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Ghostly Hawaiian Guitar


I am from Hawaii. I grew up on the island of Oahu. In Hawaii, belief in the paranormal is extremely commonplace and accepted. Now I live in Florida and I always notice how uncomfortable people are when discussing any unexplained or supernatural phenomena. So I am sharing my experiences here to an audience who might appreciate them and not immediately decide they are "of the devil" and ignore them.

I left in 2000 and returned home for a brief visit in 2005. I spent the few days I was back with my family, visiting all my favorite places on the island. Waikiki, Byodo-In Temple on the windward side, the North Shore, Waimea Falls, Queen Emma's Summer Palace, and Pali Lookout. Many of these places are not only beautiful, they also have a rich history as do most places do in the Hawaiian Islands. A brief history lesson -- Hawaii was a distinct country, culture, and kingdom in its own right for hundreds (thousands?) of years before it was colonized and later made a US territory. Battles, many ancient, have been fought on its lands. Some people (especially the locals) say those events have left their impression on the land and its Mana (spirit/power). And that we can still experience evidence of these long-ago events. This is not something that just "new age" people and spiritualists believe. It is a commonly accepted idea.

In this story, I don't have enough time or room to go into all the stories, beliefs, and customs that exist in Hawaii, instead I will focus on the one experience I had at the Pali Lookout that I will always remember. The Pali Lookout is a high point on the windward side of the island of Oahu where the wind is very strong and has been said to prevented several suicides from taking place because its strength made it impossible to jump from the side of this mountain that overlooks the valley all the way to the ocean. It is also the place that a terrible battle is supposed to have taken place in the 1700s between King Kamehameha and a rival tribe from another island. Warriors fell to their death thousands of feet below on the valley floor when they were pushed off the cliff in battle. So, the Pali Lookout is a sacred place to many Hawaiians. It is also a place where tourists go and high school kids drive to in order to sneak off the trail and smoke pot in secret. Sometimes you might see an abandoned car. It's kind of a strange place, but also a very beautiful place with tall coniferous pines (rare in Hawaii) and cool mists lingering around the tops of the mountains.

Anyhow, I was there with my family and I decided to take a short walk down the old unused portion of the Pali highway that is more like a hiking trail/path and get away from the groups of tourists to spend some "alone time" in a beautiful place. I walked quite a ways away from everyone to where I could no longer hear talking or people noises and just leaned over the overgrown sidewall and looked down into the tops of trees below and sheets of green vegetation. It was then that I heard it... Soft Hawaiian ukelele music. No discernible song or particular tune but it was lovely and melodic. I stood there and listened for quite some time. I was far down the trail and felt like I had maybe gone a little "too far" but I wasn't ready to go back. Now, you may not think this is very scary or special or interesting, but there is a belief that when one is in a sacred place or there are spirits nearby, if one is Hawaiian, one will hear the unexplained sound of music. However, I am not Hawaiian (that I know of) but I feel honored to have heard that beautiful sound. There is still no explanation for it that I know of. No people, too far above the valley to hear anything below, too far away from cars. This is an extremely secluded and wild location, almost like being alone in the rainforest.

To this day I have no idea where the music could have come from. I'd like to think it was the mana of the land and that somehow I was able to perceive in at that time, in that place. I hope to go back there again.

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, shellie1981, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

DARKNESS (3 stories) (2022 posts)
10 years ago (2012-11-25)
I like this experience of your's shellie1981, as BadJuuJuu and Miracles mentioned I could also see the trees, hear the music and feel the wind, nicely described.
I think you were meant to have the experience you did, being Hawaiian or not that was for you and you alone, what a feeling you must have had after this! 😊 Thanks for sharing.

geetha50 (15 stories) (986 posts)
10 years ago (2012-11-23)
I know what you are talking about. Both about the migraine and believing in something enough to actually hear it.

Although, you are not Hawaiian by birth, you grew up in Hawaii and I know that isn't enough to hear the music but there are some people like you that have such a love for a place and its culture, the elements have accepted you as part of the culture and history because you showed the living and non - living the respect they deserve. Not everyone (culturally related or not) can do that.
BadJuuJuu (guest)
10 years ago (2012-11-22)
This is such a beautifully told experience, I could see the trees, almost hear the music. The way you talk about your home, you have a deep and genuine love for the land. I think maybe that's why the ancients allowed you to hear their music, because they know your heart belongs to Hawaii.
Miracles51031 (39 stories) (4999 posts) mod
10 years ago (2012-11-21)
shellie1981 - maybe it wasn't as much a matter of being Hawaiian as believing, and being in the right place at the right time. My thoughts aren't coming out exactly the way I want them to right now... Migraine 😢 but I really enjoyed your story and felt like I was right there with you. Thanks for submitting it 😊

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