Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jul 31, 2016

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween! 91 Nights Left! "Tainted Love"

On a night when the old ghost hunters bus tour stopped at Sandy Beach for a bathroom break we noticed a truck driving on the sands very slowly as it headed straight toward the water. The driver was a young local boy who quickly exited the vehicle in tears. He was begging and pleading as he called out for someone to come back. There was no one anywhere near him, he was talking to the air.

“Come back,” he cried. “Don’t leave me, I love you, I need you,”

We figured that he was drunk or high or both or perhaps heavily medicated. Whatever the circumstance may have been, he was convinced that someone was there. We ourselves had no choice but to share his conviction when he suddenly levitated into the air and flew into the side of his truck. His body hit the sand with a thud and he was out cold. A second later, a wind whipped up and formed a small tornado that wildly spun out toward the dark ocean and disappeared into the night. We were too afraid to do anything so we called the police. The young man came to his senses and got up on his own two feet, his legs were shaking as he leaned himself up against the door of his vehicle. All he did was cry; even at the distance from where we were standing, we could see the expression on his face.

He was truly heartbroken.

I drove by early the next morning and saw that the truck was nearly swallowed up by the ocean. However, the young man who owned the truck was nowhere to be seen.

I never found out the reason for the strange incident that we’d witnessed the night before, but I never forgot it.

Jul 30, 2016

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween! 92 Nights Left! "No matter where I go"

Alex Tangonan asked the clerk at the state office for help, who turned out to be a ghost. He handed his parking ticket to the attendant at the state parking lot who could not receive it because her hand went right through it. She was a ghost too. The police officer who pulled him over just down the road from the state library was also a ghost. Alex saw the blue lights behind him, but he realized that there wasn’t a car attached to the lights; he also realized that there was only the upper torso of the police officer but nothing else.

Alex raced off into the night and finally stopped at Zippy’s in Pearl City and found a seat in the restaurant. The waitress asked him for his order, whereupon Alex shared his experiences with the woman.

“You probably don’t want to hear about this restaurant then?” The waitress warned.

“Why?” Alex asked.

“ The watercress farm right next to us is where they dump all the dead bodies after they get murdered someplace else. Get all kine ghost haunt this place, das why have to be careful,” the waitress shared.

“Careful how?” Alex asked.

“All the water we serve is holy water, but the customers don’t know that,” the waitress began.
“ If they’re human and they drink the water, no problem. If they are a ghost, they will turn into smoke and disappear,”

“That’s a good idea,” Alex smiled as he took a sip of water. The waitress watched him closely as he put the cup to his lips and drank the entire content in one gulp. A second transpired before the waitress saw that nothing happened.

“Can I have the garlic steak and mashed potatoes, please? Medium well done on the steak, if it’s ok?” Alex asked.

“Sure thing,” the waitress smiled, walked away, and disappeared into the back of the kitchen.

Once she was gone, Alex fled from the booth, burst through the double doors, and ran straight to his car. He couldn’t have driven out of the parking lot fast enough; the waitress had no feet below her knees. Nothing but thin air.

Jul 29, 2016

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween! 93 Nights Left! "From the mouth of babes"

A popular shopping mall has become haunted by the ghosts of children who randomly appear alongside adult patrons and share interesting observations. A woman said she was horrified when a little girl walked up to her and said,

“Can I tell you something?”

The woman was taken aback and replied, “Excuse me?”

“Can I tell you something?” She asked again.

“Uh okay,” the woman agreed.

The little girl was a bit too honest when she told the woman, “Everything bad that happened to you in your life is the reason that you’re so fat,”

The woman didn’t know what to say initially but when the weight of what the little girl told her finally sank in, she reached out to slap the little girl across her face and her hand went right through her.

Another man was approached by a little Hawaiian boy in the hardware section who told him,

“You were emotionally crippled by your mother as a little boy, you don’t how to use any of the tools in this department because you never learned how; you don’t even know how to light a match. If you’re going to kill yourself, use the nail gun. Buy the longer nails; one shot in your temple and it’s over really quick,”

The truth of what the little boy said struck the man with such clarity that he broke down crying in the electric planer section and later on went to seek professional help. The little Hawaiian boy was nowhere to be found.

