Hawaiian Man Has Cracked the Island’s Deepest Mystery
A mental hospital sits in the midst of a dense forest. “You can’t get through the treeline without two flashlights,” says Darius Shiflett.
Shiflett, by profession a short-order cook, is also the unofficial historian of the facility, which locals call the Pineapple Bin but is more formally known as the Sofa-Rammstein Institute for the Mentally Disarranged.
The Pineapple Bin, which opened its doors in 1931, has long been a place for troubled souls to take a week or two (depending on their health insurance) and seek solace.
In 1942, a patient named Ronald Kahale checked into the Bin. “He was immediately noticeable,” says Shiflett. “Why? Because he was nearly eight feet tall.”
Kehale rarely spoke. Some patients insisted that he was the wisest of souls. Others said that he was a con man, a former bank robber from Chicago named Randy Kenesaw who had fled to Hawaii to stay one step ahead of the law.
“All they knew for sure was that Kahale was a compelling figure,” says Shiflett. “In the parlance of today’s youth, he had ‘the riz,’ meaning charisma.”
Kahale quickly charmed staff and patients alike—in particular, a nurse named Emma Articulado. The two of them fell in love and started a family.
“Four of their five children were, if you’ll pardon the expression, normal,” says Shiflett, “but one, Peter, was, if you’ll pardon the expression, not.”
Peter was eight feet tall by the time he was twelve years old and had left the family by the time he was fourteen. That’s when the Sofa-Rammstein Institute lost track of him.
Coincidentally, it was also when beachgoers in Honolulu had their first sighting of the Abominable Beachman. a fearsome, formidable creature that patrolled beaches, grabbing fish and eel, trying them into knots, and throwing them onto the sand.
THE ABOMINABLE BEACHMAN
Tourists and staffers emerging from hotels in the morning found knotted eels and fish, and smelled a foul odor that was not the dead creatures but something else—perhaps a trace of the killer. hey also sometimes found slips of paper with a crude but compelling message printed on them: “The Beach is Your Teacher.”
This creature was dubbed the Abominable Beachman, a name that stuck. He remained a mystery for decades. But now Shiflett has a theory. “I fervently believe that this so-called Abominable Beachman is in fact Peter Kehale, grown old, grown mean, gone mad,” he says.
The theory has not yet gained traction among Shiflett’s colleagues, but that has not deterred the cook. “I know I’m right,” he says. “And I’m not going to stop until everyone agrees. And don’t think I’m not driven. I may kill anyone who stands in my way.” A moment later, he laughs. “Just joking,” he says. “Just a little joke.”
Shiflett will be speaking at Honolulu Technical College on July 8, on the topic of “Sands, Time, and Tides: Bringing Back the Beachman.” Tickets are $11 and include lemonade.