Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 4, 2022

Nalowale 2022

Bayer Kelea vanished one day while on his way to hike a trail in Moanalua valley.

Oct 3, 2022

Server 2022

Appeasement is why I went to the funeral of a person I didn't care for because this person was a burden to our family. Her name was Alena Seresto, the youngest of her family of thirteen and the most spoiled and least traditional Filipino in her family. Went to college on the mainland, married someone from Minnesota, divorced after five years, and lorded the wealth of her alimony over her sisters and their families. The rest of her older siblings had long passed, so whoever was left got the unwanted pleasure of her company. Alena passed in her sleep after a long bout with liver cancer, she suffered terribly, and in the end, she died alone. Even under those circumstances, I had no desire to attend her services, but my mother told me I would go out of respect for the dead. So, I went, but I sat in the very back. 

While everyone got up to speak and struggled to say something nice, I snuck off to the lounge, where the servers had already put out the food. Lots of musubi without the nori, just the ume, my favorite. Shoyu chicken, teriyaki beef, sweet-sour pork, regular rice, and fried rice. Oh yeah, what a spread. I asked one of the servers if it was alright to make myself and plate, and she told me to go right ahead. So when I was done, I found a table in the corner with just one chair, where I sat to inhale my meal and then leave. But not without saying goodbye to my mother first, of course. 

"What are you doing sitting here by yourself?" I heard a voice ask from behind. I looked up to see a young local Filipino girl pull up a seat and place herself directly across the table from me. Her clothing hurt my eyes. The top she wore was a long-sleeved black and white with broad black stripes, the collar was pulled up vampire style, and she wore capris with pleated pockets. The belt she wore wrapped around her waist and then down to where it wrapped around her right thigh. Her heels were too high, and she wore her hair in a strange bob. "Didn't you hear what I said? What are you doing here sitting by yourself?"

"Eating," I replied.

"No shit," her sarcasm was cutting like she would fight me simultaneously. Then, looking at what was on my plate, she remarked, "don't they have better food than this crap?"

I ignored her and kept eating. She let out a long, bothered sigh and began tapping her fingers on the table. First, out of boredom, but now she was doing it purposefully to get my attention. "What?" I looked up at her, very irritated. 

"You never answered my question," she said.

"I'm here by myself eating because I wanted to be here by myself eating before the crowd files in, and then I can't be here by myself eating like right now," my tone was even and unwavering, and I kept it that way so she would get the hint. "Anyway, are the services over in there?"

"Psssh, services," she scoffed. "It's more like bullshit; they all hater her; they should just say what's on their minds, assholes,"

"I didn't care for her myself, but if I didn't come to show respect, then my mom would be on my shit," I said. "Why are you are you here?"

"I don't have a choice either; I have to be here," she sighed. "I'd rather be anywhere else but here,"

"Go get a plate before the crowd files in," I suggested. "Otherwise, you're gonna be shit out of luck. You know what? You stay right there; I'll get your plate for you."

"Well, that's unexpectedly nice of you," more sarcasm. 

"The quicker you eat, the quicker I can be alone," I smirked and went to make her a plate of food. I came back, and she was gone. So, I ate her plate of food as well. When I was done, I returned to the services to tell my mom I was leaving. I saw my mother now seated at the very back where I was. By her body language, I could tell she was over it; she was more likely ready to leave herself. I also noticed that irritating girl standing up against the wall directly behind my mother. She clutched a picture frame close to her chest, crying bitterly as if her heart had been broken. Which is understandable considering the circumstances. She went to leave and walked past me, nearly running into me if I hadn't made room for her. What caught my eye was the picture frame she held on to; in it was an old-colored photograph of a young Filipino girl in the pink of her youth, dressed exactly the way this irritating Filipino girl was dressed. Before I could comment on the weird incident, my mother grabbed me by the arm and pulled me toward the front of the services. 

"At least go see your aunty and pay your respects," she hissed at me.

I didn't argue; I just joined the long line of mourners and offered condolences to my cousins, Aletta's ex-husbands, and their succession of kids. Finally, we got to her casket, which housed her body. Every piece of jewelry she owned was around her fingers, wrists, neck, and ears. Her burial gown was orange chiffon with puffy laced shoulders. One couldn't see her hair too clearly because her head was overwhelmed by her large Ms. Kalihi Industrial crown from 1982. My mother shed tears and told Aletta how much she loved her. After that, there was a table next to Aletta's casket, which hosted a bunch of pictures depicting her various accomplishments, one of which happened to be the picture that I saw the irritating girl holding on to. "That's your aunty. While attending fashion design school on the mainland, she also worked full-time. That's when she was the Aletta we all loved, but little by little, after each divorce, she changed."

How do I tell my mom that the Aletta in the picture was the same person I spoke to in the lounge and that she got on my nerves? How do I tell her it was the same person I saw standing behind her, not less than a few minutes ago, clutching onto a picture of herself? And then, why appear to me of all people who didn't even want to be there? Life is so strange, and there are so many things that are not explained, mysteries that we will never understand. Like tonight.

Oct 2, 2022

Polaroids 2022

 On my own at 19 years of age, I moved far from my little duplex hobble in Waipahu.

Oct 1, 2022

17 Days 2022

It's no secret that I have a very well-paying job, so I can't complain about the work conditions.

Sep 30, 2022

Fox 2022

One evening, a woman leaving a cruise ship decided to take a leisure walk about the pier and eventually into downtown Honolulu.

Sep 29, 2022

Kaʻao 2022

During a time known only to those who lived in the days of our ancestors were two brothers, Kua and Hiapo.

Sep 28, 2022

Only 2022

Being the only sick kid on the small property of four houses, two toward the front of the old dirt road and two toward the back near the river, gave me a lot of time alone.

Sep 27, 2022

Tuesday 2022

 What else is there to look at but blues skies, beautiful clouds, and green mountains veiled by misty rains?

Sep 26, 2022

Pani 2022

I stood back and watched my daughter kneel at her mother's grave at the Hawaiian Memorial Cemetery.

Sep 25, 2022

ʻIole 2022

 As stories like these go, a group of errant teenagers pooled their Venmo money together and bought an ouija board online.

Sep 24, 2022

Sep 23, 2022

Lei 2022

Lei can be woven of several particular flowers, ferns, and the like.

