HONOLULU - While children gather under blankets, flashlights held sternly under their chin, telling tales of ghosts and goblins, a small crowd enjoyed a more adult version of ghost telling here, Oct. 18.
Uncle Steve's Honolulu Ghost Tour began at Iolani Palace and led the group through a four-hour walking adventure downtown filled with history and spooky tales, just in time for Halloween.
"There is no other place in all of Hawaii that has a more spiritual grounding between the past and present," said tour guide Steve Fredrick of the famed palace. "And we have the stories to prove it."
Fredrick spoke of strange occurrences taking place at the palace and listed numerous sources for his stories. Participants listened attentively to the eerie tale of the woman in white who is believed to haunt the palace grounds, waiting to capture the soul of a human.
As Fredrick told the story, a black cat walked curiously in the group's path.
There are no coincidences, according to Fredrick.
"Strange things happen on this tour," he said.
Ghosts, spirits, phantoms - call them what you will, they are real, according to Fredrick.
"Hawaii is unique with its spiritual connection," he said. "Spirits dwell here for various reasons."
Fredrick spoke of three types of ghosts. The "friendly" spirit who playfully roams buildings with no intention of harm; the "return" spirit who visits his or her own dwelling to check up on the property and those currently occupying the building; and the dreaded "angry" spirit who is often looking for revenge.
The tour continued down King Street, stopping at various historical and haunted sites. Streetlights illuminated off damp sidewalks, creating an eerie backdrop for the tour.
Fredrick has spent the last 15 years on the island researching tales of paranormal activity in Honolulu. He began the tour two years ago to share his knowledge on the history of Hawaii and its occupants that go bump in the night.
"This is a unique way of getting to know the city," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Eric Johnson, 3rd Battalion, 25th Aviation Regiment. "The ghost tour adds a bit of fun to it."
A better historian than storyteller, Fredrick shared his chilling knowledge with participants, allowing them to see, hear and feel for themselves the unnerving encounters that take place by putting them in the center of it.
"I've lived here all my life," said Amber Vuong. "You always hear tales of haunted building and streets. This is a way to learn more about each story."
Passing a dark alley sent chills down the spines of those in attendance. A story filled with guts and gore followed.
Camera flashes lit up the night as the newly appointed "ghost hunters" attempted to catch a glimpse of a spirit, often outlined in photographs.
"If you believe in spirits, they will show themselves to you," said Fredrick.
Saving the best for last, the tour ended on the seventh floor of a 19-floor building - the scene of a murder 13 years ago.
A dark hallway set the stage as Fredrick began the tale of a young woman who was working late in the office and lost her life to a crazed killer.
"She is here," said Fredrick as elevator doors involuntarily opened and closed.
The group packed into a dark elevator and began its decent to the first floor.
"We need to get off this elevator," said a trembling voice in the dark.
Can you feel the presence of the young woman murdered' Is the spirit of Governor John Burns lingering on the State Capitol grounds' Is a killer still on the loose in Honolulu'
All will be revealed, but believing is up to the individual.
Fredrick is a wealth of information regarding Hawaiian history, making the tour enjoyable, even for the most skeptical.
For more information on Uncle Steve's Honolulu Ghost Tour, visit www.stevestoursandfilms.vpweb.com or call 808-395-0674.