The most recent incident happened to a doctor who sat an eatery enjoying his pastrami sandwich. A little local Japanese girl approached him and asked him if he would be kind enough to buy her a sandwich as well?

When the doctor refused, the little girl said, “That’s okay, you ignore your own kids and don’t know how to take care of them either,”

The doctor flew into a fit of rage and screamed at the little girl to mind her own business!

“How can you tell someone to mind their own business when you don’t even mind the business that you should be taking care of? Sperm donor and ATM, that’s all you are..” The little local Japanese girl suddenly became transparent and disappeared among the people in the crowded food court.

Beware of this new shopping mall on the west side of the island, it’s haunted by the ghosts of little children who will tell you something unpleasant about yourself. Whether you like it or not, too bad. They’re dead, they can’t take it back.

Jul 28, 2016

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down to Halloween! 94 Nights Left! "Worst Nightmare"

My nightmare is that I am doing a ghost tour for the dead but it’s not a ghost tour. It’s a people tour about the living and it’s customers are the dead. Why am I the storyteller for this particular excursion? Shouldn’t the guide be one of their own who no longer holds a corporeal form? Be that as it may, we visit state buildings and city hall. As the tour continues on and I merely state historical dates and facts, the group who are no longer of the flesh begin to shed tears. Out of fear I inquire of them if I had said stated something offensive or hurtful? They assure me that all is well and that the fault is not mine; they state that they are broken knowing that the people who work in some of those offices never really live their life.

“What we wouldn’t give to live a full life once more,” they say in unison.

By then the tour is over and I have urged the gray complexioned group back to the bus where they already await my presence. The look on their faces are that of beggars in need of food; they rise from their seats and crowd around me and before I know it they have taken possession of my body. In the nightmare I find myself on my own ghost tour somewhere on the grounds of the palace but I realize that it is not my voice that shares these ghost stories. It is the ghost of each person who works through me to tell their own tragic tale. Imagine that, a storyteller whose specific talent involves the tales of spirits and specters who becomes possessed by the very content of the stories he shares. Talk about the storyteller literally becoming the story.

The question is, did I wake or am I still in the dream?

100 haunted stories, counting down to Halloween... 94 nights left!

Jul 27, 2016

95 Nights 'til Halloween!, "Charmarita"

For a young woman whose blood is filled with the want of a late-night romance by being serenaded with sweet and tender music, this night would have been perfect. The notes from a guitar emanate from beneath the branches of the mango tree in my front yard as a beautiful male tenor voice sings of love, promise, and fate. The rise and fall of his instruments yearn for the young woman to come out and sit with him so that he can serenade her into the late hours of the night. The setting is perfect, the dark clouds in the night sky hover ever so closely to the moon, careful to not block out its light. The wind is soothing to the skin but not so cold that one would freeze in its embrace. The only sadness is that in my home, there is no young woman to beckon to this man’s presence. There is only me, my wife, our children, and our grandchildren. The man appears each night for the month of July at exactly midnight. He serenades sweetly in Portuguese; being raised by a Portuguese Catholic family myself, I know the language. The man is not young, he is weather worn with lines and wrinkles on his face and looks as if he has survived more than one bar fight in his time. His white hair compliments his features rather than enhances his age, but his voice is the contrast to his appearance. It is the vestige that makes the reality of his looks fade away. It is his saving grace. The light of the moon makes him transparent as the clouds above, he is an apparition belonging to an earlier time. The object of his affection, the woman that he hopes will return his love, is more than likely a part of that bygone time as well. He is locked in that moment of pure bliss as he sings from the very depth of his heart and soul.

The next day our neighbor across the street informs us that years ago, near the end of 1913, a man was seen for several nights during the summer months strumming a guitar from beneath our Mango tree, serenading a beautiful Portuguese girl who once lived where our home stands now. The man was much older than the girl, but his emotions were afire, and he hoped to win her affection; the father of the girl was not at all happy about the man’s intentions. One night, the girl's father hiding near the mango tree, awaited the suitors' arrival. Before the older man could offer his romantic serenade, the young girl’s father stabbed the man in the heart, killing him instantly. What was done with the suitor's body was never known. However, the young Portuguese girl waited for several nights for her suitor's return, but he never appeared again. The month of July is near its close, and the ghostly lyrics of the Charmarita will fade into the dark night until the beautiful male tenor voice returns again next year.

