Honolulu is the capital of Hawaii and is the gateway to the United States. The area is known for its dining, nightlife, shopping, beaches, and many more.
A sunset photo showing Honolulu. (Link: https://www.tripadvisor.ca/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g60982-i60501462-Honolulu_Oahu_Hawaii.html)
Honolulu is also the home of one of the most haunted places in the area – the ‘Iolani Palace.
The ‘Iolani Palace in Hawaii. (Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ʻIolani_Palace)
History Of The ‘Iolani Palace
The ‘Iolani Palace was built by a man named Mataio Kekuanaoa, the long-time Royal Governor of O’ahu, for his daughter, Princess Victoria Kamāmalu. It was originally built with wood and stone, which they referred to as Hale Ali ‘i, which meant House of Chiefs. It was only a third of the present palace today.
Mataio Kekuanaoa in an undated photo, who built the original ‘Iolani Palace for his daughter. (Link: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Mataio_Kekuanaoa.jpg)
Princess Victoria Kamāmalu in an undated photo. (Link: https://maoliworld.com/forum/topics/mataio-kekuanaoa-s-descendants-heirs-includes-our-families-thru)
The ‘Iolani Palace later became the residence of the rulers of the Kingdom of Hawaii. The first resident there was Kamehameha III, who bought the property from Kekuanaoa. The ‘Iolani Palace was renovated and it had only a throne room, a reception room, and a state dining room. The palace was surrounded with sleeping quarters because the palace itself had no sleeping rooms as it was strictly for ceremonial spaces. The home of Kamehameha III was given the name Ho ‘iho ‘ikea and was later changed to ‘Iolani Palace, which was named after his brother, Kamehameha IV when Kamehameha V already ruled the area. ‘Io actually means “royal hawk.”
Kamehameha III in an undated photo. (Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamehameha_III)
Later, it became the residence of David Kalākaua. During his reign, the ‘Iolani Palace was in its worst condition due to termite damage. He was the first monarch in Hawaii to travel all over the world and he noted the architecture in these areas. He commissioned the construction of a new ‘Iolani Palace, which later became the official palace of the Hawaiian monarchy. The building is very grand and has features that are seen nowhere else in the world. Its style is American Florentine where the first floor has a grand hall and has a staircase made of koa wood. Upstairs, there are bedrooms and a private library. It even had electricity and telephones even before the White House did.
King David Kalakaua as seen in a portrait. (Link: https://www.thevintagenews.com/2016/08/22/priority-last-king-paradise-kalakaua-last-reigning-king-kingdom-hawai-first-king-travel-around-world/)
It ended with the residence of Queen Lili ‘uokalani back in 1893. When the monarchy was overthrown in the same year, the ‘Iolani Palace became the capitol building for the new Provisional Government, Republic, Territory, and State of Hawai’i until the year 1969. After the monarchy was overthrown, the government inventoried the contents of the ‘Iolani Palace and sold them at public auctions. Then, Queen Lili ‘uokalani was imprisoned for nine months in the small room of the upper floor of the ‘Iolani Palace. She built a quilt while imprisoned and that quilt remains in the throne room of the ‘Iolani Palace. When she died in 1917, the then-territorial governor, Lucius E. Pinkham, gave her the honor of a state funeral in the throne room.
The quilt that Queen Lili ‘uokalani did during her imprisonment at the ‘Iolani Palace. (Link: https://www.iolanipalace.org/history/queens-imprisonment/)
Today, people can visit it at the capitol district of downtown Honolulu and is a National Historic Landmark. It was restored and opened to the public as a museum in the year 1978. Many people visit it for the fact that it is the only royal palace on US soil and the other reason is because it is reportedly haunted.
The Ghost At The ‘Iolani Palace
It is believed that the ghost of Queen Lili ‘uokalani remains at the ‘Iolani Palace to this day. Some say that they see a silhouette of a woman standing in the window of the former room of the Queen.
Queen Lili ‘uokalani in an undated snap. (Link: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/five-things-know-about-liliuokalani-last-queen-hawaii-180967155/)
A group of visitors went there one evening but they were not allowed to go inside. However, a security guard on duty told them some of the paranormal activities taking place at the ‘Iolani Palace. The guard shared that in the blue room of the Palace, there is a piano that is locked inside a glass case. No guard has a key to that glass case but most of them have heard it being played at night. They reportedly checked the security cameras multiple times but no one could be seen playing the piano but tunes could be heard emanating from it. The Queen might be the one playing the piano because she always loved playing songs for her guests when she was still alive.
The Blue Room at the ‘Iolani Palace. (Link: https://www.iolanipalace.org/sacred-palace/the-palace/blue-room/)
The guard also shared that every night, the doors are sealed. However, 30 minutes after the doors are sealed, the alarm always goes off in the Queen’s bedroom. Whenever the guards run up to the room to check it, the seal has been broken and the Queen’s bedroom is open. The guards will reseal the room and 30 minutes later, the alarm goes off again and the same thing happens.
Visitors and staff also revealed that they can smell the scent of burning cigars. Reportedly, the queen loved cigars and smoked them. It is possible that the Queen is also responsible for the scent of burning cigars being smelled by visitors and staff members.
Other Paranormal Activities At The ‘Iolani Palace
Other paranormal activities at the ‘Iolani Palace include hearing footsteps and voices and seeing bright lights coming from the towers of the castle. Allegedly, there are no lights at the towers but guards often see it in the wee hours of the morning.
Also, in the grounds of the ‘Iolani Palace, there stands 135-year-old banyan trees. These trees are said to be the common places where spirits are seen. This is also where the ancient burial site of the Royal Kamehameha II and Queen Kamāmalu are located. Other members of the monarchy were once buried there but they were exhumed in 1865 and transferred to the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaii.
Banyan Trees outside the ‘Iolani Palace. (Link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/kenlund/4550114498)