Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 23, 2017

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2017! #9


The media, social and national has always fed us the idea that families consist of the mother, father and one or two children. During my time while growing up, social media was not yet a gleam in the eyes of the giants who created such a format as we know it today.
With that said, the true gift of the age in which I grew up was that people spoke face to face and stood within each other's circle to exchange thoughts, feelings, energies, and ideas while within reach of one another. However, as I learned under the tutelage of my parents and their teachings, it was through meeting the people which they helped that I witnessed for myself that families were made up of different components but they were families none the less. When people appeared at the door of our house, they were in need of my parent's help for healings or blessings or to have a curse removed or sometimes to have one cast upon someone else. My father said that we were there to help people and that we were not to judge how people chose to live their life, for that had nothing to do with the service that they needed from us. My father was peerless in his example of how a man should conduct himself while abroad in the world, he was affable and kind, soft of voice and heart and spoke little. He cautioned me often to take care of the words which left my mouth for words had power, especially for the occupation that we undertook from the legacy of our ancestors who employ the method of prayers and chants, we had to be careful. This is why my father spoke so little but when he did have a point to make or a story to tell, he made certain that every word had value and that it counted for something. He was not one for idle talk or self-indulging conversations or meaningless babble. If what you said to him served no purpose he would end the verbal intercourse by either leaving or hanging up the phone, this may explain my penchant for being stoic until I feel it necessary to speak. For all the love and tremendous respect which I held for my father, the one thing which has never left me was his presence. I recall moments when my mother was in our living room counseling people who needed help, my father would enter, silent and unannounced and everyone present turned immediately in his direction. That was mana, my father possessed it as did my mother, I can only hope to have a fraction of what made my parents great people.


The ensuing years following my father's death along with the disappearance of my mother were difficult, to say the least, they were difficult years for my uncles and aunt as well. There was an incident where I'd suddenly disappeared and no one could locate my whereabouts, there were no cell phones or GPS in those days so one can imagine the measure of stress that my disappearance must have placed upon the shoulders of my aunt and uncles. I would find out later that when the normal means of finding someone were employed and failed thereafter, my family employed the means of divining water and smoke but to no avail. An entire day transpired and it was just an hour past the latter part of noon when on a hunch, Uncle Tiny drove to Hau'ula. His instincts moved him to traverse the trail to Kaliuwa'a but not before making the proper offerings before ascending the heights of that sacred location. In the caves high above the falls is where we placed the bones of my father after we first observed the prayers, ceremonies, and rituals. Uncle Tiny would find me, sitting in one of those burial caves with the pu'olo containing my father's earthly remains in front of me, and between my legs was an Ouija board. I was mad with desperation to speak to my father, I needed his guidance and strict admonitions to guide me to the place where my mother might have disappeared to, but there were no cryptic messages forthcoming no matter how many times I tried or how many questions I asked, the planchette would not move.

When uncle Tiny came upon this scene and witnessed the act which I had committed, it would be the one and only time he would discipline me. He first cuffed me on the side of the head and then broke the Ouija board into pieces, next he picked me up with one hand and slapped me several times and let me crumble to the dirt floor of the cave. He admonished me for defiling the sanctified place of my ancestors by bringing the Ouija board into their presence, scolding me that my kupuna would never communicate through such methods. Hauling me to my feet, he must have truly seen me in my miserable state because there was a look of disbelief on his face, he could finally see that I was not processing the passing of my father very well. He hugged me for a long time and we both cried together; years later on when the time was right and ready, we would transfer my father's bones to my office in a midnight ceremony where it would be safe, and where he and I could communicate regularly. Finding out the truth of my mother's disappearance would come later, and in very subtle ways not directly, we are a people who love hidden meanings and answers that must be earned, not freely given away.

My uncle Tiny was a great man who I held in reverence from that point on, like my father he was a bull of a man who could kill you with a flick of a finger if he chose to do so, but his heart was as tender and as innocent as a child's. The humorous difference between him and my father was that he was a ladies man who loved the company of women, and it should go without saying that women loved his company. His devilishly handsome looks and charms often became his own undoing.


Tabby had not returned from school at the expected hour and there was no call to inform us of her whereabouts and there came no answer as we called her cell phone. My uncles combed the city while Aunty Rita divined Tabby's presence through the protocols of pule uahi, although I adopted Tabby as my hanai, Rita worried and doted over her more. She was mad with tears that would not cease, it was one of the rare moments when Aunty Rita was vulnerable with emotion. I waited on the street in front of our building until Kealoha brought my car around, in a short while we were on our way in accordance with the directions I had given him.



