Ms. Kaehr studied with a Huna teacher in Dallas, Texas, who is not named in the book but who is a well known former pupil of Tad James. After completing one level of Huna training she purchased an Ouija board at Wal-Mart (!) and convinced herself she was communicating with the ghost of Max Freedom Long, the first person to write about Huna in the thirties. Inspired by that, she went to Hawaii and did some research which persuaded her that Max Freedom Long's books were inaccurate and that he made up much of what he wrote. Shelley's book is quite readable and well written. However, on some points her argument falls completely apart.
Max Freedom Long says in his books that he never met a kahuna while he was in Hawaii, that he did become friends with Dr. Brigham of the Bishop Museum, and that everything he wrote about Huna came from Dr. Brigham and the Hawaiian Dictionary. Shelley accurately points out that none of these statements are true. Shelley has done an honest and courageous job of exposing the myths, but regrettably she stopped short of discovering the truth. Her documentary research is excellent but to arrive at the end of the story she resorted to Ouija boards, conversations with ghosts banging on the walls of her house, and automatic writing, whereas IMO she should have continued exploring documents. The truth is that Huna was illegal when Max was in Hawaii, that he studied under two kahunas, and that they gave him permission to publish some of what they taught him, provided that he conceal their identities. That he did with the silly stories about Dr. Brigham and the Hawaiian Dictionary which Shelley has thoroughly debunked. All of this came out after his death and after Huna was legalized. Like Shelley, I, too, was unimpressed with the obvious phoniness of these stories, and interviewed a woman in 1986 who studied in Hawaii with several kahunas. She told me that not only were Long's books accurate representations of Huna teaching, but that there were a lot of people in Hawaii who were angry that this information had been published. It is true, as the Kaehr book points out, that the popular understanding of such terms as aumakua and unihipili are different from the secret, esoteric meanings given by Long. But was Long wrong? Not according to people who have spent considerable time in the islands studying with real kahunas. We should note that Ms. Kaehr herself does not claim to have studied with any kahunas while in Hawaii, although she did do some valuable research with others who also did not study under any kahunas. So Ms. Kaehr's book is partly right so long as it depends on documentation, and dead wrong when its statements are based on ghostly visitations and things that go bump in the night (or bang, as the case might be). I say this in the hope that she will bring out a second edition in which these flaws are corrected. It should also be said that Max Freedom Long's bona fides or lack thereof have no bearing on the teachings of Clark Wilkerson, Serge King, or Tad James, all of whom studied in Hawaii, and none of whom claim to have learned everything they know from a dictionary, or from Long, for that matter. All three of these teachers have tipped their hat to Max Freedom Long as the first mainland author to write about Huna and acquaint stateside readers with this ancient Polynesian form of spirituality. It is absurd to say that no one should study under any of these teachers or their students because of Ms. Kaehr's experience with a Ouija board. After all, someone else might look at some tea leaves or something and decide not to study under Ms. Kaehr and then where would we be? Would that make any sense? We need better information than her presumed seances to make intelligent decisions.
So I would give this book two stars. Two for the part that is half right, and minus three for the part that is all wrong.