Small Talk

Halloween ghost stories

October 30th, 2015

As All Hallows' Evening approaches, I thought it would be a great time to tell a few ghost stories. Here are a couple from my mother, who loved to share this with me.

If you have some, I'd love to hear it! Thanks!


My mother grew up along Fort Street, in the days before it was widened and renamed as Pali Highway. There were two homes on the three-quarter acre property, and several families of our relatives lived there.

Circa Dec. 2008. The house was empty for years before finally torn down in 2008.

Circa Dec. 2008. The house was empty for years before finally torn down in 2008.

The address of her residence was 1735 Pali Highway, though the land's been sold to the Honpa Hongwanji Temple, and the old homes have long ago been razed.

It was a fairly self sufficient compound, with chickens, fruit trees, and a garden. Trees lined most of the property for privacy, and there was a small driveway leading out to the road.

Mom in her front yard. 1735 Pali Hwy.

Mom in her front yard. 1735 Pali Hwy.

This story takes place probably in the 1940's. One twilight, my mother as a teenager was sitting alone on her veranda when she saw a man she didn't recognize walking down the driveway and out towards the street.

He was wearing a white suit and a white Panama hat, which she said seemed out of place. She kept looking at him to try to figure out who this stranger was and why he was visiting their residence, when she realized he had no feet and no  lower legs. It just stopped after the knee.

Artist's watercolor of the house. 2009.

Artist's watercolor of the house. 2009.

She never saw him again, nor did she figure out why he may have been paying their property a visit.


In the middle of that same property was a communal laundry area with a big sink. It was tucked near the back of the property.

My mother says she looked out her bedroom window and in the light of the moon, saw an old Hawaiian woman washing her long, silvery hair in the sink.

That doesn't seem as ghostly to me. What if it was a homeless lady borrowing the facility when she thought nobody was looking?

My mom is convinced it was not that. She maintains this was the Hawaii of old, in the 40's, when there were still under half a million residents in the state, and criminals or vagrants didn't brazenly wander into private property as a common occurrence.

Besides, she reminds me, the woman was slightly transparent.


I am on indefinite hiatus from my jujitsu dojo while I work a morning shift that has me in bed by 6:30 p.m. When I was still practicing with them, though, something weird happened to me one evening.

Claus and me, before I went on indefinite leave from the dojo due to my schedule.

Claus and me, before I went on indefinite leave from the dojo due to my schedule.

They are located in a Shinto temple in Nuuanu. One night there was a demonstration of the arts, and I was videotaping it to compile into a teaching tool for all the students.

I had a camcorder, before smartphone cameras became ubiquitous. The viewing panel flipped open while you recorded, or during playback, for ease of viewing.

I was focused on following the action on the mat, keeping the teacher in frame as he moved back and forth. I sensed, however, someone standing inches behind me, looking over my shoulder to see what I was capturing.

I was sure it was Sensei. The energy felt light, friendly, and curious, and it felt like a man.

When the art was completed a minute or so later, I hit the pause button and turned with a smile to greet Sensei and ask him playfully if he approved of my effort. There was nobody there.

He's pretty quick and quiet on his feet, so I figured he walked elsewhere. I looked around. Nothing.

"Where'd Sensei go?" I asked someone near me.

"He hasn't arrived yet," they said.

"Who was by me when I was taping?" I asked.

"Nobody," they said.

Nobody. I still don't know who that was, but I'm sure of what I felt, and it was somebody.


I made the mistake of taking a rock from a wahi pana, a spiritual place, in Hana. I know, I know. I'm part-Hawaiian, I should know, etc.

So I was dumb. And I'm sorry.

View of Hana, Maui from Fagan's Cross

View of Hana, Maui from Fagan's Cross

A bunch of very inconvenient things happened in short order after I returned to Oahu; namely, a diamond ring was mysteriously misplaced, people got sick, and some other little difficulties. The timing was not to be overlooked as it happened in 36 hours.

