I missed Christmas, but happy New Year to everyone! New stories will be posted after the new year. Have a safe and wonderful time ringing in 2010!
Informant: Female/24/Mexican-Filipino ancestry
Location: Tunnel of Trees, Kauai
There’s a well-known story among our circle of friends that involves someone we know that has a penchant for seeing and experiencing spirits. One of the most memorable stories goes like this.
While driving through the tunnel of trees one night with her boyfriend, our friend, who was in the driver’s seat, experienced something unexplainable. The tunnel filled with fog, and then suddenly, something started choking her.
With her hands still on the wheel, and her boyfriend watching the whole episode from the passenger’s seat, the car shut itself off and drifted into the oncoming lane. By the time the choking stopped, she was at the end of the tunnel. Luckily there was no on coming traffic. After calming down a bit, they continued on to the boyfriend’s house.
When they got there, she was understandably shaken, and in pain because of the burning mark on her neck. Where she was choked was the imprint of a large man’s hand. By the next morning, the mark had disappeared.
When she got to her cousins house later that day, her cousin asked “What were you doing last night?” She replied, “What do you mean?” and the cousin said, “Look at your car.”
The sides of the car were a bit muddy, and in the mud were hand prints, all over, as if someone was trying to get in.
Informant: Female/24/Mexican-Filipino ancestry
Location: Lihue, Kauai
I had another strange dream when I slept over at my boyfriend’s house. In my dream, I was with the family in the living room but I had to use the bathroom. For some reason nobody told me where the other bathroom was, so I had to find it myself. When I came back, I plopped down on the couch and stretched out. Then a little boy approached me.
He had the most peaceful, serene look on his face. I had never seen anyone so peaceful looking in my whole life. And he opened his arms and hugged me, with his head in my lap. Then my boyfriend’s mom walks in and says to me, “Oh, I want you to meet Serenity.” She actually said his name was Serenity in my dream. And then I woke up.
I told my boyfriend about the dream, and he says to me, “Come. I want to show you something.” He walks over to a closet and pulls out this Wyland-esque painting. “My mom wants to put this painting in every single room of the house.” The plaque at the bottom of the painting bore the name: “Serenity.”
Informant: Male/ 65/ Portuguese ancestry
Location: Lihue, Kauai
The old county jail on Kauai, when it existed, was known by everyone on the island to be haunted. There were stories of bars slamming, mumbling, and even choking ghosts. In those days, there were only two guards on duty at all times, so if one of them took the day off, the rookie cops were sent in to be stand-in guards. Sometimes my dad was one of them.
The jail had two floors, and there would never be any occupants on the second floor, because that’s the floor that was haunted. Weird things could be heard coming from the second floor. Things that sounded like doors slamming, or dragging tin across the bars. The prison wasn’t always full, and sometimes there were no occupants at all. He said they used to threaten misbehaving inmates with incarceration on the second floor because everyone was so scared of it.
My dad himself heard bars slamming on the second floor, but upon inspection, found nobody. On nights when there was nobody in the jail, some of the rookie cops would get so scared they would sleep in their cars outside in the parking lot instead of staying in the jail. There have been no stories of the new jail that was built in it’s place. Do you think it may also be haunted?
Informant: Male/25/Chinese ancestry
Location: Waikiki, Oahu
I used to work at a certain high-end retailer in Waikiki. There were stories of weird things happening in that particular branch. I heard from a coworker that he saw a bag fly off the shelf. I didn’t really trust him though, because he was known to embellish his stories a bit. But he did seem genuinely freaked out by his experience. It wasn’t long before I had my own.
It was during the day, from what I remember. Me and another coworker were in the store. My coworker was maybe like, 3-5 feet away from me at the counter. I was just standing there, and suddenly I heard a loud whisper saying “Ken!” or something like that. I just remember it being really, really in my ear. It was a really loud whisper. I couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman.
I turned back to see if maybe my coworker was calling me, but right at the same time she looked up and asked me, "Did you say something?" At this point I’m going "Uh...I thought you said something." She says "Oh, I thought I heard somebody saying something, like Kay or whatever."
Nobody else was in the store. If she didn’t call my name…then who did?
Informant: Various/Individuals 25–65/Portuguese ancestry
Location: Various locations, Kauai
My family has always been devout Catholic throughout the generations. We’ve never been the type to believe in hocus pocus. My family came to Hawaii from Madeira and the Azores, Portugal, and with them they brought unconventional practices that mingled with their conventional religiousness.
