Fear at the City of Refuge

Informant: Male/24/mixed ancestry 
Location: City of Refuge, Big Island

My Boy Scout troop went on a camping trip to the City of Refuge, an old native Hawaiian temple which in the native days, when there were many Hawaiian tribes on the Big Island, prisoners of war could run away from their captors. If they made it in the city walls they couldn’t be killed. So my Boy Scout troop decided to camp about a mile out from this place. We arrive at this campsite, a nice, small place. Not much of a beach, but it’s perfect for camping: quiet, no wind, no rain.

The next day, we wake up to a beautiful, sunny day. We decided to walk to the City of Refuge. About two miles down a trail we saw some altars along the way and some petroglyphs. It was a really scenic, historical area with lots of native religious history. There were altars and walls where native villages used to be, some overtaken by the Kiawe trees that now inhabit the area.

We saw this large, flat rock along the trail, and everyone stopped to look at it. One of our leaders told us all not to climb on it, as boy scouts often like to do. We listened, given the amount of possibly sacrificial altars we’ve passed, and the types of stories told. The leader walked up to it and inspected it. He touched it, then backed away and said "lets go." We turned back and head toward the campsite. We were moving pretty quickly now. It’s obvious that our leader was pretty spooked. Everyone was mostly silent during the trip.

When we got back to camp, two friends and I set out exploring. We come across a long, flat path and decided to walk down it. When we reached the end of the path we saw a sign that read "Warning: Hawaiian rock slides! Do not enter!" Apparently it was a rock slide used in a native village for recreation. At this point darkness seemed to fall unusually early, within an hour’s time of us noticing what we had done. The wind picked up, and rain began to pour. Throughout the night, the wind and rain both picked up speed. At one point we were all soaking wet under the large tarp we brought. The scout leader who took us out on the hike, practically screaming at the top of his lungs, tells us this:
When we were out and got to that large, flat rock,

something seemed wrong. Everyone seemed to agree. We all felt it. Something told him to touch the rock, as if it called to him. He couldn’t resist. He touched it, and said he felt the pain of the people who traveled this same trail, being chased by their enemies; the enemies who would surely kill them if they were caught. He felt the pain of those who died in the area. It all came to him in an instant, that’s when everyone was silent. We all felt something, as if something was telling us to leave this place.

Well, the wind and the rain picked up to such a point that no one could sleep. The tents began to soak and it was impossible to stay dry with the wind creating near horizontal rain torrents. So at 6 am, before the sun even peaked out over the mountains, we packed it all up and drove back to Hilo, tired. Most of us hadn’t slept because of the deafening howl of the wind and the cold of the rain.

And that was the end of the trip.