The Big Island is known as a place of unique energy, playing host to locations of intense spiritual energy called vortexes. Vortexes are believed by supernatural investigators to enable spirits to cross from their plane into ours. From sacrificial temples to mass burial mounds, spectral dogs to ghost cars – the Big Island has some seriously spooky places to discover.
Note: Please remember to respect our cultural heritage sites. Do not trespass, remove artifacts or otherwise tamper with or desecrate these areas. In some cases, these sites may reflect fairly recent loss of human life, so they should be approached with respect. Mahalo for your kokua.
Big Island's spookiest places: West
Hulihe’e Palace: Once a summer vacation home for Hawaiian royalty, today Hulihe‘e Palace is a museum showcasing artifacts from the era of King Kalākaua and Queen Kapi’olani. Nighttime strollers on Alii Drive have reported seeing a woman in a long gown and the ghost of a small boy on the palace grounds. Descriptions of the gowned woman match the garment on display inside the palace.
Kamakahonu Bay houses the Ahuena Heiau and King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel. King Kamehameha the Great died at Ahuena Heiau, with his bones secreted away and buried in an unknown location. Visitors to the hotel report hearing footsteps of a large group of people with no one in sight and flickering lights along the shoreline. Others have reported that the Herb Kane paintings appear to breathe or move, especially the portrait of Queen Lili’uokalani.
Mo’okini Heiau is one of the oldest and most sacred temples in Hawaii. It was used as a heiau luakini, or sacrificial temple. Humans and animals were sacrificed to the war god Ku on the Papa nui o leka stone located directly outside the heiau. When most heiau in Hawai were destroyed in the early 1800s, Mo’okini was spared because it was believed that the rocks themselves had been infused with mana (spiritual energy). Daytime visitors to the heiau have reported chills and strange winds on their skin on bright sunny days, as well as stones that appear to move or hum.
Lekeleke Burials at Kuamo'o Battleground
The Lekeleke Burial Mounds serve as a grim reminder of the Battle of Kuamo’o, when Hawaiian warriors clashed over the abolishment of the traditional kapu belief system. A gravel trail leads to the ocean to a cliff jumping spot nicknamed “The end of the world.” The lekeleke burial grounds are one of the places on the Big Island where the huaka’i pō, or Nightmarchers, have reportedly been seen and heard.
Palani Road (Kailua Kona)
In Kona there is a main road called Palani Road, which winds up the slope of Hualalai. A stretch of this road is especially dangerous, and it narrows from two lanes to one around a curve. According to urban legend, the ghost of a woman killed in a car crash in the 1950s haunts this stretch of roadway. Some claim to have seen the ghost and swerved to avoid her. Do not become a ghost trying to look for ghosts – always keep your eyes on the road.
Waipi'o to Pololū
At the Northern tip of the Big Island lies a system of deep valleys, with Pololū valley being the furthest west in Kapa’au and Waipi’o valley the furthest east on the Hamakua Coast. This system of valleys is a huaka’i pō hot spot, with reported sightings of lines of torches proceeding along untraversable terrain and sounds of footsteps, drum beats, and chanting being heard in the night. It is unsafe to attempt hiking into the valleys at night.
Big island's spookiest places: east
Punalu'u Black Sand Beach
Punalu’u Black Sand Beach is a popular tourist destination where people come to see the dark black volcanic sand and sea turtles. Hiking past Punalu’u Beach towards Kamehame Beach, you find Kāne’ele’ele Heiau, another heiau luakini. Campers at Punalu’u have reported seeing human silhouettes appear and disappear along the trail, and hearing screams in the night. Others have reported seeing a ghostly white owl swoop across their path and disappear. This may be the owl ‘aumakua (guardian spirit) of Ka’u warning hikers away from the trail.