Sep 21, 2022

Sep 19, 2022

Sep 17, 2022

Sep 16, 2022

Kēia Mua Aku 2022

 During elementary school, I used to make fun of this girl named Dʻarby Kaholoiki.

Sep 13, 2022

Lita 2022

 Forty years have passed, yet the memory of it is as fresh as it was like it happened yesterday.

Sep 12, 2022

Māhoe 2022

 E-mails, text messages, and other messenger apps have been uploaded to my phone ad nauseum in the last few days.

Sep 11, 2022

Manawaʻino 2022

When she slept on her side, the curve of her body looked like the outline of the Mānoa mountains.

Sep 10, 2022

Kānewawahilani 2022

My dream revealed to me a massively wide ʻohia tree which also stood unimaginatively tall because of how it pierced the clouds.

Sep 9, 2022

Effort 2022

We worked at Coco's Coffee House back in the day when we were too young and too stupid to know better.

Sep 8, 2022

Sep 7, 2022

Hana Pa'a 2022

During the shutdown's first phase three years ago, a dear friend came down with Covid.

Sep 6, 2022

ʻO ʻoe 2022

Viewing an old video restored digitally with color added was a fantastic thing to see.

Sep 5, 2022

Live 2022

Years ago, a cat we loved named Cotton walked out of our home and never came back.

Sep 4, 2022

Kīlauea 2022

Filled with all signs of life, furniture, chairs, love seats, knick-knacks, and mementos, the home felt stark and void of life.

Sep 3, 2022

Light 2022

My Popo passed away toward the end of the hungry ghost festival last year.

Sep 2, 2022

Pā 2022

Congratulations were the order of the afternoon because of Selena's accomplishment in signing twenty new clients for their unique health care products at Hololmua Mana Power Drinks within fifteen minutes.

Sep 1, 2022

Dress 2022

 A speculative rumor said that the simple peasant dress belonged to a princess.

Aug 31, 2022

Aug 29, 2022

Aihualama 2022

The lush exuberance of lauaʻe lay across the forest floor like a finely woven makaloa.

Aug 28, 2022

'O wai ? 2022

 A five-acre property sat overlooking the waters of Honomū on the big island.

Aug 27, 2022

Aupuni 10 2022

Mom was a wealth of knowledge and very worldly, which to me, as her son, seemed out of character because I had never seen that side of her.

Aug 26, 2022

Aupuni 9 2022

"We're going to talk about noho," mom began while peeling away the shells of her boiled peanuts which she placed in a separate hand-sized bowl.

Aug 25, 2022

Aupuni 8 2022

 Aunty Elena, mom's cousin, laughed uproariously and soon turned red.

Aug 23, 2022

Aupuni 6 2022

Tonight's lesson was about making my own salt, which I had no clue that one could actually make their own salt.

Aug 20, 2022

Aupuni 3 2022

Yandra, although not a member of the family, made herself worthwhile to mom in every way she could without being too much in her hair.

Aug 19, 2022

Aupuni 2 2022

The dawn of the early morning let its rays of still rising light bathe the living room and the kitchen. I always liked it this way. This was quite an hour before everyone began to stir in their beds, my brothers and sisters with their kidneys filled, knowing they had to come out of the excellent dream they were caught up in so they could relieve themselves and get on with their day. My mom sat in the far left corner of the living room on her rattan rocking chair, wearing her old bowling team shirt and her old quilt blanket on her lap. Physically, she was staring off somewhere, but mentally, her thoughts were filled with what she had to say to us once we were all awake and sitting at the table for breakfast. I walked over and sat at her feet on the freezing concrete floor. 

"Penny, for your thoughts," I said.

"Good morning," she smiled. "Your wahine must be fast asleep; won't she miss you if she finds you're gone?"

"She's fine," I assured her. "How are you?"

"I'm ok," she affected. "Can you please do me a favor, wash up and start breakfast? I'll go wake everyone up in the meantime."

While mom made her rounds, I went into the bathroom and did the routine: I washed my face, brushed my teeth, washed my hands, used the bathroom, and rewashed my hands. I woke Yandra up with warm kisses and pressed our bodies against one another. We made love really quick and promised to make it last later on when we were ready for bed. By the time I got to the kitchen, mom had already had the bacon frying and was mixing the eggs simultaneously. I stepped in and took over for her, to which she smacked my shoulder with her koa wooden spoon and scolded me. "Go wash your face, can smell your girlfriend all over you!"

Embarrassed, I did what she commanded, and when I returned, she finally let me take over. By the time Terry and Thomas were awake, they were hungry and sitting at the table with growling tummies. My two sisters, Jana and Jen, were frying up the french toast and the sausages. Yandra got the Guava and Orange juice pitchers filled and had the last of the plates and cutlery set out. "Hello, strange person that we don't know who was not introduced to us," Terry got up, shook Yandra's hand, and hugged her. "I'm the oldest and most responsible brother," he said. "I'm Terrence, and this brooding Edwardian mess is the second oldest brother, Thomas!"

Tommy stood up long enough to say hello and gave Yandra an air hug and kiss. "On french toast over there is the oldest sister, Janalyn, and on sausages is the youngest girl, Jenharad. It's a long story."

"We met already while going to and from the bathroom," Jana said. 

"We like her," Jen agreed. "She just jumped in and started helping, didn't even have to be asked."

"Of course," Terry continued ignoring his sisters as he always did. "You already have carnal knowledge of our youngest brother Timotee or Tim as we disproportionately call him, because he tends to forget common courtesies like introducing his girlfriend to his family."

"Oh, stop being such a prude Terry," mom scolded him. "You were the very one who couldn't stop playing with yourself all through your teen years." Oh shit! My mom outed our oldest brother as the chronic masturbator in the family! We nearly pissed our pants laughing while Terry looked at all of us with disdain.

"Hah, hah, very funny, but don't forget who had to cover for most of you when you came home drunk, Jana, and you snuck a boy into your room, Jen! That was me who took the beating for the both of you!" He reminded the two girls.

"No one's forgotten that, Terry," Jana groaned. "Because you bring it up every chance you get whenever we're together!"