There is a term that I have grown up all my life hearing: Cubrant. Roll your tongue when you say it, so it sounds a little more like “cublant.” I have no idea if I am spelling this right or not, as none of us have ever seen it written anywhere. This word roughly translates into “curse,” carrying much of the same meaning as the Japanese word “bachi.” I usually hear this word jokingly, when I hear someone saying something like “She put the cubrant on me!” I had never heard it used seriously, but the cubrant is not always a laughing matter.
When I was young, whenever I was in a stressful situation my stomach would double me over in pain. It was some sort of psychological response turned physical whenever something upset me. I was taken to doctors but nothing they gave me helped the pain or made it go away. Finally, deciding that someone had possibly put the cubrant on me, my parents took me to a Portuguese witch doctor.
I remember going into her house and being led to her bedroom. There, she made me lie down and proceeded to rub my stomach with oil (I believe it was olive oil). She massaged my stomach and prayed for I don’t know how long. What I didn’t know was that my mom brought with her the shirt that I had worn all day, because she needed something that contained my sweat. As payment she brought various things like canned foods, or a dozen eggs. Portuguese witch doctors never accepted money.
After I visited her, I never got stomach pains again.
When my older sister was younger, she had what my family called “opu huli,” which pretty much translates into “flipped stomach.” Another stomach ailment. My sister went to an Aunt of ours (who had died by the time I was born) who was also a Portuguese witch doctor. My mom brought her the shirt my sister wore all day, and again brought food as payment. She massaged my sister’s stomach with oil and prayed over her too, and she too was cured of the cubrant.
My dad remembers his father going to her for some sort of ailment, but he can’t remember what. What he does remember, though, is his dad sitting on a chair with a glass of water on his head. And this glass of water started bubbling. He also saw her put a candle under a glass and put it onto stomachs. This created a vacuum of sorts. It was said to relieve gas pains. The Chinese also do this in their folk medicine.
When my dad was younger, he went to this same aunt for a broken finger, which she massaged into place. These witch doctors were available for any sort of ailments, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, at any time of the day or night.
My mother asked a cousin why she didn’t become a witch doctor too, and she replied “You can’t just become one. You either have it or you don’t.” I haven’t seen or heard of one since my childhood, and I don’t know if they exist here on the island anymore. I wish I knew what they were traditionally called. But I hope that there is someone out there still perpetuating this strange and wonderful part of Portuguese culture and folklore.
Informant: Male/early 20's at time of incident/European ancestry
Location: Kona, Big Island
Many, many years ago, I worked as a busboy at the Keauhou Golf Course Country Club and Lounge. I worked the night shift. After work one night I hopped on my moped and headed down the golf cart path to the nearby scenic lookout where we would all gather after closing and talk stink about the customers, management, make plans for the next day, and just generally hang out.
Around the second hole this huge white shape swooped out of the sky into my headlight and nearly took my head off. Scared me so bad I nearly fell off. It was the biggest white owl I have ever seen. I didn't even know there were white owls in Hawaii. So anyway, I made it to the lookout and was telling the guys about the owl when all of a sudden we heard loud tire squeals coming down the road. This car was doing about 90mph and skidded around the corner and zoomed off down the road.
Right after that this girl, who looked about 18, covered in blood from head to toe, walks up to us out of the blackness and asks for a cigarette like there's nothing the matter at all. She tells us that she just jumped out of the car that sped by. Weird. We say, “Hey, let us take you to the hospital or something.” But she just wants a cigarette and a ride to this club in town. A couple guys who shared a ride to work volunteered and all three got into the car and took off.
The next day at work I asked about what happened. They said they took her to the club and let her out and watched her walk in. They took off but decided to go back to the club for a beer. They looked around for the girl but they didn't see her. One of the guys was friends with the doorman, so he asked him what happened to the bloody girl. The doorman said he never saw her, and nobody they talked to that night saw her either.
Informant: Female/24/Mexican - Filipino ancestry
Location: Lihue, Kauai
One night I slept over at my boyfriends house and had a strange dream. I dreamed that I was with his family watching TV and hanging out, and his dad was missing a few teeth. And my boyfriend's sister was playing with a boy around her age; a white kid with blond hair, freckles and blue eyes.
