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ISLAND HISTORY: Sam Mia, Madame Pele and the Coco Palms Hotel

Originally from Kona, Sam Mia (1919-70), of 100 percent Hawaiian ancestry, was one of the original employees of Kaua‘i’s Coco Palms Hotel when it opened in 1953, and he continued to work there until the day he died in 1970.

Over the years, Sam, whose jobs were the ceremonial hotel kahuna (priest), torch bearer-runner and assistant to maintenance man Andrew Kane, believed that ghosts roamed the grounds of Coco Palms at night and that one must be respectful of them.

So did his fellow employees that had experienced or had heard tell of ghostly appearances or unnatural sounds occurring at Coco Palms.

Longtime Coco Palms bartender Lois Silva of Kapa‘a has said that “Sam never wanted to walk home through the grove at night because he had seen ghosts. Sam would wait for me after work at night to drive him home.”

Sam first became personally acquainted with Madam Pele, the Hawaiian fire goddess, and one of her ladies in waiting in 1954 at Coco Palms.

In David Penhallow’s book, “The Story of the Coco Palms Hotel,” and according to the “The Garden Island” newspaper, “Sam was taking things easy in his room one evening last week, after pau hana. He had a beer. He swears he only had one. There was a knock on the door. When he opened it he was greeted by two women in white holokus. One had black hair Sam states, the other was flaming red.

“Sam, being a hospitable host, asked the ladies to join him. He opened a can of beer for each of them. They talked about the weather and other topics.

“A short time later, they had to leave. As they stepped over the threshold, he glanced down and was startled to see that the feet of neither one were touching the floor. Sam says they just floated out into the night.

“Sam is convinced that it must have been no one but Madame Pele, the Hawaiian fire goddess, and her lady in waiting. To him there is no other explanation for the entire affair.”
Source: The Garden Island

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