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I am a New York-based writer, travel lover, and author of The Drive North and Destination Paranormal. I have several other books in the works, including fiction.

An Historical Ghost Tour of Honolulu

Tom. Mad. Fence.

I couldn’t believe that it was happening again; ghosts were talking with me through the Ghost Radar application on a phone. Well, not only to me, but to me and another man I was walking with around the exterior of Hawaii’s Iolani Palace. We were both reaching out to the spirits of old on a walking tour of downtown Honolulu with Oahu Ghost Tours. And while we waited for the tour to begin, we decided to go off on our own and see what we could find.

The words came out in succession to our questions; first we asked if anyone was with us, seeing energy orbs appear on the application’s screen.


Then the middle-aged father who I was with, attempting to be polite, asked Tom if it was alright that we were there visiting the palace at night.


“Why are you mad, Tom?” he asked. “Are you mad at us for being here?”


The two of us paused briefly, each holding his breath, and then glanced up from his screen to look at each other before gazing around the perimeter of the building’s grounds. Sure enough, there was a fence surrounding the palace.

We couldn’t be sure that Tom was mad at that fence or something else, but we were definitely making contact with spirits and the tour had yet to start. We were certain the other half of our group had arrived in our absence, though, so we returned to the back of the building to where the van was parked.

Joe – a young man in his twenties with tanned skin and dark, black hair – lead our group of approximately twenty ghost enthusiasts, skeptics, and the morbidly curious. It was not difficult to see who fell into which category based on mannerisms such as eye rolls and general giddiness. Some people, such as myself – a skeptical enthusiast – fell into more than one category.

We waked around to the opposite side of the building where I had my encounter with Tom and the other member of our tour group. Joe was talking about Madame Pele, the goddess of fire, volcanoes, and lightning, and how it is a must to remain respectful to the spirits – “They are our ancestors and deserve to be respected, as such,” he explained.

Joe continued to explain the bad things that happen to those who are disrespectful, like people who remove rocks from places, like the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, and take them home as souvenirs: “Many people would send the rocks back, sometimes with a letter of apology, yeah,” Joe said, “because they or someone they loved became sick or suffered from some other misfortune, yeah. Only then did they believe the stories told about removing the rocks and remaining respectful of Pele and the ancestors.”

After picking me up at my hotel, en route to meet the other group at the palace, Joe told another story of how a Kahuna had to actually be called in to assist with some issues of disrespect. Apparently a well-known Waikiki hotel had issues with people getting sick after the hotel was built on top of where a great many bodies were buried long ago. They struggled with the problems for years before finally asking a Kahuna to come in and make peace with the spirits and ask for forgiveness.

I only half-believed this story, along with some of the others Joe related, but even that could be enough to get my skin to crawl. It did so as we rounded the corner of the palace.

Fierce. Duty. Done.

Once again, in quick succession, my Ghost Radar application was speaking to me as several sources of energy manifested on its screen.

“What did it say?” asked Frank, a local in his late forties or early fifties, who was obviously Joe’s mentor and along on the tour to help and make sure everything went well.

“Fierce, duty, and done,” I said, as I pointed to the dots on the screen. There is no true explanation for their various energy and manifestation colors – red, green, blue, or yellow – but Frank speculated that it was based on the spirit’s personality and profession when they were living.

“Green and blue, for instance,” he said, “have more to do with healers and the medical professions. Other colors can mean other things.”

“Well, that would explain why I just saw a whole bunch of red dots on my screen when it said those words so fast. I’ve got to think they were warriors or guards to the palace at some point.”

Frank had a strong energy that pulled me to him; I found him to be a fascinating individual full of all of the side tidbits of information so often craved for on similar tours. So, only occasionally listening in on Joe’s talk, I genearlly stuck close to Frank, continuing our conversation off-and-on throughout the tour. At times, though, he had to duck away to take care of something, so that is when I refocused on the group.

By this point, we had crossed the street, and were passing a statue of King Kamehameha the Great outside the Aliiolani Hale. We stopped briefly to hear stories about orphanages and plagues before crossing the street to a nearby cemetery. I recognized it from my stop earlier in the day at the Mission Houses Museum and the Kawaiahao Church.
Earlier that afternoon I had a private tour set up of the Mission Houses Museum on my Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau sponsored trip. And as I stood in the main sitting room of the oldest standing house in Hawaii, I felt my skin crawl. I had to quickly back out of the room, even in the middle of the afternoon, and continue on; I was so overcome with a feeling of uneasiness.

I felt nothing standing back outside of the house and the nearby church. The night air was cool and a gentle breeze moved by overhead, but no ill feelings returned. Instead, I felt tired and sleepy after a long day exploring downtown Honolulu. It was a good day, too, as I learned about many fascinating aspects of the history of Hawaii.
Our late-night historic walking tour wrapped up back at the Iolani Palace with another brief talk, some handshakes, and farewell waves. Despite little or no ghostly evidence gathered on my part, it was a fascinating tour and experience. And, just like my other ghost hunts and tours, it left me wondering what else might be out there that I don’t know about.

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One Comment on “An Historical Ghost Tour of Honolulu”

  1. forestfae March 26, 2012 at 3:13 am #

    Interesting stuff, thanks for sharing 🙂

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