Hawaii is known for its beautiful beaches, lush jungles, and vibrant culture, but did you know that it’s also home to some of the most haunted places in the world? From ghostly apparitions to eerie occurrences, these 10 locations are sure to give you a spine-tingling experience. Whether you’re a history buff, a thrill-seeker, or just looking for something different to do, these haunted places offer a unique glimpse into the island’s past. From ancient Hawaiian palaces to modern-day hotels, these 10 places will take you on a journey through the haunted history of Hawaii.
10 The Queen Emma Summer Palace
The Queen Emma Summer Palace, also known as Hanaiakamalama, is a beautiful and historic building located in Honolulu, Hawaii. However, it is also said to be haunted by the ghost of Queen Emma, the wife of King Kamehameha IV. Visitors to the palace have reported strange occurrences, such as doors opening and closing on their own and the feeling of someone touching their shoulder.
Some even claim to have seen Queen Emma’s ghostly figure wandering the halls. While some may find the idea of a haunted palace eerie, for others, it adds to the palace’s rich history. It adds an extra layer of intrigue to their visit. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, the Queen Emma Summer Palace is certainly worth a visit.
9 The Moana Surfrider Hotel
The Moana Surfrider Hotel in Waikiki, Hawaii, is a luxurious and historic hotel that has been welcoming guests for over a century. However, it is also known for its dark past, as it was the site of the untimely and suspicious death of Jane Stanford, co-founder of Stanford University. On February 29, 1905, Stanford died from strychnine poisoning in her room at the hotel. Her death was one of America’s most legendary murder mysteries, and to this day, the case remains unsolved.
The most popular suspect was Stanford University President David Starr Jordan, who had a difficult relationship with Stanford. The incident was even more mysterious as the maid who was initially suspected was dismissed, and no evidence existed pointing to a culprit or motive for the attempted murder. It’s said that the ghost of Jane Stanford still visits the hotel, where guests and staff have reported seeing her wandering the halls at night, trying to find her room. The Moana Surfrider Hotel may be a luxurious and historical destination, but it also holds a dark and intriguing past that adds to its allure.
8 Iolani Palace
The Iolani Palace is steeped in history and legend. It was the site of a rebellion, which many historians call “a blueprint of how to steal a kingdom.” Set on the grounds of an ancient burial mound, this palace is a true monument to Honolulu’s history. It serves as a capstone to a land full of gods, urban legends, and other supernatural tales. And when it comes to ghosts, this palace makes Hogwarts look tame.
Many say that the ghost of the last queen, Liliuokalani, still haunts the palace and is the main specter that ghost enthusiasts might encounter there. Reports from both palace workers, directors, guides, and tourists alike speak of strange occurrences within its corridors.
One of the most eerie happenings is in the blue room of the palace, where there is a piano secured in a bolted-down glass case. The security guards don’t have the key to that glass cage, yet curators and guards can sometimes hear the piano playing, with keys being pressed in random order. The doors to the queen’s bedroom are locked every night, yet once a month, the alarm to that room goes off. When guards investigate, the door is cracked open, and there’s no one inside.
Visitors have also complained of the strong smell of cigars, which is said to be due to the queen’s fondness for them. Lights also appear out of the blue in windows at night, and a specter in a rich vintage black dress has been seen multiple times wandering around the palace rooms and its yard. This palace may be a historical gem, but it’s also a place where the past and present seem to intertwine, making for a truly intriguing and eerie experience.
7 The Koloa Tree Tunnel
The Koloa Tunnel on Maluhia Road is a picturesque stretch of roadway made up of hundreds of fragrant, century-old eucalyptus trees. Many travelers claim that the Tree Tunnel is haunted, with ghostly apparitions said to dwell among the trees. Some say the trees are cursed, and the tunnel is home to many ghostly occurrences.
One night, four brothers were driving through the Koloa Tunnel when their car suddenly stopped. They saw a light in the distance and expected a car to come over the incline, but the light vanished. The car started again with no explanation, leaving the brothers puzzled and freaked out by the experience.
Some say the light was Pele, others say it could have been the night marchers, and some unseen force caused the vehicle to stop to not encounter the ghostly procession. The Koloa Tunnel is a place where the past and present seem to intertwine, making for a truly eerie experience. This is just one of many tree tunnels that can be found on the islands.
6 Menehune Fishpond
Niumalu is a small town on Kauai. It is known for its mysterious pond that is said to be haunted by the spirits of the Menehune, a mythical race of Hawaiian people known for their incredible engineering feats. According to local legend, the pond was built by the Menehune, using rocks brought from the plains of Wahiawa, near Hanapepe, and passed hand-over-hand.
Two young men, brothers, decided to test out their paintball guns at a lookout near the pond. However, their adventure took a terrifying turn. As they fired their paintballs at a sign, the seal on both of their guns unexpectedly broke. The older brother sat in his car and attempted to fix his gun while the younger brother, still outside the vehicle, tried to fix his own.