The next day I told my boyfriend about how I dreamed that his dad was missing teeth. He says, "Are you joking?" I said "No, why?" He says, "My dad is actually missing teeth, he just wears dentures." Then I told him about the little boy I saw his sister playing with in my dream. He looked at me and says, "Are you kidding me?" I say "No, why?" He goes on to explain that his sister has a playmate that lives a few houses away, and he looks just like the boy that was in my dream: blond, freckles, blue eyes.
I had never seen his dad without his dentures before, no pictures, nothing. And I've heard his sister and her friend playing upstairs, but I've never seen them. I've never seen the boy in my life.
Strangely enough, my sister had the same type of dream before she met her boyfriend's family who came from the mainland. Maybe it runs in the family?
Location: Wailua, Kauai
On my way to my friends house in Wailua Homesteads, I really had to use the bathroom so I pulled over at the Opaeka'a falls lookout to use the one there. The bathroom was still under construction, so the inside was pitch black. There weren't even light switches.I decided to use the stall closest to the door, because I was already freaking out about being in there. The only light I had was my cell phone.
After I finished I hightailed it out of there and jumped in my car, feeling a little nervous about it being so dark. I turned on my car and flicked on my headlights, when I saw a black cloak run past my car.
All I saw was a hood, and the cloak behind it. I couldn't make out a figure of a body, it ran so fast past my car. I looked around, but I couldn't see anything or anyone.
Next time I'll wait till I get to my friends house to use the bathroom.
Informant: Female/25/Korean ancestry
Location: Kaimuki, Oahu
This may not be scary, but it baffled me beyond belief.
My roommate and I had purchased a rather large pitcher to store our juice in. This pitcher was about as tall as the bottom level of our fridge, and very large. It was impossible not to see it when you opened the fridge. You'd have to be blind.
One day my roommate came to me asking where the pitcher was. I told him it has to be in the fridge, where it always is. It wasn't on the usual bottom shelf. It wasn't on the top, or on the door (not like it could have fit there anyway). So we decide to check likely places like the sink and the dishwasher, and even unlikely ones like the cabinets and even our bathrooms. We couldn't find it. The pitcher simply disappeared.
He asked me if I took it anywhere, to which I said no. I asked if he did, and he said no too. There had been no visitors since the last time we saw the pitcher, so nobody could have taken it. Where could it have gone?
Then a couple days later, my roommate walks into my room holding the pitcher. I asked where it was, and he said "On the bottom shelf of the fridge." He could have been messing with me and hid the pitcher that whole time, but he was sort of a scardy cat and he looked a bit pale and perplexed.
Not too long after that episode, I was in the kitchen cooking myself some breakfast. I usually take out what I need, like the eggs, butter, etc. The last thing I always do after making breakfast is to put the ingredients away, and take out the Tabasco sauce. I opened the fridge and my hand automatically went to where the Tabasco always is, except it wasn't there. I looked all over the fridge and even in the cabinets, but it simply vanished.
Finally I gave up and turned back to my plate, and lo and behold...there was the Tabasco, sitting on the counter next to the stove. I know I didn't take it out. If I had taken it out with my ingredients, there would have been condensation on the bottle since it was sitting next to the hot stove. But this bottle was ice cold like it just came out of the fridge.
I muttered an awkward "Thank you," just in case I had some sort of helpful kitchen spirit.
Informant: Male/age unknown/ethnicity unknown
Location: University of Hawaii at Manoa, Hale Aloha
I had just moved from Kauai in the summer of 1996, to Oahu, where I was to begin my freshman year at UH Manoa.
Through student housing, I was placed in one of the round dorm towers, in the Hale Aloha complex -- Hale Aloha Lehu, to be exact, room 406. My roommate, whom I had never met before, was from Kailua and we hit it off pretty quickly.
Things went well for the first two weeks. School was school, and dorm life was interesting. It was like living in a zoo filled with cartoon characters: People from all over the place smooshed into these small living spaces, away from whatever small towns and homes they had been trapped in. Exciting times.
Saturday rolls around and my roommate, being from Kailua, decides to go home for the weekend, leaving me to fend for myself in the dorm. With no car and nowhere to go, I figured I'd hit the sack early. I take a shower, come back to the room, get ready for bed.
I clean the top of my desk off and put some trash into the wastebasket under my desk, sitting next to my chair. I look across the room, and see my roommate has a wastebasket and a chair just like mine, under his desk.
