Spooky Pacific Islands

Ghost stories are quite prevalent throughout the Pacific Islands, and just about anyone you meet there will be able to relate a ghastly experience to you. Traditionally, the Pacific Islands are oral societies, thus histories and legends were passed down to generations through storytelling. When islanders “talk story” it is a magical dance between teller and listener.

There are stories about sorcery in Melanesian countries like Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands and ones about kahuna cult and night marchers in Hawaii. Ghosts roam freely on high isles and low reef atolls. Islanders in the Marquesas Islands have close encounters with terrifying, shape-changing ancestral spirits.

And let’s not forget the devastating affect that World War II left on many Pacific Islands. Despite the passage of time, in secret jungle glades and lagoons the ghosts of war still linger. Islands such as Guadalcanal, Tarawa, and Peleliu (to name just a few) have produced many ghostly encounters and stories.

Great writers such as, Jack London, Eugene Burdick, James Norman Hall, Robert Dean Frisbie, Robert Louis Stevenson, W. Somerst Maugham, and Mark Twain, have endured horrifying experiences during their time in the islands. They even wrote about them drawing upon supernatural folklore, reports of sprites and phantoms, visions and fancies.

I can recall a balmy, eerie night while working on a project at the National Archives of Solomon Islands. A colleague and I arrived at the archives to do a little work, but mainly to access the Internet. As we approached the dark building, a security guard and his comrades hurriedly came upon us and implored us not to enter the building. We asked why not, and he told us that he and his friends have been hearing voices coming from the second floor. He also heard a woman scream and a baby crying. Nobody was in the the building since it closed earlier in the day. It was creepy, but we entered the building anyway. My colleague told me that the security guard often hears strange sounds and voices in the building. Needless to say, I was a little creeped-out working that night.


The National Archives of Solomon Islands, Honiara. Spooky at night.

Happy Halloween!


About islandculturearchivalsupport

Island Culture Archival Support (ICAS) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the preservation of records pertaining to the cultural identity of island peoples in Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia whose national and public archives, libraries, cultural centers, and business organizations are underprivileged, underfunded, and understaffed. The specific purpose for which this nonprofit corporation was formed is to support the needs of these South Pacific cultural heritage institutions by helping to preserve and make accessible records created for business, accountability or cultural purposes. The organization will endeavor to add value by providing resources or volunteers to advise, train, and work among island residents to support their efforts in building their future and preserving their collective memory through the use of modern archival techniques.
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