"Everyone, please, if it's not too much trouble, let's take our places for breakfast," Mom stretched her hands out as she always did. This indicated that we had to pray once we were seated. With her head bowed and her eyes closed, mom took a deep breath, and when she exhaled, she said, "Terrence."

In protest, my brother said, "Mom,"

"This is not a request Terrence," still with her head bowed and eyes closed, mom wielded power.

"Ancestors of our family, both Kū and Hina," my brother began. "Please give us your love and compassion and protect us as we partake of this meal and offer you the essence of it; Aloha,"

With that, everyone set forth to eat their breakfast, especially Yandra. Mom liked that she wasn't shy about eating. "You marry this girl," mom nudged me. Once breakfast was over, and everything was washed and put away, we gathered in the living room and waited for mom to join us. She took her place in her rattan rocking chair and got to it immediately. "I want to pass on and teach you, children, everything I learned from my mama and grandmother. I'd like to start as soon as Monday."

"My school schedule is full, mom," Thomas spoke honestly. "I'm carrying a full load this semester."

We've got work, the kids, and our ungrateful husbands," Jana spoke for herself and Jen.

"I'm Mormon," Terry said. "You know I can't; I mean, it was enough that I had to do the prayer earlier,"

After that, my older siblings came up with excuses as to why they had to leave suddenly. Work, family, car repairs. Anything to get themselves out of there and away from any spiritual obligations they felt mom was trying to put on them. That left me, mom, and Yandra. 

"I've got time Ma," I told her. "I can start Monday." be continued 

Aug 18, 2022

Aupuni 2022

The time of my life was spent in Orlando, Florida, with a great job and even more incredible nightlife.

Aug 17, 2022

Haʻi aʻo 2022

Pōhina was worried that his acceptance letter to the school to which he applied would never arrive.

Aug 16, 2022

Aug 15, 2022

Rama 2022

We all waited with bated breath in the small, cramped back room of the old house in Papakōlea.

Aug 14, 2022

Turns 2022

I, for one, pride myself on always following the advice of my parents and my elders.

Aug 12, 2022

Huluhaele 2022

Featherwork is a tedious task and requires focus and saint-like patience.

Aug 11, 2022

Nalowale 2022

When my brother disappeared in Moanalua valley fifty some odd years ago, there was no fanfare on social media, no plastering of his face all over the place.

Aug 10, 2022

'Uhane 2022

I can't tell you why I suddenly started exercising because I don't know myself.

Aug 9, 2022

Ki'i 2022

 After my tūtū wahine passed away, the arduous task of clearing her bedroom fell solely upon me, for it was stated in her will that I was the only one allowed to do so.

Aug 8, 2022

Mum 2022

Throughout my life, I could not shake the feeling that my mother didn't like me.

Aug 7, 2022

Friend 2022

 Fried noodles today are not like the way they were made in 1975 when you were 13 years old.

Aug 6, 2022

Strange 2022

There's a favorite song of mine that resurfaces randomly every now and again.

Aug 5, 2022

Hulu 2022

Fingers pressed against the meticulously placed feathers evening them out, so they all faced the same direction.

Aug 4, 2022

Pana 2022

Awakened by the pulse and rhythm of the cadence of breathing, they stretched forth their hands and feet and tightened their muscles as much as they could bear without cramping.

Aug 3, 2022

Marks 2022

 Today the ancestors made themselves known in droves, but I could only speak to three of them. 

Their presence was overwhelming as they all tried to get in through the front door. They will take advantage of any opportunity to communicate their wants and needs.

Aug 2, 2022

Lana 2022

The light coming up over the horizon is a dull, muted color until the dark purples and slight oranges begin to manifest.

Aug 1, 2022

Hānau 2022

For years I worried about the tradition of burying the afterbirth of my children in a proper location that would be our land in perpetuity.

Jul 30, 2022

Hua 2022

Melancholy nights looking up at the night sky, waiting for the Hua moon phase to slowly advance over Hanauma or Molokai.

Garden 2022

His hands were large and meatier than most.

Jul 29, 2022

Insert 2022

Surreptitious movement is advantageous if you're the only person clearing a room and you've been cut off from your insert team.

Jul 28, 2022

Ticket 2022

 I've been going to carnivals all my life, from the time of the big tent shows to what passes for a festival these days.

Jul 25, 2022

Jul 23, 2022

Bloodlust 2022

 Dressed in their finest, most expensive tuxedos, the old men watched as the new initiate received his indoctrination ceremony.

Jul 22, 2022

Jul 21, 2022

Mehameha 2022

 Stark white during what I could only assume was the daytime hours, and a subtle gray represented the evening.

Jul 20, 2022

Sleepy 2022

 End chairs and coffee tables flew across the living room, and the rug curled back and slid into the hallway.

Jul 19, 2022

Jul 18, 2022

Jul 17, 2022

Kinipopo 2022

 It was a muggy Saturday morning, and Devon's team was down by two points.

Jul 16, 2022

Jul 15, 2022

Cry 2022

Terror struck the late evening visitors at Kāneʻīlio point at Kūʻīlioloa heiau.

Jul 14, 2022

Jul 13, 2022

Property 2022

The patrons at the resort eyed me closely, wondering what I, a Hawaiian man dressed in black, might have been doing sitting at a rich beachside property?

Jul 12, 2022

Church 2022

Growing up, a kid in our group didn't attend church with us on Sundays.

Jul 11, 2022

Move 2022

We lived in this house for more than forty years, more than a few lifetimes.

Jul 10, 2022

Kumula'e 2022

As kids, having lunch or dinner at the old Willows restaurant was a treat.

Jul 9, 2022

Alma 2022

We must be fair in addressing the Filipino plantation workers as well.

Jul 8, 2022

Jul 6, 2022

Kilo 2022

 "The gods came from there," my grandfather pointed to the night sky while we sat on the roof of our house.

Jul 4, 2022

Jul 2, 2022

Jeshua 2022

Jeshua Faleafine was the security guard at the old grocery store on Gulick Avenue in Kalihi.

Jul 1, 2022

Shitty 2022

 Even as I sit here, I question why I agreed to have dinner with a man I have nothing but contempt for, and yet here I am.

Jun 30, 2022

Irene 2022

 Irene J. Foster visited me two days ago to let me know that a particular person would come forward and own up to what she wanted me to say.

