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by Kaylee Noborikawa, staff writer

1. Manoa Chinese Cemetery- As one of the oldest Chinese cemeteries on the island, it has been the site of numerous ghost sightings. The graveyard has a special area known as the “baby section,” in which headstones are marked three days to two years. It is said that the cries of babies, heard during the night, can be quieted by putting candy on the graves.

One ghostly tale claims that a young man was walking his dog past the cemetery and found a young girl huddling under a tree. She was hiding from the rain, so he gave her his jacket and asked for her name and address. The man walked her to his house, gave her some milk and covered her with a blanket in the backseat of his car to return her to her home.

When he knocked on the door of the address the little girl had given him, the elderly man who opened the door was outraged.

“ Is this a joke?” he asked. “Our daughter died 30 years ago.”

When the young man looked in the backseat for the girl, she was gone. He found her tombstone in Manoa Chinese Cemetery later that night; next to it was his folded blanket.

2. Ulupo Heiau, near Kailua’s Kawainui Marsh, is said to be the home of the Hawaiian earth goddess, Haumea. The heiau itself is a huge stack of boulders, a 140-by-180 foot platform that stands 30 feet high. It was supposedly built by the menehune, or little people of Hawai‘i. Visitors are not to walk on the platform or remove any stones from the heiau. A tour guide for Hawai‘i Ghost Tours reported that once a woman from the mainland deliberately disobeyed the Hawaiian superstitions by kicking the stones and walking on the menehune pathway, or entrance to the heiau. The next day when the lady went to work, her legs were swollen and red, almost three times bigger than normal. The doctor told her that the blood was not circulating in her legs, but could not determine the cause.

The lady asked her Hawaiian co-workers for help and they took her to a kahuna, a Hawaiian spiritual healer. He said that spirits were grabbing onto her ankles so tightly that they were cutting off her circulation. He made a blessing and she returned to Ulupo Heiau to make an offering and apologize. Her legs returned to their normal size.

Neighbors who live around the area have mentioned that they’ve seen fireballs at night.

3. Ka‘ena Point, the western tip of O‘ahu, is known as the leaping place of spirits. Supposedly when you enter the afterlife, you travel to a rock near Ka‘ena Point known as leina a ka uhane, or the soul’s leaping place. An elderly Hawaiian woman who died and awakened in her coffin five days later, claimed to have visited this place. She said that she could see hundreds of spirits inhabiting the same places as the living, but they could not be seen. As she walked up to the rock ready to jump off into the black hole, known as popauole or endless night, her grandmother appeared to her and told her to go back. When she stepped away from the stone she woke up sitting in her coffin.

Another ghostly tale of Ka‘ena Point involves a police officer witnessing a police vehicle speeding at 150 mph and crashing into Ka‘ena Point. When he retold his stories to fellow officers, they told him never follow lights around Ka‘ena Point because the point belonged to the dead. Officers added that a policeman had died in a car accident driving out to Ka‘ena a few years ago.

4. Waimea Falls- There have been many drownings over the years at Waimea Falls. When police arrive at the scene to retrieve a body, they always find that somehow the body has gotten stuck at the bottom of the pool. One police officer, who had pulled many bodies out of the water during his career, noticed that bodies would vanish for two to three days before being found. Supposedly an akua, or god, resides in Waimea Valley and desired human sacrifice. The akua uses the body for a ritual performed on the bottom of the pond which takes several days. A reporter also noticed that the victims were similar in many ways: all Caucasian males, 18-25 years old, and enlisted in the military.

5. The H-3 was a source of major controversy when being built. Native Hawaiians said that the highway would destroy ancient Hawaiian sites, including heiaus and temples. Several unusual deaths occurred during the construction of the highway; some say that these were the result of the curse put on the H-3 by a Hawaiian kahuna.

People have seen a ghostly hitchhiker coming out of the mountains and heard the sound of a conch shell echoing from the tunnel followed by a white mist. Several years ago, a police officer pulled over a young couple in their car. He told them that it was dangerous to let their children play around in the backseat without a seatbelt. The couple told the officer they didn’t have any children. When the police officer looked in the backseat, the children had vanished but left dozens of tiny handprints on the window.

6. The Pali- The most infamous superstition in Hawai‘i is that you cannot take pork over the Pali road or your car will break down or an accident will happen. The origin of the legend suggests that this curse was placed because of the two gods, Kamapua‘a and Pele. They agreed that Kamapua‘a cannot enter Pele’s domain. By taking pork over the Pali, you are bringing a physical form of Kamapua‘a into Pele’s territory and breaking their agreement. It could also be dangerous because in ancient times people believed that pork would attract restless spirits if it is not tied up in a ti leaf, bamboo leaf, or banana leaf.

A taxi driver said that when one of her passengers left a pork sandwich in the back of her cab she was assaulted by an invisible force that made her car accelerate to speeds of 80-to-90 mph, almost crashing it into the divider.

These “events” occurred on the old Pali road, which was replaced by the highway we use today.

7. Makapu‘u Beach, near HPU’s Oceanic Institute, is known for a variety of ghosts and ghost stories. Fireballs have been seen around the area, as well as a female apparition in a white dress. Some believe that the woman could be a manifestation of the demi-goddess Malei, who was a white stone atop of Makapu‘u. Malei was thrown off the cliff during the construction of the lighthouse and never seen again. The woman in white often appears as a young lady, but can change her form to an elderly woman.

Another legend claims that the woman in white died in a car accident after finding out that her husband was involved in an affair. She was horribly burned and said, “Tell Tom I’m coming back.” According to the story, several years later a young man pulled over to the side of the road to change a flat tire. As he was fixing his tire, he felt cold fingers on the back of his neck. Behind him was a woman in white whose face was burned, calling out Tom’s name. The young man ran all the way home, vowing to stay true to his wife.

Supposedly the woman will stop any adulterer who travels the road at night. She has also been seen running along Makapu‘u Beach, without leaving any footprints.

8. Diamond Head Crater
was supposedly inhabited by the menehune before the National Guard moved there. When the interior of the crater was being leveled, strange things happened. Land that was leveled the day before would end up in huge mounds the next morning; moving equipment would break without reason; bulldozers would be moved from their spot and be found in another spot the next day. Several workers also reported rocks falling for no reason.

If you do choose to visit these supposedly haunted sites, please be respectful of the land. You don’t have to believe these stories or superstitions but if you disrespect the Hawaiian culture, you do so at your own risk.

Dos and don’ts for ghost hunting

-Respect the land, whether or not you believe in ghosts.

-Bring Hawaiian salt and ti leaves to ward off evil spirits.

-If you hear someone calling your name to your back, don’t turn around. If you do, you become vulnerable to illness or harm.

-Avoid stepping on graves.

-Everything has its place. Do not remove any rocks from sacred burial grounds or “supernatural” sites.

-Do not take pork over the Pali if you don’t want your car to stall.

-If you see an old woman in white standing on the side of the road, pick her up. It could be the Hawaiian goddess of fire, Pele.

-Don’t point at graves because the spirit might follow you home.


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