Madam Pele in all her glory

Informant: Male/66/Caucasian
Location: West Maui

It was in the summer of 1984 and my first trip to Hawaii with my Great Aunt who had retired recently. We booked a flight/hotel deal and first landed in Honolulu for a couple of days. I can't recall which islands came after that on our trip, but this encounter with Madame Pele happened on Maui just after a snorkeling trip over a reef.

Seems to me the bay was fairly large and had a rip tide that day. I had a boogie board, fins, and snorkeling mask as I bobbed along backwards watching the sea life and corals when I looked up and was almost pulled out of the bay and was suddenly in deep water. I swam sideways to my left to get out of the riptide and then was only a few feet above the coral. It tired me out even at that shallow depth swimming back to shore. I made it to shore, but was very tired even at 32 years old and knowing how to swim.

I came up the hill where my Great Aunt was sitting and watching me quite concerned whether I was going to get back okay. I sat down on the blanket to rest and still had my snorkeling mask on my forehead holding the flippers when Madame Pele made contact with me. I did not see her, but heard her speak to me telepathically. She identified herself right away and knew I had a great respect for her even though she was only an island myth up to that point with me. I read some years before of people having seen her and a white dog together but didn't believe or disbelieve them.

I know she's telepathic because she scanned my Great Aunt and said or thought to me, "Your Aunt Grace is a non-believer. Would you like to have some fun with her tonight at the Luau?" I said, or rather, thought,"Sure...I'm game, what do we do?" Pele said "When you drive into the Luau , the moment your wheel leaves the road I am going to stop the wind from blowing at the Luau. Have your aunt pick the moment as I will be watching. When you leave, the moment your wheel touches the pavement I will start the wind blowing again! Let Grace decide when the time is right." I agreed and told my aunt what just transpired with Madame Pele. Pele has a marvelous sense of humor from what I experienced with her even though my aunt was a skeptic. I thought to Pele', "We're going to the Luau in your honor tonight to celebrate our new friendship!" Aunt Grace never thought much of any paranormal or new age material period and referred to it all as "That old Hoo-Doo stuff."

All this took place about mid afternoon perhaps around 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. I turned in the snorkeling equipment and we went to lunch afterwards for a quick bite before the Luau that night. We wanted to drive by it in the daylight rather than miss the turnoff at night. We drove by the Luau location but did not pull in. We did some sightseeing for a couple of hours and around dusk we headed for the Luau. It was still daylight and fading fast when we arrived. I told my Aunt that Pele was waiting and watching and the wind would stop the moment we drove into the Luau. I waited on Grace to call it and she said "Now...go now! No WAIT!" I said "Make up your mind this time!" She hesitated a few moments watching the wind blow and said."Now...GO NOW!" The instant the front wheel left the asphalt and onto the Luau property the wind suddenly died down as if someone had unplugged a giant fan! It was truly amazing to see.

As we found a parking spot and walked into the activities going on watching the native Hawaiians mingling and getting ready to take the pig out of the pit. Someone was taking photos and as I was standing among some Hawaiian guys I heard one of them say "This is weird how the wind has stopped over the luau but is blowing further out!" I said "What you are seeing is the hand of Pele at work! This is Madame Pele's doing." They all looked at me askance but couldn't get over the wind behaving so strangely. I told them it would start back up again when we left after the luau was over. Anyway, we had a great time and soon it was time to leave. We were in the last group to leave and I stopped on the gravel road and said "Okay Grace, it's your call. When the tire touches the asphalt the wind will start up again! Call it." She looked around again at the windless area and back at the road and said "Go now!" As soon as the wheel touched the pavement the wind suddenly blew strong again and did so all night long. Aunt Grace became a believer that night.

