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The Lime Tree


The following true story avoids names and a lack of specific locational details for legal reasons.

My wife and I moved to Hawaii in 2012, and during the time of this story we lived on the east side of the Big Island in a town called Volcano. It was only about a mile away from the famous Kilauea volcano, the only continuously active one (since the 1980s) on the planet. We lived in a nice suburb, and in a beautiful little cottage house behind a main one with fantastic grounds full of flowers and fruit trees. The most notable tree, and central to this story, was a lime tree very close to our front door then. We have lived with lime trees before, but this one was so aromatic and bore so much fruit that I thought it was almost miraculous. Until the first incident.

You could see the tree from a window near the foot of our bed. One evening after we basically shut down for the day and were nestling into bed, I just sat up in the dark for a bit thinking about the day and what I'd have to tackle the next day. Basically decompressing. My wife was already asleep, and just as I was moving down to sleep, I heard this strange humming from outside. It was a human voice, and sounded high pitched like maybe a little boy or girl. I thought maybe it was one of the grandkids of the older folks living in the front house, as they sometimes had them over. But why are they out there in the complete dark, unattended? Didn't sound right.

I sat up and looked out the window, feeling it was coming from the yard. In the near full moonlight, I saw what looked like a pitch black shadow, a silhouette, of a small child standing right next to the lime tree. It really startled me because I couldn't believe someone let their kid go roaming around the neighborhood so late, especially with all these houses having some aggressive dogs in the yard. I got up and slipped out the front door, calling out a soft "Hello? Is somebody there?" so as not scare a child. Coming around the other side of the lime tree, the shadow kid was nowhere to be found. Weird. How could they disappear so completely in the 10 seconds it took me to get outside?

I shrugged it off, thinking some young child was in for the punishment of their life when mom or dad got wind they were cavorting around the neighborhood in the dark. The next night, right as I was on the edge of sleep, it happened again. Humming. Silhouette. I bolted outside this time, intent on lecturing some child on an ongoing prank. Like before, no one was there. This time I ran around the other side of the house thinking I'd catch them. Nothing.

I told my wife about this, and she assumed what I did. Misbehaving child, nothing more. It happened twice more, and the fourth time I quickly snapped the lanai light on and very briefly saw detail on "them" for the first time. Small Hawaiian wahine keiki (girl child) with long black hair and dressed in something that looked like a white pajama. The light freaked her out and I saw her eyes get wide right before, and I still can't believe this, she disappeared in the wink of an eye. I mean just instantly vanished. Running outside again, I saw there was no way this little kid could have run into the forest which was a large yard away, in that time.

My wife was up already, running outside to see what was up. I was sitting on a deck chair and shaking. I'm sure my face was white. I told her simply "she just vanished into thin air". My wife kind of reached right into my normally very skeptical thoughts and said what I was thinking. "My dear, you just saw a ghost."

I couldn't accept this. Our life in Hawaii up to that time was so happy, so idyllic that I couldn't grapple with shades on a moonlit night. No more apparitions over the next week, but a new thing that felt worse.

That amazing lime tree changed. Now, it was emitting the most foul stench you could imagine. At first I thought an animal died at the base. Nope. Then I thought maybe a bird died somewhere in the thick branches. Again, nothing. Just that terrible smell. It also stopped yielding fruit, which was the most upsetting to me.

I can be a bit OCD on some things, and this was one. Even though I had no more apparitions, the smell was there and I could not shake the idea that something was very, VERY wrong here. Sinister. On a lark I started reaching out to the closest thing to a local historian we had (a nice old lady who'd been living there for 40 years), asking about any recent missing children. She said she heard rumors when she was younger, about a little girl gone missing from the neighborhood but it was murky with scant fact she couldn't vouch for any of it.

Frustrated, I went to local law enforcement and got the desk clerk with my story. She was not happy with her time being taken up by this and tried to blow me off. I persisted. She rolled her eyes and sent me to the precinct sergeant. He listened to me from beginning to end, thought a minute and said the only thing that came to mind was an open case of a missing child in the area, but... From the 1960s. It happened long before he got his job there.

The good part is that he had actually worked with psychics before on police business when he was in Honolulu, and was willing to have a detective come by and take my statement. He would also do a search around the area looking for anything that might yield a clue. He apologetically said that's about the extent of what he could do.

Two days later the detective showed up, I showed him our place and in particular the tree around which all the activity seemed to focus. Here's what is weirder than ever. He said "Didn't you say this tree smells awful like a dead animal?" I was aghast. I was like "Yeah, can't you SMELL that?" He got close then looked at me with a bit of a smirk and said "Smells like a lime tree to me!". Mark that. Only I could smell this. I thought I might be losing my mind. Anyway he was polite about it all, gave me his card and said to give him a call if anything worse happens.

