Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jul 30, 2019

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #95


My family always traveled somewhere every summer. It was never to an expensive resort or a hotel but usually to an affordable beach house on the north or south shore, and that's where we'd stay the whole time. It was our one and only yearly family vacation.
I remembered one year in 1975. Dad got a big raise and a promotion so that summer we went to Kauai. We vacationed like tourists at the Coco Palms, where part the famous Elvis Presley movie was filmed. We were real tourists then, official-like even though we lived on 'O'ahu. I turned 14 that summer and as a kind of unofficial birthday gift, or so I thought in my own teenaged imagination, I was graced by the presence of one of my classmates from 'O'ahu who happened to be staying at the Coco Palms as well.

Lisa Respicio.

I ran into her at the pool while chasing my sister. I intended to push her into the deep end. From my peripheral, I could see that someone was about to step into my path, but it was too late to avoid colliding with whoever it was. BAM!!! We knocked each other silly, and after a few 'what the hells' and 'watch where your goings,' we realized who the other person was, and we laughed. After that, we were inseparable for the rest of the summer. Luckily for us, Lisa's parents and mine got along very well. Toward the end of our vacation, Lisa and I had already promised to see each other when school started and that on the first day, we would meet at her homeroom class and hang out until the bell rang.
However, at that moment, we were more interested in walking along the banks of the Wailua River as it emptied out into the bay near Hikinaokala heiau. Other romantic couples were doing the same thing, and Lisa and I paid them no mind as we were too enamored of one another to see anything that existed outside of our own sphere. We passed under the bridge, and I was overcome by the moment as the sea spray from the ocean washed over us. I was midway to kneeling at Lisa's feet to proclaim my undying love when, without warning, we were overcome by a sickening stench. It was sulfur. It burned our lungs and made us throw up. Before we knew it, a terrible wind blew past us, nearly knocking us down. It was all happening so fast that we were disoriented and turned around, and we weren't sure where either mountain or ocean was. The last thing I remembered before everything went black was the sight of a Hawaiian warrior who seemed to have manifested out of the wind. He gave Lisa, and I push with the back of his hand and sent us sprawling to the sand. Then with his mighty foot, he stepped on the both of us and held us there. All the while, I could hear him screaming something, "Kamawaelualani, Kamawaelualani!"

That's all I recall.

I woke up in the emergency room at Wilcox Hospital. Lisa lay on the gurney next to me fully awake, but she said nothing, Her eyes were wide and unfocused, she was in shock. They wheeled her off, and I found out that her parents came to get her, and I never saw her again after that. When the school year started, I'd heard she transferred to James Campbell High School. My father read me the riot act and reminded me how lucky I was that Lisa's parents didn't sue us. When he finally calmed down, he asked me about what happened, and I told him everything I could remember. My mother was the first to cry. My father cried while explaining my own experience to me.

"Those were Night Marchers. You were in their path as they were coming out of the Wailua river while walking along the banks.....probably right where both of you were. They were going to Hikinaokala heiau, you two happened to be in the way." My father never cried and so seeing him that way was a big shock to me.

"The Hawaiian Warrior," my mother began, "was an ancestor who appeared to protect you. That name you mentioned.....Kamawaelualani. That's a very ancient ancestor of both your fathers and my family. It connects us way, way back to that one common ancestor. That warrior was not trying to harm you, he pushed both of you back to get you out of the way, and stepped on the both of with his feet to make sure that you stayed put." The tears rolled down my mother's face as she held me close. My father held my hand and gave prayers of thanks to our ancestors for my safety. Turns out, there is a bit of Kauai lineage from both my folks. I never knew that.

My brothers and sisters would get to hug me once I got back to the Coco Palms, and over time, everything would go back to normal. Today, I bring my own kids to Kauai for vacation. The Coco Palms is no longer in operation, so we stay at the Hilton Garden Inn, which is located right near the mouth of the Wailua River. On the grounds of the hotel is Hikinaokala heiau, just like I remembered. I always make it a point to tell our children about my own personal night marcher experience that happened not too far from our hotel when I was 14 years old. It serves as a reminder to not wander off late at night on their own and is also a preventative measure against unaccompanied teenaged urgings.

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