Ghost Laughter

Informant: Male/36/Ancestry unknown 
Location: Mililani Mauka, a small gully behind our house

There are dogs barking suddenly in the night.

Every now and then, at very odd moments in the early morning (like at 2 or 3 AM), there is a voice coming out across the valley behind our house, the voice of a man laughing. It's not a particularly scary sound, it just sounds like someone at a party having a good time. But it's odd, because it comes out of the silence and the darkness, there are no lights across the way signaling a late night party, there is no voice preceding or following it, making conversation or telling a joke. There is just the laugh.

And I lie awake, wondering at the strangeness of that laugh. Sometimes, I peer through the dust laden screen into the night, trying to pierce the shadow and the ever present haze of cricket noises. But there is nothing. Did I dream the voice?

I ask Lynn if she heard it. She is usually too sleepy to respond to my stupid questions. But she says, "Yeah, I was wondering about that too." And suddenly she shivers, even though she is bundled in covers, and the night is far from cold.

There are dogs barking in the night.

Sometimes, all of a sudden, the dogs do this. First, the barking is far off. Then, there is a tumult somewhere down our street, there are dogs baying restlessly. Then, it seems, the neighbors' dogs, the dogs closest to us, are upset about something. This often happens late into the night, when even the dead should sleep... A wave of dogs barking, disturbing, like wind through grass... getting closer and closer. At the end, my heart beats thunderously, and I strain my ears to hear shuffling in my yard, or some unexpected click just outside my window.

Things move in the night, shifting, trying to find sleep, or rest, or balance...something is always off. A laugh, dogs barking...