The rolling grass hills gave off a rich color under the waning afternoon sun as the adjoining mountains gave off the appearance of a finely colored painting. My car drove along the meandering lane which led through the area until Kealoha parked alongside a row of Coconut trees. There she was less than twenty feet away on a small knoll. Her school clothing stood out among all the green and all the flowers which fluttered in the soft breeze. She did not look up once but sat there with her knees tucked up to her chest. Except for her tears, no one would know of her emotional plight as her face remained stoic and unmoving. I sat on the grass beside Tabby, when suddenly Kealoha troubled himself to remove his coat and urged me to sit on it rather than on the finely manicured green. I assured him that it was perfectly alright and that his lapse of memory would not merit him a termination of his service, he returned to the car and waited. I shared a secret with Tabby and told her that a very wise person once told me that our kupuna doesn't often communicate to us in the way that we wish, rather they come to us in dreams and give us portents, symbols, and signs. Recognizing those portents, we are given validation of their presence. I could see that she did not believe me, therefore I took the opportunity to point out a rainbow over the Ko'olau mountains and mentioned to her that the multi-colored arch was also a sign. I was curious and inquired of her as to what question she asked her father and brother while sitting at the foot of their graves?

" I asked if they were with me," she replied.

Indeed, the sudden appearance of the rainbow above the mountains where no rainclouds were present and no sunlight to create the prism, it was indeed the sign and the answer she needed. I shared more of the wisdom which I learned from the same wise person, "Our grief also prevents us from hearing the words of our ancestors, and so we feel lost because we convince ourselves that they have abandoned us, but they are no farther than you and I are now."

We sat for the remainder of the afternoon, asking questions and receiving answers from her father and brother, Tabby needed reassurance that becoming my hanai daughter would not upset her family in any way. A small unobtrusive wind carried a patch of light misty rains toward the two of us and it felt like a small caress on your cheek which only your mother could give you, that was another sign and Tabby was satisfied.


My father was named, 'Kahi'uka' after the smiting tail shark of Pu'uloa. Kahi'uka or the smiting tail is also the name of a fatal blow in the Hawaiian martial art of bone breaking or Lua. His example as my father is how I will try to raise Tabby in our world, I will give her all that my father gave me, and more. I will give her all that my mother gave me, for it was she who told me that faith is the foundation of all things, for even the prayers and incantations which we use in our work requires faith to make it palpable. The only exception, however, is that I will be here for a long while and I feel that the most important thing I could ever give to Tabby, is what my father gave me.

His presence.

Hanson Boy Napualawa

Halloween Ghost Tours, Mysteries of Hawaii, Lopaka Kapanui, Chicken Skin 2017
The Halloween season is here and it's time for some fun! We have a lot in store for you...
Mondays in October, it's our Haunted Fort Street Mall Walking Tour · Learn some of the ghostly history of this former center of commerce and trade

Tuesdays in October, join us for Waikiki Ke One Kapu · Modern and Ancient tales of hauntings in this most infamous location await you

Wednesdays Thursdays in October Half-Priced Ghosts of Old HonoluluWalking Tours · Take a journey with me through Aokuewa, the realms of restless spirits, that inhabit our Downtown community

EIGHT DATES ONLY in October, Waikiki Trolley & Kidz for a Cause, featuring Lopaka Kapanui & Henry "Bulldog" Cardenas, present The Haunted Honolulu Zombie Trolley Tour!
Lopaka and Buffy will be your hosts on through the 1 1/2-hour trolley ride, sharing the scariest stories throughout Honolulu
This event is a benefit raising money for the Ronald McDonald House.

Oct 7 · A Stay of Execution A personal guided ghost tour of the courthouse museum where we discuss the Fukunaga and Massie cases and more!

Oct 13 · Friday the 13th Chicken Skin Obake Stories at KMC Theater on Hawaii Island · True ghost stories just steps away from the Kilauea Caldera
Oct 14 · Chicken Skin Obake Stories at KMC Theater on Hawaii Island · Again!

Lopaka Kapanui Ghost Tours
Oct 21 · Mysteries of Hawaii’s Ghost Hunters Midnight Tour!
Oct 28 · Mysteries of Hawaii’s Ghost Hunters Midnight Tour, Halloween Style · Come dressed as your favorite haunted character

Nov 3 · For your post-Halloween pleasure, Hawaii's Spirits & Legends: Nightmarchers, a storytelling event at the Honolulu Museum of Art Doris Duke Theater

View our October calendar below!

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