A second encounter with Madame Pele occurred later when Mauna Loa erupted while I was back at home in East Tennessee. While we were at Kilauea, we wanted to see the crater and hopefully some lava. There came a cold blowing rain and all we saw was steam and fog. Everyone fled to the Sheraton to get something warm to drink and sit by the fire. I was naturally disappointed as I wanted to see Pele "In Her Glory" with the lava and an eruption. I didn't say anything about it other than to my Aunt Grace and we flew home a few days later.

One night I was asleep in bed in the wee hours of the night when I felt some benevolent energy lift me up and out of the body and up high into the night sky. It pulled me Westward and over the United States and half way across the Pacific Ocean it seemed until I was parked above Mauna Loa in the dark. I could see the lights of cities and communities in the distance with me being twice the height of the volcano. I thought "What in the world am I doing here in Hawaii above Mauna Loa?" Then a voice I recognized as Pele said "NOW Behold Pele IN HER GLORY!" At that moment Mauna Loa let loose with a terrible blast and lava spewed up in the air like a giant 4th of July rocket. I was awe struck and humbled at the same time. Excited as I could be, I said "Thank you my friend Pele'!" I woke up in bed crying.

After I woke up, I walked into the kitchen and saw my aunt Grace sitting at the table in morning daylight where it was yet darkness in Hawaii....I said "Mauna Loa just erupted...you know...that huge volcano above Kilauea."  She asked me how I knew that. I said "Pele took me over there and showed me just as it went off a few minutes ago!"  Just then the radio announced "This just in from Hawaii: Mauna Loa has erupted in a fiery display of nature!" Aunt  Grace thought I heard it on the radio. I said "How could I have heard it on the radio if it just now is being announced?"


Voices on the wind on the slopes of Mauna Loa

Informant: Female/35/Caucasian
Location: Ka'u, Big Island (slopes of Mauna Loa, up above Pahala)

I used to work for a wilderness therapy outlet for troubled teenagers in remote Ka'u, up at about 1800 feet elevation above Pahala town. The land was about 10 acres, surrounded by active farm/pasture land (former cane fields) and we had what appeared to be a nearby burial site -- lava rock cairns, three of them, in a beautiful bamboo stand (we would actually send kids there for their final mission, a three day solo camp with fasting -- heavy). On that edge of camp kids reported seeing lights, "aliens", etc. Probably just old ghosts. Many of these kids were in different groups, had never talked to one another, but had similar reports. The kids who occupied the little hale along the edge of the land there didn't like it - chicken skin - they had to face the camp and I think they often felt serious mana behind them on the path that went along the fence behind their hale.

Most of the property was covered with permaculture garden beds with little open-sided hales sprinkled throughout. We were totally off grid. Pitch black at night. We had one main bunkhouse on the Kona side of the land, and a big open-sided elevated hale in the middle. Our typical routine was to sleep two staff up in the big hale (for one kine break, not to be around farting teenagers) and two staff in the bunkhouse.

One night was really stormy, AND we had a kid coming in who was a serious flight/violence risk -- they often came in at night, if they were being escorted here against their will, which was often. The staff decided three staff in the bunkhouse would be safer, and that the remaining single staff person would sleep alone on the elevated platform hale. I drew the short straw on that one. 

I managed to fall asleep buried deep in my sleeping bag despite sideways Kona winds and heavy rain. In the middle of the night, I was awoken to what sounded like someone loudly barking "HEY YOU!" at me, maybe a foot or two away from my ear. I woke up with a crystal clear vision in my head of an angry heavy-set Hawaiian man, long hair tied back, only wearing a loincloth or small skirt of some kind of tapa-like material. I scrambled in the dark for my headlamp but no one was there. My heart was pounding out of my chest. As I sat bolt upright there in the dark, freaking out but justifying in my head that it was a vivid dream, I began to hear voices coming in from the west on the wind. The rain had stopped but the Kona winds were still blowing. It was women's voices speaking Hawaiian. Again, I had a crystal clear vision in my head as I heard this - two or three Hawaiian women sitting on a hala mat, pounding poi or something, chatting. The bunkhouse nearby was locked and silent.

