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. 


Unknown said...

I remember the whistler as Joseph...he drowned in a reservoir near the radio station KTOH...he whistled the Tennessee Waltz. I am guessing this occurred in the 1948 or 1949 time period...I REMEMBER! I DON'T KNOW WHO SHIRLEY IS!!