What School You Went?

Morgan's Corner (with Stephany Sofos)

October 06, 2021 PBS Hawaiʻi Season 1 Episode 9
Morgan's Corner (with Stephany Sofos)
What School You Went?
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What School You Went?
Morgan's Corner (with Stephany Sofos)
Oct 06, 2021 Season 1 Episode 9
PBS Hawaiʻi

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There are many different versions of the story, but the chills are always the same... author, consultant and real estate diva Stephany Sofos joins Ron to talk about the legend of Morgan's Corner.

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Show Notes Transcript

Send us a Text Message.

There are many different versions of the story, but the chills are always the same... author, consultant and real estate diva Stephany Sofos joins Ron to talk about the legend of Morgan's Corner.

Support the Show.

WHAT SCHOOL YOU WENT? is available anywhere you get your podcasts.

Follow us on:

Ron Mizutani:

Aloha mai kakou, welcome to a new episode of What School You Went? where we start every conversation with that question because well, that's how we connect here in Hawaii. I'm Ron Mizutani, and today we're talking about Morgan's

Corner:

haunted or urban legend? Now to answer that question, we must answer three additional questions first. First up, where is Morgan's Corner, which location was named after Dr. James Morgan, who lived on a hairpin turn of Nuuanu Pali Road during the 1920s and 40s. His neighbor, Mrs. Therese Wilder, was a 68 year old widow, who lived there alone at 3939 Nuuanu Pali Road. Back in 1948, two escaped prisoners murdered Mrs. Therese Wilder in her home. According to police reports, the suspects bound and gagged her and left her unconscious on her bed. She died of suffocation due to a broken jaw, and from the gag that was placed tightly around her neck and her mouth. The men were captured a few days later, but the case continued to horrify Honolulu and really began that lengthy debate over capital punishment in Hawaii. So I ask you, what about the question of the man hanging from the tree? We've all heard our own versions of Morgan's Corner. Well, you may have heard this

story:

a young couple who had parked under a large tree late one night on old Nuuanu Pali Drive when it was time to leave, their car would not start. The boy decided to go for help, leaving his girl alone inside the car. It was a windy night and the long branches of that tree started scraping against the car's roof. Eventually, the girl fell asleep, only to be awakened in the morning by police surrounding her car. They asked her to get out and told her "don't look back." She told them what had happened. But curiosity made her turn back. She was horrified to see her boyfriend hanging upside down from the branches of that tree, his fingertips were scraping the roof of that car as his body swayed in the wind. It was not the tree that she had heard scratching the roof of the car that night. But what was it? That tree is at the trailhead to the Judd Memorial trail that leads to Jackass Ginger waterfall, just the short distance away from Mrs. Wilder's old residence. Her house is no longer standing but a gated community continues to use that same address. I want to welcome my dear friend Stephanie Sofos to this conversation. Stephanie is an author, consultant and real estate diva, longtime real estate broker and appraiser and my very, very dear friend. Steph, welcome to the program. It's good to have you here.

First thing first:

what school you went?

Stephany Sofos:

St. Andrews Priory and the University of Hawaii.

Ron Mizutani:

Priory. Back in the day, Priory back then was an all girls school, correct?

Stephany Sofos:

Yeah. And the Iolani boys were a little boring, the St. Louis boys were pretty fun.

Ron Mizutani:

You know, my son is an Iolani graduate, I'll let them know that. So I gotta ask you. I'm sure you've heard your share of ghost stories in real estate for so many years. Morgan's Corner no different. Your stories that you've heard, or a story that you've heard?

Stephany Sofos:

Well, what's interesting is I went to school with the great granddaughter of the lady who died. The two girls are the daughters of Dr. Andrew Morgan. And I think he was the son of or the grandson of Mrs. Morgan. And so they had told me stories like that. But you know, when you're younger you try not, when you're driving up to Nuuanu, you try not to think about things like that. So I have heard those stories before, from the family members, and nobody can explain what happened. I don't know about that fellow hanging there. I heard that story. But I do know, and I mentioned it to you. I was told that there's three openings to the underworld. There are beliefs in the mythology of Hawaii that there's three openings and one of them is in Nuuanu over in that area. The other is in Mapunapuna where Bob's Big Boy used to be, and the other was in Kaena Point, and a fourth one is in Kona. And I have had some several friends who have lived in Nuuanu and they have said they can hear the marchers. They've seen the marchers and that they have also, there was one where a young man was killed, a young Marine was killed on his motorcycle. And my friend, another St. Andrews Priory graduate, was sleeping and she woke up, and this bloodied young man was standing in front of her bed, beside her bed. She could see he was translucent. And she said, "what are you doing here?" Because she's very spiritual. And she said, You can't be here and he was speaking, you couldn't hear him, but she could understand what he was saying. He said, Where am I? What am I doing? What happened? And she said, You died, you died, you need to go to the light, you need to go to the light. And he said, I can't find it. Where is it? She said, turn around. And look. She said, You can't be here. You need to go, you need to go. And people wonder why we drink? I could see why. So he did see the light. And he did. And I believe that we live in two realms. And there are spirits that get stuck. And sometimes they get stuck because they kill themselves. And sometimes they get stuck because it's such a tragic and fast death, that they're not quite sure. I'm always concerned about maybe that one day, I might be walking through the Outrigger Canoe Club, and where they post all the obituaries, I might see myself there, and I go, wait a minute, when did I die? I don't remember that. So these are the things I do believe that sometimes people, these spirits get stuck.