Our windows face the parking lot of the Lehua dorm, and just as I go to turn out the lights, a gang of moped bikers decide to roll up into the area, and begin revving out someone in the dorm -- the irritating sound of unsuppressed two-stroke gas engines fill the night air. I hope they don't stick around for long. Eventually they leave, and I fall asleep.
Then, a huge BANG. And then a CRASH!
I wake up, startled, sitting straight up in bed. It's dark, and except for the street lamps outside, and the light seeping in from under the front door (from the hallway), I can't see anything.
What was that? What time is it?
I check my wrist watch. It's only 12:00a.m. I've been sleeping for two hours. I get up and walk to the light switch near the front door. I flip it up, and the fluorescents flicker on.Then I see something strange.
There's my wastebasket in the middle of the floor, and it's fallen on its side, the contents spilled out.
I can remember thinking, "What the hell is that doing there? I left that under my desk.”
Okay, so maybe I did leave it in the center of the room. Maybe I'm just drowsy. But how did it fall over? The wind?
No, the wastebasket had fallen TOWARDS the window. The wind blows from the outside in. If the wind blew it over, it would have fallen towards the door, on the opposite side of the room, away from the window.
Curious. But that wasn't the strange thing.
The strange thing was -- sitting right next to the fallen wastebasket, in the very middle of the room, was a CHAIR, with a WASTEBASKET STACKED ON TOP OF IT.
Now, I KNOW I didn't do that.
And now I'm scared because of those ghost stories you hear about UH: the screaming spirits in the Biomed building, the poltergeists of Hamilton Library, and not to mention the ghosts in the dorms! They all come rushing to my mind, and I'm worried. Should I be? I don't know, but I am!
Hold on, wait. Maybe my roommate is screwing with me. Maybe he came in when I was sleeping and did that to scare me. Maybe not.
In any case, I put everything back where it should be, and grab my flashlight, and take it with me to bed...I settle in and try to fall asleep.
I lay alert and awake for the next 45 minutes, until -- a sound at the door. The knob is being jostled. The lock turns, the door swings open, and....my roommate walks in.
I sit up in bed, the Mag-lite in my hands. My roommate looks at me funny, and I ask him if he's been back at any time tonight.
"No, we were in Waiks", he says. "All night. Just came back right now. Forgot my knife."
He goes to his desk, pulls open a drawer and rummages through. Not where he thought it was. Then he goes to his closet and looks through. Not there either.
He checks the shelf above his bed and it's there.
"Found it," he says. I pause, and think -- is he screwing with me?
"Something happened..." I say. "What?" He sees the Mag-lite in my hand.
"Some weird s!@# just happened in here..."
"What you mean? Like ghosts?"
"Yeah, kind of like that."
My roommate laughs -- thinks I'm being funny. But the look on my face says otherwise.
"Are you serious? No way..." he says, not convinced.
But he would be. Because a week later, he would have his own episode of weird s!@# go down in the dorm.
And that was just the beginning.
Informant: Male/age unknown/ ancestry unknown
Location: Omao, Kauai
This happened when I was about four years old or so, on Kauai -- in a small subdivision called Omao.
It was a late summer afternoon, and my dad and I were taking a nap in the living room -- he in a sofa chair, and me slumbering in his lap. As the sun settled down for the night, I woke up. I could see the sky, turning a rosy-pink to a deep purple, and I remember thinking that was something I had never seen before.
And then, through the bank of large picture windows in the living room, I saw a man standing outside on our front porch. Or rather, the silhouette of a man. I couldn't make out any details, as he was back lit against the colors of the approaching night; but I got the feeling that he was looking right into the house, and right at us.
I turned to my dad, and shook him awake.
"What?" he asked.
"There's a man outside," I said.
My dad leans around me, and glances out the windows, to the front porch.
"There's nobody there".
I turned back to the window, and sure enough -- just the yard. Trees, and the driveway, and the light from the setting sun. No man.
My dad settled back in ,and so did I. Closing my eyes, I remained puzzled, but relieved.
Until I cracked my eyes open again, and saw The Man -- this time, leaning in from the side of the picture window, so that I could only see his torso, like he knew I was watching.
And as my eyes flew open, he slipped out of view, off to the left, where a wall and the front door was.
"Dad! There's somebody by the window!" I whispered, trying not to alert whoever it was outside that I knew he was there.
I sensed my Dad was a little more concerned this time, and he sat up in the chair, squinting, trying to focus in the dimly lit living room, trying to get a bead on the alleged stranger outside the house.