My friend in the Hawaiian Studies department at UH told me to pray, apologize, and return it as soon as possible. I did, and told it I'd return it home as soon as I could. The ring was found. The maladies stopped.

My husband and I flew back to Hana, and booked at room at the Hana Kai condos. I unpacked the rock and set it on the table on the lanai where Claus and I were taking in the sunset.

Claus stood up to get something inside. I decided to take the time to address the rock.

"You're back in Hana," I told it. "I'll drive you back to your beach tomorrow."

Claus was behind me and heard me talking to the rock. He kissed the top of my head.

I lifted my chin and looked backwards to kiss him back. Except... he wasn't there. He was still inside.

Maybe it was the pohaku thanking me for bringing it home.

10 Responses to “Halloween ghost stories”

  1. Masako:

    I don't know if this was a ghost but I will never forget this experience.
    A few years ago I was resting in the shallow waters at Ala Moana beach with my SUP board. This little boy who was probably around three years old swan up to me and started swimming around the board, never touching it like other kids do. He had a beautiful smile but there was something different about his eyes and the way he would keep gazing out into the open ocean while I talked to him. I asked him where were his parents? and he would just gaze out to sea like he was looking for someone. I asked him other questions but he wouldn’t talk to me. Eventually I got up and paddled but kept and eye on the boy, I was concerned that there was no adult watching him. The sun started to go down and I could still see the little boy playing in the shallow water or running on the beach. I saw my husband waving to me from the other side to come in already before it got dark. To this day I wonder about the little boy, was he just a neglected kid waiting for his parents to get him or was he a lost spirit who had drowned there?

  2. Masako:

    When my cat Monty passed away he would come back to visit. I would hear him meow or feel him jumping on the bed. Earlier this year I felt nipping on my feet. I figured it was our cat Miki which we got a few months after Monty passed. Then I realized that Miki was fast asleep next to me. When I woke up the next morning I realized that it was the anniversary of Monty's passing. He had come to visit me!

  3. Crankit:

    Back in the mid 70's I worked at Woolworth's Ala Moana. The store closed at 4 pm on Sundays and the younger workers would sometimes have a picnic after work at Ala Moana Beach Park.

    We always had great food, drinks, played volleyball and just had a great time.

    I remember this one day when we had finished eating and everyone was just hanging out and talking story, when I and another worker named Jeanette, noticed and old, frail haole lady wearing a blue muumuu slowly walking aimlessly around.

    We had lots of food left so we asked her if she wanted to eat. She smiled and we sat her down at the table. Jeanette made
    her a plate and she started to eat. We went back back to join the rest of the kids (I say kids because we were all between 17 and 21 years old).

    When she was done she got up and thanked us and started to walk away.

    We went to clean up after her and looked around and she was gone. Ala Moana is a big park and she could not have gotten out of sight in a couple of minutes.

    40 years later I still remember this incident. Ghost? Angel?

  4. rayboyjr:

    Hey Diane ... most of my ghost stories are of the friendly type ... but not Casper, haha...

    ... this one happened a few years back ... my sister and my two nieces (ages 3 and 5) were visiting from California and staying with us ... one night, as a mid-evening treat I take my nieces to McDonalds for soft-serve, french fries, shakes, whatever ... I strap down my nieces in their back seats ... the radio was on and we were singing (or trying to sing) along to whatever song was playing ... so we're singing and having a good ride the middle of the drive I ask my nieces a question ... I don't know why, I just did ...

    ... who's in the front seat me with?, I asked ...

    ... Grandma! ... said the younger one ... in a jovial voice ...

    ... my mom had passed away about a year earlier ... I didn't say anything more about it ... we just continued to McDonald's ... I had a smile on my face ...

    ... I think my mom just wanted to join in with her grandchildren ...

