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Island Folklore: The Best Myths, Mysteries, and Legends

Palm trees beneath the stars
Do you remember telling ghost stories as a kid? If so, you’ve likely heard some spooky fables that have been passed down through the generations. Here in Hawaii, our islands are teeming with legends and tales from our multi-ethnic community. We have many stories to share, but the following are close to home; in fact, they’re all within a stone’s throw of The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono! Learn more about island folklore below and discover the secrets of the Valley Isle with our free Maui Travel Guide.

Our Favorite Island Folklore Tales

1. The White Lady

This story is told to almost every child growing up in Hawaii. “The White Lady” can be in the form Madame Pele, the goddess of fire, or an unknown woman looking for a long-lost love. She can be young or old and is seen on a full moon night.

No one knows when they might encounter the White Lady. She has been spotted on Highway 30 in Honoapiilani, wandering somewhere between the Tropical Plantation and the Kahili Golf Course entrance. It’s been said that when you drive this stretch of road, you encounter a woman dressed in white. Many have passed her and looked back only to find that she’s nowhere to be found; others have stopped to offer her a ride. Often, the White Lady accepts the ride and sits in the back seat.

In one particular story, the driver asks the woman where she’s going, noting her ghostly glow. He chalks it up to either the full moon or the shadows from the trees that line the highway. Silence is the only thing the driver hears as he continues toward Wailuku. He notices that the White Lady looks almost transparent as he views her in the rearview mirror. When he turns around once again to ask where he needs to take her, he finds that the White Lady has vanished into thin air.

What you would do if you found yourself driving this lonely stretch of Highway 30? Would you pick up the mysterious lady in white, or would you pass her by?

2. The Warrior in the Mist

The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono boasts an ideal location for golfers. We are surrounded by four challenging courses, all of which are within a 10-minute drive of the inn. Over the years, there have been several stories shared among friends and coworkers about one of the golf courses in the area. It will make you think the next time you tee off!

Guests departing from evening events at the clubhouse have encountered a misty fog as they drive away. In the fog, many have witnessed a lone figure resembling an ancient Hawaiian warrior. The sound of a pu, or conch shell, can be heard in the distance. No one has ever dared to stop and investigate, and many have left wondering if the warrior sighting was just a trick of the eye.

An old Hawaiian myth may help to explain the sound of the conch. Legend has it that deep in the valleys above Wailuku, there is a lava tube that extends all the way to the other side of the island. Hidden in it is a magical pu. Perhaps this warrior spirit is in search of the conch, or perhaps the sound is a call to arms for the ancient Hawaiian spirits that continue to guard this land.

3. Da Slippah Spirit

Slip-slap, slip-slap, slip-slap. Residents of Kiele Street (just around the corner from our inn) know about “da Slippah Spirit”. Each night, our neighbors fall asleep, only to be woken up by the sound of slapping slippers at 4 a.m. These rubber slippers (also known as flip-flops) run down the road towards Kahookele Street. If you find yourself up in the middle of the night, keep an ear out!

Uncover Hawaiian History at The Old Wailuku Inn at Ulupono

Of course, the best way to experience Maui’s island folklore firsthand is to stay at our inn. Built-in 1924, The Old Wailuku Inn is brimming with history. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places and features a variety of Hawaiian quilts, books, and antiques. With a unique blend of Old-World charm and modern conveniences, our bed and breakfast is perfect for history buffs.

There’s no need to worry about spirits when you stay with us! Our cozy accommodations have peaceful energy that will make you feel right at home. Plus, our quiet, fragrant gardens offer an ideal space to reflect on the mysteries of the past.

Check our availability and make your reservations today.
We look forward to sharing our stories with you!

The Old Wailuku Inn

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  • 808-244-5897
  • 2199 Kaho'okele Street Wailuku
    Maui, Hawaii 96793