A minute goes by, and we are still. Very still.
"I don't see anybody," my dad says.
"I saw him..." I protest.
"Go back to sleep."
"I saw a man."
"You just delirious or something. Go back to sleep."
I was a little upset at this point. My dad didn't believe me. And I know what I saw. So I played it cool.
Dad settled back into the chair, and so did I.
But this time, I would only PRETEND to sleep. I leaned back into my dad's arms, and closed my eyes -- half way. So if someone looked in on us, they would think I was sleeping, but really I would be watching them. The lighting was still good, as there was just enough light outside, so that I could see through the small crack between my eyelids.
So, I feigned sleep. I waited. And nothing happened.
The Man slowly revealed himself -- an inky black shadow bleeding out from the corner of the picture window, leaning into sight like he was trying to hide behind the outside wall of the house. And I just remember feeling really, really scared -- like this is not right.
It was dark, but I could tell this figure had no depth. It looked like a man, very clearly it was shaped like one, with arms, shoulders, a neck and a head, but it was flat; like it had no weight, no substance to it. It wasn't transparent, but I just felt it wasn't right. That's the only way I could put it.
I jumped off my Dad's lap...
"Look! There's the..."
And before I could finish, my dad was up off the chair, and on his way to the front door, Mag-Lite in hand. And it was one of those 4 D-Cell ass whooper Mag-Lites cops use, and he was ready to let it swing, if it came to it.
He whipped open the front door, as I stood inside the house, frozen -- in excitement, in fear of the unknown, I don't know, maybe both. He closed the door behind himself, and ventured outside.
I watched as the beam of his flashlight swept the porch, and I watched as he went around the house, looking for the peeping tom.
A few minutes went by -- I wanted to go to the window, but I was too scared. I wanted to call out to my dad, but I wasn't sure what I would do if he didn't respond.
Footsteps up the stairs. Footsteps on the porch. The doorknob jiggles. Then turns, and the door slowly opens.
But no one comes in.
The porch creaks. I swallow hard. Is it the man? What happened to my dad? I want to call out for my mom, but I am stuck. Frozen in place, like I was chained to the floor.
And then my dad steps in and closes the door. He shakes his head, and I breathe a sigh of relief.
"Who was it?" I ask.
"Nobody there," he says, locking the door. "Must have been your imagination."
I remember him saying that to me -- but I don't know if he believed that himself. I had a feeling he was watching the last this time, that's why he reacted so quickly when I shouted my last warning. Had he seen? Did he know who it was? Or who it was supposed to be? I don't know.
I don't know what it was that I saw that day, all I know is I DID see it. I don't have any doubt of that. And I've never seen it since.
Informant: Female/age unknown/Portuguese ancestry
Location: Lihue, Kaua’i
I used to work in a two-story office building on the bottom floor. It was converted into an optometry office from a pediatric office of a very well – loved doctor that had died. After I started working there, I would hear things coming from the upstairs part of the building.
It sounded like children. It sounded like they were running around upstairs laughing and screaming. I would hear these noises often enough to know it wasn’t my imagination.
One night I was working late, and my husband came in to drop off some dinner for me. The noise started. He said, “It sounds like there’s children playing upstairs…” It was far passed closing time. There’s no way any children would be up there.
Location: Maui/New England
When I lived on Maui for a few years, I became emotionally close to a coworker. He was a local boy, and I remember him telling me his chicken skin stories about encountering weird happenings growing up on the islands. That said, we're both believers in the unexplainable. After I moved back to the mainland, this friend was killed a year later in a traffic accident in Kahului. I didn't hear the news until a month after he died, when someone emailed me the story from the Maui News. When I read the terrible news, I cried and cried. I was really distressed. This was right before I went to sleep that night.
Later, in the middle of the night, I heard a male voice calling my name. He said, "Jenn!" directly into my right ear. I definitely wasn't dreaming, because the voice woke me up out of a dead sleep. And I'd recognize that voice anywhere - it was that of my friend who had died a month earlier! I opened my eyes and froze. I felt his presence, but couldn't see anything out of the ordinary. I know he was just letting me know he's okay because I was so sad, but it still scared me.
Informant: Male/31/Filipino ancestry
Location: Koloa, Kauai
Location: Koloa, Kauai
Everyone in my family has their own rosary in a different color. My rosary is blue. We switch rooms a lot in my house, so me and my dad decided to switch. When I moved into that room, I hung my rosary over my mirror. Later that night before I was about to go to bed, I noticed that my rosary was gone. I asked everyone if they had seen it or taken it, but they all said they didn’t and that they hadn’t seen it anywhere. Not really suspecting anything strange, I just decided to go to bed.
