Location: Fuji Beach, Kaua'i
Hinotama, also known as hitodama, is the Japanese name for what we would call fireballs, or what the Hawaiian's call "akualele." These fireballs are the spirits of dead people who often lead the living to their remains in this form. I recall one of my favorite ghost stories from Glen Grant's Obake Files called "The Hinotama of a Murdered Man." Every night a family would see a fireball shoot over to the mountains. They finally followed it one day and found the head of a murdered man. The head was returned to the body and the fireball was never seen again.
I never thought that I would have ever seen something like this in my life. I am certainly a believer in ghosts and spirits (Lord knows I've experienced enough in my lifetime), but this seemed like such a novelty to me...until I saw it with my own eyes.
The entire east side of Kaua'i (where I am from) is ancient battle ground. This particular spot that my friends and I like to hang out at is right on the beach, and we like to park and jump in the back of my truck and play music. This night was just like any other: late night jam sessions at the beach. While we were sitting in the back of my truck, I noticed my friend who was playing guitar was starting out over the ocean. When I looked up to see what he was looking at, I was stunned to see a fireball floating across the sky. It was clearly fire; you could see the flames swirling. There was no fiery tail, but instead a tail of smoke.
I asked my friend, "What is that??" and he said, "I don't know, I've been staring at it for the past few minutes." By the time my other friend turned around to look at it, it had fizzled out into a puff of smoke.
What struck me about this fireball was that it was floating. It was floating very slowly and silently across the sky. It was not falling in any way. My dad said it was methane gas released by a decomposing body, but I don't buy that because I'm pretty confident that it would not be floating across the sky like that. I really am glad that I was not the only one to see it or else I would have doubted myself. It was not scary in any way, just shocking and perplexing. But I wouldn't mind if I never saw something like that again.