I had never before experienced something like this, and never have since. Though I didn't "see" a ghost, per se, it was the closest thing I have had to a supernatural experience. A co-worker who had been there for years told me to carry some turmeric in my pocket (to ward off spirits?) and told me she had seen plenty of lights and weird things on the property. The land had been used for centuries by kanaka and maybe they just wanted to let us haoles know this was still their space. I have a deep respect and love for Hawaiian culture and the mana on the Big Island is the most powerful thing I have ever felt.


Pele saves a life at Kilauea

Informant: Male/59/Caucasian
Location: Past Pahala on Highway 11 on the Big Island

Aloha. With it being Mother’s Day as I write this, and with all the stories of Hawaii in the news these days, I was reminded of a trip I took to the islands in which I had a couple of very strange paranormal encounters. I have been, in the past ten years, a paranormal investigator and have had many encounters with spirits and entities over my lifetime which is how I came to formally investigate these phenomena. Being half Scottish and the other half Viking with psychic skills, I can reliably say there is much more going on in the unseen world than most people will ever know. This story is one of my favorite encounters and I hope you enjoy it.

In the early 1990's, I took a series of trips to the Hawaiian islands. One of my favorite island visits was my trip to the Big Island where I spent a week exploring the island and taking in the sights. For several days, I made the 80 mile drive from Kona to the Kilauea and explored the volcanic vents, even witnessing the lava flowing across an old section of road at one point in my explorations.

I spent one day hiking across a significant portion of the upper crater area near Kilauea’s volcanic vent and saw the lake of lava for myself and decided to do as the Hawaiian people do and to leave a small offering of a candle and a prayer to Pele as a sign of respect.

Not being native to the islands, I was simply giving a tip of the hat to a force of Nature whose presence one can feel just by looking around at the living landscape that makes up the islands. Never did I imagine that this force and spirit might give me a tip of the hat in return -- twice.

After I left my offering at the summit of Kilauea, I hiked down into Kilauea Iki, a smaller volcanic cone next to the big lava lake and was standing at the actual vent where  Kilauea Iki last erupted in 1959. There was a sign there to be careful not to get too close which I, unfortunately, did not heed. I was trying to get a look into the vent and ventured just a little too close. My footing gave way and I began to slide straight down the hill into the chasm leading down into the vent. I had nothing to grab onto and was literally in the first moment of falling in.

The strangest thing happened at that very instant. I was literally shoved back by a very strong gust of wind, almost as if I had been snatched back. I fell on my back and held my camera in my hand and was a little shocked at what had happened. I slowly backed out and got to a safe spot and gave a silent prayer of thanks for still being alive. If I had fallen into that vent, I have no idea what would have happened… badly injured at the least and if I had fallen into the vent hole, I would never have been found. I had the strange thought at the time that  I had been saved by Pele and made sure to take no more chances at the volcano from then on.

I stayed that evening at the volcano well into the night to witness the lava glowing next to the sea and it was a sight I will never forget.  The eruption flowing downhill was spectacular in the sunset twilight and I was transfixed as forests burned away as the lava made it’s way down the mountain and drained into underground lava tubes and poured into the sea. You can’t imagine such a sight… It has to be experienced in person to fully appreciate the sheer spectacle of seeing these great forces at work.

The USGS/ranger/geologist who I happened to run into was very nice and she took me in to witness the flow from a short distance away. The heat and fumes were intense and we stayed for about 10 minutes before being warned to get out before lava encircled us. We were more than glad to exit, but got some amazing photographs of the activity.

The lava flowed across the road in slow motion, crackling and pouring out bubbling asphalt smoke as the road literally burned from the intense heat. I have never seen such a sight since and feel very privileged to have witnessed this amazing sight in person.  The USGS geologist/ranger who happened to be there was taking folks in to the lava flows was very informative and smiled when I asked her about Pele. She said she believed in The Goddess and had a number of strange stories of her own from her time on the island. She also made sure to impress on me how lucky I was to get this close to the lava flowing and said very few of the many visitors to the island get this kind of a chance. I did feel very lucky to have seen it with my own eyes. If I remember right, she said that one in every 5,000 visitors to the island gets to see what we saw.