Jul 26, 2016

96 Nights Left! 100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween! "Head down, drink coffee"

Homeless men who gather at the local Starbucks and sit for most of the day, are good at keeping to themselves. They purposely don’t get in anyone’s way and choose to remain as invisible as possible. They’re aware of their appearance and the reaction that their countenance evokes from the majority of people who see them, and so they stay reticent and unassuming. However, the homeless man who sits two chairs away from me is a contrary character to his counterparts. He is loud and obtrusive and demands that everyone tear themselves apart from their phones and pay attention to him. When no one gives him a second glance, he begins to threaten them with bodily harm and still nothing, not even an indication that they see him. It is when he retrieves a wrought iron chair and heaves it across the open space toward the picture glass window that he has a severe mental break down. Rather than shatter the glass, the hefty sized chair disappears right through it and does not materialize on the other side. The window is perfectly intact and unharmed. The homeless man is not, he becomes unhinged and cannot stop crying and screaming. No one can hear him or see him, no one.

He was killed one late night as he fell into a drunken slumber beneath the bus shack fronting a fast food restaurant. Earlier that afternoon, he’d assaulted a young man who was quietly playing a game on his phone. He hadn’t a clue that the young man he accosted was the son of a local drug dealer. After finding out from his son the cause of his black eye, broken nose and a busted lip, and the location at where the assault took place, the drug dealer by the circumstances of pure dumb luck found the assailant directly across the street from where the beating took place. He was sleeping at a bus stop. The father of the boy parked his car and casually walked over to where the homeless man lay and plunged the switchblade into the heart of the vagrant. The poor homeless man died in his sleep, but as far as his ghost was concerned, he was still alive and still angry over people paying attention to their phones.

So yes, no one could hear him or see him, except for myself. However, I don’t need the company of a crazed manic conscious following me around and harassing me over the use of my iPhone. It’s easier to keep my head down and keep my mouth shut and appear as oblivious as everyone else.

Jul 25, 2016

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween! 97 Nights Left!, "Pulima"

Is the housing situation on ‘O’ahu so bad that people are willing to live in a haunted location? Consider those studio apartments which are the size of your bedroom with a shower and sink are being rented out for $2400 a month. Without parking and the additional fact that utilities are on your own, you can understand the desperation of most people to find a decent domicile.   

Consider the option that Tamar Torres was left with when he found a two hundred square foot studio that was a part of what used to be a large mansion on the slopes of Punchbowl crater. It was a steal at $700 a month with a closet sized sink, toilet, and shower. Add the kitchen sink and mini fridge and you have the perfect bachelor's quarters. The problem was that there were studios like these throughout the overall structure which would make Tamar one of the eleven other bachelors who lived there.

“There’s just one thing I have to tell you,” the grizzled old landlord began. “This place is haunted. Old lady Spencer killed her husband and kids in the house; it was way back in the late 1800’s and people have said they’ve seen things. Me, I got enough of my own crap to worry about, failing health, bum leg and a bunch of greedy grandchildren. If you can put up with the ghosts, it's really a nice place,”

“I’m sure I can find a way to deal with it,” Tamar replied.

In his mind Tamar knew that he couldn’t pass it up; his previous prospects were ridiculously over priced and he wasn’t keen on sleeping in his car for another night. He reached into his pocket and removed an envelope which was filled with the deposit and first months rent in cash and handed it to the old man.

“Perfect,” the landlord smiled. 

Removing the rental agreement from his pocket, the old man carefully unfolded the large parchment and handed Tamar a strange looking fountain pen.

“Just sign right at the bottom on the dotted line,” the old man said excitedly.

“I have a pen,” Tamar said as he removed his BIC from his pocket.

“No, no,” the old man cautioned. “The owner is kinda quirky and he has a thing about all contracts being signed with his personal fountain pen; just a formality. It doesn’t mean anything really,”

Tamar looked the parchment over carefully and noticed that the whole document was handwritten in calligraphy.