Jun 29, 2022

Adolpho 2022

He smelled like VO5 most times, but he also had that Vitalis aroma about him.

Jun 28, 2022

Sweat 2022

Love and hate is the way I'd describe my sophomore year in high school.

Jun 27, 2022

Jun 26, 2022

Ao Holo'oko'a 2022

"In life, you should hope that you can move seamlessly from one moment to the next without pause or flaw in the process.

Jun 24, 2022

Wedding 2022

 Wedding days are always filled with tension, panic, and pressure, just like at a funeral.

Jun 23, 2022

Dance 2022

She was so caught up in her conversation while she and her business partner took a shortcut through the Kawaiahaʻo church graveyard that she did not notice she had been walking over more than a few graves.

Jun 22, 2022

Change 2022

Twenty three years ago my friends and I were hiking the Aiea loop trail at precisely nine in the morning which is right about when the time when the place is still quiet and unbothered by tourists and the like.

Jun 21, 2022

Fisherman 2022

 My brother and I were home on Kauai, which we didn't get to do often.

Jun 20, 2022

Ron 2022

Believing this story is still difficult for me, even though I am a person who has had a lifelong experience with mysterious and strange things.

Jun 19, 2022

Take 2022

John Kenai, his wife Alyssa, and their daughter Kylie became houseless when their landlord decided to sell the house at the last minute.

Jun 18, 2022

Hoʻokō 2022 3


"Jedidiah could not come up with the money to pay for passage back to the east coast to retrieve his son and the daughter of the aliʻi ʻai moku," the museum curator said.

Jun 17, 2022

Ho'okō 2022 2

 "This is not good, Jedidiah," Herman smiled as he spoke with his long-time friend so as not to give a hint of their conversation to the Hawaiian chief.

Jun 16, 2022

Ho'okō 2022 1

Jedidiah Corliss, by way of circumstance, and not by the hand of God as he would later say it was, but by happenstance, saved the life of the only child of the Aliʻi ʻai moku of Lihuʻe who was near to falling off a sheer cliff to the rocks below.

Jun 15, 2022

Guilt 2022

 Another story about another house with a strange unsolved history in urban Honolulu.

Jun 14, 2022

Hālua 2022

Truth. The more aquiline your features and skin tone, the more you are admired and accepted.

Jun 13, 2022

Leimaliko 2022

Hoʻoleiʻupena is the act of casting out the fishing net as you would a lei around the shoulders of a beloved person.

Jun 12, 2022

Jun 11, 2022

Moonlight 2022

No one had ever done a moonlight parade through Waikīkī. A starlight parade, yes, but not one by the full moon's light.

Jun 10, 2022

Under 2022

Missing was one sock which the partner to the only unique pair of socks I ever owned from Scotland.

Jun 9, 2022

Ka'ahele 2022

This case was not part of my wheelhouse, so to say, which is why in the beginning, I did not understand why my presence was required.

Jun 8, 2022

Menehune Mū 2022

 "Oh, they left long, long ago," Aunty Meng reminisced. "The Menehune men started marrying Hawaiian women, and the Menehune queen did not like that.

Jun 6, 2022

Leiʻala 2022

A Vietnam veteran remembers the day he stepped off the plane at the old Honolulu airport. Of all places, the least location he expected to see protesters against the war was at home, at the airport. He said the air went out of him as if surviving the war in service to his country was pointless. He intimated that he felt stuck, as if there were no way to exit the airport without being confronted by one person or a group of people who were against the war. "Are you alright young man? You look troubled?" An old Hawaiian woman stood there with a ginger lei in her hand. "Where is your family? How come they're not here to greet you?"

"I'm early," the young version of himself replied. "I was looking for a payphone to call home and let my parents know I'm here."

"It must have been such a long flight," the old Hawaiian woman said as she draped her ginger lei around his shoulders. "After you call your folks, you should sit down and relax. It must have been a very long flight home, no?"

The veteran told me that he and the old Hawaiian woman sat and talked until it was time to head out to the sidewalk where his family would pick him up. "We talked about what high school I went to, the people I knew, and my mother's maiden name. Then, before I knew it, it was time go. I thanked that kupuna, and she gave me a big hug.

"Welcome home, Kawika," she said. "Aloha!" The old Hawaiian woman walked away, heading toward the gates where a group came through the terminal.

"Tūtū!" The veteran called out. "I didnʻt get your name?"

"Leiʻala," she smiled and went about her way.

"When my parents picked me up, we hugged and cried, and I finally got myself and my bags in the car; we were on the way home, and my mother noticed my ginger lei and asked me where I got the lei. I told her it was given to me by an old Hawaiian woman at the airport and that she sat with me until it was time go,"

"Did you get her name?" My mother asked.

"Leiʻala," I replied. My dadʻs station wagon came to a screeching halt. He turned around and gave me a strange look before pulling off the road.

"Leiʻala?" My dad questioned. "Are you sure?"

"Yes, dad," I replied. "Why?"

"Leiʻala was my great-grandmother," my father sat there with tears welling up. "She was hardly seen without a ginger lei; it was her favorite. Thatʻs why she was named Leiʻalaikeʻawapuhi, The fragrant ginger lei. She was welcoming you home, son."

"I was shocked, but my parents sat there for a few more minutes, crying, and knowing that with the trouble and worry I experienced at the airport, my great, great, tūtū lady came and kept me safe until it was time to go home," he shared. "True story, true story."


17A Productions Presents

Lopaka Kapanui at Hawaii Theatre

A LIVE and IN-PERSON storytelling concert at the historic Hawaii Theatre. This master storyteller is one of Hawaii’s most popular teller of tales and has been in the business of scaring people for more than 20 years. Lopaka is terrifically skilled at provoking that sudden chill going down one’s back or causing the small hairs on your arms to stand up. Chicken skin is what we call it in Hawai‘i. Others might refer to it as chills or goosebumps. Sharing real accounts of Hawaii’s supernatural culture, Lopaka often leaves audience members questioning the darkness on their drive home and anxiously leaving the light on at bedtime.


Jun 5, 2022

Pushed 2022

 No longer the Sears at the mall on the Windward side of the island, it stands empty and stark.

Jun 4, 2022

Choked 2022

Choking, struggling for air, the eyes wide, the lips turning blue and foaming at the mouth.

