Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jul 23, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018! #100


My parents are Alfred and Carmen Launui, and they're very well known and respected in the paranormal community in Hawai'i, and this is my short story about them.
The respect they gained is not so much from their work but from how they treated people and how they took care of them no matter who they were or what they believed in. Mom and Dad said that every person has a story and a reason as to how and why they are who they are, all they're looking for is for someone to listen. A lot of of people ended up becoming like our own family while others would pass through every now and again. All the while my parents never asked anything of these people, and neither did they expect it. However, all my parents had to do was ask for a favor, and it would be done. For everything that took up their time and attention, mom and Dad always made time for us and always made sure that we did everything together as a family. We never once felt that they were ever too busy for us.

One day while mom was away at work, Dad received a call from the family of a middle-aged man who they said was possessed by something so wicked that it caused the walls and floors to rot right in front of them. Dad got on the phone with mom, who was at work and told her about the situation. They agreed that she would meet him at the location, which was a house on Auwaiolimu street. It's not really clear as to what happened but mom got caught in traffic and by the time she got to the house she was already twenty minutes late. At some point during Dad's attempt to find out who or what it was that possessed the middle-aged man, the entity released itself from its victim and took a hold of my father. It was very powerful and it was something that Dad wasn't prepared for. When mom finally arrived and saw what happened to my father, she was able to exorcize the entity from him but it was already too late, it had been in my father's body for too long and when it left it wiped out any memory he had of the incident and of my mother clean away.



Our house has a square tower just above the attic. It's windowed on all four sides with screens that have very small eyes so the bugs don't get through. That's where my father sits and stares out at the ocean in Waikiki, it gives him peace and solace for most of the day. Normally he takes his nap around noon and wakes up at four where he putters around his room which doubles as his study. He'll come out for dinner and after he takes a shower he heads back up to the tower where he'll just sit until he falls asleep. That's his routine most days unless we're headed out to go shopping or to a family party. He'll come along and make small talk. Otherwise, he'll be in the same place every day without fail. No one minds, no one complains but everyone knows to not bring up the subject of ghosts or parapsychology to my father. That order comes from mom and we strictly enforce it. It's like after the exorcism dad retreated to a safe place in his mind where he knows who we are and he knows who his friends are, but beyond that, he can't remember how his friends became his friends. Then there's mom, he still doesn't know who she is. She tells him she's the live-in housekeeper which is why he's always cordial and kind to her but other than that he never expresses an interest to know her beyond her capacity as what he believes her to be. It goes without saying that this whole thing was hard for mom because she felt responsible for what happened to Dad, she felt that if she had just arrived earlier she could have saved him. It is what it is and that's the chance anyone takes in their line of work.

My father's pet name for mom was 'Menna' or 'Babes' but now he calls her Ms. Carmen and addresses her in such a gentlemanly fashion that it's flattering and painful to watch. You kind of half expect him to take mom in his arms and kiss her the way he used to but he keeps everything strictly cordial. At one point mom wasn't sure if she could bear it but she did, she made it work like she made everything else work. Mom's strength held all of us together because she said we had to be strong for Dad, she told us we owed it to him for everything he'd done, everything he'd sacrificed for us and he never once complained. So, we all pitched in and worked together and helped make Dad as comfortable as possible. A call came one day from a Ray Taniguchi who lived in Hawaii Kai, he told mom that his basement was haunted by a spirit who took over his man cave. He claimed that the spirit would manipulate the electricity when Ray and his friends were trying to watch the football game or whenever they were playing mahjong. It was a simple enough case so mom prepared the Ti leaf and water to take with her to cleanse the house. It was mom's day off when the call came and it was a little after 12 noon when she walked past Dad's bedroom.

"Menna?" Startled, mom stopped dead in her tracks and she heard it again. "Menna?"

She appeared in the doorway of Dad's room and wasn't quite sure what to say but she managed to mutter, "Did you need something Mr. Launui?"

