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Haunted Hawaii: 5 Spooky Destinations

Visiting Hawaii isn’t all about paradise and rainbows.  Long before contact with the outside world, ancient Hawaiian chiefs fought bloody battles at what are today popular tourist destinations.  

Mercurial gods and goddesses, like Pele, still guard sacred sites and grudges between feuding deities have time and time again caused unexplainable tragedies.  Add to that the legends of the immigrant plantation laborers from Asia, Puerto Rico, and Portugal and you’ve got quite the paranormal melting pot.

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Skeptical of ghost stories and scary places?  Grab some of your friends (and maybe an extra pair of pants) and test your mettle at these famous spots.

Discover What Scares Locals at Kualoa Ranch:

Visit Kualoa Ranch in Oahu to tour one of the most recognizable backdrops on the silver screen.  The lush, slopping mountains and verdant fields have hosted many of Hollywood’s impressive monsters. 

But, the T-Rex from Jurassic Park and Godzilla have nothing on Kualoa Ranch’s most terrifying visitors: Night Marchers.

Night Marchers are the spirits of Hawaiian warriors who once guarded the high chiefs and continue to do so in the afterlife.  These chiefs were so sacred that to gaze directly at them or to let their shadow fall on you was an act punishable by death, a law still enforced by the spirits. 

Night marchers, HawaiiIf you find yourself in the path of the Night Marchers, legend dictates that you should strip naked and lie face down to be spared from death. 

To ensure the best odds for creeping out your buddies, look for the Night Marchers on the last four days of the waning moon, when the moon is darkest.  If you hear drumming, see torches and smell something foul: either drop your drawers and hit the deck or get your ass out of there.  FAST.

You Better (Pali) Lookout:

You can’t beat the views from the Pali Lookout, but don’t be fooled.  

The stunning vista is the site of one of the bloodiest battles in Hawaiian history.  King Kamehameha I and his men forced Chief Kalanikupule and his warriors over the cliff to unite the Hawaiian Islands.  Over 400 men died.  (Offer up a prayer or chant as a sign of respect).  

But, their ghosts aren’t the only ones who haunt this popular selfie spot.  

Can’t decide if your new boyfriend is faithful? For the ultimate test, take him to the Pali Lookout, where a young woman committed suicide over a lover’s infidelity and calls out the names of the men she now believes guilty of the same sin. Don’t forget to bring hiking boots.

If you really want to test local lore, carry some pork in your car as you drive over the Pali Highway.  

Due to a bitter feud between Pele and her ex-boyfriend, demi god Kamapua’a, who was half pig, half man, Pele and Kamapua’a agreed to steer clear of each other’s territory. Taking pork across the Pali would symbolically break that pact. 

Those who dare to honor their pact will find their cars mysteriously stalling or see a white dog or old woman suddenly appear before them.

3.  Royally Freaked Out by ‘Iolani Palace: 

The only royal palace on US soil, ‘Iolani Palace is a must see if you ever visit Hawaii. 

Formerly the home to the Hawaiian Monarchy, ‘Iolani Palace was the last home of Queen Lili’uokalani before she was overthrown in a coup.  Her ghost is said to walk the halls to this very day.

Iolani palace haunted throne roomAfter her brother King David Kalakaua passed away, Queen Lili’uokalani ascended the throne, the first female monarch and the last to rule.  She was a great lover of music, having penned the beloved Aloha ‘Oe, a passion her spirit continues to share today. 

Security guards and tourists claim to hear the tinkling of piano keys from the blue room in Iolani Palace, except the piano is locked in a glass case.

As you walk the palace grounds with your pals, you might catch a whiff of cigar smoke.  Aside from music, the Queen was a lover of cigars and the scent is just the Queen’s gentle reminder that you are, after all, a guest in her home. 

What’s the Big Deal with Ulupō Heiau?

Famous last words. Legend has it that a tourist once seriously disrespected Ulupō Heiau with that very question.

The next day her legs grew so swollen she could barely walk because a spirit was clinging to her legs and cutting off the circulation.  She promptly returned to the heiau, apologized and recovered.

Upon first glance, the unfortunate tourist’s inquiry might be warranted.  It doesn’t offer an impressive view or seem like much of an architectural feat, yet some of the stones used to create the historic heiau may have been moved over 10 miles to get there, possibly by the elf-like Menehune people.  While it might be tempting to snatch a souvenir, displacing the stones or, worse, taking one home comes with a hefty curse and possibly a ghostly visitor. 

Remind your friends to keep their eyes peeled when they visit this ancient temple that was once used for animal and human sacrifices.  Two common paranormal occurrences at Ulupō Heiau are fireballs and Night Marchers.

A Historical Haunting at Hawaii’s Plantation Village

You know the spooky stories must have some cred, when it’s a safety rule that employees can’t work alone in any of the historical homes on the 50 acres property that once housed immigrant laborers for the sugar plantations. 

Not only did the immigrants bring their own legends and ghost stories with them, they appear to have brought their own ghosts too. 

There’s a choking ghost in the Okinawan house.  A creepy doll in the Puerto Rican house likes to wander from its glass case. 

Good news though: the ghost that haunts the Portuguese house is a friendly one!  She’s a playful little girl who likes to appear in the daytime to kids and women who have a strong maternal instinct. 

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If just walking through the historical homes sends a chill down your spine, you’ll need a protective ring of friends to survive Halloween, when the Hawaii Plantation Village goes full haunted house

That goes for the actors at the haunted house too.  Many have reported strange bruises or being feeling choked by something they can’t see. 

If you make it through this list with your friends still beside you, count yourself lucky to have such loyal pals.  If all your true-blue buds suddenly developed Olympic worthy sprinting skills and left you in the dust, well, at least you know now who your real friends are.  And, you did brought an extra pair of pants. 



  • Elizabeth L

    Aloha! I’m Elizabeth L. At LiveYourAloha, I am responsible for writing about sightseeing tours and Hawaiian culture. For the last 12 years, I’ve been working as a tour guide in Hawaii. It’s been a great way to see the world and learn about new cultures. I love nature and the outdoors, and have even climbed two of the world’s highest peaks! Making connections and showing my visitors the incredible beauty of these beautiful islands is a passion of mine. When I’m not out giving tours, you’ll likely find me on an invigorating hike or enjoying local cuisine on the beach.