Later that night I woke up for some reason, and I looked over at the mirror at the end of my bed. I saw my rosary. But it wasn’t on the mirror like I had put it, it was in the mirror. It was open, as if someone was wearing it around their neck. I thought, “Oh, maybe I hung it on the window above me,” so I reached up above my head expecting to feel it, but it wasn’t there. I decided to just go back to sleep.
When I woke up, the rosary wasn’t anywhere to be found, and I still haven’t found it.
Informant: Male/22/ unknown ancestry
Location: Punahou School, Oahu
Location: Punahou School, Oahu
My story takes place about nine years ago on the campus of Punahou School.
I was walking from the gym to the pick-up area after a school dance. At that time there was construction going on and I was just looking around the campus 'cause it was the first time that I was there that late at night (like about 11 or something like that, I don't remember anymore).
In any case, I happened to look towards the construction area and I saw this lady in white just walking through the construction yard. I thought it was strange and stared a little bit longer. However, by this time, I had reached the end of the field and could no longer see the construction area. I just wrote it off as being kinda late and the strobe lights at the dance and such.
The following Monday, I happened to mention what I thought I saw to a professor and he responded that it was just the 'white lady' who walks around campus late at night.
Since that time, I've been on campus late at night multiple times and every once in a while I still do see her.
Informant: Male/20/ Japanese ancestry
Location: Hale Kahawai, UH Manoa, Oahu
I’ve lived in Hale Kahawai for two years in the same room, with the same roommate. One night while I was sleeping, I woke up to find that I couldn’t move. I was conscious, but I couldn’t move my body, and I couldn’t speak no matter how hard I tried. A week later, I woke up to a pressing sensation on my chest. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t see anyone or anything on my chest, but something was pressing me.
I talked to my neighbor the next morning about what happened, and he told me that he also experienced something strange. He woke up one night to find a Hawaiian man dressed in a malo sitting on his bed. He just rolled over in bed and pretended not to see the man.
I took a look in Glen Grant’s Obake Files book, and found a similar story about choking ghosts in my dorm. The first year that I lived in Kahawai I had a bag of Hawaiian salt, and nothing strange ever happened. When I started my second year there, I didn’t have any Hawaiian salt. Maybe that had something to do with it.
Informant: Male/40s/European ancestry
Location: Big Island
It might not be the wisest idea to verbally berate your doctor, but at the sight of his slightly-swollen hand, I felt the need to further drive the point home that taking home strange objects found in lava rock is never a good idea.
While on vacation to the Big Island, my doctor and his family decided to visit the volcano. While they were there, he happened to notice a gold ring sitting in a crack in the lava. He decided to take a stick and fish it out, and took it home with him.
“It’s probably just coincidence, “he said as he showed me his now-healing broken hand. But that wasn’t the only unfortunate accident that had befallen him and his family since he had taken the ring home. His daughter, while on a camping trip in the mountains, ended up breaking her leg in a freak accident.
Still, he seems content with the reasoning that it was all just an unfortunate coincidence, but I could sense a bit of wavering in his voice. Nevertheless, on 8/8/08 he decided to go back to the Big Island and return the ring to the spot that it was found. There have been no accidents since then.
But that in itself might be short-lived, since recently he decided to take the tusks from a boar carcass that he found. Maybe the next time I see him, he’ll have a new story to tell.
[This article was written for the Nalo News, a community newspaper published by the Waimanalo Council of Community in the late 1970's. My uncle's mother, Mrs. Julia A.F. Enoka, wrote numerous articles on ancient Hawaiian folklore and myths. This story was written by Tracy Tengan.]
In ancient Molokai, long before the dawn of recorded history, there lived a powerful Kahuna called Maka’u. Maka’u was feared because of her great power, or mana. She lived in the area of Kaluako’i where the trees had evil spirits trapped inside them, causing them to be poisonous only on Moloka’i.
Maka’u’s powers came by her being able to release these spirits by akualele, or fireballs. Those who had the mana and could see these blue and green balls of flame spoke of their great power and destruction. When Maka’u sent one of these akualele, nothing was able to stand against it.
