Hawaii September 14, 2017
The Haunted Hawaii Theater That Is Not For The Faint At Heart
The Hawaiian Islands are famous for their incredible beaches, lush landscapes, fascinating history — and some pretty crazy ghost stories. After all, the Hawaiian Islands have a unique history full of royalty, warriors, and native culture. From allegedly
haunted hotels to creepy roads where you may encounter the paranormal, there are countless ghosts who have decided to make the islands their permanent residence in their afterlife. And while all of these ghost stories are terrifying in their own way, there is one popular Maui attraction that will send shivers down your spine.
Located in Wailuku and opened in 1928, the Iao Theatre is easily one of the most haunted spots found across the eight main Hawaiian Islands - with the documentation to prove it. The theatre is so haunted, in fact, that it starred in the last episode of the Syfy show, "Haunted Collector" in 2012, where you will witness convincing paranormal activity and audio footage. Of course, the theater hosted a viewing party when the episode aired.
Originally both a silent movie house and vaudeville house, the Spanish Mission style theater fell into disrepair in the 1980s. After threats of demolition, the theater was placed on both the State of Hawaii Register of Historic Places (1994) and the National Register of Historic Places (1995). It is now home to a local community theater group who have reported various paranormal happenings.
There have been various reports of lights flickering, and unexplained voices throughout the theater, though the most chilling story is that of a misty, luminescent ghost sitting in seats throughout the theatre, as well as on stage when the theater is closed. Witnesses claim the female apparition is friendly, and many affectionately refer to the spirit as "Emma," an unknown flapper and actress who has a penchant for productions that take place in the 1920s. Lights flicker and boards malfunction for no apparent reason - but as soon as someone acknowledges Emma, the unexplained activity stops. Her presence has been made especially known during previous productions of Chicago and Cabaret.
According to a 2011 article on
: During a production in 1992, Krueger says, "Something was messing with the lights and there was a very irritated presence." She says the cast and crew started speaking to the ether and collectively determined that the spirit’s irritation might be due to the living not addressing the dead in a personal way (and, for a time, confusing her with the nasty dressing room poltergeist)—and that was "just being rude."
"So, we started saying different names out loud, and when we said "Emma," all of a sudden there was a cool, breezy feeling in the air. We all went, "Whoa! That’s her name!" And ever since, we’ve called her Emma. She doesn’t really mess with anybody since she was named."
No one knows if there was ever a woman named Emma associated with the theatre, how she died if she was actually a flapper — or what her sinister story might have been.
Other ghosts have been seen in the basement: it is said these are the ghosts of Hawaiian soldiers, who died during battle centuries ago in the Iao Valley. Witnesses have also reported feeling cold spots, seeing shadowy figures, and hearing voices. Another not-so-friendly ghost has been witnessed making things fly off the shelves and generally causing chaos in the dressing rooms.
While actors don’t want to be alone in various areas of the building - especially the women’s dressing room and attic - the outside of the historic theater isn’t much better: a 90-year old time capsule encased in concrete on the sidewalk outside was found to hold a few old postcards and a strip of film. When played on a projector, the film shows a woman’s face - perhaps the same actress haunting the theater today.
If you want to check out the entire episode of Haunted Collector on YouTube (for a price of $1.99), click
Have you heard about Hawaii’s most haunted house? You’ll want to read about the
Kaimuki House during the day – and as far away from home as possible.