Myths & Legends
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Creepy Stories And Urban Legends From Hawaii

Updated September 23, 2021 70.5k views12 items

The Hawaiian Islands are rich with the culture and lore of supernatural beings. Real-life tragedies and dark events in local history have spawned many urban legends and scary stories from Hawaii. Tales of mysterious creatures, old goddesses with old grudges, and legends of ghosts are simply part of daily life on the Hawaiian Islands.

Everything is considered "alive" on the island. Even the banyan trees littering the landscape are believed to contain lost spirits that became tangled in their twisted, otherworldly form. Every nook and cranny, every rock and leaf is part of Hawaiian urban legends. There are so many creepy stories and Hawaiian urban legends that have been passed down for generations, it's hard to pick the scariest one. 

  • The State Capitol Building Is Haunted by Royalty

    Photo: Mark James Miller / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    Sightings of Queen Lili‘uokalani, the last monarch of the Hawaiian Islands, come from locals and tourists alike. One famous encounter was reported by the child of State Senator Eloise Tungpalan. The Senator brought her daughter to the office and the little girl made a mysterious friend. She described her as a tall Hawaiian woman wearing a long dress, leis on her arms and neck, who was barefoot. This mystery woman vanished before either of the girl’s parents could meet her. After seeing the Queen Lili‘uokalani statue the capitol building had erected, the little girl identified the queen as her mysterious playmate.

    Queen Lili‘uokalani was a lover of cigars when she was alive. Since her passing, there have been many reports of cigar odor creeping through the air. Thick billowing clouds of cigar smoke have appeared in the basement hallway, which others believe to be the spirit of former Governor John Burns, who also took frequent cigar breaks.  

  • Iolani Palace Is Full Of Spirits

    Photo: Frank Davey / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

    The Iolani Palace is one of the most famous historical landmarks in Oahu and many visitors have had ghostly encounters there. Disembodied voices, footsteps with no physical source, strange odors, and glimpses of dark shadowy figures are reported so often, it doesn’t even raise an eyebrow anymore.

    One of the spirits is the water ghost, a man who leaves his wet footprints all down the halls. He is believed to be the spirit of a Hawaiian prince who was punished with "water dunking." As a result, he died of pneumonia. There's also the woman in white roaming the grounds at night. She cries endlessly, startling passersby, and vanishes near the stairs that run beneath the fountain outside the palace.

  • Don’t Bring Pork Through The Nu'uanu Pali Tunnels

    Photo: Avriette / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 3.0

    It’s a big no-no to bring pork through the tunnels of the Nu'uanu Pali Highway. Why? According to legend, the volcano demigoddess Pele and her lover turned rival, Kamapua’a - a half-man, half-pig demigod - agreed to split the island in half after a nasty break up. The tunnel marks the division between each spirit’s turf. The split was bitter, and since pork is symbolic of Kamapua’a, trying to bring it into Pele’s side can cause huge problems.

    Those who try have said their cars mysteriously stop working. Most of the reports of car trouble in this area all somehow involve pork. As soon as they throw it out, the car starts back up again.

  • The Legend of the Menehune, Helpful Builders of Hawaii

    Photo: Alexedennis / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY-SA 4.0

    The Menehune are tiny, mischievous beings no bigger than 6 inches in height - basically the Hawaiian version of leprechauns. According to legend, they are the displaced original settlers of Hawaii and are responsible for building great temples, roads, houses, and even the famous Alekoko Fishpond.

    These magical little elves build great structures under the light of the moon so as not to be seen by human eyes. They like to frolic in the forest playing tricks on unsuspecting humans. They are harmless for the most part, but anyone who catches them in the act won’t live to tell the tale - they’ll be turned to stone.