The people of Molokai lived in constant fear of Maka’u and finally pleaded with the rest of the kahunas to unite and battle against her. The kahunas had never united before, but decided that the reign of terror of this one evil kahuna and her evil powers had to end.
Together they travelled to Kaluako’i, to the head of Waiahewahewa Gulch, to the old heiau of Hina at the head of the spring that always was present there. Maka’u saw them coming and took her malama pu’olo (bundle of sticks from which to release her evil spirits) and prepared for battle.
When the kahunas were close enough, Maka’u commanded them to stop. As she took out the most powerful piece of wood, she began to use the chant of complete destruction. The kahunas were fearful, but continued to move forward, and then began to chant “Ho’i no’ai I kou kahu,” and “ho’i no kau me ‘oe,” which means “Go back and destroy your keeper and what you have just given to me, return to you.”
As the brilliant blue akualele was released from the stick, it heard the chant of the kahunas and returned to Maka’u. Maka’u’s eyes grew as the brilliant blue akualele began to veer and return to her. The horror that filled her was clear to all the kahunas. The blast and the blaze of the fireball sent the kahunas tumbling to the ground and the earth shook with the power of the “god’s” anger. As they recovered they saw that the spring that never failed was dried up and completely destroyed, and there was no sign of Maka’u.
The kahunas united in one last ceremony. They formed a circle around the spring and chanted. They begged Hina to forgive the destruction of the old heiau, but pleaded with her to see that the good of the people goes before any one place of worship. Even to this day, the spring is gone, the heiau is still in ruins, but the lesson of Maka’u still remains.
Tengan, Tracy (1979, February). Legends: The Legend of Kaluako'i Akualele. The Nalo News.
Informant: 14 years old/female
Location: Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Big Island
For the past 30 years my grandma's hula halau, has been in the Merrie Monarch hula competition in Hilo on the Big Island. One night, my cousin and I went walking around the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel at three or four in the morning. We walked out to the beach and we sat on the dock just talking.
We looked out to the ocean saw this small cat-like figure on the rock wall in Hilo bay. My cousin and I started freaking out. We decided to walk down the road to the gardens at hotel and we looked back and saw a black pig following us. We started to get scared. We go back to the dock and the pig was there again. My cousin and I were wondering what the heck a pig was doing following us.
After this, a young but older lady came up behind us and she started chanting in Hawaiian. Her presence was very warm, but my cousin and I were still scared as ever. I speak fluent Hawaiian; the lady chanting was saying, "Kamapua'a leave these girls alone. You are a pig, and a pig you will be."
My cousin and I looked at the pig and it just disappeared. We turned to the lady and she told us our grandma was looking for us and we should go back upstairs. We got back upstairs and told our grandma about what we saw. She told us that around Merrie Monarch time, Kamapua'a comes around Hilo in search of Pele. Legend says they had a thing going on.
Every year since that incident my grandma has made sure that my cousin and I stay in our rooms. But every Merrie Monarch since that night, my cousin and I go outside to go look at the dock and we see that same lady we saw from 2003, making sure that we are safe. My grandma said it's Kapo, Pele's best friend keeping us safe from harm.
[This article was written for the Nalo News, a community newspaper published by the Waimanalo Council of Community in the late 1970's. My uncle's mother, Mrs. Julia A.F. Enoka, wrote numerous articles on ancient Hawaiian folklore and myths.]
The Hawaiians had four main gods that they worshiped-- KANE, the creator-god; LONO--the God of Storm, Rain, and Fertility; KU, the God of war and strenuous activities, and KANALOA, the god of Sea and Death. When the Tahitians migrated to Hawaii they brought their worship of Tane (Kane) and Taaroa (Kanaloa). This was the religion in the ancient days, similar to that of the rest of Polynesia.
Heiaus are enclosed areas built of stone where the Hawaiians worshiped their Gods and held religious ceremonies.
On the Island of Hawaii there are two known heiaus built by Pa'ao, a Samoan priest who left Samoa and went adrift on the high seas, finally landing at Puna. He built the heiau Wahaula at Puna and Heiau O Mookini at Upolu Point.
There are six known heiaus in Waimanalo. KEIKIPUIPIU heiau was situated on Quarry Hill, just above Kalaniole Highway directly opposite the Olomana Golf Course. Traces of this heiau were destroyed when W.G. Irwin and the Maunawili Ranch planted pineapples on the hillsides.
