Finding places on O‘ahu that are supposedly haunted is not a difficult feat. In fact, a good deal of these haunted places are buildings that we still occupy today.
One story that has been told over the decades is the ghost of University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s Hamilton Library. There have been reports of an apparition, a ghostlike human figure, that has been seen walking around in a bright pink mu‘umu‘u late at night.
According to recordings of a library staff meeting taped in 1998 and posted online by librarian Wil Frost, there were many faculty who have experienced strange or supernatural happenings at the library. In the recordings, John Shepherd, a librarian assistant from 1976 to 1981, recalls a solo visit to the basement of the building after hours in which he heard bare feet walking on the tile floors.
“The room was freezing cold when I walked in,” he said. “I could hear bare feet walking around, you know the sound a bare foot makes on a tile floor. I started to walk away to leave the room, and when I walked, the bare feet walked. When I walked faster, the feet walked faster. I refused to turn around.”
Though the stories told by previous library employees could give goosebumps, it seems that newer staff havenʻt had the same experiences.
“I haven’t experienced anything strange or paranormal in my entire life, and I stay after hours all the time,” said current librarian Kapena Shim.
Interestingly, our very own WCC administration building, Hale Alaka‘i, has a basement that was once the morgue of the Hawai‘i State Hospital. Some WCC staff report having an erie feeling just being down there or experiencing strange occurrences that made them uncomfortable.
“Some days, when there’s a wind, you can still smell the chloroform,” said Jan Lubin, director of planning and program evaluation.
Others said they feel like they’re being followed or watched when they’re certain they are alone, especially in the basement.
Financial aid officer Steven Chigawa shared a compelling story about things he heard while working late at night.
“Well, I’ve been here late at night, and probably nobody else was in the building, but you can hear doors slamming down the hall,” he said. “I don’t stay late anymore.”
Chigawa said, however, that he has never seen a ghost of any kind.
Alaka‘i’s basement is now used for storage and is visited frequently. There were no reports of anything spooky other than visitors getting a bad feeling.
But financial aid clerk Denise Rita confessed: “I wouldn’t want to go down there at night, by myself.”
by Hannah Bailey, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter