Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 6, 2021

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2021 #86


At the very top of this section of this cemetery is the unmarked grave of an infant child abandoned by its teenage mother in 1994.

A 15-year-old girl belonged to a local Chinese family who was very reputable in the community. Becoming pregnant at such a young age would harm her family's reputation, so she was forced to hide the fact that she was hapai. When she finally gave birth to her child, she rushed home from the hospital and got out a shoebox, and began to poke holes all over the box with an ice pick. Then, filling the box with a baby blanket and some newspapers, she put her newborn in the shoebox and drove out to Tantalus. Somewhere along the way, she stopped the car on the side of the road and began to shake the box until she heard the baby cry. Then, just off of the pavement near a small patch of grass, she gently laid the shoebox down and drove off. She hoped that someone driving or hiking along would see the shoe box, find her child inside, take it home, and maybe even raise it as their own.

Alas, when the shoebox was finally found by a passerby, the infant had already passed away.

The story made the evening news, and eventually, the girl confessed to her family. The child was then buried in the children's section of a local Chinese cemetery in a spot far from where all the other children are buried.


It may be because the child is half-cast. But, as I understand it, the father of the baby wasn't Chinese. And so, on nights when I would bring my groups to this location, we would always place gifts of candy or other confections on the lonely marker. More often than not, we would be surrounded by the smell of an infant child or what I call "The fresh baby smell."

On other occasions, people on tour would break down and cry. Still, the one commonality among many is that in the blackness of the deep night, within the stillness of a graveyard located in an affluent neighborhood, we would always hear the soft cooing sounds of a playful infant wanting to be held. Sympathy more than fear would grip the hearts of all the participants in my group, and the atmosphere would become more reverent than otherworldly.

When I began taking the old ghost hunters bus tour to this graveyard in 1999, a small jade bracelet would always be placed on this lonely spot where the child lay buried. Of all the things left on this circular concrete marker, be it char siu bao, money, fruits, or candy, the single jade bracelet always remained in that spot and was never removed or stolen. Glen told me that it was the young mother who left it there for her baby so that it would be protected in the afterlife. Today, the cemetery is inaccessible after a certain hour, and I have honored that rule and have not returned there for a few years.

Over time this story has deepened my appreciation and love for my own child, who I hold dear to my heart, and it has also awakened a conscious prayer within me that the lonely infant buried in a hilltop Chinese cemetery will be reborn into a better and happier full life and live well into the extremities of old age.

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