The Hawaiians made their adzes and small chisels from the stones at Quarry Hill. Adzes are made from very hard basalt rock and the rocks at Quarry Hill were considered some of the best. (The Hawaiian word for adze is ko'i.)
POHAKUNUI is a small heiau (50' x 90') on the crown of a hill at the base of the Koolau Mountains. The heiau is located on Ekahi Farms on the hill between Kaulukanu and Mahailua Streets. The site is in a fairly good state of preservation.
There is a possible heiau of stone ruins above Kaikaina St. Its size is about 130' x 110', but archeologist were unable to give a detailed inspection of the area due to the heavy growth of underbrush.
There is also an unnamed heiau on the Waimanalo side of Olomana ridge facing the Koolau Range. According to McAllister, the archeologist who researched the site, the heiau consisted of two terraces and was 50' x 130'.
The largest of Waimanalo's heiaus is PUEO, located above the University Experimental Farm on Waikupanaha Road. It is 130' x 150' and is still well-preserved.
There was another heiau in Kaupo Village at Makapuu. The heiau was situated in the present Sea Life Park area. In 1853 there was a small pox epidemic and many Hawaiians moved to Kaupo Village to escape the quarantine. Most of that site was destroyed when the present highway was built.
PUUHONUA heiau is located on a coral hill just a short distance from the main entrance of Bellows Field. This hill was a sacred place of refuge and all who sought safety there had their lives spared. On all of our islands there is a PUUHONUA. Most famous of these sites is our National Park City of Refuge at Honaunau on the Big Island.
Enoka, J. A. F. (1979, February). Old Waimanalo: Ancient religion and the heiaus. The Nalo News, [4(2)], .
Informant: Male/26/mixed ancestry
Location: Hanama’ulu, Kauai
When I was about three or four, I was playing in the backyard of my house in Hanama’ulu, where we lived at the time. I remember turning the corner and seeing a little man with dark skin dressed in green near the corner of the house. The minute I looked at him, he disappeared, like he jumped into the ground.
I was terrified. I yelled to my older sister and my mom and told them what I had seen, but they didn’t believe me. But thinking about it now, the little man I saw could have been a Menehune wearing green.
Informant: Male/40/part Hawaiian ancestry
Location: Tunnel of Trees, Kauai
Location: Tunnel of Trees, Kauai
A friend of mine was driving home to the south side of Kauai to Koloa town one night. In order to get to Koloa one must pass through the "tunnel of trees," one way in one way out.
It was about 2:00 a.m. and he was driving home alone after a party in Lihue. The moon was full that night, but as you enter the tree tunnel there are no street lights, just glimmers of moonlight shining through tree openings flickering like a strobe light.
As he entered the tree tunnel, he noticed an old lady dressed in white hitchhiking in the middle of the night. He thought it odd, but just kept driving and stepped on the accelerator to get out of the tunnel as fast as possible. He did not recall the events that took place after this; all he remembers is his car had skidded to the side of the road and stalled. When he looked in his rear view mirror the old lady dressed in white was sitting in his back seat.
He did not stick around to ask her how this happened but just ran as fast as he could through the tunnel of trees to get home. He was clearly shaken when retelling the events of this night, but speculates that this person was "Pele."
Informant: Male/64/Portuguese-Filipino ancestry
Location: Halfway Bridge, Koloa
My grandfather had a job as a taxi driver on Kauai around the 1950's. One night as he was driving toward the west side, he noticed an old woman in white walking on the side of the road. Since it was his job to drive people where they needed to go, he instinctively pulled over and asked the woman if she needed a ride. She didn’t say anything, but just got into the car, and my grandfather drove off again. After a little while he turned around to ask the old woman where she was heading to, but when he looked in the backseat, she had vanished.
He immediately knew that the old woman he picked up had to have been Pele.
Informant: Male/64/Portuguese-Filipino ancestry
Location: Marine Camp, Kauai
When I was around seven or right, me, my brother, my dad and his friend went to Marine Camp to fish. This area at the time was very remote, with no houses around. Even today it’s still a hard place to get to with just a bumpy dirt road.
We had planned on staying the night, so after fishing we set up our tents and went to sleep. When we woke up in the morning, we discovered footprints all around the tents. Not just regular footprints, but prints that were only about 4 inches long. They were small, like a toddlers. And there wasn’t just one pair, there were many pairs, like many little people had been running around our tents.
My dad’s friend, who was half Hawaiian, said nonchalantly, “Ahhh, that was menehune.”