  5. Diane Ako:

    All these are awesome stories! I love it. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Masako:

    I totally love going to Japan but there is one thing about that country that I don’t care for, its full of ghost. On my first trip there we had an opportunity to stay in a traditional Tatami room for an extra 100 bucks. I thought why not, I always wanted to do that. I like the feel of the tatami under my feet and the distinctive sound it makes when you walk on it. After dinner and onsen bath we went back to the room to find futons laid out on the floor to sleep on. About three am I awoke to the sound of footsteps on the tatami. I figured my husband must have gotten up to go shi shi so I closed my eyes and tried to go back to sleep, as soon as a did that I heard him snore and realized he was still sleeping besides me. Before I could think of who’s footsteps I was hearing and chill went through my body and I felt cold hands grabbing my legs. I kept my eyes shut because I did not want to see whatever it was grabbing my legs. I think my scream must have woke up the whole place. Suddenly it let go, by then M was up and we turned on all the lights and looked everywhere. The door was still latched closed. I know I had encountered some kind of spirit because the same thing happened to my grandma when she was in Japan. Thankfully that was as scary as it got, but I sense spirits all over the place over there.

  7. Hapa_Haole_Boy:

    Chicken skin! Thanks for the obake stories Diane. I'll share a story that my now late Grandpa told me. He grew up at the Kahuku plantation, and in his teen years he and his brothers, my uncles, used to work. Sometimes his mother, Popo Lady, would ask the boys to pickup food or items from the small store there on the way home from work. So one day she asked my Grandpa guys to pickup fish. Well they got the fish and b/c they were running late and it was getting dark, they figured they would cut through the cemetery, a shortcut to get home faster. When they got home, the fish was just bones! Needless to say, my Grandpa said they never took the shortcut through the cemetery again. Happy Halloween!

  8. Kage:

    In the 90s I worked at a big box store in Waikele. After the store closed and we were recapping the registers, the cashiers would see a little boy in a red jumpsuit running around.

    When we had new cashiers that did not know about it they would get scared their first time seeing him.

  9. KHON:

    Back in the 70's 80's and 90's I worked in a studio on Auahi St. in Kakaako. It was made to be sound proof but one night while a long time worker and I were working a broadcast I could hear the murmuring sound of many people talking. My headset covered only one ear so I looked at my partner to confirm if he heard the same thing, he gave me smile knowing I had heard what he had heard many times before. We were standing no farther than a couple of feet from the studio wall and yet the noise came from that direction and not from the news set where the news was going on. When we finally moved out of that old building it was discovered during demolition that the studio was built over a former grave site and many sets of bones had to be moved before any future construction continued.

  10. N:

    I've collected true ghost stories for a long long time. These are first account stories not the kind, I heard or someone told me. My family is also what I call Gifted...or sensitives or psychic. When we moved here we lived in a haunted house. I was 5 years old and my nephew (my dad was 20 years older than my mom with a first family) who was 7 years old and my parents would hear a large boom (like a sonic boom and as loud) in a corner. We lived in Kalihi Kai so we thought was the airplanes but then it happened at night when there was no planes flying. Then my dad thought it was our Filipino neighbors who lived in a two story house were throwing heavy stuff outta their 2nd floor window like cement bags. My nephew would run out the front door, me to the backdoor to catch these neighbors doing their deed everytime we heard the boom but always nothing.

    One day he had enough and me and dad went over. Come to find out of course they were not doing no such thing.

    My mom was also suffering the choking ghost (before we even knew there was such a thing) and my dad talked to his buddy who owned this house. Come to find out he had an old lady tenant and she died but her body wasn't found for a long, long time. Yes, she died in her chair in that corner of that house.

    His own daughter and her husband moved in right after. They fled that house in terror, the guy thought they were just imagining it. Well my dad was PO'd and never talked to that buddy again. That lady was buried with no service since she had no survivors. So my dad arranged for our bonsan from Honpa Hongawanji to pray for her soul. After that nothing happened but my mom had enough and we moved.

    That whole area is an industrial area near Nimitz now, with warehouses where our house was. I wonder if that lady's soul is now roaming the warehouse there.

    One of many true obake stories I have......

Leave a Reply

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the Star-Advertiser's TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. Because only subscribers are allowed to comment, we have your personal information and are able to contact you. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, email

Recent Posts

Recent Comments