In Hawai`i, everything in nature-trees, rocks, wind, rain-evokes a chicken-skin ghost story. It's in the air, our blood, and retold on dark winter nights. The hair on the back of your neck will rise and prickle when you visit these spots.
Nuuanu Pali Lookout and the Old Pali Road
I grew up in Nu`uanu, the luxuriant valley that leads up to one of the best views of O`ahu, the Nu`uanu Pali Lookout. In 1795, King Kamehameha I united the Hawaiian Islands and drove O`ahu's defending warriors up our valley. Rather than surrender, O`ahu's warriors leapt 1000 feet from the Pali to their death. When the Pali Road was constructed in 1897, crews found the skulls and bones of over 800 men at the base of the Ko`olau Mountains.
During World War II, a few servicemen emboldened by alcohol leapt off the Pali. Powerful gale-force winds pushed the drunks back to safety. Lucky, they said. Our ghosts and gods, locals said.
Since ancient days the Old Pali Road was the only land route between Honolulu
and the Windward side of the island. It was, and still is, a spooky road. Eerie winds whistle through the tree tunnel, waving vines drape from arching branches of the jungle forest, and leaves dart in the darkness like nervous fingers. At night we hush our voices and hold our breath until we emerge into the lights of Honolulu.