Oahu's Most Haunted Places

Some spots are more active—paranormally speaking—than others.


ILLUSTRATIONS BY EDWIN USHIRO
For the tale that inspired "The Diligent Night," visit www.mrushiro.com


For generations, spooky stories about creepy public bathrooms or hitchhiking spirits have been swapped around hibachis and water coolers. Some are rooted in Hawaiian history; others are urban legends. And still others are so deeply personal, it’s almost impossible to dismiss them.

Here’s a list of haunted haunts, some known and others not, that will make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.
 

Old Waialae Drive-In Theater on Waialae Avenue: This outdoor theater, which closed in the 1980s, was next to an old graveyard. For years there were stories about a faceless woman who haunted the women’s bathroom, pounding on stall doors or appearing in the mirror. According to some accounts, the figure didn’t have feet, either.

The banyan tree at the start of Manoa Falls Trail: Banyan trees are said to hold lost spirits. But the one at the trailhead of Manoa Falls isn’t a peaceful holding area for these roaming souls. According to “Uncle Joe” Espinda, a tour guide on Oahu Ghost Tours, this tree is in the path of the night marchers, ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors. On some nights, he says, you can hear the faint sound of drumming.

 

Pacific Isle Mortgage, 379 Kamehameha Highway Suite B, in Pearl City: Workers in this two-story building reported strange, unexplained activity. One woman felt someone playing with her hair. Another heard children laughing and running through the hallways.

Wahiawa Elementary School, 1402 Glen Ave.: Sightings of the Green Lady, a scaly female creature, have been reported from Connecticut to Canterbury. And for several decades, people in Wahiawa have claimed to see the same apparition, appearing in the wooded area next to the school.

Atlas Insurance Building, 1150 S. King St.: Residents who lived on this property prior to the building’s construction say a tormented spirit haunted the area. Patrons of Karaoke Room 2, which moved out of the building a few years ago, reported feelings of uneasiness in the women’s restroom. Some claimed they’ve seen a ghost appear in the bathroom mirror.

The 16th Avenue bridge in Kaimuki: Six years ago, a little girl was killed in a hit-and-run on this bridge. Residents say her spirit still haunts the area, asking pedestrians for help home, only to disappear at the end of the bridge.

Kipapa Gulch in Mililani: This was the site of a major battle in Hawaiian history. The bridge that spans the ravine has been the site of numerous head-on accidents. The gulch is also supposedly on the path of the night marchers, who proceed with torches from the mountains to the ocean. Residents and those who work in the area have reported seeing lights move down the mountainside and into the gulch and hearing the sounds of people crying under the bridge.

Oahu Community Correctional Center, 2199 Kamehameha Highway in Kalihi: This 950-bed jail is on the site of the former Oahu Prison. The gallows, where 47 men were hanged from 1909 to 1944, was converted into an office. Guards say they have difficulty sleeping in the squad room, which is located next to the execution chamber. And prisoners have reported hearing cell doors rattle.

Hamilton Library at the University of Hawaii-Manoa: Custodians and students claim they’ve heard strange noises and seen apparitions lurking in the library aisles and in the bathrooms. One janitor reported seeing a young woman dressed in a pink muumuu walking around the mauka wing of the first floor.
 

Want to know more about Oahu’s Most Haunted Places? Writer Catherine Toth used the following sources:
 

Obake Ghost Stories in Hawaii and Obake Files, by Glen Grant.

Haunted Hawaiian Nights, by Lopaka Kapanui

Preston Galera, of the Hawaiian Island Ghost Hunters

Joe Espinda, of Oahu Ghost Tours

And various local families