"Don't go, Menna, that man doesn't really need a blessing," Dad told her.

Mom was so startled that she called for all of us to come upstairs to Dad's room. When we got there mom had her wooden bowl in one hand and the ti leaf and water in the other hand. "Tell them what you just told me," mom asked him.

"All I said was that you shouldn't go to that man's house, he doesn't really need a blessing. That's Ray Taniguchi remember? His wife was found stabbed to death in his basement back in 1995. "Dad said. "Remember somehow they couldn't tie the murder to Ray and so they let him go? My gut always told me that Ray Taniguchi did it."

"How could you have known that?" Mom asked him. "I took that phone call downstairs, there's no way you could have heard that from up here."

"You just can't go Menna, he'll kill you and you'll never come back." With that Dad lay down to take his afternoon nap, he was out the second his head touched the pillow.

Mom never went to that call but within the next three days, there would be a story on the news about a woman named Marlene Meyer who survived Ray Taniguchi's basement and called the police. She was a friend of my parents and when mom didn't show for the blessing, Ray called Marlene. Marlene went to Ray's basement and proceeded to do the blessing when Ray tried to overpower her by putting a plastic bag over her head. What Ray didn't know was that Marlene had a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and Judo. It would be putting it mildly when I say that Marlene beat the holy hell out of Ray. When the news cameras showed Ray being cuffed and taken to the main station, his face was so swollen with black and blue bruises that he was unrecognizable.


We all sat around Dad's bed and waited for him to wake from his nap, we had to know that it wasn't some kind of fluke. We had to be certain that our Dad came back to us and that his memory of mom was still there. Somehow some part of Dad knew that mom was in danger and that part of himself that he put away in a deep dark corner of his mind caused him came back to tell mom that she shouldn't do the blessing. As quickly as that morsel of a memory returned, it was gone, and so was our father. 4 'o clock came and when he awoke he didn't recognize us as his children, as far as he was concerned we were just a bunch of strangers freeloading in his house. At that point Mom was done, she was over it, she sat in front of Dad and told him,

 "I'm your wife, I'm Menna! You and I have been married for as long as I can remember but we've been together for lifetimes before that! I know you and you know me, we literally read each other's minds, that's why we have no secrets! Our song is 'If' by Bread, that's the first song you sang for me when we first met!" She held his face in her hands with tears streaming down her cheeks. I think we were all crying at that point. Then she pointed us out one by one. "These are our kids that you and I had together! Teddy, Georgie, Michael, and Sherelle! You gave up your money to buy the car you wanted so that Teddy could have his first Rolex watch! Remember when Georgie came down with pneumonia and he had to go to the hospital? No one could convince you to leave his side! And Michael, remember when Michael got into that fight at school when those boys told him that you were crazy because you helped people who saw ghosts? You carried him all the way home from school you were so proud of him! Remember when you sent Sherelle to her first prom with her brothers so that they could keep an eye on her boyfriend? Remember how furious she was with you?" Mom didn't just want her husband back, she wanted her life back.



Every day one of us sits with Dad in the tower and we sort of play catch up by showing him pictures of ourselves from infancy to the present day. I like to include my school projects and things from work, sometimes Dad gets overwhelmed and he'll need a break. That's understandable of course. In the evenings he and mom take long walks along Waikiki beach and they always stop for a bite to eat somewhere along the way back. They sleep in Dad's room now just like they used to, mom has slowly moved her things into the room without him noticing.

So far, so good.

Still, we're not sure if Dad will ever fully recover but we take it a day at a time, after all, there's always hope. Yet, until he does, I've been thinking about asking mom if she would start teaching me so that I could take Dad's place? That way she wouldn't have to do her work alone. Who knows? Maybe we all could learn? In the meantime, I keep telling myself that one day I would like to have the kind of love that my parents have, one filled with true commitment, communication, respect, and of course undying balls to the walls love. That's what I want to have, love that never gives up.

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