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Is the Blaisdell Hotel haunted?

by Ano Puchalski,staff writer


Have you ever been to the Blaisdell Hotel after dark for a night class or work, when all the shops have closed and no one is around? Ever felt eyes at the back of your head and turned around expecting to see someone standing behind you, but no one was there? Well if you’re searching for that “thing that goes bump in the night,” you just might find it in the Blaisdell Hotel.


The Blaisdell Hotel was erected in the 1930s and served as one of the first hotels ever built here in Hawai‘i. The hotel was previously owned by the late Walter D. Child Sr., who was the dean of the early island hotel men. He later went on to build many of Hawai‘i’s popular Surf Resorts.


Sailors who came to Hawai‘i during WWII stayed at the hotel, and sought leisure in the lobby area, originally located where the Sea Warrior Center and other small shops sit today.

Sailors and local fisherman who came off the boats near Aloha Tower Market Place after work, would walk up to the hotel to have a few drinks in the hotel bar. Although it’s hard to confirm reports about the things that went on here in recent years, employees, students, and small business owners who work in the hotel explain that the feeling they get there after dark is not really a comforting one.

It was rumored that some of the sailors who died in the attack on Pearl Harbor returned here afterwards as permanent hotel occupants. Employees who’ve worked in the building admit to having heard footsteps down the hallway corridors late at night, or they have responded to the sound of someone knocking, but opened the door to find no one on the entire floor.

Others have reported smelling a distinct cigar-like smell and hearing the sound of men laughing, coming in from the building’s rear lanai areas.

“ It’s really creepy there late at night,” says Debra Kamakea, a former employee of one of the businesses located on the hotels fourth floor. “I felt like something was watching me down the hall when I would leave the office after work.” Kamakea said that on a few occasions she and the other workers could hear the hotel’s only elevator operating after hours, with the elevator door being opened and closed. “The noise was so loud that it gave us chicken skin every time, ‘cause we knew no one else was in the building.”

Blaisdell Hotel has the last and oldest hand-operated elevator in the world.

A former HPU student who asked to remain anonymous admitted that as she was leaving her night class from the hotel’s third floor she saw a young man dressed in old-fashioned attire looking up at her through the glass casing of the elevator well from the second floor staircase. “I thought it was another student, until I realized what he was wearing and I thought ‘no one dresses like that anymore,’ and when I was outside the building, he was no where to be found.”

Another encounter was recounted by one of the buildings current employees. The elevator operator responded to what he thought was an electrical problem with the elevator. He went to the fourth floor to check the hotel’s circuit breaker, and he said: “When I was about to touch one of the wires, the thing just sparked a few times and started up again.”

Although there haven’t been any recent reports of ghostly sightings, footsteps coming down the hall, or the feeling of eyes at the back of your head, one thing’s for sure, the Blaisdell hotel makes for one great ghost story.


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