Ron Mizutani:

You know, Nuuanu is very spiritual, spiritual area. And for some reason, we've never put lights on that road, I was sharing with our staff that I used to play games with my children, when they were younger, because they'd like driving up the road in the dark.

Stephany Sofos:

There is a lot of spiritual, heebie-jeebie, if you want to call it, there. Manoa has some of it too. Manoa has some of it. I've been in places, personally, where I've seen things in Manoa, Nuuanu, I always carry a cross with me at times when I'm going to certain places, because it just, maybe it's for a personal safety feature. But sometimes you just have to let the spirits, and you tell the spirits when you're going into these places. I'm just coming into your house and going to go walk around, I'm not touching anything. I'm not going to hurt anything. Just please let me do my job. And everything's okay. I only had one experience where it was, actually two experiences where I felt very uncomfortable and unsafe.

Ron Mizutani:

Without mentioning names, due to privacy. One of these individuals who we recently lost, you went to that individual's home and you felt a presence.

Stephany Sofos:

Yes, he had died. He was young, he was only about 53 years old. And I went into his house, I had to... it was a very sudden death. And I had to go to his house, and everything was being moved out, had been moved out. And it was a house that he had talked about that he really had wanted to buy for his wife. And he did. And as soon as I walked in, it was like

2:

30 in the afternoon. And it was a little dark and rainy. I could feel his presence and I kept talking to him. I said, Don't worry, I'm just here, your wife is okay. You know, your wife went to her mom's house. And as I walked through each room, I kept saying, I'm going to do this, I'm going to turn the lights on, I'm going to turn them off, the family won't get charged for extra utilities. But I have to do this, you know that this, once we sell this, it's going to bring money to your family, and everything will be alright. And you need to go, you need to go because you can't do anything here, the house is going to be sold, you need to go. And but it took about 30 minutes to walk around the house and I kept talking, but I did feel that he was there and and a little uncomfortable. You know?

Ron Mizutani:

You hear all these myths. So you've heard, I've certainly heard Morgan's Corner's stories and legends and everybody has different versions of it. "It was a 13 year old girl who was murdered." Truth is, there was an actual murder of a 13 year old girl, but it happened further down from Pali Road. So you know, these things just kind of perpetuate themselves. As a seller, and in a real estate world, are you required to disclose if someone died on property or was murdered on property?

Stephany Sofos:

Oh yeah, absolutely. You have to tell if someone's died. The Asian community absolutely wants to know if someone's died. You cannot disclose whether they died of AIDS or HIV or what kind of death they had, but you... unless it's a murder if it's a murder, it is a notorious situation, like in the situation at Hibiscus, Diamond Head where the two police officers were shot and killed, whomever buys the properties has to know that this is what happened because it's a notorious incident and you need to let people know because if you don't, and they find out after the fact, that could be liability for you. What happens if they start to get sick or what happens if they feel unsafe or, or something, or people break into their house because they want to see where the murders took place, you have to disclose.

Ron Mizutani:

You were there that day.

Stephany Sofos:

I was there that day. And I have to tell you. So I was there with my three dogs. And we were just, I was just walking, and I got caught in the crossfire. I was standing in the middle of the road. And the first moments are like in slow motion, and then everything moves at high speed and you kept hearing the other officers yell, get down, get down, get down, officer down, officer down, take cover, take cover, and I couldn't move with my three dogs fast enough to go left or to right. So I went backwards and hunkered down behind a concrete wall. And so it took an hour and 45 minutes for the devastation to take place, four people died. I still think about them every day. And I have to tell you that I don't feel that I have PTSD because the only thing that bothers me are when I hear sirens that kind of gives me a little, my back hair stands up, but my dogs have PTSD, and the dogs do not like walking in the area. And sometimes one of the dogs will look at where Jarda shot everyone and he'll growl.

Ron Mizutani:

First of all I'm very familiar with that day. One of the officers on the scene, that was my best friend's son, who was a partner of the gentleman who was killed. And they talk about feeling that presence still. Animals are very keen when it comes to spiritual nature. One of my friends lives on that property at Morgan's Corner, in that residence community, gated area, talks about their dog constantly barking.

Stephany Sofos:

So dogs are, I take them to certain places and they come with me, especially like when I go to Nuuanu I take them with me, because Maunawili, there's some very Heebie Jeebies stuff around there, too.

Ron Mizutani:

I thought you're gonna say when you jump in your car you heard scratching on the roof?

Stephany Sofos:

No.

Ron Mizutani:

Is Morgan's Corner haunted? Or is this just an urban legend?

Stephany Sofos:

Oh, it's haunted. I believe in my heart of hearts. It's haunted.

Ron Mizutani:

Because you've been to properties and you believe?

