The Ghosts of Hawaii

by M-Gillies
Windy skies could mean the ghosts of Hawaii are restless

If you hear beating drums and the flickering lights of torches on a stormy night in Hawaii you may see the Night Marchers who are restlessly searching for the entrance into the next world.

In the distance the sound of primitive drums erupts through the air as a foul and musky odor rolls over the sea breeze. The only warning for stragglers lingering in the nearby distance is the sound of a conch shell being blown into and the dim flicker of torches illuminating the distance. Roaming the entire coast of the island of Hawaii, their procession consists of recited chants as the spirits of chiefs, priests, priestesses and warriors, each armed with archaic weaponry and clothed in decorated helmets and cloaks.

They are the hukai’po or the “Night Marchers”; ghostly warriors of Hawaii who are said to be the restless souls searching to reclaim rightful territory, replay a battle gone awry, avenge their own deaths or methodically search for an entrance into the next world.

Despite their motives, their malice is ripe. Those who find themselves crossing the path of the Night Marchers are doomed. Legend has it that if the procession is interrupted, or if a person gazes into the eyes of a Night Marcher only a grim fate will befall that person, which would see them forever damned to partake in the procession, unless a friend or relative had already been taken.

Locals of Hawaii will warn people that if someone comes across a procession of the Night Marchers, it is important that that person crouch low to the ground, resting on their stomachs and to avoid making eye contact. It is advised to make no sounds and take shallow breaths while keeping movements to a minimum to avoid attracting the deadly glance of a Night Marcher. While some Night Marchers may prod and poke a person laying on the ground to instigate them to look up, Night Marchers are known to stick to their destination and not deviate in their aim to haunt humans.

It was during the days of ancient Hawaii, when each island had one chief Ali’l, that the Night Marchers were born. As Hawaii operated on a feudal system of government, exacting harsh laws which would see many clubbed to death for the most minor of offences. It was through this barbaric treatment that restless spirits began to haunt the lands. During this period, it was forbidden for commoners to cross the path of and even to fall in the shadow of the Ali’l. Any who broke this sacred code was instantly put to death.

Some characteristics of the Night Marchers include rapid winds, heavy rain and high surf along with thunder and lightening; rows of spirits carrying torches with alternating male and female rows chanting and beating drums as they float along through a mist travelling the course of the island coast between dusk and dawn.

While the Night Marchers are known mostly to appear at night, there have been reports of Night Marchers roaming through the villages during the day. However, their primary locations of heavy activity have been said to be in the majestic Koolau Mountains (site of the famous Kamehameha battle) as well as many other locations. Particularly Night Marchers generally appear during Po Akua, the fourteenth night of the new moon. It is during this time that the spirits of chiefs, warriors, ancestors and Gods march between sunset and sunrise.

An old custom is said that by placing leaves of Cordyline around one’s home will keep all evil spirits away, forcing the huaka’i po to avoid the area.

Read more:

Haunted Hawaii – Spirits of the Pacific

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