Happy Halloween! How about a real life ghost story?
This happened to me many years ago when I was still in High School. I was lucky enough to grow up on Maui. The experiences I had living there enriched my life and helped to make me who I am today. Not many people get the opportunity to live in such a multi cultural society with a deep and living history associated with it.
The Hawaiian culture is steep with superstitions. I’m sure you’ve heard many of them before. Don’t take the rocks off the Island is probably the most famous (it’s bad luck), but there are many others. Never take pork over the Pali Highway or your car will break down on the way. Toss the pork out the window and your car will restart. Never take bananas on a boat is another or the fish won’t bite.
As with most places, there is a vast history of war and losses. Those stories are what sparks this tale. It began like this…
One day a friend and I journeyed up the valley along Iao Stream to the Needle (a mountain that resembles a needle). We did this often. The pure clean water cooled our bare feet as we hiked. We ate guavas and picked ginger for our hair along the way.
After a while we tired of walking and climbing so we settled on a large flat rock in the middle of the stream, the water flowing to either side. As High School girls are pron to do, we sat for quite some time talking about the serious and the silly stuff. And for a time we sat quietly listening to the water roll by.
We never payed attention to the sun which had grown low in the sky. We should have been headed out by now. Once the sun begins to set in the valley it gets dark very quickly. Too quickly. But we were young and resilient so we continued to talk.
Suddenly we both stopped, sat strait up and gasped. For there, without warning or noise of any kind, flew two balls of fire, each approximately 12 inches in diameter. They traveled as one, strait up the river towards the Needle. My jaw went slack. I felt the hair on the back of my neck bristle as I watched them float silently out of sight.
I looked at her. She looked at me. “Did you see that?”, a strained whisper from each. “Yes” was the choked reply. Without further word, in unison, we jumped up, flowers flying loose from our hair into the passing water and RAN.
One foot stumbling in front of the other, we ran. Down the uneven footpath, past the guavas and through the ferns we ran.
Panting and out of breath, we at last reached the car, fumbled for the keys and drove out of the valley to where the lights of town encouraged us to speak at last.
“OK”, I said, “What did you see?”
“I saw 2 Fireballs floating up the stream about 5′ above the water.”
“That’s what I saw too. They went right past us!”
We barley spoke again on the way home, each thinking about the stories of Ancient Hawaiian Warriors. Legend has it that these warriors died in battle and their spirits, still lingering in the rage of war, travel each night up the river to their homes deep within the valley. Anyone caught in their path was destined to receive the beating of their lives. Known as The Night Marchers, these warriors, still hungry with blood lust sought to kill anyone not recognized as a member of the village. Many a body has been found with none to blame except the vicious Night Marchers.
People say that if you lay face down as a sign of respect they will pass you by, but we didn’t stick around long enough to put that to the test. Marchers are usually found in true form so it could be that these were benign spirits, but spirits none the less and deserving of flight. We were terrified.
I can still see it clearly in my mind as if it happened yesterday. I’m not an overly superstitious person. And I’m not crazy. I’m just an ordinary girl who lives in the country and likes to knit and make things. But this still makes my hair stand on end and I for one will never be caught in Iao Valley after dusk again! I still miss the sweet water by day, but never, never again after dark!