So that the undersigned comprehends the rules of this binding contract that cannot be undone
On the condition that he does not attempt by mercenary measures to break said contract without knowledge of the landlord
Under no circumstances will he flee in the dark of night or attempt to move his belongings piece by piece
Let it be known that he will be subject to the utmost punishment in the highest court of law under the one who mans the crossroads


It wasn’t until he was about to sign the contract that he noticed something strange; the large letters that began each paragraph seemed to spell out one word, “SOUL”

Suddenly the old landlord didn’t smell like three-day old sweat anymore; he smelled of sulfur. His breath was like rotting flesh and his eyes turned a shade of yellowish green while clumps of his hair fell from his head. The wind that blew down from Punchbowl crater freely carried the old man's hair away toward Ward Avenue. Pointing at the dotted line on the rental agreement, insistent that Tamar signs as quickly as possible, the landlord’s fingernails grew out like sharp talons that were now turning black.

Tamar dropped the contract and the strange fountain pen and ran all the way down to Green Street where he’d parked his car earlier. Sleeping in his car for a few days didn’t seem like such a bad idea.

“Dammit!” The old landlord was upset at himself. “I have to learn not to do that until AFTER the contract is signed! The boss is gonna be pissed,”

Jul 24, 2016

98 nights 'til Halloween, "Finding the game"

A poor girl downloaded the Pokemon game on her iPad because she lost her glasses and was not able to see it on her iPhone. In the middle of the rush hour din in the Ala Moana Center, she has headed toward her parked car just twenty feet away from the food court and is oblivious to everything around her. Her peripheral is good enough that it adeptly guides her body through the crowd until she is aware that she is in the parking lot, but by then, it’s too late. She fails to see the oncoming rent-a-car that is heading straight toward her at a high rate of speed.

The young driver himself is also playing the Pokemon game while maneuvering the convertible and crushes the girl beneath the wheels of his vehicle, killing her instantly. The sensation of the girl’s twisted body beneath the frame of the Mustang rattles and jostles the car, but it doesn’t bother him, it just feels as if he’s hit another speed bump. He’s raced over a bunch of them for the past hour.

So, if you think you’ve run over and killed a young girl wandering the mall parking lot at peak shopping hours with an iPad in her hands, don’t panic. She’s not real anymore, and you haven’t done anything wrong. She’s just trying to complete the game by finding Charmander.

Jul 23, 2016

99 Nights 'til Halloween, "Priorities"

I hate shopping. Maybe it’s a man thing or maybe it’s a me thing but I hate shopping. My bachelor days would have me walk into the massive super store where I would get the items that I needed then I would pay for them and leave. No such luck now that I’m married. My wife would tarry in the aisles of the establishment for the better part of the day if she could but with myself in tow she is as patient as she can be. Today, I am blissfully following her with the shopping wagon as she guides me with simple commands such as, ‘turn here,’ or ‘wait a minute, stop’. “Go back,” I just follow, I don’t ask questions. I don’t really pay attention to who is around me either unless I run into someone I know or if I run into someone who knows me that I don’t know that knows me. You see how that goes? That’s how my life works when I’m out in the world. But today it’s just my wife and myself.

Even at one in the morning as I am being guided by my wife and asked to carry something heavy from a higher shelf I am suddenly struck by something very strange. The smell of pickled pigs feet. I look around me and I see that we’re in the latter part of the sporting goods section just near the restrooms. I inhale deeply and there it is; most certainly it is the smell of pickled pigs feet. In the next second I’m covered with chicken skin (goose bumps) and I am confused beyond reason.

“You smell it too?” my wife asks.

“And chicken skin too,” I tell her. We both pause.

“Anyway,” I say, “can I get a bag of pretzels?”

“I guess,” she tells me and we head off.  As we’re heading past the automotive section, I am hit with a sudden realization that I know where I’ve had the experience of smelling pickled pigs feet before. Nineteen years ago, I was part of a small group of teachers that was part of a back-of-the-house tour at the Bishop Museum where the guide took us very briefly to the bones collection department. The guide told us that if we smell something sour, like pickled pigs feet, it’s the bones but it’s okay. Then I remember that just on the other side of that restroom is the area where those bones were found when this store was under construction before it became the shopping icon location that it is today. While this epiphany is playing through my mind and body I then notice the aroma that happens right before it starts to rain, but in the middle of a super store?

