Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

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.

So, one night she gathered all her people, and they sailed away to their homeland and never came back."

"So, who are these people that appear at night? Not the night marchers, but the ones that everyone says are Menehune?" I asked.

"Those are the Mū people, tricked to come here by an old Aliʻi Nui of Kauaʻi. Kalaulehua was his name." Aunty Meng said. "He sailed to Kānehunamoku and convinced four of the Mū men and three of the Mū women to sail with him here. They didnʻt like it and demanded to be returned to Kānehunamoku. Still, Kalaulehua gave them land and then made it Kapu for them to leave that ʻāina because everything surrounding it belonged to him. If they left the land he gave them, they would be killed. By the time the Mū people could leave, it had been too long since they had left their home, and they had forgotten how to find the stars that would lead them back to Kānehunamoku."

"Did they marry into the families of the Kauaʻi people too?" I asked.

" ʻAe," Aunty Meng replied. "In our ʻohana runs the blood of the Menehune and the mū. It does not mean that we are special people, but consider our lineage and what it means."

"What does it mean, Aunty Meng?" I was enthralled now.

"It could mean many things," she mused. "But, it means nothing if one of us uses drugs, or is alcoholic, and beats up our wives and children. But it could definitely mean something if we live with honor, knowing we are not perfect but always trying to do our best every day. That is special because it's not easy to live that way, but as long as we are trying and never give up, then we are as close to the deeds and tasks of our Menehune and mū kupuna."

"Wow," was all I had to say. I could not think of anything else to reply with. The weight of what my aunty shared with me was overwhelming, and it would not hit me until years later when we were spending the weekend at Plantation Hale. I had a hard time sleeping, so I went out into the grass courtyard to get a breath of fresh air until I began to feel drowsy. Walking back into the living room, I was stunned to see that small space packed with dark-skinned Hawaiian people. Their eyes stared intently at me and then looked through me like they saw me for the totality of who I was. Each stepped forward, announced themselves, bowed, and stepped back into their close-quartered formation. Once they were all done, they vanished into the darkness that permeated the living room because the lights were off, but the place was only lit by the ambient glow from the walkway of the other units across the courtyard. At the time, I was only beginning to study the genealogy of our Kauaʻi side. I supposed that my ancestors sensed this and perhaps came forward to let me know, that I had their support.


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.


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