Jun 3, 2022

Knocks 2022

 Soft and then loud but gradually like a crescendo in a music piece.

Jun 2, 2022

Weird 2022

Looking away would have made me just as guilty as the person committing the heinous act.

Jun 1, 2022

Story 2022

 What I heard interested my attention for less than half the time it was happening because I was busy doodling on my phone.

May 31, 2022

Lady 2022

 The gulch goes through the botanical gardens and then continues to lake Wilson where many a corpse of a young able-bodied Schofield soldier has been found.

May 29, 2022

Kaomi 'Elua 2022

Everything after that was so simple; we fell into a love that was already nurtured by a long friendship, and marrying Priscilla was a no-brainer.

May 28, 2022

Kaomi 2022

We were friends from the first time we both realized that we liked power rangers.

May 27, 2022

Haʻaloʻu 2022

When my son's marriage ended, I was there for him as much as he needed me to be.

May 26, 2022

Lingered 2022

 "Oh," the psychic shuddered as he walked into the establishment. "It's THIS place. I'd completely forgotten about it."

May 25, 2022

Lingering 2022

March 1979

Her name was Jennifer, and she'd been running the Club Miranda since nineteen seventy-six.

May 24, 2022

May 23, 2022

Lost 2022

 There's no way to get lost at the Kualoa beach park, especially when you're heading out to the campgrounds.

May 22, 2022

Phillip 2022

Twenty-five cents seems like something trivial to be bullied for, but this was nineteen seventy-six.

May 21, 2022

List 2022

Strangers owe you nothing, and you, in turn, owe nothing to strangers.

May 20, 2022

May 19, 2022

Intrude 2022

They were armed to the teeth, but for some reason, with all the hardware they had, they came in with knives.

May 18, 2022

May 15, 2022

End 2022

Sunday, January 13, 2018, at 8:07 am, a false missile alert was sent out to the Hawaiian islands.

May 14, 2022

Bullied 2022

Our fourth-grade teacher was uptight, horribly classist, and racist.

May 13, 2022

Malley 2022

We had to throw his clothes away and burn them and anything else he touched, stepped or slept on.

May 12, 2022

Place 2022

 Of course, from a child's perspective, the house you grow up in can seem like a grand mansion.

May 11, 2022

Site 2022

Of all places, a fast-food choke and puke shouldn't be infested with spirits.

May 10, 2022

Trap 2022

The comic book store was packed with back-to-back nerds in all shapes and forms.

May 9, 2022

Road 2022

My connections tell me that it's because of this built-up anger after the pandemic, this at a governor who prioritizes the people who lined his pockets rather than the voters who got him into office.

May 8, 2022

Parking Lot 2022

He's on the Young Street side of the parking lot, not trying to run away but waiting for me to catch up.

May 7, 2022

Restaurant 2022

The restaurant isn't anything special, but it's the one everyone goes to after a night of clubbing and drinking or after attending a concert.

May 6, 2022

Creepy 2022

 "Pounding on the door, in the middle of the night," the woman told me after the conclusion of one of our downtown walks through an old cemetery.

May 5, 2022

Awakened 2022

 This is another one of those stories where the free spirit comes into someone's life just long enough to change their mind and heart and release them from the constraints of a humdrum existence.

May 3, 2022

Waiting 2022

 It's an old house sitting empty at the end of the road just before the Wiliwilinui hiking trail.

May 2, 2022

Kākau 2022

We bought the house in Kaimuki about three months ago, right near the fire station.

May 1, 2022

Aggressor 2022

Years ago, a fight nearly broke out at an eatery on Ke'eaumoku, particularly crowded on a late Saturday evening.

Apr 30, 2022

Sunrise 2022

 It may not seem like much because of how urbanized the Kaimuki/Wai'alae/Kahala districts have become.

Apr 28, 2022

Peter 2022

 Little feet pattered across the wooden floor and then down the hallway to the bathroom.

Apr 27, 2022

Yandy 2022

Every day, the birds flit about looking for scraps that anyone will throw at them. Yandy Kalei'iki instead throws them little diced-up

Apr 26, 2022

Apr 25, 2022

Galaxie 2022

"Thankfully, things haven't changed too much at St. Louis Drive-Inn.

Apr 24, 2022

Seizure 2022

 Many years ago, my cousin Caleb would have these seizures where his eye would roll over, turning pale and then blue.

Apr 23, 2022

Makaluku 2022

Have you ever had something happen to you that was so unexpected and traumatic that it changed you completely?

Apr 22, 2022

Hale Pule 2022

 Although I am an atheist, and I believe I have been since the time of childhood, I can't help but miss this old church.

Apr 21, 2022

Scene 2022

Uncle Kai, the former caretaker at the oldest church in downtown Honolulu, told me about many of his late at night encounters.

Apr 20, 2022

Stew 2022

Many people, like yourselves, come forward and graciously share your ghost stories and other strange experiences with me.

Apr 19, 2022

Ho'opahulu 2022

The ones that haunt this house are like wisps of smoke that manifest to an almost solid form and fade away like memories that excite your senses but are not genuinely tangible.

Apr 18, 2022

Piholo 2022

 Locate the beach in the Hawaiian islands, which have the most drownings, and you'll have curiosity seekers and wanna-be paranormal investigators swarming to that location.

Apr 17, 2022

Loo 2022

Fucking bathrooms at the mall are specifically designed for tourists with smaller body frames so they can fit in the stall.

Apr 16, 2022

Manaʻopaʻa 2022

 Manaʻopaʻa was an office on the second floor of the one twenty-five-M building on Merchant Street.

Apr 14, 2022

Hanaʻoʻoleʻa 2022

Tilling the land, the soil, and the earth to make way for a decent loʻi kalo to feed his family for the first season was necessary.

Apr 12, 2022

Mākou 2022

They donʻt hide in the shadows as weʻve expected them to, like how we see in those investigative videos on social media.

Apr 11, 2022

Disturb 2022

 My stay at the Waikiki hotel was designed for me to get away for a bit from the droll humdrum everyday nothingness of life.

Apr 9, 2022

New 2022

We got the two-acre piece of land for a steal at a hundred thousand dollars.