Now I was angry. I felt like something was messing with my psyche and interfering with my life. I sat and fumed about it for a week or so. Then one day our next door neighbor's young and bouncy Akita dog got out and was running around our backyard. I like the dog but the neighbor said to come get him if the dog ever got out so he could put him back in the penned up yard. So here I am running around trying to get the dog under control, and he makes a bee line for the lime tree. Stops dead and starts barking like crazy... Like THREATENED barking, along with yelps and shrieks that really alarmed me. He was going nuts. Neighbor finally comes over, apologizes and drags the poor dog home, while I'm thinking AHAA, I finally have this thing "treed". I dig through the branches looking for a dead bird, mouse or something and there was...nothing. Just the horrid smell. But that dog was onto something. I went right back to the detective and begged him to look into it. Like digging up the place looking into it.

The landlord was involved by now, and we got his blessing to sign the search warrant for the property. He didn't want that kind of trouble on his properties. A group of four HPD workers showed up with shovels and went to it. About two feet from the tree, and not at all far under the ground, one of them hit some rotting burlap. They all stopped and went over to carefully work on unearthing what looks like a sack. It began pulling apart easily and there I saw it - a small human femur bone along with some other bones in the wasting bag. I almost fainted and felt like throwing up.

They quickly took the remains away and the detective questioned us for about an hour. He quickly cleared us and thanked us for the cooperation. They were very cool and professional about the whole thing. I was anxious for days and finally landed a call to the detective about any forensic results. More horror. It was indeed a small girl approximate age 6 - 8 years old. Bones showed signs of violence which made it a homicide investigation. There were some teeth but not helpful because she had no dental records, as the alleged crime happened just a few years after Hawaii statehood and in this part of the island access to dental care was rarely had. They did not have enough evidence to decisively call it a homicide, and they had zero evidence to identify and track down a killer. It was marked closed but inconclusive.

We moved away two months later. I think about this almost daily, and dearly hope that the little girl's family was able to get her a decent burial and that they found closure, somehow.

I never got my taste for key lime pie back.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

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, HiloHaole, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will read the comments and participate in the discussion.

MiaG (29 posts)
7 months ago (2023-12-17)
Hello HiloHaole,

This is such a sad out come.

How long did it take to track down the family.

My thoughts go out to them. It must be very heart breaking to find out their infant was put in a bag under a tree to be forgotten.

Thank goodness you persevered and found the poor little girl, may she RIP.

Best wishes, M.G
robmkivseries70 (1 stories) (39 posts)
7 months ago (2023-12-14)
Well written story, sometimes the recovery is enough. Did the manifestations, smells, visual and humming go away after the recovery?
Giffy (3 posts)
8 months ago (2023-11-04)
What an amazing and deeply sad story. Very credibly written. Thank you for sharing it.
The_Lost_Voyage_11 (7 stories) (248 posts)
9 months ago (2023-10-26)
Hello HiloHaole, welcome to YGS, I appreciate you sharing your incredible account!

I echo what others have stated, and also that she 'knew' you were sensitive enough to help her. She lured you to the tree and although I'm sure the smell was unpleasant for sure, she knew you would find out what it was and unearth her secret.

Justice was served, her killer may not be caught, but her fate known, her family always left to wonder, finally has some resolve, some peace. For her I suspect it was the ONLY reason she stuck around, waiting for the right person (you) to help find her remains. I believe and sincerely hope, with her business here on earth concluded, that she's moved onto the peace she deserves.

Amazing story, thanks for sharing!
Rajine (14 stories) (833 posts)
9 months ago (2023-10-24)
That is such a harrowing and sad incident you and your wife went through, I can't imagine the horror that poor child had to go through, life tragically gone at such a young age, no wonder she couldn't move on.
Linjahaha (24 stories) (151 posts)
9 months ago (2023-10-24)
Hilo-That's an amazing story and you were able to help her. You stuck with it until they found her body. She, probably, just 'wanted' someone to know 'where' she was.
She reached out to you for help and 'you' responded. Just maybe you have given her some peace.
It's a truly amazing story!

Best Wishes! 😉 😊
CantunSEEit74 (4 stories) (63 posts)
9 months ago (2023-10-22)
Wow great story and you're the only one that can smell it. The dead want to be found and want to be seen I believe. Imagine how many years she stood at that tree waiting to be found by somebody moving around that house. That dog saved the both of you except you have to deal with it mentally. That OCD came in handy and thank you for your dogged pursuit to find out information and stick your neck out to get to the bottom of that little shadow under the tree. The police are too busy and really cannot do much if you tell them, you see dead people. But you did it.
Thanks for sharing and good luck out there.

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