From the next few aisles I see people running into the main aisle. Items on the shelf are falling off from the shelving on their own. Fans, locks, beach chairs, door knobs, they’re all over the place. Everyone is dumbfounded and running for the door. Except, that is, for myself and my wife however. We don’t see this as a reason to run pell-mell all over the store with fear. Rather, we leave the hysteria to the uninitiated because we realize that there are no lines at the cash register and we head straight to the front of the store.


99 Nights ‘til Halloween!

Jul 22, 2016

100 Nights 'til Halloween, "Obon"

The Bon Dance, in all of its poetic beauty and the mish-mash of Hapi coats, kimono, and driving drum beats with the high shrill bamboo flutes screaming above the din, captures and hypnotizes the minds of its human participants. For me, it’s not a poetic romanticizing of the end of summer, it’s work. It’s work that has me here watching; they’re hiding among the hoard of people being driven by the mad thundering cadence of Taiko drums and the sing-song voice of its hostess. What better place for a ghost to blend in than at a Bon dance sponsored by an entire community?

It’s about eight in the evening, and the humidity hasn’t let up, but the sudden whiff of the isotopic atmosphere tells me that the show is about to begin. I make my way to the second floor of the parking garage at the Moi‘ili‘ili community center so that I can have a better vantage point. The musicians in the Yagura tower are huddled together, making a kind of music that makes the dancers move in a circle around the red and white edifice. The Chochin lanterns hang stoically from above; unmoved and bored by their singular yearly task, which resigns them to watching sadly as lines of people front the Choba to make donations on a slip of paper. Some take small Tenugui towels for their children while others ignore them completely as they make a beeline toward the dancing throng of people. Many Uchiwa fans are used as props for some dancers, and yet others need them to stave off the unmerciful heat.

There’s only one thing missing, the dead.

The excitement of the festivities intensifies as more people arrive. The concession stands are running out of food and drink, but the musicians haven’t once come up for air; in fact, they are going stronger than before. The atmospheric aroma has also become more pungent; however, I have not seen anything out of the ordinary.

“Sir,” I hear a voice from behind me. It’s security. He looks like he’s at the retirement age, tall, gaunt local Japanese guy. With him is an older Japanese woman about his age that is dressed in a pink and white Kimono. With her are two little Japanese girls, each dressed in happi coats. They’re snacking on Andagi in one hand and are holding small red peony lanterns in the other. “How come you’re not down there with everyone else having fun?”

“It’s too humid,” I tell him, “I’m just enjoying the sight of it if you need me to leave. I can go.”

“Oh no worry,” he waves me off, “All the real troublemakers are across the street at the bar, and they don’t start making trouble until after the bar closes.”

He stands next to me and takes in the sight of all the music and all the colors. He inhales ever so slightly, and a smile comes across his face.

“I grew up on Kaua’i, and every year during Obon when we would have the dances at the Hongwanji, the Hawaiians would come to join us and bring their Kulolo. Ooooh was so ‘ono I tell you. Of all the things I miss when I see this kine Bon dance, I miss the Kulolo,” he said.

“Wow,” I begin, “You’re making me hungry now.”

“Oh,” he chuckled, “Sorry, anyway, I go leave you alone, my shift pau, so I have to get my wife and granddaughters home.”

He walks away, and his wife gives me a slight bow of her head and a smile. The two little girls are oblivious to anything else except their delicious donut hole desserts. They head up the ramp to the upper floor, and I call out to him, “Nice meeting you!”

He continues walking, and without turning around, he extends his hand upwards and waves back; initially, I assumed that it was because he was so tall that his stride carried him up the ramp a lot faster than usual. It wasn’t until I looked at his feet that I realized that there weren’t any feet; everything below his knees dissolved into thin air. It was the same for his wife and granddaughters, no feet at all. Just thin air as they floated up the parking ramp. Before I could do anything, they popped out, and they were gone.

They were the one and only ghosts that made a show for the rest of the night; otherwise, the smell of the rain that never came disappeared at the same time that they did, and that was it. The rest of the night was quiet, and the humidity went away. It was replaced with a calm, soothing breeze that came from the back of Manoa Valley. You could literally see the crowd of people breath a sigh of relief once the comforting winds filtered through the celebration.

They’re getting smarter every year these Bon dance ghosts; it’s getting so that you can’t tell who the spirits are anymore. Once I think I’ve got it figured out, they come up with something new and start to look like you and me.

100 Nights ‘til Halloween!