Apr 6, 2022

Apr 5, 2022

Apr 4, 2022

ʻĪkoi Kolu 2022

"Look, we're sorry ok? What we did was stupid, and yes, we were being disrespectful, and if there's any way to stop this, we're all for it," Corliss begged.

Apr 3, 2022

ʻĪkoi Lua 2022

"Thatʻs the purpose of this office, isnʻt it?" Aunty Rita asked, and of course, my uncles agreed, but the question was directed at me. "Isnʻt it Hanson?"

Apr 2, 2022

ʻĪkoi 2022

Two soldiers stationed at Schofield went out for an adventure one night.

Apr 1, 2022

Mar 31, 2022

Mar 30, 2022

Asafoetida Lima 2022

Noon already; it's been two years, and it's been casually beautiful and seamless.

Mar 29, 2022

Asafoetida Quātrus 2022

"Any previous girlfriends before me?" Jenny slightly tickled me. "I'm mean, you're not a monk, and I know you've had a life up until now,"

Mar 27, 2022

Asafoetida Deux 2022

While Jenny worked on her porterhouse, I went across the street to see Mr. Young at the crack seed shop to see if he had any of his unique lemon peel that day.

Mar 26, 2022

Mar 25, 2022

Bridge 2022

For most people, a charitable act of kindness to a stranger is not a problem, whatever the situation may be.

Mar 24, 2022

Mar 23, 2022

Anilā 2022

Weʻve understood that gloomy weather equates to ghosts and spirits for a long time.

Mar 22, 2022

Infamy 2022

We lived up in Aiea heights, way up. We could see everything, and it was so majestic, and it always made me know how small we were as human beings. A profound thought for someone who was all of six years of age. Our yard was filled with various plants, ferns, and particular kinds of trees because my parents, aside from their regular jobs, were practitioners of Lāʻau lapaʻau or Hawaiian medicine. They were also Kaula or what we would refer to today as prophets. They were good parents, and they both worked at the Pearl Harbor shipyard, and even as I speak of them today, tears well up with affection for them. I remember when my parents had to work on a Sunday.

My sister and I had to get up early, prepare our own breakfast, and then water the yard, the plants, ferns, and trees.

Mar 20, 2022

How 2022

Bruised and bloodied the night before, how did I get out of bed this morning?

Palani 2022

He was standing on the corner of Alakea and Merchant with what I first thought was a cane in his hand, but no, it was a stick, for lack of a better word because I don't know the correct term for the ones that blind people use.

Mar 19, 2022

Mar 18, 2022

Ulana 'Ehā 2022

"What about the curse I have, grandpa?" I heard myself ask on the digital recorder.

Mar 17, 2022

Ulana ʻEkolu 2022

"Pele first arrived at the island we know as Nihoa but found it was too uninhabitable for her family as no fires could be stoked with her great digging stick Paoa.

Mar 16, 2022

Mar 15, 2022

Ulana 2022

Visits to my grandparent's house required a long drive from the north shore to the back of Nu'uanu Valley, where they lived in an old southern plantation-style mansion.

Mar 14, 2022

Entity 2022

Jenny Staller, the self-proclaimed psychic-medium, alleged that this thing never had an incarnation as a human being and that, therefore, it was evil.

Mar 13, 2022

Pilikua 2022

Growing up, I recall meeting some of our other Hawaiian neighbors who were very nice people like ourselves.

Mar 11, 2022

Merla 2022

Katherine Ozaki contacted me regarding her daughter, a former student of mine.

Mar 10, 2022

Olonā 2022

On the way to hula practice at Moanalua gardens, I came across a Hawaiian woman in the parking lot wrapping cords of olonā on a spool.

Mar 9, 2022

Replace 2022

A former resident of Maunawili now living in Stockton, California, recounts a day in his youth when he and his brother were playing in the back of the Palapū stream one day.

Mar 8, 2022

Mar 7, 2022

Vili 2022

She showed up one day on the playground during recess; none of us in my class had ever seen her before. So when I asked her what her name was, she replied, "Vili."

Mar 6, 2022

Closet 2022

For the longest time, I've told my parents that there was something in my closet that watched me every night.

Mar 5, 2022

Koena 2022

Such a swank neighborhood in Hawaiʻi Kai, newly built with all the latest fixings.

Mar 4, 2022

True 2022

Are we ever prepared when true love walks into our lives with no invitation, announcement, or warning?

Mar 3, 2022

Rain 2022

Rain was my happiness, my place where I could lose myself to its sound and its atmospheric aroma.

Mar 2, 2022

Buffett 2022

We didn't meet in the classical sense of a meeting; we were part of a group of friends.

Mar 1, 2022

Feb 28, 2022

River 2022

We come here all the time; in fact, this is where we met so many years ago.

Feb 25, 2022

Lākou 2022

They were a part of the beautiful silence of Māha'ulepū before too-curious tourists began to arrive.

Feb 24, 2022

Feb 23, 2022

Story 2022

Often times when one is in the presence of a master, what they impart to you is secondary to the mana they impart with the lesson.

Feb 22, 2022

Who 2022

 Let me organize my thoughts so that I can clearly convey the matter of which I am about to transpose to paper, so to say.

Feb 20, 2022

Legend 2022

Why would you stand in front of a mirror and repeat something like bloody mary or record a video in the mirror hoping that someone else in the bathroom other than yourself would suddenly manifest?

Feb 19, 2022

Perspective 2022

Our office occupies an entire floor at the state building on Punchbowl.

Feb 18, 2022

Help 2022

Sharelle Embrocia tells me that her car ran out of gas on an unfortunate late night on that long stretch between the Waipio uka off-ramp and the one to Mililani mauka.

Feb 16, 2022

Sidi 2022

When we first moved into our home in Waipahu, our little corgi mix immediately took to resting and sleeping under our bed.

Feb 15, 2022

Jobs 2022

The old Blockbuster video had a few ghosts in it, that's for sure.

Feb 14, 2022


Bohemians from California are what they called themselves upon meeting people here on ʻOʻahu while making introductions.

Feb 11, 2022

Far 2022

No matter how far I drive, how long the road, how many hours, the length of time.

Feb 9, 2022

Sikki 2022

Nick, of all people, was entirely unaffected when Daddy Sikki passed away.

