“There’s this island in Hawaii called Lanai, which is really sparsely populated and rural. It’s really small, and you can drive across it in like an hour. On the island there’s this lodge that’s said to be haunted. Everyone on the island knows the story.
The lodge used to be a hospital during WWII, but now it’s rented out for large groups on vacation, and a lot of schools bring students there for hiking. There was once this class of third graders from Oahu who went on a field trip there, and on their first day, these two boys thought it would be fun to play a joke on one of their classmates.
While everyone was unpacking, they went to the back of the lodge where no one went and tricked one of the girls into a closet. They locked her in there, and since it was far enough away from the other rooms, no one could hear her pounding on the door to get out.
After that, the class left to go explore the island, and by the time everyone got back, the boys had forgotten about her.
Three days later, when the class was preparing to leave, the teachers realized she was missing and searched the lodge for her. The boys didn’t want to admit to what they had done, so they pretended to search too.
Finally, the teachers saw the blocked off closet and found the girl inside, still alive, but really scared. There were scratch marks on the inside of the door that she had made with her nails.
She never spoke after that, and eventually she killed herself once she became a teenager. Her ghost haunts the house now.
My school went on a trip there one time, and I didn’t see anything, but when we first got there, before any of us had ever heard the story, the two girls that had been assigned to the room where the girl had been locked in the closet asked to be moved because they felt too uncomfortable to stay there.”
This is the first account that came to my neighbor’s mind when I asked him if he knew any ghost stories. Born and raised in Hawaii, he first heard the story when he was in fifth grade, around seven years ago, during a campfire story-telling session when he was visiting Lanai with his school.
When asked whether he believes this story is true, he responds that though he never saw anything himself, he does believe it because of all the people who say they have felt the spirit’s presence. According to him, the tale is a way of giving the very secluded island its own sense of history and heritage, something that is distinctly theirs that everyone claiming to come from Lanai is familiar with.
Something of interest to note is that when recounting the story to me in our well-lit study room, he seemed insistent on mentioning the two girls that were in his class on the trip with him as a form of evidence to verify the story. The perceived need to provide proof for the story could come from the fact that the context of the interview wasn’t one which is usually considered conducive to belief in ghosts (i.e. in darkness or somewhere considered “scary”), therefore perhaps increasing the need for rational evidence to base belief upon instead of fear.
Mentioning that everyone on the island is also familiar with the story also serves as another way of rationalizing the tale; since so many other people share in that belief, it helps to make it seem less strange.
I think this story is interesting because, as the lodge is currently often rented out to schools, it serves as a warning to both students and teachers not to misbehave. Students shouldn’t wander away from the group or play nasty tricks on each other, and teachers should be mindful to keep an eye on the children. Whether or not the account is true, it serves as a cautionary tale for those visiting.
Another function the story might provide could be to bring tourists to the island and the lodge. A ghost story is a good way of bringing attention to an unknown location, and the fact that the characters in the story are students and teachers like those that would be staying in the cabin could make it more intriguing to those considering visiting the location.