After witnessing the lava at night and having given my offering to Pele up on the main volcano earlier that day, I slowly made my way back to the main road, Highway 11, and drove my convertible rental back to where I was staying in Kona.  Not long after I passed the area where Pahala is now, I had the music playing and was just enjoying my night drive back to the bed and breakfast I was staying at when I spotted a woman on the side of the road in the distance with my high beams on. There was no traffic that night and I was the only car on the road.

The woman kept walking up the grade next to the road. She was older with grayish hair and slightly stooped, moving slowly on the right side of the road, making a little room for me to pass her. I slowed and saw she wore a green and blue muumuu which covered her frail form. It was nearly 10:30 p.m. or so and the stretch of road I was on was such that we were far from any human habitation I could spot, other than the occasional macadamia farm. I continued to slow and became concerned for this woman being so far from any help in the dead of night. So I found a wide spot on the right just ahead of her and pulled off to see if I could offer this lady a ride.

As I passed her, I looked right at her and she looked at me and slightly smiled. She had very piercing eyes. I couldn’t see features of her face because there was only ambient light from my car side illumination as the evening was pitch black, save for the car and the barest sliver of a moon that was still up. Still, there was a brief moment of communication between us as I slowly passed her and look directly at her. I can’t imagine how I looked to her, but I think surprised was the emotion I was feeling. So imagine my amazement as I got out of the car after parking only twenty or so feet ahead of her and turned and said “Ma’am can I help you?” and was looking at empty space. No one was there.

I scrambled around and looked at both sides of the road and circled the car to see if she was hiding near it. There was NO ONE there! And there was no place she could have gone! No trees, hills or brush to hide behind. Just a wide flat spot and a field to the right that was wide open with a hill up on the right. And behind me was open space heading out some distance to the seashore. She literally had up and disappeared on me!

I stood feeling rather spooked and perplexed and realized that this was likely some kind of ghost sighting. It was early in my life where I hadn’t yet dealt with paranormal matters as an investigator, but had dealt with ghosts and spirits on a number of occasions due to my family history of living in some very haunted places.

I had that odd feeling of being laughed at and the sensation of being watched and yet was not scared. In truth, I hoped I hadn’t missed seeing the old woman and had left a real flesh and blood lady in the lurch out on that lonely stretch of Hawaiian road. In my heart, I knew she had never been there as a mortal woman. She was something else. I got back in the car and pulled away, feeling a mixture of emotions, but mostly being confused and a little spooked at what had looked like a real flesh and blood woman one second and then empty space the next.

Pele is the Hawaiian goddess of fire, lightning, wind, and volcanoes as well as the creator of the Hawaiian islands. Pele also carries a staff, which she uses to test if the ground is dry.  I did not see a staff, but it was night and she did appear to be hunched over when I saw her.  And she is well known to appear to we mortal folks as either a young woman or an older woman. I had briefly heard some of these tales of how she appears to people on my trips to the islands, but had never given them much thought beyond my respectful offering up at the volcano summit.

Having mentioned that Pele is the goddess of not only fire, but of lightning and wind, I cannot help but think that the wind that shoved me back from a nasty fall at Kilauea Iki was of her doing.

The next morning at breakfast, I mentioned my unusual sighting of the prior night and my near fall into the volcanic vent to my hosts at the bed and breakfast. They were an older retired couple and they looked at me in astonishment. I asked what was wrong.

“You’ve never heard about Pele on the road?” the husband asked. I shook my head. He smiled and said “Well…you must have done something right, because Pele herself appeared to you. Many people here have had that experience and the fact you stopped to help her was pleasing to her.”

I told him about my offering on the summit of the volcano and he and his wife plus the other guests smiled. We all agreed it was a really nice experience and I was left with a beautiful memory of the island, a mystical experience I shall never forget and and paranormal experience that I am but one of many to have had.