As the younger brother worked on his gun, he suddenly noticed a figure approaching them from a distance. It was a Hawaiian woman dressed in all white with long, flowing black hair. She didn’t seem to be stopping as she came closer and closer to the car, and the younger brother started to panic. He began hitting his older brother’s arm to get his attention, but the older brother was focused on fixing his paintball gun and wasn’t paying attention.
The woman continued to approach the car, her ghostly figure getting closer and closer. The younger brother was now screaming, and the older brother finally looked up to see the ghostly woman right in front of them.
No one knows the name of the female spirit, but since the brothers left, many more have reported seeing her.
Away from the bustle of town, Māhā‘ulepū is an important site in Hawaii’s history and culture, known for its haunted beach that holds important ecological, geographical, and historical finds. According to Smithsonian Magazine, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, significant ideas about the human body were hotly contested.
Scientists looked to human remains for evidence to support theories that racial attributes could be measured and ranked on a grand scale of humankind. Medical doctors, anthropologists, and other scientists came to believe that perceived behavioral attributes of different peoples, such as intelligence and industriousness, could be directly correlated with physical characteristics, such as the size and shape of the skull.
It is said that Valdemar Knudsen attempted to send a box of Hawaiian skulls and bones to the Smithsonian. He first tried to pick these bones from burial sites at Mānā but was turned away by the Hawaiians who lived there and cared for their ancestors’ remains. Knudsen said that the Hawaiians told him to take the bones from Māhā‘ulepū, for those bones were not their own.
Those warriors had fallen in battle, and they had no care for them. As a result of this, the sands at Māhā‘ulepū are white with bones scattered across the beach, which is said to be haunted by the spirits of those warriors.
4 Kipu Falls
Kipu Falls is known for being haunted by inhuman entities known as Mo’o. Mo’o are shapeshifting deities in Hawaiian culture, often referred to as “lizard beings” or “dragons.” They are typically female and are benevolent to those families who revere them as ‘aumakua. If they guard a fish pond, they see to its harvest and that its waters are clear and nurturing.
However, if they are dishonored, or their kapu is broken, it can lead to disaster. Mo’o are often associated with bodies of water, and in some tales, they take the form of a beautiful woman who takes a male companion as a lover or a meal, resulting in the man’s death.
There are signs at Kipu Falls that Mo’o are there. These signs include a greenish-yellow hue in the grasses at the water’s shore or a leaf sinking in the water. Years ago, a local teenager drowned while swimming under the waterfall, and there were five more deaths in a five-year span. Some claim that when they go swimming under the falls that they can feel a presence pulling them down.
3 Old Maui High
In Hawaii, the belief is that spirits who have passed away will return to places they were familiar with in their previous lives. Old Maui High is no exception, as locals claim that the school’s students and staff still linger on the grounds, sometimes interacting with the living.
There are stories of ghosts who attack those who enter the property and of a crying girl heard in the former school bathroom. Despite its dilapidated condition, Old Maui High’s eerie atmosphere has made it a popular spot for ghost stories and hauntings, with events like Haunted Mayhem taking place on the location during Halloween.
2 Morgan’s Corner
Morgan’s Corner is a place shrouded in mystery and fear. It was here, in 1948, that the peaceful community was rocked by a brutal murder. The victim was Mrs. Therese Wilder, a 68-year-old widow, who was brutally attacked in her own home by two escaped prisoners. They bound and gagged her, leaving her unconscious on her bed. Despite the efforts of those who found her, Mrs. Wilder tragically died from suffocation due to the injuries she sustained during the struggle.
The men responsible were caught a few days later, but the horror of what happened at Morgan’s Corner lingered on. It sparked a heated debate over capital punishment in the state of Hawai’i. To this day, many say that the ghost of Mrs. Wilder still haunts the area, a tragic reminder of the evil that once occurred there.
1 The USS Arizona
Despite the name, The USS Arizona is actually stationed at Pearl Harbor in Oahu, Hawaii. On December 7, 1941, the ship was attacked by Japanese forces during the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor. The attack was devastating, and the Arizona was hit by multiple bombs, causing a massive explosion that killed over 1,100 of the ship’s crew. The ship sank to the bottom of the harbor, where it remains to this day, a solemn memorial to the brave men who lost their lives.
But for one Australian family, their visit to the site became an experience they would never forget. Susan De Vanny and her family claim that they captured an incredible image of a face beneath the waters of Pearl Harbor, appearing in the shimmering oil above the wreck of the USS Arizona.
De Vanny and her family were visiting the memorial when she took the haunting photo. After showing the picture to her husband, they were amazed to see the ghostly figure of a face in the water. De Vanny described the figure as looking very sad and young, adding to the already eerie atmosphere of the site.
With more than 1,100 sailors losing their lives on the USS Arizona during the attack, it’s not hard to imagine that the spirits of the fallen may still linger in the waters above the ship. The photo is a chilling reminder of the tragic events that took place at Pearl Harbor and the many young lives that were lost.