Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 7, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #47 Carter.

He touted himself as a treasure hunter, but really, he was a thief.

They all were who called themselves archaeologists and the like. In the early days of Palolo Valley, he was caught pilfering a small burial cave, removing the remains of a Hawaiian woman because around the skeletal neck was a lei niho palaoa. In his Ford truck, which he also stole, lay the remains of the Hawaiian woman in a box meant for a carburetor and other auto parts. It was soaked in oil and grease stains, where the bones of this Hawaiian woman of consequence lay. He barely escaped the wrath of the angry Hawaiians who caught him red-handed as he descended the trail. They threw hand-sized rocks at him when they couldn't cuff him about the face or neck. He was bruised and contused, but fear gave him speed enough to escape his assaulters. It was worth it, though; now, he had to meet the museum curator for his cash exchange. A block before Wai'alae Avenue, a woman suddenly stepped onto the road from nowhere, nearly causing him to hit her head on. He swerved in time to miss her, or so he thought. He exited the truck to be certain, but there she was, lying prone on the pavement. No sign of blood or broken bones, wearing only a thin veil of material and visibly naked underneath. She was naturally beautiful, and it excited his desires, but all that stopped once he saw the lei niho palaoa around her neck. He nudged her three times and when she did not respond, he attempted to remove the whale tooth pendant from around her neck, but something stopped him. He stood and momentarily regarded the Hawaiian woman on the ground and simultaneously thought about the remains of the other Hawaiian woman sitting in the box on the seat of the Ford. He went to check it, and there it was, still with the lei niho palaoa around its skeletal neck. Rushing back to the Hawaiian woman lying on the pavement, he was stunned to find she was gone. Something didn't sit right with him, but he didn't have time to worry about it. He had to get to the museum. 

When he drove up, it was late, and the curator was impatiently waiting at the back gate. The exchange was made. Cash first, Hawaiian bones after. Holding up the lei niho palaoa, which the curator carefully removed, "Yes, very nice work, Mr. Carter. It is well worth the money," he exclaimed. "I'd like to offer you more money for the whale tooth pendant your lady friend is wearing. Do you think she'd give it to me for a fair price?"

"I don't know what lady friend you're talking about," Carter was confused.

The curator pointed to the truck and said, "Her, sitting in your truck. Do you think she'd sell it to me?"

Only an hour ago, the Hawaiian woman lay on the pavement of what is now Palolo and Wai'alae. Now, she sat there in the front seat of the Ford, staring at both men. She let herself out of the truck, fading into smoke as she walked toward them. When the bodies of the two men were found the next day, there were no signs of physical trauma on their persons. However, when the bodies were moved, oil and grease came pouring out of every orifice, spilling everywhere. The box with the bones of the Hawaiian woman, along with her lei niho palaoa, was gone. No trace or thought as to where it might have gone.

Hawai'i State Archives.

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