My only advice to those traveling to the Big Island is this: If you see a young woman or old woman along Highway 11 in Hawaii, all alone and needing a ride, stop and be nice to her. You may well be in the presence of a powerful Goddess who will likely give you amazing blessings if your heart and mind are in the right place.

And if you are at the Volcano National Park, leave an offering for Pele in the form of a bottle of gin, flowers or fruits. You’ll be creating good karma and giving Pele the respect She deserves.

I will return to Hawaii one day, now that I have retired. The people are amazing and the energy there is amazing. Mahalo!


The Voice in The Bedroom

Informant: Female/ 29/Japanese - Puerto Rican ancestry
Location: Mililani, Oahu

The other morning I was getting ready for work when I heard a knock on my door. I said, "Come in," but nobody entered, and I didn't hear anyone leave. So I opened the door and nobody was there. Mom and dad were still asleep.

A couple of nights later I was asleep in my bed and I swear someone whispered in my ear. I couldn't make out what the voice was saying, it was too breathy.

Then last night I was trying to sleep in my bed and I rolled onto my side and heard someone sigh in my right hear. I was scared. But it was probably nothing, right?



The Hale Lokelani Bathroom

Informant: Male/20's/undisclosed ethnicity
Location: Chaminade University of Honolulu, Lokelani Dorm

I was doing a patrol around the campus when I received a distress call from a student who could not keep her composure. It was a student residing in the Lokelani Dorm on campus. As I pulled up in the golf cart to investigate, a female student ran out of the dorm lobby screaming, "I see bloody people in the mirrors!" So I called our central control office to discuss with my shift lead officer what's going on.

Due to only having two guards on site, it is mandatory to have a guard stay in the office while the other guard does the patrols. The shift lead guard told me to investigate the bathroom in the lobby where the girl claimed she saw gruesome people in the bathroom mirror reflections. As I entered the bathroom, I noticed the lights were off. I attempted to flick the switch on and off, but none of the lights worked. Like a scary movie, I wanted to just close the door and leave. I thought to myself that the person who always investigates something unnatural ends up getting killed. I hesitated in the lobby, thinking if I should man up in front of this girl, or just be a coward and tell her what she saw was nothing, blah blah blah, and leave.

So me, partially wanting to be the hero, decided to go in with my flashlight. At first I stayed in the bathroom doorway where the hallway lights illuminated about four feet into the darkness. I yelled out, HELLO!? CHAMINADE SECURITY! IF THERE'S ANYONE, OR ANYTHING HERE, YOU NEED TO LEAVE NOW! I AM LOCKING UP THIS BATHROOM!" I proceeded to enter further into the bathroom with the bathroom door closing behind me. At this point I was halfway in the bathroom with just my flashlight as a source of light. I stared hard into the mirror for a couple of minutes when I heard something shuffle in the stalls.

I hunched over and shined my light underneath the stalls to see if I see feet or something. At that point I was praying that I wouldn't see anything. I was imagining gangrene corpse feet like the girl from the Ring. Hairs stood up on my arms and neck, and I yelled. "Hello! "once more, all the bathroom stalls from the farthest stall to the closest stall to me started slamming shut. I immediately ran out yelling F*** THIS!!!" I exited the bathroom and locked the door on the way out.

The girl was traumatized and I could see why. I didn't see anything in the mirror but the stall doors slamming was good enough evidence for me to confirm something was there and that I disturbed it more than it already was.


The Tale of Whistling Shirley: Part 2

Informant: Female/80/Portuguese mixed ancestry 
Location: Kapaa, Kauai

[Note: The informant is my mother's sister. She had apparently gone to see the phenomenon of the whistling around the time that my mother did, but was much older, 16 or 17 years old at the time. She was able to give more details as she actually went into the house. It's best if you read this story before continuing on.]

