Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 25, 2016

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween! 5 Nights Left! "Spirit Catcher"

“For in old Hawai’i, man and gods and nature were very close, and the curtain between the living and the dead was woven of cobwebs,”

-Kawena Puku’i

It was exactly noon when my son lay down to receive his tattoo from the master. The proper protocol was observed and the prayers to summon the protection of the ancestors were invoked in the proper manner. Those same prayers are also meant to help the ‘ili or the flesh accept the ink into the skin without physical or spiritual hindrance. The weather was soothing and very agreeable to the atmosphere which permeated my home. Even our animals who were rambunctious and noisy were now calm and relaxed. The tapping began with a rhythmic cadence that was soothing and hypnotic. I sat as I am sitting now, working on my manuscript while the master and his assistant transferred the mana of what would be my son’s design on to his thigh. I could not help but notice the simplicity of the process. The larger stick of wood is the one that is used to strike the smaller piece. The smaller piece is the one which is lashed in a way that is unique to the master; his signature if you will. That lashing firmly holds the needle or tooth-like comb in place. It is then dipped into the ink or soot and tapped into the skin. How wonderful that such beautifully ornate and bold designs can be born from such simple tools? In our culture, we believe that it is our ancestors and our family gods that inspire such living pieces of art.

At some point during the process, my son fell asleep. It’s nothing unusual as most people become lulled by the sound of the tapping and eventually doze off. However, when the process was completed and the bold dark design literally jumped off of my son’s thigh and calve, we saw that he was still sleeping. The master sterilized his work and cleaned off the seeping blood but that did not wake him either; in fact, nothing did. His form was perfectly alive and well, but he could not or would not wake. Several hours went by and after many different attempts, my son would not open his eyes. Rather than panic and call the authorities, we tried to figure out what might have happened? The master then said in a low tone of voice,

“His spirit left his body while he fell asleep; at some point, during the tattooing, it never came back. I believe someone stole it,”

“You mean a Kahuna Po’i ‘Uhane?” I asked.

“What is that?” Asked the assistant.

“A spirit catcher,” the master answered.

“There’s only the four of us here,” I said. “It can’t be one of us,”

The master jumped to his feet and ran out the door and checked the front yard, I went out through the kitchen and the assistant remained in the house, checking every room. We convened in the living room a few minutes later, agreeing that we could find nothing. From my peripheral vision suddenly, I could see an old black Lincoln Mark IV parked outside of my house on the street.

“Don’t look out the window,” I whispered. “There’s a car parked out there, just act like nothing’s wrong.”

“Let’s sit,” the master suggested. “We’ll crawl out the back door, my assistant and myself,” the master looked at me. “You stay with your son,”

“Wait,” I said. “Why would anyone want to hurt my son?” I asked.

“It’s not your son, it’s me,” the master said. “ The Kahuna Po’i ‘Uhane is jealous and a coward. People like this can’t attack me directly, so they do it through other people, like your son. I’m sorry this happened. I’ll take care of it and you’ll never have to see us again.”

“Take care of it,” I urged him. “But don’t disappear,”

The master and his assistant crawled out through the kitchen door so as not to be seen by whoever it was that was in the car. The master went around the right side of the house and his assistant came around from the left side. They both emerged; one from the front of the vehicle and one from behind. I could not hear everything clearly as it was chanted so quickly in Hawaiian that it was indiscernible. I was taken aback when I heard a low rumbling explosion that shook the walls of my home; it instantly caused me to cover my son’s spiritless form in case the ceiling began to fall apart. A short moment later, the master walked into my home with his hands cupped together. There was urgency on his face as he asked to hold my son’s head back,

“My assistant is moving the car to a safe location; right now I need you to hold your son’s head still no matter what happens. Do you understand?”

I placed my hands on his temples and held on firmly; the master’s cupped hands hovered over my son’s face for a second while he chanted in Hawaiian. When he opened his hands a thick veil of smoke enveloped my son’s face and lingered for nearly a minute. Finally, it seeped into the corner of his right eye until it was completely gone. While his body began to convulse violently, the master held his feet down firmly.

"Cover his eyes with your hands!" The master instructed. "That's so his spirit doesn't try to come back out again! I'm holding his feet so his spirit doesn't try to escape through his toes!"

The body suddenly stopped shaking and became still, a second later  my son sat up and looked around the room,

“Are we done already?” He asked.

Without saying anything about what just transpired, the master said, “You were asleep the whole time,”

“Really?” My issued asked.

“How do you feel?” I was curious to hear what he would say.

“It was a weird feeling but I felt like I was curled up in someone’s hands,” he replied.

The master, myself and his assistant couldn’t help but laugh; my son thought we were crazy.

The Kahuna Po’i ‘Uhane was a woman whose  affections were rejected by the master. She was livid and swore revenge against him. At every turn, when the opportunity presented itself, she would steal the spirit of someone that the master was either close to, or from someone who was an innocent, like my son. Whatever the method was that the master employed to retrieve my son’s spirit is unknown to me. I’m simply glad that he was able to get it back. As for the woman herself? I’m not certain if the master rendered her useless or if he took her life. What I will tell you is that now and again, a 71 Monte Carlo will park across the street from my home and sit there for most of the day. The second I emerge from my front door, it will drive off.  The license plate reads, “Pupule”

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