Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

May 29, 2018

In Plain Sight

Introductions were made all around and handshakes were exchanged but there were no pleasantries. The owner of the home who was a well-known recluse gestured toward the larger waiting room, everyone followed as he led the way.
The floor was covered by a red carpet with ornate white designs along the edges which all joined toward the middle, just off the hemline of the carpet was the bare wooden floor whose planks the owner cut and shaped by hand. Rattan chairs and end tables were pushed up against all four walls of the large waiting room. It was a strange combination of pieces that did not fit and I could not help but feel that everything was thrown together just for the sake of filling the room with something. Everything else in the home looked like a curios shop, there were shelves and shelves everywhere that was filled with every odd item which you don't normally see but certainly recognize. The shelves were in the bathroom, the washroom and the garage. The backyard of the home was smaller than the structure itself and was only filled with a patch of green grass and a single plumeria tree. By the time the tour of the property reached its conclusion, we were all very much confused, we had all congregated the Manoa mansion for the sole purpose of exorcizing an unclean spirit from the home per the owner's request. Thus far we've seen nothing out of the ordinary save for the massive collection of knick-knacks from estate sales.

His name was Sora Kamimoto and the mansion he lived in was built by his great-grandfather Yuuto Kamimoto. Yuuto was one of the few who fulfilled his contract to work on the plantation and thereafter moved to town in order to make a life for himself and his wife Hana. Yuuto found work planting and harvesting Taro in Manoa Valley for a Chinese man named Lum Yip Kee. With the money he had saved up over the years, Yuuto was able to buy a plot of land from his boss where he could plant and harvest his own taro with which to make poi and sell it for a profit. When the need for taro and poi diminished as the result of more and more people buying up land in Manoa, Yuuto was able to build what would eventually become the well known Kamimoto Mansion. His great-grandson Sora is tall and very well built for a man in his late fifties. His dark complexion obviously comes from spending hours in the sun, perhaps from swimming or some other athletic endeavor.
It lends him a more Hawaiian appearance than a Japanese. With a full head of wavy black hair, he stands in the front driveway of his home dressed in an impeccably pressed light gray suit and tie; this is something even more out of place as the humidity in the islands has been nearly unbearable for the past week. Yet, Sora stands there completely unaffected by the heat.

"What do you think gentlemen? Did you sense anything in the house? Any malevolent feeling of dread or foreboding?" Sora was articulate and we felt as if we were speaking with a dignitary or a head of state rather than an independently wealthy bachelor. There was the obvious Japanese accent but it was not as thick as one would expect.

The five of us conferred among one another before we answered and our reply was that there was no impression of any kind that could give us an indication of any malignant presence that would infect his home. He seemed out of sorts afterward, even a bit irritated with us that we did not readily give him the answer he had expected.

"Would you at least bless my home before you leave?" He insisted more than he asked.

We obliged him and blessed every corner of the mansion and right up to the easement which separated his property from the next. We thanked him for his trust in us and made our way to leave, in return, he thanked us as well and gave us each an envelope with $500 in it. Certainly, we expected no payment as we did not ask for it but he stuffed the envelope in our pockets and walked away. Several months later I sat at my kitchen table while working on my laptop, the television droned on while I composed reasons as to why certain financial institutions should loan me money. I was only half listening to the six 'o clock news when something caught my attention,

" The well known Kamimoto mansion which has been a landmark in the Manoa community was destroyed in an overnight fire. Although the mansion itself and all its contents perished in the flames, the authorities did find something that was not a complete loss, That was the body of the Kamimoto mansion's owner, Sora Kamimoto. Kamimoto was a known recluse and was very rarely seen in public. His body was found in the basement of his home as it lay between the washer and the dryer. The only other live in resident was the landscaper, "Bahngo Kinimaka." who remains unaccounted for.

I looked up at the TV screen and saw a picture of an elderly Japanese man with white thinning hair and shallow cheekbones. The caption above his picture read Sora Kamimoto. The picture next to his was the landscaper a dark-skinned Hawaiian man with a head full of wavy black hair. Did the landscaper kill his boss and assume his identity or was it something else? After all, were we not called to the mansion to perform an exorcism? I remember now that the person who originally called us to give the rites of exorcism at the mansion did not sound like Sora Kamimoto, it was a male voice that had more of a local accent. Could it have been Bahngo Kinimaka reaching out to us during a brief moment of clarity when he was not possessed by the spirit of his old boss? If so, then it was obvious that Sora Kamimoto was not prepared to give up the ghost, but of course, we'll never know for sure.

In the Hawaiian language, the word "noho" means “possession of a medium by a spirit or god.” It also means to possess or to be possessed. The English meaning is to have as belonging to one or to own. Come and hear master storyteller Lopaka Kapanui share hair-raising true accounts of people who have been possessed and find out how common, everyday objects end up becoming possessed themselves. Join us this Friday evening at the Doris Duke theater as Lopaka Kapanui shares stories of "Possession"

Lopaka Kapanui: Possession

Friday, June 01 07:30 PM
Doris Duke Theatre

Museum members: $12.00
General Admission: $15.00

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