Hilo Ghost Walks
Historic Downtown Hilo, HI
On Christmas Day 1915, a Hilo native named Elena dove into the ocean off of Keaukaha with a friend. They swam about 100 feet to some rocks in Hilo Bay to collect Hawaiian shellfish for dinner. Just a moment later, the friend heard Elena’s panicked cries for help. Suspended in place for unknown reasons, an unseen force held her in its powerful grip underneath the waves and wouldn’t let her go. Elena hoped to see her grandchildren again, but her friend, try as she might, could not free her from the crushing, invisible embrace. Who would save Elena?
This is just one of many gripping, otherworldly tales from Hilo. The New Orleans of the Pacific, Hilo is a colorful, historic, mural-filled town — home to music, ghosts, and magic. The scene of devastating tsunamis and the wandering spirits they leave in their wake, Hilo’s crescent-shaped bay also saw the launch of King Kamehameha’s 800 war canoes in his quest to unite the Hawaiian Islands.
The annual Merrie Monarch Festival celebrates Hawaiian culture at its best, but also stirs the spirits of ancestors, and is ground zero for curses dealt by jealous rivals in the sometimes contentious hula dance competitions. Discover the local history of unique paranormal activity including contemporary stories of encounters with Hawaiian deities such as the fiery goddess of the volcanoes, Pele, and Mo’oinanea, the queen of the mo’o, fierce local guardians, who can appear as humans, formidable 30-foot lizards, or the smallest gecko.
- Gaze into the Wailuku River where it meets the Pacific Ocean. Then find out why this river is called the “waters of destruction” in the Hawaiian language.
- Visit the Palace Theater, the scene of contemporary ghost stories, as investigated on Haunted Towns in Episode 8 of Season 2.
- Pay homage to Hawaii’s last king at his statue in Kalākaua Park, Hilo’s original town square, and hear accounts of supernatural events surrounding the annual Merrie Monarch Festival.
- Learn about the ghost sightings that followed devastating tidal waves and the Buddhist ritual meant to put them to rest at the Pacific Tsunami Museum.
- Touch the 5,000 pound Naha Stone, an ancient megalith which played an important role in a Hawaiian prophecy.
Important booking information
- Free parking is available in the lot near the historical marker, but there is also ample street parking throughout the area.
- This tour runs rain or shine, so please dress accordingly and wear comfortable shoes.
- The tour route is wheelchair-accessible, just let us know if you plan on using one, so we can adjust the route appropriately for your comfort
- Because this is a limited capacity tour, all sales are final. But we will reschedule you if you have an emergency.
- Service animals are welcome. However, for liability issues, please leave your furry friends at home if you don’t require their assistance.
What You Can Expect
On this haunted history tour of historic downtown Hilo expect to walk about 1 mile over the course of 90-120 minutes. As your tour guide leads you to thirteen storied locations around Hilo, there will be plenty of breaks to share your own stories and ask questions.
Here is a sample itinerary of some of the places you will visit.
Start where the Wailuku River mets the Pacific
Your guide will meet your small group at the historical marker. Nearby you can gaze into the Wailuku River whose name literally means “water of destruction” in Hawaiian. Maybe you’ll glimpse a fierce sacred being called a mo’o, as you listen to real accounts of tragic occurrences on the river attributed to powerful supernatural forces. You might also spot more placid visitors from the ocean like sea turtles and needle fish.
Visualize a true crime tale with a ghost
Learn about the 1902 murder that shocked Hilo and the haunting that followed. An innocent immigrant was killed in a boarding house on Kamehameha Avenue, once-known as Front Street. In the following year, a ghost plagued the new owner of the building where the crime took place.
Watch out for mysterious stone falls
Although volcanic rock does occasionally fall from the sky in Hawaii for perfectly explicable reasons, this is was not the case in several strange incidents between 1915-1926. The sudden opening of a fissure in the Earth is known to thrust volcanic debris into the air, sometimes resulting in a rain of stones. However, this doesn’t happen at precisely 2 a.m. every night for months as it did on the roof of Hilo’s old jail. You also don’t find stones of foreign origin to blame as in the case of such damaging deluges at nearby homesteads.
Marvel at Hawaii’s unique perspective on the paranormal
You guide will regale you with only authentic tales of Hilo’s otherworldly inhabitants. Find out how to avoid processions of long-dead Night Marchers as they regularly travel from the mountains to the ocean. Embody respect for native customs to dodge the attacks of the choking ghosts. As it looms above you, revere Mauna Kea and its sacred residents.
Hilo Ghost Walk meeting location:
Tours depart from the historical marker on the southeast end of Kamehameha Ave. (just before it becomes Wailuku Dr.) in historic downtown Hilo.
Copyright 2021 Wisconsin Ghost Walks LLC, part of the American Ghost Walks family of haunted history tours.