Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 5, 2017

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2017! #57


Hiking at Judd trail for the first time, I’d become lost even though I could hear the sound of passing traffic nearby I had difficulty finding the road. It wasn’t long before I gave up and found a tree to sit under where I could get some rest and gather my thoughts. I was frustrated at the sound of passing cars because it did little to comfort me, instead, it made me angry. I realized that it was the sound of the wind blowing through the tall grass that simulated the sound of vehicle traffic. I really was lost and out of sorts, I felt discombobulated, I couldn’t explain it.
The grass and dirt around the tree seemed out of place, as did the tree itself. I stood up and got a better look at it and saw that it was a very large Ulu tree. What was strange about the breadfruit tree was that one side of it was nothing but rotten dead branches, the other side was perfectly normal.

“Are you lost?” I heard the voice from behind me and jumped out of my shorts.

“Holy shit! You scared the hell out of me!” It was an old Japanese man in a bowling shirt, plaid shorts and a pair of slippers on his feet. He had a small pair of gardening shears in his hand which meant that he was pruning the grass on his front lawn or sidewalk. That also meant that his house was somewhere close. I calmed down and managed to answer his question, “yes, I was hiking and I seemed to have gotten off track somewhere.”

“Me too,” he smiled. “I was lost but now I found dis tree I feel bettah, I get little bit Hawaiian on my maddahs side das why!”

Before I knew it, this apparently aged man scaled the ulu tree on the dead and rotted side like he was a twelve-year-old boy. The branch gave way beneath his feet and he fell with it, except he never hit the ground. He and the branch disappeared into a dark nothing that disappeared as soon it received him, but he wasn’t the only one. There seemed to be a line of different kinds of people beginning to assemble and they were all doing the same thing, they were climbing the rotted part of the tree and falling into a pitch black chasm which seemed to mute out their light. Certainly, I wasn’t in Kansas no more. It went on for a while until I noticed a little Hawaiian boy standing off to the side of the procession. He eyed the line of people up and down and appeared to be waiting for someone.

“Waiting for your family?” I asked him, hoping that he wouldn’t be afraid to share some small talk.

“My mom,” he said. “She told me to wait for her, she should be here soon.”

At that moment, the line began to thin down until the path to the ulu tree was empty and quiet. The little boy suddenly ran off and hid behind the trunk of the large tree. Suddenly that feeling of being out of sorts coupled with anxiety was gone, and I could really hear the sound of cars passing nearby.

“Keith Kapaemoku?” That was my name, someone was calling me. I turned to see a Hawaiian man dressed in black standing at the end of the path waving at me. “Keith Kapaemoku?”

“Yes, I’m Keith!” I answered.

He was now waving me toward him, “You’re lost, right? The path to the road is right here! Follow me!”

He didn’t have to tell me twice; he walked slow enough so that I could catch up with him. The second I was walking along the side of him, I could see clearly that the road was only ten feet away and just off to the side of the road facing the two of us was my car. How could I have missed that and gotten lost?

“Brother, thank you so much! What’s your name?” I was so overcome with joy I didn’t even bother to ask about the boy or to find out how this guy in black knew my name?

“Milu,” he answered.

“Oh, like the wood?” I was sure I’d heard his name somewhere.

“No, not like the wood at all,” he said. “That would be Milo, you better get going, it’s getting to be near sunset.”

I only took a second to glance back at my car and I turned back to thank Milu but he was gone. Where would someone like that who is so well dressed disappear to?


I’d been back to Judd trail on more than a few occasions after that, but I was never able to find that trail, nor that strange ulu tree again. One night, I felt adventurous and booked myself on a walking ghost tour of the downtown area. You can imagine my surprise and relief when the guy who is hosting the tour walks up to the group dressed completely in black. For a second I thought it was Milu but upon closer inspection, it was the storyteller. By the end of the ghost tour, we were standing outside the fence of what he told us was once a Hawaiian language immersion pre-school that since has been converted to a classroom for toddlers. He walked us over to a large monkeypod tree and showed us a lone headstone which stood at the base of the trunk. When he flashed his light on the headstone, we all saw a black and white photograph of a nine-year-old Hawaiian boy on an egg-shaped porcelain frame. His name is Peter Gregory Nahola, born November 18, 1905. died June 20, 1914, he was the same Hawaiian boy I met when I was lost and resting at that strange ulu tree up at Judd trail. I didn’t imagine the whole thing after all, which means that when I met him three years ago, he had technically been dead for one hundred and three years. I followed the advice given to us by the storyteller on that ghost tour, he emphasized research, research, research. That’s what I did, after a little research I found out that Milu is the lord of the underworld or the king of ghosts. That explained everything, I was lost that day and stumbled upon a place where I didn’t belong and really, I must have upset some kind of balance because the lord of the underworld himself showed up and personally escorted me back to the world of the living.

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