It's funny how many places have claimed to be the most haunted or have credible evidence of spirits and what not. Since mainstream media decided to invite itself to my island home and exploit one of the haunted sites and did not reveal the truth of the matter, I will attempt to enlighten you. I am a military brat so I grew up in many different places before my father was stationed here and here is where I call home. I have experienced and have seen many of oddities, but none like those that happen everyday here in American Samoa and the neighboring islands. Here, ghosts are not apparitions but just like you and me. On the island of Aunu'u, they walk into stores and make purchases. Walk out and just disappear.
One instance, I had serviced one and was instantly curious because I had no clue I had. I had followed this gentleman out of the store and placed his groceries at the bus stop and said goodbye. He said thank you and sat down to wait for his bus as I walked back into the store. Just to let you know, the distance between the bus stop and the store in about 15-20 feet, so there is absolutely no way this man could have gotten up and walked away or caught a ride without me hearing or seeing him. I got to the door and he was gone. His groceries gone. I stood there in amazement. A villager came by and elderly woman and asked, "You look like you seen a ghost?" I replied, "I think I just did... But wait. Did you see me walk out with an elderly man just a mere 20-30 seconds ago?" She replied, "Oh, you saw one of them too huh." I looked at here with a what in the world are you talking about look on my face. She continued, Sometimes they come out of the woodwork and take human form and act like you or me. They walk into stores, visit children in schools. Just as if they were alive. I just stood there in shock. She ended with, you are lucky though. If "It" liked you, you wouldn't be having this conversation with me." I felt a growl in my stomach and asked for the rest of the day off.
I ran straight to my grandmother's house because she was not only a sensitive but a spiritual warrior (in Samoan she was known as a Taulasea or witch doctor who dealt in these matters). I told her what had happened and she immediately made me drink an elixir made of various herbs and told me to do this for 3 nights. On the third night I was to bathe in the elixir. She explained the feeling you have in your stomach is the grip of the ghost because of something you might have done recently. I told her I don't understand. She then asked if I had been roaming in places that she told us not to venture and I told her no. Then I remembered a couple of nights earlier my friends and I were out clubbing and we ended up partying after the club on a mountain pass. She asked, "Did you guys make noise or have loud music?" and I said yes to both. She then asked an odd question, "Did you hear as shhh sound or did someone stone your cars and the rock didn't leave marks?" I was shocked because the latter did happen and we decided to leave because we thought it was locals from that village coming after us. She continued, "You were chosen because your bloodline is my bloodline and the spirit knew that if it went after you, I would reply."
She continued with mixing a sort of paste and told me to go with my friend to where we were at. She then said to look for a tree that looks like there is no earthly way it should still be standing. When you get there, apply the paste on the trunk and use a leather belt to whip the tree. I was still in the "why on earth would I do that?" state of mind when she told me, "It will cry and ask why, you tell him that I (grandmother) want them to leave you alone or I will come next time to burn them." I was like, "Okay, Mama."
So my friends and I did. When we got there the landscape is covered in trees of all kinds. It wasn't until one of my friends told me to look behind us. As we all did (there were 7 of us) I stood there in awe. If you have seen the movie the Guardian, you would know what I am describing. This tree, looked as if it were a couple of thousand years old and just had knots and twists in every awkward direction that you were scared just looking at it. As I got up my courage to do the tasks, I could feel a heaviness envelope me like someone trying to weigh me down. I kept stepping forward and the sounds around me started to disappear until I could hear nothing but my breathing and my friends beside me. Imagine standing in a wind tunnel that car companies use to test aerodynamics. That's how it felt. My best friend asked for the paste and as I pulled it out of the bag, a sharp pain came over me as I almost fell to the ground. He gabbed the jar and belted out an obscenity before he started to smother the trunk.
It was maybe 10 seconds into this when we heard it. A shriek louder than a bird's and much more agonizing. Then a barely audible voice of an old man speaks in our tongue, "What are you doing to me? YOU were the ones who were disrespectful. You untaught, ungrateful little maggots?" I then pulled out the belt and started whipping. I could hear him plead and beg for forgiveness and I just kept going. I was so into it when all of a sudden a deeper voice comes forth and commands we leave. I stood there defiantly saying who I was, and it was him and the rest of them that should be going. He speaks defiantly, "Who are you to tell me?" This is when I felt as if my body was being guided or entered by my grandmother.
I can remember everything, yet know it wasn't of my doing. I take out my pocket knife and slit my hand. I smother the bark and start chanting in a language I still don't know what to call. All I know is I could make out my origins and my heritage in what I was saying. I kept doing it over and over until I could feel rain start to pour and opened my eyes to see the tree had shrunk and became like a shrub in the background. I was shocked, my friends were so in awe they just didn't say anything.
We jumped in the car and headed for Mama's house. As we got there, we noticed she was resting and so I went in alone and kiss my grandmother and told her thank you. She said, "Son you need to really start to feel your surroundings. You are not like other kids. You have gifts that my family has passed on for generations. Some of you have sight, some of you have touch, but you have both plus one that is rare as you feel their presence and in the long run, you will be able to see through them." I was still reeling from what had happened before that I was really registering everything until I sat there and started to play it all back about an hour after I left her house.
It's funny because I have no fear of what I have encountered and trust when I say this. You're ghosts are not as malevolent as the ghosts in Polynesia and I have the scars to prove it. The spirits or ghosts you all fear and speak of seem to form when you are alone. I can tell you, there places here where you will get lost if you don't know where you are at that exact point in time. But that is a story for another time.
I have many more for another time.