Stephany Sofos:

I've seen spirits. I saw a couple of spirits one time and it scared me. I walked into a house one time and I saw red eyes. And I went, whoa, whoa, whoa, I'm not going to do anything to your house. And I found out later, I waited till the owner came and I said who died here and she went white. And I said who died? She said, Well, the owners before, her family. It was a military family during World War Two. And the husband came back and wanted to leave the wife because he had met, he had fallen in love with a nurse because he had been injured. So the wife hung herself. And the family knew about this, I think they called her Doris or something like that. And they knew she was there. I said, Well, you know, some spirits get stuck. You have to help them on. She goes, Oh, I don't believe in that, that she's fine here. She doesn't bother us. I said, but she's here. Go Well, yeah, she's just good company, we'd invite her to Christmas dinner and everything's fine. It's crazy. I've had two situations, which... well those three, the one was in Manoa where I saw the red eyes. The second one was in Waikiki when I was the general manager at Kuhio Mall. And we had, we had these rocks that were in the main entrance of the mall, and my workers were getting sick. And so we started to do some research and we found that these rocks had been pulled from an old heiau back in Waianae. And so we decided that we're going to have a blessing because everybody was getting sick, the marketplace wasn't doing well. And I called, I'm Greek Orthodox. I called my Greek Orthodox priest and said, we need to do a blessing. And he came down and we did it at seven in the morning, before the mall opened. And he came and started blessing the rocks and the building. And then we were going to remove the rocks. And as he was praying, there was that south wind, and all of a sudden, he was praying, and he said, and now I ask you to leave our site. And with that, all of a sudden, the wind started whipping up, went both ways sideways backwards, and he actually turned his, to me, he turned, he had been facing the rocks and he turned his back on me. And his face was white. He had never experienced something like that. And I looked at him like, I don't know, either. And when he said, "and then God be with you, may you go to peace", all of a sudden the wind changed. And it went north. We had, we had trade winds, and it all stopped. Within, it happened within a three to five second experience. We moved the rocks after that. And the priest came back recently, about 25 years, 30 years later. And that was the first thing he mentioned to me. He said, I've never had an experience like that. And I said, Well, you know, I guess we needed to put them where they needed to belong, the spirits. I do believe there's so much spirituality in Hawaii, that people need to be respectful of certain things. You don't take rocks from heiau. The second experience I had was, I walked into a house and there Gosh no. was, there had been a little line of like a person, you know, when you go into these, murders on TV, the homicides, and they have the body lined out? Well, there was a line like that right on the front entrance. And I said, What is that, and as I went to touch it, this big wind came in, wrapped around me. And there were two daughters, two sisters. And the sisters said, what had happened is one of the sister's boyfriends had gotten into a fight with her father, because he was beating on her. And the father tried to stop the fight. And he got killed. And he died right there. So they lived in the house, they lived in the back and they tried to rent the front. And of course, the front always had problems. They had cabinets opening and closing, and you know, I have seen that happen where cabinets open and close. And they try to scrub it out, the blood, because the blood was right there. And it kept coming back. So they washed it down and they put a carpet. The blood came out into the carpet. How that happened? We don't know. They don't know. And so then they tiled it. And the tile had a thin line.

Ron Mizutani:

You're freaking me out.

Stephany Sofos:

Had a thin line around where the body was, at the entrance. And I said, how's your rental on this? And she said, it's not very good. I said, you need to tell dad to move on. And they said, Well, the one sister said he's not happy with my sister's choice of men. So I guess she's not going until she finds somebody good. I said well, okay, that explains it, you know, there are times when you just go okay. But I think there's a lot more spiritual things happening that people don't talk about, because they don't want, they think you're crazy. But everybody thinks I'm crazy, I might as well tell it now.

Ron Mizutani:

What a fascinating world that you live in. So I gotta add a title to your name, you know, author, consultant, real estate diva and ghost hunter.

Stephany Sofos:

Yeah, well, a reluctant ghost hunter. I don't go looking for it. And it's a little scary for me. I like, I'm a very boring person. I like boring life. You know, these things? These kind of age you fast.

Ron Mizutani:

Yeah. But you seem to, with all due respect. It's like that one cloud that continues to follow us, right. Sometimes Stephanie's there. And when I saw that day, that tragedy in Diamond Head, and I saw you on television that day. I said Dear god, she's right there. And I'm glad you're safe and can spend some time with us to talk story.

Stephany Sofos:

Yeah me too. I'm glad to be here. What that taught me is that you enjoy every day because you just never know how quickly everything can change. Life is a blessing. And one of the things I come away with is that I try and always be respectful of everyone, both the living and the dead. Because, you know, we don't know how quickly our lives can change and how long we'll be here.

Ron Mizutani:

Especially in our beautiful place we call home.

Stephany Sofos:

Yeah, yes, I agree. Steph, so good to talk to you. Thank you, Ron.

Ron Mizutani:

I really appreciate it. Mahalo nui for joining us on What School You Went? Until next time, a hui hou.

Unknown:

What School You Went? is a PBS Hawaii Production. Music by Taimane Gardner. If you enjoyed this episode, let us know on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and tell your friends. You can find us on pbshawaii.org and everywhere you get your podcasts.