December 18, 2012

The Night Marchers of Hawaii

The Night Marchers of Hawaii
On certain nights at sunset and just before dawn, the ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors, the night marchers or huakai-po, are said to rise from their burial sites and march through the Hawaiian countryside to battles long past or other sacred destinations. They may also appear during the day to escort a dying relative to the spirit world.

Should you happen across such a march, you will first hear drums in the distance and smell a rotten stench. Then you will hear a conch shell being blown, as an announcement of the deathly procession and a warning to get out of the way. You will see torches that get brighter and brighter as the marchers approach.

Legend says you must not look at the ghosts as they pass by, as seeing them and being seen by them spells death. Instead, you must lie down on your stomach and stare at the ground to avoid eye contact, be quiet and not move. If it is possible, the best thing to do is to simply leave the area before the procession comes close. However, if an ancestor of yours is among the marchers and they recognize you, you need not worry. He or she will call out “Na’u!” (“Mine!”), and none of the marchers will harm you.

The night marchers are the vanguard for a sacred chief whom commoners must never lay their eyes upon – to do so is to invite immediate death.

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