Feb 8, 2022

Doula 2022

Colon cancer didn't make me cry with self-pity or make me mad because it came at an inopportune time.

Feb 7, 2022

Make'ole 2022

He achieved immortality through kūpaku, a ceremony where someone who has died has their spirit captured and put back into their body.

Feb 6, 2022

Mood 2022

Deep, low, and brooding, the cello sonata filters through the open garden of the Mānoa mansion on an early noon Sunday. The occupants are not moving about as much as they are retrieving bottles of wine to fill their glasses and other tiny morsels of food to private places on the large property where they can sit quietly with a book or a suite of music playing on their iPods. It isn't that they are anti-social; it's because it's Sunday, a day of reflection and quiet. Others are yet asleep in their beds, having turned in late the previous evening, knowing that there were no pressing matters the following day. Yet a few more are aroused to make love while still half asleep, and even then, when they've reached their crescendo, they lay languid, slowly moving out of bed. Celia Wong sits in the atrium with the cello between her legs treating the instrument as an intimate companion, knowing the right way to press the strings to the fingerboard so that it would yield forth the cries of ecstasy that would pierce the air and cause the birds high up in the trees to weep. She came every Sunday at the prick of noon, just she and her cello, walking through the seven-acre property and through the old abandoned mansion until she reached the atrium, which connected the front part of the home to the larger, more gothic second part. The atrium had otherworldly acoustics, which made the sound of her cello fill the entirety of the space. It was as if a whole new dimension came to being. Her friends warned her not to go there because of the property's reputation for being haunted. Celia paid them no mind and went anyway. The mansion burned down with all its sleeping occupants inside; they were all asleep after a large party the night before. There was liquor, weed, harder drugs, and much debauchery. When the hour approached early noon, a fire broke out and spread quickly, killing everyone inside. The ghosts that Celicia's cello brought forth might have been the manifestation of what each person intended to do the following day. Although each occupant never lived to do it, perhaps their intentions survived their physical death? It couldn't have hurt that Celia's cello music made the process easier. Strange that those apparitional spirits never bothered Celia herself? Perhaps it was because Celia was literally the instrument they could live through, if only for the length of an early Sunday noon in Mānoa.

Feb 5, 2022

Kekela 2022

1918 was when the influenza epidemic killed more than 2,300 persons in Hawai'i.

Feb 4, 2022

Doors 2022

Short and to the point, thatʻs what this is so that you donʻt lose focus or get distracted.

Feb 3, 2022

Daphne 2022

She was remembered as someone who felt the world and everything contained with much too much feeling.

Feb 2, 2022

Plans 2022

John Teves was completely broken-hearted when his wife never came home one night after work.

Feb 1, 2022

Podcast 2022

Today I sat for a podcast that featured haunted places and people in specific locales in Hawai'i.

Jan 31, 2022

Papa 2022

Papa was the one who woke up before sunrise and made sure that he got our uncles to work on time.

Jan 29, 2022

Kyle 2022

 Kyle came to live with the Wong family when they found him at the humane society.

Jan 28, 2022

Corey 2022

A bottle of whiskey and sleeping tablets were found near his head while he lay on bunched-up wrinkled sheets.

Jan 27, 2022

Adele 2022

 It was the monthly meet-up at the ancient Hawaiian site where volunteers from the community came armed with weed whackers, sheers, and various other kinds of gardening tools.

Jan 25, 2022

Me 2022

 The folks never believed me, and mind you, this all began at an early age.

Jan 24, 2022

Trigger 2022

The letter must have been up in our previously unknown attic for years before it was discovered.

Jan 23, 2022

Simon 2022

During my childhood, when there were no tangible explanations for human behavior to cast a light upon someone's nefarious interactions or lack thereof, a Chinese neighbor of ours, Simon Wong, appeared friendly enough because of how he always smiled and laughed in his conversations.

Jan 22, 2022

Dallas 2022

 We were worried about Dallas because we felt that he was channeling some sort of abuse from his home life through the drawings he created during coloring time.

Jan 21, 2022

Kemp 2022

The building manager met me on the Center Street side of the building.

Jan 19, 2022

Return To The Ouija 2022

You work at your job for too long, you get comfortable, and eventually, your professionalism becomes relaxed.

Jan 17, 2022

Jan 16, 2022

Jan 15, 2022

Jan 14, 2022

Sock 2022

My brother Chad was back from his time in the military and his tour in the middle east.

Jan 13, 2022

Restroom 2022

 Shopping malls are always crowded as a standard unwritten rule or maybe by an official rule.

Jan 12, 2022

Jan 11, 2022

Metal 2022

Leather chaps, boots, and metal band shirts while you wore a cool leather jacket with long or short tassels.

Jan 10, 2022

Lord Of The Manor 2022

 We were a big family, which meant seven families in one large two-story home. In each room lived a family of three of four.

Jan 9, 2022

Signs 2022

 Lydia Maynard's Hawai'i Kai home showed all the signs of being actively occupied by spirits.

Jan 8, 2022

Bounce 2022

 The security guard at the all-girls school said that there were many nights when he heard the sound of several basketballs dribbling (bouncing) inside the school gym.

Jan 7, 2022

Pali Ghost Story 2022

It was March 1980. My friends and I decided it was the perfect time to cut school. Ted took his father's Ford Galaxy, which he used every day for school, and met Shaun Taketa and me in front of the old Diner's drive-in. Together, we went to Pearl City high school, where Ted parked down the road and basically kidnapped his girlfriend Tracy right out of her home economics class. It was then that we took out all the burgers, fries, and drinks and enjoyed our morning meal while on the way to the Pali lookout. It was eleven 'o clock when we got there. The second we parked, Ted and Tracy began making out. Shaun and I excused ourselves and went walking toward the lookout. That's when we saw the lower path, which leads further down, so we decided to follow it, just to see how far it went. The 'awapuhi plants were in full bloom at almost seven feet tall, and the fragrance filled the air. The winds were strong, and the further we walked, we were able to look over the edge and saw the road coming out of the tunnel below. We realized well after that at eleven 'o clock in the morning, the area should have been filled with loads of tourists crowding the lookout and walking down this same path, but there was no one there. That's when we heard it, the voice of a girl our age calling out Shaun's name. "Shaun? Shaun? Shaun?" Then the voice went crazy. It began shouting his name in rapid succession. "Shaunshaunshaunshaunshaunshaun!"

