Hawaii ghost haunts Ohio computer
As Hawaiian ghost stories go, Wanda Certo's isn't as dramatic as what happens when you take pork over the Pali in your car (I think you get three extra miles to the gallon) or what happens when you chuck a mongoose off Makapuu Lookout at sunrise (the mongoose becomes very agitated).
But Certo's ghost story is pretty weird, not just because it takes place in Cleveland and involves the TV Food Network, but because Certo doesn't seem to be one of your run-of-the-mill crackpots.
For one thing, she's a civilian employee for a Department of Defense contractor that makes jet engine parts. Few island spirits have been known to haunt civilian employees for Defense Department contractors who make jet engine parts, even in Cleveland.
But I'll let her tell her story. She hopes that by publicizing her strange experience, maybe someone in Hawaii can solve the mystery.
Certo says the curious incident began during a lunch break when she was surfing the Internet, looking for recipes. (So, she wasn't technically on company time.)
"I found a few recipes that I wanted to print out from Rachel Ray's '30 Minute Meals,'" she said. "I printed out the first recipe, no problem. I printed the second, again no problem. Then I tried printing the third recipe and this is where the pilikia began." (For those of you not from Cleveland, "pilikia" means "really weird stuff.")
Her computer screen blanked out and the printer stopped printing. She fiddled with the computer and the printer started working again. But what the printer printed out under the "30 Minute Meals" header was not a recipe, but Hawaiian words! And they were not "add poi and stir"!
As it turns out, Certo has been to Hawaii and loves the people and, more particularly, the music. She recognized the Hawaiian in the recipe as "Ha'ina 'ia mai ana ka puana," a familiar refrain in many Hawaiian songs that means either "sing the chorus" or "get to the point."
There were also other words that she took for lyrics, including "mikinolia," which happens to be part of a song by island entertainer Keali'i Reichel. Now here comes one of the weird parts: She'd just been listening to a Keali'i Reichel CD in her car that morning!
As Certo puts it: "Ohoooh boy. Gave me chicken skin!" (For those of you not from Cleveland, "chicken skin" refers to the outer layer of epidermis on a chicken after the feathers have been plucked that cooks up nice and crispy when fried ... see Rachel Ray's 30-Minute Fried Chicken Skin with Pasta.)
"Chicken skin" in Hawaii refers to the goose bumps you get when you're really scared or are getting an extra three miles to the gallon while driving over the Pali with pork. So it's possible that Certo was referring to that usage. But it is weird that so far this ghost story involves both a Rachel and a Reichel, chicken skin and the Food Network.
At this point, Certo decided she had an "aumakua," which in Cleveland, I believe, is a slight rash. Or maybe she meant the Hawaiian version of aumakua, which refers to the spirit of a departed relative that manifests itself in some kind of an animal.
In Certo's case, the animal her aumakua was manifesting itself in was her computer, and I think we can all agree computers can be annoying creatures.
Certo concludes, "I would ask you to help me explain this phenomenon and track down what elusive song this is."
Here are the lines Wanda Certo claims appeared in her "30 Minute Meal" recipe:
"Haina 'ia mai ana ka puana,
Ka ulua 'ume 'ume mikinolia."
I immediately recognized the lines as coming from the Hawaiian song "Papakolea" ("for the magnolias taunting my sweetheart ..."), but that doesn't explain why they should appear in a Food Network recipe printed out by a Cleveland civilian worker for a Defense Department jet engine contractor, and why, when I printed out the recipe for Rachel Ray's Vegetable Penne with Tarragon-Basil Pesto, I got a long inventory list for jet engine parts.
Chicken skin, bruddah.
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