The Night Marchers of Hawaii
The lush tropical forests of the Hawaiian islands have fascinated visitors to the island chain since Captain James Cook made the first European contact with its native peoples in 1778. Initially, the islands became a cash flow for European sugar planters, and the native islanders felt their wrathful grip. When the island became a US territory in 1898 and a state in 1959, more and more tourists began to flock to its beautiful shores. The first hotel, The Moana Hotel, opened in 1901, and today they litter all the Islands but Ni’ihau, which has restricted tourism to preserve the native culture. It is as if the native culture has been placed in a chokehold. So who is there to protect it? Many visitors have heard and witnessed the legendary Night Marchers in certain places, particularly Manoa Falls on the Island of Oahu. Spiritual warriors were sent from beyond the grave to protect their descendants. They march on certain nights across the various trails of Hawaii. These tales predate the days of tourism and have been reported by native Hawaiians for generations. It is said looking them in the eye means certain death. US Ghost Adventures unveils the night marchers for you below.
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“Huaka’I Po” The Spiritual Protectors
In 2018, a woman posted a picture of what she believed to be a Night Marcher. She and her friend were visiting Oahu for a marathon called the Hurt 100. This 100-mile-long marathon took them directly through the path of the Night Marchers. Whether her photo is of a Night Marcher, a dark-skinned local wearing a trash bag, or something else remains to be seen. But the Night Marchers have been spoken of in oral tradition for generations, the first written report being in 1883. They are referred to colloquially as the “Huaka’I Po.” They are said to wear heavy armor, carrying spears and torches from another world to protect the spirits of Hawaiian Kings and Gods. Appearing generally right before the moon disappears, known as Kane in Hawaiian, they can be heard from miles away. A banshee-like scream emanates from the valleys and mountains of the Hawaii islands, often signaled by the thundering sound of a conch shell. If one is unlucky enough to come across them on their phantom journey, which has occurred time and time again in modern times, they are to play dead. Looking them in the eye or simply not believing in their great power will cause immediate death. The only exception is if the unlucky viewer is part of their family heritage or that of the one they are protecting.
They are so revered on the Hawaii Islands that buildings have been rearranged for them. One woman named Hannah told the story of how her Grandfather removed the backroom of his four-bedroom home because it was in their way. They will go through any building in their path, stomping upon any of those in their way. Special accommodations are made for them across the state. At the Waikoloa Hilton on the big island, Hawaiian priests recommended constructing around a Night Marcher trail. At first, the contractors did not listen. But after many unfortunate occurrences around the construction site, they decided to leave a cobblestone path for the Huaka’I Po.
The Trails and Valleys of The Night Marchers
Many natives who live in the valleys and trails frequented by the Night Marchers try to deter them from entering their homes; Ti plants are grown, raised, and potted around the interior and exterior, keeping the spirits away. While Manoa Falls is the most well know Night Marcher trail, their path extends across many islands. They roam in the valleys and across the mountains, primarily through burial sites and spiritual temples. O’ahu is a hotbed of night marcher activity, with sightings reported at King Kamehameha III’s summer palace, Yokohama Bay, Kalama Valley, Makaha Valley Plantation, Ka’ena Point, and Diamond Head Crater. These sightings generally occur at night, increasing during special full moons like the blood moon. In 2016, on a particularly misty evening, with the blood moon hanging menacingly overhead, dozen sightings were reported to the local authorities.
The trail on Manoa Falls has played host to the most sightings of these spiritual protectorates due to increased tourism to the Manoa Valley. The 150-foot tall waterfall that graces the valley is a beautiful sight, yet the scenic route can be pretty dangerous. Spirits of deceased hikers roam alongside the Night Marchers and are often spotted by the living. First off, don’t drink the water! It is home to a dangerous bacteria that causes Leptospirosis. This brings death to the unlucky traveler through kidney and liver failure, meningitis, and respiratory distress. Many have fallen to their death along the high trails near the falls, locals and tourists alike. In June 2016, a student at the University of Washington returned to her home in Honolulu on summer vacation. She slipped on the wet trail and fell 200 feet to her death. A similar event occurred in 2012 to another unlucky hiker. Perhaps the Night Marchers played a part in their demise.
The Protectors of Hawaii
A group of local teenagers used the trail of Manoa Falls as a hangout late one night. Reveling in the bliss of young innocence, they drank the night away as we have all done in our time. Soon they heard the low blow of a conch shell and drums beating in the distance. Knowing the tale of the Night Marchers, fear immediately struck their heart. They took off down the trail, through the valley, and back to safety. The drums grew louder and louder until they could see the light from the Night Marchers’ torches following behind. Outlines of armored warriors began to appear out of the darkness. One of the teenagers reported seeing the bloody figures of two hikers screaming in eternal pain alongside the Night Marchers. They jolted out of their as quick as their feet could take them, never returning to Manoa Falls after dark again!
The Night Marchers protect Hawaii from external and internal forces. Making sure that both locals and tourists respect the trails of Kings and Gods. Letting all who cross their path know that these lands are sacred and to be respected. Pay reverence to these beautiful lands properly and respectfully on your next Hawaiian vacation. Continue reading our blog to discover more supernatural experiences, and perhaps consider taking a tour with US Ghost Adventures next time you take a nice vacation. It may save your life!
Featured Image Source: Flickr