Hawaiian Scary Ghost Stories

Most people call them goose bumps, but in Hawaii, when you feel the presence of a ghost, or you are affected by a spooky story, we call it "chicken skin" . This is the sensation where you feel the hair rising on the back of your neck, your eyes get big, and your heartbeat races. This particular ghost story was told by Cheryl Wilson to Glen Grant, a famous story teller in Hawaii, who died in 2003.

The funeral for my grandmother in the spring of 1950 was a beautiful memorial service held in a church in Kaimuki. My grandmother had lived a full life and left this world attended by her large, grieving family. She and my grandfather had been blessed with many children who bore them numerous grandchildren.

When the Mass was over, the final blessings were given to be followed by the procession out of the church. The six pallbearers were chosen to carry my grandmother to her final resting place. They solemnly gathered around her coffin, slightly bent their knees and genlty lifted the side handles in precise unison. As all six of the men then attempted to rise up and take grand mother on her last journey, the coffin would not move. It seemed as if it were fastened down to the bier with bolts. 

Quickly glancing at each other in astonishment, they tried again to lift the coffin. Again grandmother's remains would not budge. Realizing now what strange occurrence was taking place, a murmur rose from the mourners in the church.

My grandfather knew instantly what was happening. Although he was a devout Catholic, grandfather was well-steeped in old Hawaiian beliefs concerning the spirits of the dead. When the coffin did not move, it was the Hawaiian understanding that the deceased was not ready to go because the loved ones were not there to say good-bye.

Now grandfather looked among the mourners to see if everyone my grandmother loved was in attendance. Her punahele or favorites were her mo'opuna or grandchildren. All of the grandchildren were at the funeral, grandfather knew, but my two older boy cousins were nowhere to be found. As the first grandchildren, they were especially favored by grandmother.

A quick search was made for the cousins and they were soon discovered outside, playing on the church grounds. The boys were ushered in to pay their respects and to bid a fond aloha to their beloved kupuna.

After the good-byes were said, the pallbearers lifted the coffin without any trouble. The procession followed my grandmother out of the church and then on to Diamond Head where she would eventually be laid to rest.

In her final farewell, my grandmother had taught her mo'opuna her last earthly lesson. The bond of aloha is not severed by death.