shadow. But it was such a slight flicker I thought my eyes were just adjusting or something. I looked back down at my phone, and a little while later, I heard a crash. 

I couldn't tell you what it sounded like. It sounded like a shelf with lots of things on it crashing to the floor. It sounded like it came from grandma's house next door, and I thought for sure my boys were fighting. I looked up and again saw a flash in the corner of my eye, coming from the direction of the streetlight, and I saw something. 

Horses. Horses' heads, four of them. And a woman, with her hair flowing behind her, coming down the road. In my mind I describe it as a carriage even though I couldn't make out the shape of one. The woman was behind the horses as if she was holding their reigns and in an area that would make sense if she was the driver of a carriage. I couldn't make out any legs of the horses or the woman, I just saw their heads. The rest of them just blended into one white, smoky mass. It looked like white flames, and ended in a tail of smoke. Everything was white. 

I looked at this for what seemed like a forever, but in reality it was probably no more than a split second before it vanished. Not being a very superstitious or scardey cat of a person, I went down my driveway to the road to see if I could see anything. Of course I didn't see anything there. 

The boys came home shortly after that. I never told them what I saw. I've never told anyone what I saw. at that point I lived in Anahola for nearly 20 years and never experienced anything like that before, or since. 


Mom's Dog

Informant: Male/52/Japanese ancestry
Location: Hilo, Hawaii 

My brother used to play with my mom's dog, a sharpei-pitbull, every day when he came home from work. He would come home, play with the dog in the yard for a bit, and then go in the house. 

My brother died suddenly. 

Afterwards, every day, for a few weeks, we would see the dog get excited and start barking and grab his toy, as if someone was playing with him. But nobody was there. These play sessions tapered off after a few weeks, and then stopped. 

I don't think there's any other explanation for this except that my brother continued to play with my mom's dog after he was gone. 


A Smiling Face

Informant: Female/36/Korean ancestry
Location: Kapaa, Kauai 

I was scrolling through social media the other day and saw a post from my friend wishing his sister a happy birthday. She would have been 30; she passed away a few years ago. When I saw that, I suddenly remembered a dream I had the night before. 

Me, my friend, and all our friends got to travel back in time. I don't remember what point in time we traveled to or where we were, but I remember that his sister was there, and she was still healthy. In the dream, we all knew that we were from the future, but to her, we were just our normal selves. Nothing was out of the ordinary for her. I remember we all hugged her, one by one, and we were all happy to see her. I could see her happy, smiling face. 

When I woke up, tears were streaming down my face.

I didn't realize it was her birthday. Nothing I had seen recently reminded me of her. It could have been some sort of subconscious thing, or just a coincidence, but I feel that it was something more than that. Either way, it was really nice to see her. 


Backseat Surprise in Kalihi

Informant: Male/64/Japanese-American
Location: H1 E off-ramp to Kalihi Street mauka

In 1976 I was a drummer in a blues-rock band, returning home to Kalihi from a gig in Haleiwa, around midnight on a Thursday. I took the Eastbound H-1 off-ramp onto Kalihi Street going mauka, which passes in front of the Kalihi Library near the Bishop Museum. 

 As I looked over my right shoulder to merge to my right, I was shocked to see in my back seat a young woman of high school age, casually looking out the window. She was wearing a 60's era aloha print tunic-type dress, her face illuminated by the older pre-mercury arc streetlights of the decade. As the ramp curved onto Kalihi Street, she turned toward me, showed a look of surprise, and vanished! 

I can say that I had nothing to drink that night (the gig was at a church) and I was not sleepy (my normal sleep time was past 1:00 a.m.). Has anyone had similar experiences in the area?