"Did you hear that?" We said simultaneously. 

There was dead silence all of a sudden; all the noise was gone. Then we heard the girl's voice say, "Lopaka." How did a disembodied voice know our names? Shaun football tackled me out of the way and knocked me to the ground, and took off running. I was too scared to be hurt, even though I was scraped up and bleeding. I got up and ran after him, and when I caught up to him, we got into a big fight. Ted saw it and had to come and break us up. Needless to say, on the way home, Shaun and I didn't say a word to each other. That was in 1980 March. I wouldn't speak to Shaun or see him again until March 2006, nearly twenty-six years later. I got a call one afternoon while I was at home, ironing some of my clothes. The caller ID said, "UNKNOWN." I answered it, and the voice on the other side said, "This is Shaun Taketa," It took me a second, but when I realized who it was, I said, "Dude! Where have you been? I tried contacting you years ago, but you just fell off the map! So what's up, man?"

"Take this address down," he monotoned. "Meet me tomorrow at noon," then he hung up. 

The address was for a second house on the corner of Pupukupa street in Waipahu. The original house is no longer there today; it's been replaced by one of those two-story matchbox houses with the year-round Christmas decorations. I was there the following day at the specified time, and Shaun was sitting inside an enclosed patio. I walked, and Shaun turned the interior neon lights on. He didn't bother getting up to offer me a 'hey have you been, long time no see?' Instead, he gestured to a chair not too far from where he sat. I pulled it up to get closer to him, and he didn't appear to be bothered by it. "You remember that day we went to the Pali and walked down that empty road?" He asked.

"Yes," I replied.

"Remember how we heard the voice call my name, and then it called your name?" He looked at me now for some kind of confirmation.

"Yes," I answered. "I remember."

"And I knocked you down and ran away, you remember that?" He was pressing now.

"YES!" I was irritated now with all the questions and no acknowledgment of our past as high school classmates and friends. "What is this all about, Shaun?"

"You never wondered why I knocked you down?" His tone softened.

"All the time," my tone matched his now.

"When the voice called your name, a Hawaiian girl appeared from behind you with pale skin and long black hair," he was going over the details so he wouldn't miss anything. "She didn't have any clothes on, and her hands were on your shoulder. She was looking at you like a meal. She looked at me, and her eyes rolled over black, and a black forked tongue came out of her mouth. At the moment, I thought to myself, who's life is more worthless?"

"Worthless?" That was an odd thing for him to say. "What do you mean worthless?"

"Was it you? You, with your failing grades and your father forcing you to get an after-school job? Or was it me? Was I the worthless one because of how my parents abused me and forced me to watch them do it to my younger brother? It was me, worthless and no good. So when I pushed you out of the way, the spirit of the Hawaiian girl jumped on me, and she's been with me ever since."

"What?" This was what he brought me here for? To tell me this far-fetched story?

The entire week after we went to the pali, that Hawaiian girl's spirit would appear outside my bedroom window, knocking on the glass, again and again. Every time I'd open the window, she would point at the screen. She wanted me to let her in, and I always shook my head and said no. Finally, at the end of the week, when she appeared outside my window, demanding to be let in, and I refused her again. She took her finger and rubbed it across the screen. Slowly, the hook that held the screen to the window sill came undone, and she pulled the screen back and climbed in. That's the last thing I remember. I haven't been the same since." I needed a second or more to take in everything he said. I got a really good look at Shaun, and I don't know how I missed it. If what he told me was true, this thing with the Hawaiian girl's ghost or spirit really screwed his life up. It showed on his face. "Why tell me now after all these years?" I asked him.

"Do you see how well lit this patio is?" Shaun asked me without answering my question.

"Yeah," I nodded.

"But do you see that corner behind me to the right? How it's dark even though there's a light shining on it?" He pointed his thumb in that direction.

"Yeah, that is strange," I replied. "What is that?"

"That's her," he said. "She's still with me. She never left. You see, you've changed. You're not the same person you were back in high school, especially since that day. Me? I'm still Shaun Taketa from March 1980. She won't let me be anything but that." Shaun put his head down so he could hide his face from me. I guess he didn't want me to see him crying. He waved goodbye and gestured for me to leave. I was half unsure at first, but with that dark lingering presence in the corner, I didn't want to stay any longer than I had to. Walking out on the street and heading to my car down the block, the atmosphere and the weather outside were the complete opposite of what was happening in Shaun's house. Two different worlds and measures of time existed side by side. I never heard from Shaun again. Ten years later, in 2016, I drove by the house, but it was gone. With the new house standing on top of the foundation of what was once Shaun Taketa's boyhood domicile, I couldn't help but wonder if the spirit or ghost of the Hawaiian girl from the Pali went with Shaun or if she decided to stay where she was? Hawai'i is a small community. If anything, word will get around, and we'll know either way.

Jan 6, 2022

Number #51 2022

 Mrs. Gouveia remembers when she was seventeen years old growing up in Makaha.

Jan 5, 2022

Flame 2022

 Anyone who says they don't bring their work home with them is a liar, straight up. Take me, for instance. I'm retired from the force. I've been on the job for thirty years.

Jan 4, 2022

Mrs. Curtis 2022

 The studio apartment building on 7111 Kamuela off of Kapahulu wasnʻt known for any kind of hauntings as far as anyone knew.

Jan 3, 2022

Bella 2022

Before Bellaʻs annual check-up, she came down with violent coughing fits in the few weeks previous. One evening after dinner, she had more coughing fits and spat up something dark and almost gelatinous.

Jan 2, 2022

The Jacket 2022

 It was understood in the Kelea ohana that when someone passed away, the deceased's most personal items were taken with them to the otherworld. Whether it was jewelry, woven items, or even clothing. It all went with the dead.

Jan 1, 2022

A Year Of Ghost Stories. Pali Cop Story 2022

Two police officers had been dating for five years. After five years, the female officer finds out that her male counterpart was married with children. Needless to say, the female office was furious and called the male officer at home and told him that he had 15 minutes to meet her at the Pali lookout; if not, she was going to appear at the school where the wife was a teacher and tell her everything about their five-year affair.