My Haunted Hawaiian Holiday

Current mood: contemplative



I make it a point whenever I visit the Hawaiian Islands to pay homage to the deities…both my beloved Goddess Pele and the ruling human monarchs. I visit Iolani Palace, the only palace on American soil to pay my respects to Queen Lili’uokalani who ruled from this impressive establishment…and was also later, imprisoned there.

I am ever mindful that she wrote 250 of the most beloved Hawaiian songs of all time during her shameful captivity…all by ear since she was allowed no instruments. I also visit Queen Emma’s Summer Palace and there too, I am aware of that great lady’s presence.

But I had an unusual experience last night. On a whim, with time to kill and not one to ever waste a moment, I rashly booked a tour. The Oahu Ghost Tour. I had to drive down to Waikiki and be collected from the Marriott at 7pm.

I almost bolted when a Hawaiian guy bounced out of his van and thrust a clipboard in my face. It was a waiver, if you please.

“You sign here…or you can chicken out now. Last chance,” he said. He was quite forceful on the issue. I was starting to lose my holiday joy with this guy. He was really overdoing the fear factor.

Uncle Joe as he is called laid it on thick about what can happen to you on these ghost tours. I cut right through his spiel. I was interested in knowing if we were going to Ulupu Heaiu a recently discovered archaeologically vital sacred altar that dates back about five hundred years and is being lovingly restored by a group of historians. Uncle Joe seemed surprised by my question and said we would be going there.

He drove like a teenager on crack and we arrived at the next stop. I waited a loooong time while he put a group of terrified tourists through the same rigmarole. They all eventually signed the waiver after lengthy discussion and looked thoroughly spooked as they crammed into the van. I was getting very antsy by the fourth stop when the tour, evidently overbooked had to split up into two.

Uncle Joe and his cohort Cousin Robert told us what to expect. “Guard your heart and your mind,” Uncle Joe said repeatedly. I knew from the extensive questions I asked the booking agent that we were supposed to cover Ulupu Heaiu, Morgan’s Corner (a famous spooky site thanks to a murder), the Nu’uanu Pali – site of thousands of deaths at the hands of King Kamehameha 1, the children’s section of the Chinese cemetery in Manoa and finally, a haunted section of Paradise Park, which is near my home.

I was disappointed when Uncle Joe said there had been a change in schedule and we would not be going to Morgan’s Corner but instead would be going to King Kamehameha’s Summer Palace. I’ve been to the palace before and sure, I think the Queen probably drops by now and then but it’s not what I consider a spooky place.

Actually, it wasn’t Queen Emma’s Summer Palace we were going to visit, but that of the ruling monarch before her, King Kamehameha III.

I had never heard of his palace but as we drove up the admittedly creepy and completely unlit old Pali Road, I felt an uneasiness I cannot explain. Never mind that there was not a light in sight but we were scuttling through a very narrow opening in a thicket of bamboo and with only a few torches between 26 people, it was a treacherous, long walk. I was quite stunned actually when our guide, Cousin Robert, took us through twisty, turning paths so narrow the bamboo hugged us in parts. And suddenly there it was. The ruins of the King’s summer residence.

It’s difficult for me to describe the sensation of being there. I knew this was not only an important historical find since very little of each Hawaiian King remains. According to custom, with the passing of a monarch, all their personal items were destroyed and they were buried in secret, lest the mana, the  power contained within their earthly remains land in the wrong hands.

I stopped in that dark, dank, deadly silent place and felt an acute and heavy sadness. Others walked through the remains of the front door, but I stayed riveted on the outskirts of the property, feeling a very loud and angry spirit wanting us to leave.

It was a weird moment. I thought I was being fanciful until Cousin Robert stood beside me. “Anything wrong?” he asked me.

I told him what I was experiencing. He did not look in the least surprised or amused…thank God. I was near tears trying to describe the deep anguish I felt. “There’s an energy over here to the left,” I said. I did not add, They don’t want people walking there. This is sacred ground.

Cousin Robert nodded. “Uncle Joe and a few other people really feel it too, what you are describing.” I saw his glance in the arc of his flashlight, “The place you pointed out, this is where they say he made blood sacrifices.”

That was chilling.

I didn’t want to explore what I was feeling too much. I knew we were privileged to be here and I took some deep breaths, thanking the Spirit Guardians for allowing us to enter this sacred realm. As we all walked back to the vans, we were quiet. Some of the guys on the tour had taken photos and were stunned by what seemed like ghostly activity. I needed no physical proof. I felt it. I was relieved when we climbed back on the van and left Kaniakupupu (The Temple of the Singing Land Shells).

King Kamehameha III died in 1854. It is amazing that his summer residence has decayed so rapidly but the little I have been able to read about it today indicates it is deliberate. I am not a fanciful person…not really. But my experience last night was a profound one.

 Undoubtedly, I will use all this in one of my books, but for now, I know I connected with some ancient and fierce protective aumakua – royal falmily guardians. I will probably never go back to the King’s Temple of the Singing Landshells…Not at night, nor in daylight. I am glad to know it’s there…but a warning to those who would go seeking its dark magic. Be afraid, be very, very afraid.

Aloha oe,


Currently listening :
By Palani Vaughan
Release date: 1997-01-01

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