Kaumana Cave is found along the Old Saddle Road (Road 200) between mile markers 4 and 5. The public entrance is a small skylight, but the lava tube itself is 25 miles long. At the skylight entrance is graffiti in multiple languages, which some reports have said may glow at night. Night time drivers have also reported seeing a human silhouette crossing the road from the cave.
Banyan Drive and Coconut Island
Banyan trees are sacred and highly symbolic of the cycle of life in several faiths of India, their native land. Trees along the Historic Banyan Drive in Hilo were planted by notable people such as Amelia Earhart, F.D.R., and Sen. Richard Nixon (whose tree died and had to be replanted). Night time visitors have reported seeing ghostly figures and hearing voices speaking Hawaiian, especially near the Coconut Island section of the drive.
Naha Stone at Hilo Public Library
Directly in front of the Hilo Public Library sits a large, somewhat rectangular looking stone called the Naha Stone. The Naha Stone is connected to the Naha family, a chiefly lineage of the Big Island. Legend predating Kamehameha foretold that whoever was able to overturn the Naha Stone would become ruler of Hawaii Island. According to verbal accounts, Kamehameha completed this feat of strength. Late night visitors have reported hearing a baby’s cry near the stone, a significant callback to the stone’s history in determining the ruling line of Naha chiefs.
The Volcano House Hotel within the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is said to be home to several ghosts, including an elderly woman in a long dress and a man who jumps into the crater. A ghostly white dog is sometimes seen near the entrance to the hotel. Some guests have reported seeing an old woman at night with an otherworldly appearance, which some believe to be Pele, goddess of the volcano. The local myth of a curse involving removing lava rocks from the park is sometimes attributed to a guest who suffered bad luck at the hotel.
Located in the Pahoa district, Opihikao is an area with a checkered past. Disappearances and unsolved murders color the recent history of Opihikao, with legends of spirits and huaka’i pō predating those events. Night fishermen have reported seeing lights and “fireballs” along the shoreline. Drivers have recounted tales of a ghost car appearing out of nowhere and disappearing just as fast. Opihikao is extremely dark at night and a residential area. Also located in the Opihikao area is Mackenzie State Park that is purported to be one of Big Island’s spookiest place. Learn more about what happened when Kahuna Research Group investigated the park in 2013 here.
Old Hilo Memorial Hospital
It is unsurprising that a hospital would be the site of ghost stories, as many people pass away in these facilities. Urban legends tell of a fire in the infant ward of old Hilo Memorial Hospital, but do not give a year for the event. Supposedly, many infants and nurses died in the fire. Visitors to the hospital grounds commonly report poltergeist-type activity, as well as sounds of babies crying. Learn more about what happened when Kahuna Research Group investigated the hospital here.
In 1975, a boy scout troop was camping at Halapē beach when a 7.2 earthquake occurred, causing a locally generated tsunami. The troop barely had any time to prepare for the oncoming waves, and the boy scout leader Dr. Mitchell, as well as a local fisherman, died in the event. Modern campers at Halapē beach report seeing lights along the shoreline, as well as hearing moans and cries of pain.
The Old Saddle Road is a reported hot bed of paranormal activity. According to legend, saddle road passes from the territory of Kamapua’a to the territory of Pele. Like the Pali highway on O’ahu, carrying pork across Saddle Road is strongly discouraged. Some claim to have seen an old woman on the side of the road, who may be Pele. Others claim to have seen giant wild boars materialize out of nowhere, one of the forms of Kamapua’a. The thick fog that often shrouds the road plays tricks on the eyes, and the newly constructed Daniel K Inouye highway is a much more popular alternative nowadays.
Kazamura was established as the longest-known lava tube in the world, measuring in at approximately 40 miles long and 3,600 feet deep. Access points to Kazamura Cave are extremely remote and located on private property, with public access being provided by tours. Lava tubes were commonly used by Hawaiians as burial places, and very little of Kazamura Cave has been explored. Visitors to Kazamura Cave have reported hearing and feeling breath without anyone close by, as well as distant echoing footsteps and moving shadows.