Monday, August 29, 2011


SKI REPORT #20091106-03
LOCATION: Kaimuki / O‘ahu / Hawai‘i

I’ve noticed that whenever my wife travels and I’m alone in the house, strange things tend to happen. It’s as if the “coast is clear” for odd or creepy occurrences. Whenever my wife is around, bizarre incidents cease for some reason, or if something weird does happen, at least she’s there to validate that I hadn’t been imagining things and tell me, “Babe, you’re not crazy.” I deeply appreciate my wife’s unconditional love and reassurance.
One Wednesday evening in March, she left to compete with her hālau in the Merry Monarch Festival, a popular hula competition on the Big Island of Hawai‘i. The first night she was gone, I swear I felt something watching me. Watching me as I watched TV. Watching me as I brushed my teeth. Watching me as I got ready for bed.

There always seemed to be a strange presence in the room, like an uncomfortable pressure. All night I tossed and turned and as a result, didn’t get more than three hours of sleep. The following morning, Thursday, I felt like I was coming down with a cold. My sinuses were stuffed up and there was a tickle in my throat I couldn’t get rid of.

By Friday, I woke up completely nauseated and tired, with my stomach in knots. My head throbbed so painfully I could barely focus on anything else. I had a monthly meeting I had to go to that I never missed. I felt so sick I was thinking of canceling.

At that moment, my wife called to check on me. I told her how awful I felt and she asked if I was still going to the meeting, as she knew how important the meetings were to me. I was about to tell her that I wasn’t going, when I realized that if it were her, she would fight through her illness. So I sucked it up and told her I was going to the meeting. After she wished me well, I splashed some cold water on my face and pulled myself together as best I could and hopped in the car.

I managed the 15-minute drive without passing out and parked a couple of blocks from our meeting place. I sat in the driver’s seat, dreading the walk to the building. It wasn’t a particularly long walk, I was just worried I might faint on the street or do something equally as emasculating and embarrassing.

I hoisted myself out of the car when suddenly I heard a high-pitched chuckle. Startled, I looked around and saw a mynah bird staring at me from the telephone wire above my car. I hoped it would fly away and find somewhere else besides my car to do its business.

I started walking and turned at an intersection, when a shadow swooped past my head. It was that same mynah bird. It flew up onto the street sign in front of me, still staring.

Ignoring the pesky bird I continued on my way. But once again, the mynah flew past my head and perched upon a nearby fence. Annoyed, I clicked my tongue at the bird, but it wasn’t phased. I sighed and crossed the street onto the next block. As I continued my walk, the mynah stayed with me, repeating its pattern of swooping past me and landing a few yards in front of me. Fence to wire, wire to sign, sign to post. It kept pace with me all the way to the back entrance of the office building where our
meeting was being held.

As I approached the back gate, the mynah jumped onto the railing right next to me. Since the bird seemed so bold, out of curiosity I held out my hand towards it, it didn’t even flinch. I took out my cell phone from my pocket and snapped a photo of it next to my hand. The mynah unnervingly stared right into my eyes. “I'm going now, goodbye!”

Had I really just talked to a bird? I shook my head and walked into the courtyard heading toward the building stairwell. I took a deep breath and tried to clear my head, as the last thing I needed was to lose my balance and topple down the stairs. As I stepped onto the first stair, I felt a scratching upon my backpack.

I turned to see the mynah scurrying up my backpack! It climbed onto my shoulder and perched. Again, it stared into my eyes. “What? You wanna come with me?” The mynah didn’t move. It just sat there so I climbed up three flights of stairs feeling like some kind of crazy pirate with a bird on my shoulder. When I got to the meeting room I asked, “Are you coming to the meeting?” The fearless mynah didn’t move and continued to stare at me. I opened the door and entered the room.

As soon as the people present at the meeting saw my new friend, it flew out of the room. One of the ladies exclaimed, “What the heck was that?”

I told her it was a mynah bird and explained to everyone there what had happened. Another lady, Sherry, rolled her eyes and said, “Yeah, right!” But when she opened the door, we found that the had mynah had merely relocated to the outside railing.

“Quick, give me your cell phone,” Sherry said, “so I can take a picture of you and your new buddy.” I went to stand next to the mynah but as soon as Sherry raised the phone, the bird began to walk away.

“Move closer to it!” Sherry instructed, waving me closer to the bird.

I scooted towards the bird and Sherry pulled the phone up again. The mynah started moving away again so she quickly snapped the picture. She inspected it and said, “You need to get closer, the bird looks like it's hanging out in the background or something.”

