Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Governor Burns - Capitol Ghost Stories 2012

On the eve of Halloween, here's a capitol ghost story from Kendra Oishi, House Majority Staff Office, about Governor John A. Burns.  Of all the spirits, the presence of Governor Burns in and around the State Capitol, especially the aroma of his cigar smoke, is perhaps the most well-known.  The fact that Governor Burns oversaw the building of the state capitol and became the first governor to have his office in the building, makes these stories even more special.  Governor Burns was governor from 1962 to 1973.  He became ill before completing his last term; then Lt. Governor George Ariyoshi became acting governor until 1974 and won election to the governor's office that year.  Governor Burns passed away in 1975.

The smell of cigar smoke
By Kendra Oishi

My story dates back to before I began working here (pre-2001), when Glen Grant was still alive and doing his Downtown ghost tours.

One of the stops on the tour was the Capitol steps facing the Queen Liliuokalani statue, where we all sat as Glen Grant spoke.  Mr. Grant was telling various stories related to the area, including how Governor Burns used to walk around the Capitol, often smoking a cigar.  He explained that even after Governor Burns was long gone, people would sometimes smell a cigar, even though no one was smoking in the area, and that it is believed that the cigar smell was a sign of Governor Burns' presence.

As Mr. Grant was transitioning to another story, I thought I sensed the aroma of a cigar in the air, but I kept that thought to myself and just brushed it aside as a figment of my imagination, influenced by the story I just heard.  Then, a young women sitting on the steps behind me leaned toward her friend and said, "Do you smell that?"  Her friend replied, "What?"  The young woman says, "I thought I smelled a cigar."  Then I realized it wasn't just me, and that perhaps Governor Burns was indeed in our presence.

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