MY GHOST STORY: Tales from Okinawa readers

MY GHOST STORY: Tales from Okinawa readers

by Stripes Okinawa Archives

Editor’s note: A few years back, we asked, and some heeded our call for creepy stories about things that go bump in the night. Kathryn Lowry shared this hair-raising experience about Kadena Air Base’s building 721 – and one more reason why you should never forget your CAC ID.

The grumpy spirit of a forgotten Englishman

My commander didn’t believe when I told him why I was late. Last week I had shown up without my CAC for the same reason. My office is haunted.

Some of my coworkers had warned me that staying in our office after dark would not end well. I had laughed off these concerns, our building was only 60 years old, made of solid concrete, and did not have any questionable backgrounds such as being a mortuary or something as morbid. Besides, I didn’t believe in ghosts and any Japanese or American who might have died in that area during the Battle of Okinawa likely had bigger things to care about than messing with some new airman. 

While all of these things were true, there was one story I hadn’t factored into my reasoning.  Englishmen. That’s right, from England. I wasn’t expecting to see a ghost, but I especially wasn’t expecting to meet an English one. 

The windows started rattling unexplainably, but then I would hear a whine and the rattling would stop. During broad daylight things like this can be shrugged off easily, along with the shrill creaks that come from the dense foliage that backs up to our parking lot.

But one night I forgot my CAC at work and drove back in the dark of night pick it up, and the strangest thing happened. I left the door on unlocked, but when I returned it was locked tight and from the outside I could hear the windows of my office rattle.

I heard an odd rustling and turned just in time to see the back of a British naval garb vanish into the foliage.  Although no words were spoken, I could almost have sworn I got the phrase “Don’t even think about entering, colonial rebel” put into my head as if someone had whispered it to me.

I fled to my car and drove away without any more attempts to go inside. I spent the next morning with the base historian learning about what could possibly be roaming outside building 721.  Turns out that I wasn’t imagining the navy uniform the night before.

During 1853, Commodore Perry came onto Okinawa and forced the government to open up the island to trading. While he was here on his mission, one of his rowdier sailors, Rueben Noland, got a little too celebratory with the gin rations and missed the call back to the ships and got left behind.  Rueben was a less than likeable character and so he outstayed his welcome in the locals’ homes and was forced to wander as far south as current day Kadena Air Base. He was always bitter about being left behind and died within two months as a terrible drunk. 

No one was really sure what to do with the body because the locals cremated bodies and put them in family tombs, but he had no family tomb to go into. Therefore, the ashes were simply spread in the forest, and unfortunately 170 years later our well-meaning construction workers picked up some of the ashes in the piles of dirt they used to make the concrete of our building.  
Needless to say, Rueben has been less than pleased ever since his homeless body was molded into walls to house the operations of the American patriots (I guess he didn’t hear the U.S. and England ended up as allies).  While his physical matter is encased in the walls of 721, Rueben’s ghost is said to haunt the outside and become especially irritable at night.

Not entirely convinced, I came in early the next morning before the sun was up.  As I pulled up, I could almost see Rueben’s distinct uniform coming out of the foliage behind parking lot getting ready to pounce on anyone who dared disturb him at night.

I quickly drove to the edge of the parking lot closest to the road, kept all my lights on and waited for the sun to come up. 

Although I was supposed to get something ready before I went to meet my commander at 06:30, I made a decision in the parking lot. I decided I’d rather be the airman that got in trouble for being late, rather than the airman who was carried off by the ghost of an angry Englishman.

And although I am no longer fearful of Rueben, I sometimes leave him tea and always, ALWAYS make sure I finish all of my work during daylight hours.

Tales from the class

Editor’s note: Here are some ghoulish tales from Ms. Migita and a couple of her students at Lester Middle School.

I was home alone at my house on Foster. It was around 9 o’clock, it was pitch black outside and none of my family was home. I was watching Netflix in my room in the back of my house. My door was shut and all my lights where off while I wrapped myself in a cocoon of blankets in my bed, snuggly and warm. Suddenly my door knob started rattling as if someone was trying to get into my room.  I froze; I couldn’t breathe, knowing that no one was home.

There was a shadow pacing back and forth that I could see from the small slip of light from under the door in the hallway.  Both my dogs where on my bed laying down but heads and ears perked up listening, but suddenly jumped down and started barking at the door looking like they were about to attach whatever it was they were looking at. I felt weak and scared, my eyes almost bulging out of my head in fear while I sat there in my dark room. I couldn’t hear anything but the quiet voices from the T.V.  that I drowned out. I got up barely being able to walk and slowly lurked my way over to the door andsteadily opened my door, and peaked out my door just to see that nothing was there.

This was a few months ago during summer and nothing has happened since.

– Alexia Harre

Vanishing woman

This is a story that my uncle told me, in Japan there’s this week when all of our family members that died comeback. Well not literally but we celebrate it because we miss our family members.

One of those days my uncle was driving to my grandma’s house because we always get together at my grandma’s house, and while he was driving he saw this women. She looked like a regular woman but when she walked behind a bus stop, usually it would only take you about three or four seconds to walk past the bus.

After three seconds he could see her when he drove past the bus stop he looked behind him and she was gone. She just disappeared...

– Yumi Alvarado

Silhouette in the woods

This is a story that my great-grandfather used to tell my dad: One time, in the middle of the night, I needed to use the bathroom. This was back in the day when there was no indoor plumbing, so we had to use the outhouse that was deep in the woods, if we wanted to relieve ourselves. So, I got up and looked into the darknsess of the woods through the window as shivers went down my spine.

I opened the front door and proceeded to walk into dark and scary woods. All of a sudden, I heard something breathing on my shoulder, so I ran as fast as I could, to get away from whatever was behind me. When I reached the outhouse, I was petrified at the sight of a dark silhouette of a face staring straight into my eyes.

For a while, I thought it was my brother Alton, he was the mischievous kind who liked to play tricks. “Alton that you” I stammered.

It didn’t speak.

I bolted out of there at the speed of light, fearing what would happen next.

When I finally reached my house, I saw a light shining from the porch. There was Alton, sitting at the porch. To this day, I never knew who or what that creature was that was sitting in the outhouse.

– Rio Oliver

Ghostly grasp

I know of someone who didn’t believe in ghosts at all until experiencing one in Okinawa.

While traversing the parking lot to their car from the Hamby Town San A, they felt their wrist grasped tightly by an unseen hand. Dropping the newly purchased items they screeched and tore at their unseen captor.  The sensation lifted, but left them with an uneasy stomach and a drumming heart.

Later I was informed that Hamby Town San A used to be the Morgue for the military shortly after World War II. While this hasn’t ever happened to me, I feel a little hesitant whenever I am in that parking lot.

– Kendra Migita

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