For Halloween – a spooky Hawaiian legend.
Imagine being alone on a moonless night in a remote area of Hawaii near an ancient trail or temple. In the distance you hear the sound of a conch shell being blown, drums, chants, and marching feet. You see a flickering line of torches in the distance, growing brighter as they near you. The wind is blowing fiercely, there is lightning and thunder in a clear sky and a foul odor. You are being approached by the Huskai’po – the Night Marchers – one of the most persistent and spookiest of the Hawaiian legends.
Huskai’po are ancient warriors, usually seen near ancient trails, heiau (temples), pu’uhonua (places of refuge), and ancient battlefields. They usually come out on specific nights sacred to the Hawaiian gods or sometimes, even in the daylight, to accompany the departing soul of a relative who is dying. They are dressed in traditional Hawaiian garb such as feathered cloaks, and wear helmets or head dresses, and carry spears and clubs lined with sharks’ teeth.
The marchers will not deviate from their path, marching through any buildings that may have been built across the ancient pathways that they follow and to disrupt their march is to bring tremendous harm to anyone who attempts it – bad luck, even death. To call their attention to you in any way can result in them seizing you and making you join their eternal marches.
The best thing is to leave the area before the marchers arrive, but, if you should encounter the Huakai’po, you should lie flat on the ground, not look at them directly, and most especially not make eye contact. If you have a relative in their ranks you can be saved by him (or her – there are also females among the marchers, some even say that the ranks alternate men and women) and the marcher will claim you saying “Na’u!” which means “mine” and then they will leave you alone.
There are many places the Huakai’po are said to frequent – on the Big Island they are particularly prone to the Waipio Valley, the village of Kawaihae near the heiau at Pu’ukohola, and the Saddle Road between Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea. The Pali on Oahu, near the site of an ancient battle is another spot where the Night Marchers are often reported as are Moanalua on Oahu Kahakuloa on Maui Kekaa on Maui Hanapepe on Kauai and Hokunui on Lanai.