Sherry stepped outside through the doorway and the bird flew away. But as it left, I realized that my stomachache had subsided and my head felt a lot better. The nausea was also gone and for the first time since my wife had left, I felt calm.

What makes this experience so unique is that Hawai‘i’s mynah birds are wild. They typically do not interact with people. However, this mynah bird was different. It actually consistently maintained eye contact and felt comfortable enough to perch upon my shoulder. Had the mynah somehow relieved me of my illness? I know it sounds crazy, but after it flew away, I felt better than normal, at peace. I believe in family animal protectors, or ‘aumakua, but my family’s ‘aumakua is the shark, not the mynah bird.

By no means am I unappreciative of the healing the mynah provided me that day. It just surprised me, and pleasantly so. The mynahs gentle feet upon my shoulder felt similar to that of a reassuring hand, letting me know that everything was going to be just fine.

WRITTEN BY: Gabriel Del Aragon
for Spooky Kine Investigations

EDITED BY: Courtney Kunimura
for Spooky Kine Investigations

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Dusk was approaching quickly as Harry and Shige sped along Saddle Road heading home to Kailua-Kona.

Once the last bits of light vanished from the sky, they would be traveling along what was considered to be one of the most hazardous roads in the state of Hawai‘i. It wasn’t so much the dark of night that made Harry nervous, but rather the number of drinks he and Shige had consumed at a friend’s house in Hilo before heading home for the evening.

Suddenly, there was a loud pop and Harry’s car began jerking up and down along the rear driver’s side, feeling as if it had sprained an ankle and was now hobbling along to support its injured foot.

Thunka, thunka ,thunka, thunka, thunka...

Harry groaned as he pulled the car off to the side of the road and brought it to a stop. He threw on the hazard lights and turned to shake awake Shige, who had fallen asleep only two minutes into the ride home.

“Eh, Shige, wake up. I tink we get one flat tire. Help me change um.”

Shige’s glazed eyes opened slowly as he turned to look at his friend.

“We go,” Harry said, getting out of the car. “Stay dark already.”

Harry pulled open the  trunk and removed the carjack and spare tire as Shige slowly climbed out from the passenger seat. They slipped the jack beneath the car and began cranking.

In a few minutes, they changed the tire and were on their way. But less than a mile had passed when in the distance Shige spotted a white figure just barely illuminated by the car headlights.

“Harry, you see dat?”

“What?” Harry asked as he peered through the windshield.

“Ova dea, on da right. I think das one wahine waving at us. How come she out hea by herself in da dark? Eh Harry, we bettah make sure she okay.”

Harry nodded in agreement and once again pulled the car to the side of the road as Shige leaned out the window and called to the woman. The woman put her hand down, smiled, and walked over to the car.

“You okay o wat?” Shige asked.

As the woman, who was dressed in white slowly approached the car, they could see that she was carrying a small woven basket.

“ Yes, I’m fine. Thank you for stopping for me.” she replied

As she moved closer, Harry and Shige were both taken aback by the woman's striking beauty. Her skin was smooth and tanned, long ‘ehu hair flowed down past her shoulders, and her smile seemed to beam as brightly as the white dress she wore.

“How come you stay out hea by yourself?” asked Shige.

“I came here to pick ‘ohelo berries but I lost track of time. Before I knew it, the sun had set and I was out here walking down this road. In the dark.”

“Good ting we came by den.” said Shige. He elbowed Harry.

“Uh, you like one ride?” Harry asked.

“Thank you, that’s very kind.”

Harry jumped out of the car and opened the back door. The woman smiled and gracefully settled into the backseat.

They conversed as they traveled along Saddle Road. The woman explained to the guys that she was excited to return home to make delicious jam out of the ‘ohelo berries she had picked.

“Hooo dat sounds good!” Shige exclaimed, smacking his lips.

“Would either of you two care to try one?” the woman asked as she reached into her small woven basket and produced two of the reddest, most ripest berries that they had ever seen.

“No need ask us twice.” Harry took the berry from the woman, thanked her, and bit down on it.

The tart berry juice exploded with flavor and suddenly Harry found himself back in his childhood, to summers past when his grandmother would spread homemade ‘ohelo berry jam and liliko‘i butter on toast for his afternoon snack. It seemed as if it had been decades since he last experienced the taste.

Harry quickly snapped out of his dream-like state when he realized that they were quickly approaching the end of Saddle Road.

“Miss, you like me turn right or left on Belt Road?”

There was no answer.

Harry looked into his rear view mirror to find that the beautiful woman they had picked up along the roadside was gone.

WRITTEN BY: Wayne Takabayashi
for Spooky Kine Investigations