By the time I went to see the whistling, many people had heard about it. People from all over the island were there, and there were even people who had come from outer islands who had heard about it. My husband, whom I met much later, said that he had even heard about it when he was growing up in Waimanalo. I wanted to go see this whistling because we had heard that it sounded like it was whistling the Hail Mary. Not a song, but the cadence of the prayer. I thought it was a miracle, that God was communicating through the girl, and thought it was wonderful. 

I went with my cousin, and entered the house. Since there were so many people, you had to stand in like a line, that moved into Shirley's room, and out. When me and my cousin entered the room, the whistle wolf whistled us. It was unnerving. It sounded like the whistle was coming from outside the house. As we moved through the room, Shirley was laying on her bed. She was maybe 12 years old. And as she lay there, her body levitated, and then slammed back down onto the bed. Up in the air, and back onto the bed, repeatedly. I don't know how many times it happened because you couldn't stop to watch, you had to keep moving since there were so many people. But after I saw that, I knew that something was wrong. The whistle that we heard was the tune of the Tennessee Waltz, which was the most popular song at the time [Note: this is the tune that followed my mother and grandpa back home in the original story]. 

We were told by the priest of our church that the girl was possessed by the devil, and we were told never to go back to the house, and never to speak of the incident again. We had heard that an exorcism was conducted on her (whether on Kauai or elsewhere, I don't know), and everything stopped after that. 


I told my mom and aunty that they are the only people who have ever mentioned this story. It's clear that many, many people know about it, though. My aunty thinks it's because the priest said that they should never speak of it again, that nobody really has, so nobody else really knows about it. She never spoke about it until she told me, nearly 60 years later. 

The Tennessee Waltz, which was the popular song of the time, was taken off of the airways after this incident. They never played it again (on Kauai, at least).

As for Shirley, she lived a normal life after the phenomenon ended. She got married and had children, and has since passed away. 


Who's Driving the Lift?

Informant: Male/43/Ethnicity undisclosed
Location: Mapunapuna, Oahu

I work the night shift in a warehouse in Mapunapuna, and on Fridays I work non-stop into Saturday just to get things done. So this happened today, October 29, 2016, and the weird part is it was a little after 7:00 a.m. 

On Saturdays, there's usually three of us working, but one guy called out sick for Friday and Saturday, so there was just two of doing our usual. Around 7:00 a.m. I could hear my coworker still on the stand up lift instead of taking his break, so I wanted to see what he was doing and saw that he just wanted to set things up to make it easier after his 10 minute break. So I walked past him and went towards my desk and saw that I had forgotten to put all of my trash into a bigger bag to be taken out. So from where my desk is, there's a big machine that blocks my view of where my coworker was using the stand up lift, but I could see things below, like legs, and the lower part of the stand up lift. So I grabbed my trash and started putting it into a bigger bag and noticed my coworker came behind and stood by the machine looking at me. I just kept picking up my trash one by one and kept looking back at him, wondering why he was just staring at me instead of helping.

As I started to tie the bag I could still see him standing there out of the corner of my eye, and I started getting irritated. All of a sudden I hear, "beep beep beep," and right as I was done I looked straight in front of me, and I was still able to see my coworker standing on the side. I was about to turn my head towards him to say something like, "Yes, can I help you?" but thought again and asked myself , "If hes standing here staring at me, then who the hell is driving the stand up lift?" So I turned and looked, but nothing was there. I know I saw him turn the corner, stop, and just stand there. And I know I'm not seeing things or imagining things either because our warehouse has good lighting and no dark or shady areas, and I've been doing this for eight years with nothing weird ever happening until today, in the morning, of all times. 

I remember growing up hearing similar stories that happen often in Samoa where people see their family member walking past the house, but they just came from inside the house and know their family member is sleeping inside, so they go back inside only to find them still asleep. It happens quite often in Samoa, and they know its a ghost because the family member they see walking past doesn't even acknowledge them, but just looks straight and keeps on walking.