One of our favorite vacation destinations is Hawaii. However, in this tropical island paradise it’s hard to get scared (unless you count seeing half naked mainland tourist on Waikiki beach). For years we’ve looked for a noteworthy haunt in the Hawaiian islands. With legendary island gods, isolated locations and haunted history, we’ve always thought Hawaii has the ideal setting for an unique haunt experience.
So finally, after searching for years, we’ve discovered that the Polynesian Cultural Center now transforms into the Haunted Lagoon during October. The Polynesian Cultural Center (PCC), on the island of Oahu, is the closest thing to a theme park in the Hawaiian islands and it provides the perfect tropical haunt setting with walking trails and watery canals lined with grass huts and dense tropical foliage.
The featured attraction of the Haunted Lagoon is a nighttime canoe ride through foggy canals where you’ll encounter zombies, ghosts, and the legendary Lā‘ie lady stalking the dark waters. The waters are also filled with monsters who are actually swimming around your canoe and jump out of the water at unsuspecting guest! These could the most dedicated “scareactors” in the industry. The monsters also stalk the grounds of the Cultural Center, scaring guest as they wait to cruise through the dark haunted waters.
The Haunted Lagoon is reportedly not for the faint of heart, which we also like, so the PCC offers milder “keiki canoes” for family members of all ages. Aboard each keiki canoe is a “lost warrior” who carries a mystical light staff that “repels” monsters or creatures, including the ghostly Lady. We won’t won’t ever be on one of those but it’s nice of them to offer it for young Haunt Stalkers so they can start their haunting at a young age. In addition, PCC also offers a special feature film presentation, contests, and activities while waiting for the Haunted Lagoon Ride.
We definitely will be going to Hawaii one year to check out this very unique and interesting haunt experience. For more information about this year’s event, coupons and specials visit www.HauntedLagoon.com.
Legend of the La’ie Lady
In the spring of 1962, a labor missionary from Tonga was working late, digging out the lagoon for the Polynesian Cultural Center. It was growing dark, and he looked up to see a girl walking towards him. Thinking that it was his sister bringing him some dinner, he turned around to put down his tools. But, when he looked up again, he saw no one there. Since that time, there have been several sightings of this lady in and around the villages of the Polynesian Cultural Center.
History has led us to believe that this “lady in white,” or the “La’ie Lady” as she has come to be known, is the spirit of a young girl who lived here many years ago.
Nalani was born on the west side of Oahu around the year 1780. As a beautiful teenager living in Honolulu, she quickly caught the attention of many young men, and fell in love with a visiting sailor. Against the wishes of her family, Nalani secretly married the boy. Only a few short weeks later, her family was outraged to discover their secret. They hunted the boy down and beat him severely.
The young couple fled up the windward coast to a sanctuary settlement located in the town of La’ie. Shortly after arriving, Nalani discovered that she was pregnant. Sadly, the young husband didn’t live long enough to see his child. The beating he had received had mangled him so severely that he could no longer hold on to life.
The young husband was buried next to the river, and a coconut tree was planted to mark his grave… a symbol of how he had floated across the ocean to plant his own seed. When she was not working in the Taro fields, Nalani would sit by the river next to the coconut tree, sometimes overcome by tears.
She gave birth to a baby boy a few months later, and became very reclusive. Eventually, she stopped talking with anyone else in the community. Her eyes and ears were only for her little boy.
On a morning, a few years later, Nalani woke to find her little boy missing. She ran around frantically the entire morning and eventually found one of his small toys lying on the riverside, across from her husband’s grave. She searched in vain for the child, walking up and down the river banks, and even diving into the river, searching for her child. However, he was never found.
Even more eccentric in her life, and more reclusive in her community, Nalani spent her days walking up and down the river, nurturing the coconut tree and calling out for her family. One day, she too, disappeared just like her son. Some believed that they had both been taken to the other side by the spirit of her dead husband.
The coconut tree still grows next to the river, which is now the lagoon at the Polynesian Cultural Center. The tree, like the owner of the grave it marks, has grown twisted and mangled. We call it the Kapakahi tree, and it grows next to the bridge connecting the Tongan village and Rapa Nui, standing as a reminder of the tragedy of this forbidden love.