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!
THE MAN WITHOUT FEET
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.
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.
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.
She never saw him again, nor did she figure out why he may have been paying their property a visit.
THE WOMAN WASHING HER HAIR
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.
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.
THE KISSING SPIRIT
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
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.