Hawaii has everything you could want – beautiful beaches, amazing culture, great food, and a good old creepy story. Its history is intertwined with fascinating folklore and mythology. While Hawaii is of course home to your classic haunted house stories, which are certainly creepy, there are many tales that go way deeper than that. It’s not all tiki bars and hula, the Hawaiian people are spiritual and superstitious. To find out more, here are seven of the most haunted places in Hawaii.
Haunted Places in Hawaii
1. Kaimuki House, Oahu
Kaimuki House is believed the be one of the most, if not the most, haunted places in Hawaii. It might look like a normal-looking house, but the story behind it is creepy enough to spook even the most reluctant of paranormal believers. The story goes that a Kasha, which is a man-eating ghost from Japanese folklore, lurks in the shadows of the house. Many families have come and gone, always leaving because it is just too creepy… or even dangerous.
There have been so many strange occurrences that have been heavily documented, even published in newspapers, but the original story is this. In 1942, a woman and her three children lived in the house. One night, the police were called to the only after disturbances to find the woman screaming “she’s trying to kill my children”. The officers burst inside the home, to the unbelievable sight of the children being strangled, thrown around the room, and beaten by an invisible force. Whether you believe it or not, it’s a pretty creepy story!
2. MacKenzie State Recreation Area, Big Island
MacKenzie State Recreation Area is a beautiful park spanning 13 acres, with wild beauty of dramatic cliffs and luscious greenery. But that’s just on the surface. What lurks beneath is much darker. The park has a very dark and gruesome history, it’s been home to many spine-chilling murders and beatings, but the tale of the King’s Highway is probably the most widely known. The park is home to the remnants of an old coastal trail, known as the King’s Highway.
The National Park Service say that during the 1800s the trail needed some improvements so prisoners and people unable to pay their taxes were put to work. But the work was gruelling and sadly, many of the workers died. Legend has it that unshaven men carrying pick axes and hand tools still wander around the park today. But it doesn’t stop there. Brave campers have been awakened by nightmarish screams, have heard bone-chilling cries and whispers, and even had their sleeping bag very suddenly unzipped. Creepy stuff.
3. Hawaii Plantation Village, Oahu
The Hawaii Plantation Village has been the site of so many paranormal activities, it’s been on Syfy, The Travel Channel, and Buzzfeed. So it’s no surprise that the village becomes a Halloween playground every October. Each year, brave guests are taken through the village to learn about the island’s sugar cane workers, life on the plantation from 1850 to 1950, and the history of immigration to Hawaii. Of course, there are a few ghost stories in there too. But that’s not to say the stories of the Plantation Village are gimmicky. Many actors have quit because the place is just too creepy and now, actors can’t even be on their own because it’s unsafe. Many of whom didn’t believe in ghosts until they started working there. The story goes that out of 25 houses in the village, half of them are haunted.
4. Iao Theatre, Maui
Since it opened its doors in 1928, Iao Theatre has become one of the most haunted places in Hawaii. As well as the Plantation Village, Iao Threatre has also featured on Syfy’s Haunted Collector. If anything’s going to convince you of paranormal activity, it’s the convincing sights and sounds you see on the show. However, the haunting of Iao Theatre doesn’t seem to be a malevolent one. It’s believed that during the 1920s, a flapper and actress took a liking to the place and has never left. She’s fondly known amongst the staff and locals as Emma, and she’s believed to flicker lights, disrupt soundboards, and murmur in a low voice. Interestingly, the unexplained activity supposedly stops when you acknowledge or address her.
5. Pali Highway, Oahu
Like many of the places on this list, Pali Highway does not look haunted. It’s actually very beautiful, lined with luscious trees with views of majestic mountains. You wouldn’t think it had such a deadly past. The Nuʻuanu Pali is a looming cliff in Oahu and in 1884, the first road was built over the cliff to connect Windward Oʻahu with Honolulu. When the road was being developed into a highway in 1898, workers found 800 human skulls. The skulls are believed to be the remains of the warriors who fell to their deaths from the cliff above, and they’re said to still roam the area.
There are many other tales of folklore and mythology linked to Pali Highway. The most well-known being that of Pele, a fire goddess, and Kamapua’a, a half-man half-pig demigod. They were in love but endured a dramatic breakup – Kamapua’a is said to have had a wandering eye. And now, it’s common knowledge amongst locals that you do not take pork across the highway. Pele and her fiery spirit will stop your car in its tracks because you’re symbolically taking Kamapua’a from one side of the island to the other.
6. Kawaiaha’o Church and Graveyard, Oahu
The Kawaiaha’o Church has a long history, built between 1836 and 1842. Rumours have circulated that Hawaiian royalty roams the pews and the graveyard, but the legend of the Night Marchers is the strongest link to the church. Visitors say they’ve seen ghostly figures floating around in the dark and the graveyard is said to be the home of a group of Night Marchers. This is a common trope in Hawaiin folklore. According to legend, the Night Marchers are the spirits of ancient Hawaiin warriors. You’ll hear them before you see them, a banshee-like scream, the echoing cry of a conch shell, then the rhythmic beating of drums.
7. Manoa Falls Trail, Oahu
The Manoa Falls trail is a beautiful walk through lush nature, leading to stunning a waterfall. But its dark side might surprise you. Hikers report a bloodcurdling banshee-like screaming from far, echoing through the falls. It’s the Night Marchers. The conch shell, the drums, and then, the torches. Legend has it that the Night Marchers will pass you wearing heavy armour with their torches lit, striding in unison. A strong warning from the locals – if you see them, lay low. Lie on the ground and most importantly, don’t meet their gaze.