The White Lady


Informant is college educated and has lived on Oahu, Hawaii for their whole life. Informant was dating the Interviewer’s mother for around a year. 


Informant discusses the urban legend of Pele, the goddess attributed to making the Hawaiian islands. Informant speaks on how the encounter will go, what Pele will look like, and what will happen if you disrespect her.


Informant: “Ooo, what about the white lady?”

Interviewer: “The what lady?”

Informant: “The white lady, if you see the white lady, you have to pick her up. If you don’t pick her up-”

Interviewer: “Oh, Pele!”

Informant: “Yeah, so she comes out as either a young beautiful woman, or whatever, but if you don’t pick her up she’ll end up in the back seat of your car.”

Interviewer: “What happens then? I heard that-”

Informant: “I think she’ll either stay there until you go to where she wants to go or when you notice that she’s there, you’ll turn around and she’ll be gone. But after you see her you gotta make offerings, like food and drinks so you don’t make her mad.”


    The story of the white lady is an incredibly common myth in Hawaii. Even though Pele is supposed to only live on the Big Island, tales of encountering her on all islands are a relatively common affair. I personally have never encountered the white lady while driving alone, but I have family members who swear to have seen her. Nobody I know says she has gotten into their vehicle though. While I respect this story and the culture it comes from, In my mind I chalk most of these up to just seeing a random woman wearing white while driving, as that is not an uncommon outfit on Oahu by any means.