Pressing in Hale Kahawai

Informant: Male/20/ Japanese ancestry
Location: Hale Kahawai, UH Manoa, Oahu

I’ve lived in Hale Kahawai for two years in the same room, with the same roommate. One night while I was sleeping, I woke up to find that I couldn’t move. I was conscious, but I couldn’t move my body, and I couldn’t speak no matter how hard I tried. A week later, I woke up to a pressing sensation on my chest. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t see anyone or anything on my chest, but something was pressing me.

I talked to my neighbor the next morning about what happened, and he told me that he also experienced something strange. He woke up one night to find a Hawaiian man dressed in a malo sitting on his bed. He just rolled over in bed and pretended not to see the man.

I took a look in Glen Grant’s Obake Files book, and found a similar story about choking ghosts in my dorm. The first year that I lived in Kahawai I had a bag of Hawaiian salt, and nothing strange ever happened. When I started my second year there, I didn’t have any Hawaiian salt. Maybe that had something to do with it.


Treasures From The Rock

Informant: Male/40s/European ancestry
Location: Big Island

“Why would you take that home with you? Are you crazy?”

It might not be the wisest idea to verbally berate your doctor, but at the sight of his slightly-swollen hand, I felt the need to further drive the point home that taking home strange objects found in lava rock is never a good idea.

While on vacation to the Big Island, my doctor and his family decided to visit the volcano. While they were there, he happened to notice a gold ring sitting in a crack in the lava. He decided to take a stick and fish it out, and took it home with him.
“It’s probably just coincidence, “he said as he showed me his now-healing broken hand. But that wasn’t the only unfortunate accident that had befallen him and his family since he had taken the ring home. His daughter, while on a camping trip in the mountains, ended up breaking her leg in a freak accident.

Still, he seems content with the reasoning that it was all just an unfortunate coincidence, but I could sense a bit of wavering in his voice. Nevertheless, on 8/8/08 he decided to go back to the Big Island and return the ring to the spot that it was found. There have been no accidents since then.

But that in itself might be short-lived, since recently he decided to take the tusks from a boar carcass that he found. Maybe the next time I see him, he’ll have a new story to tell.


The Legend of Kaluako’i Akualele

[This article was written for the Nalo News, a community newspaper published by the Waimanalo Council of Community in the late 1970's. My uncle's mother, Mrs. Julia A.F. Enoka, wrote numerous articles on ancient Hawaiian folklore and myths. This story was written by Tracy Tengan.]

In ancient Molokai, long before the dawn of recorded history, there lived a powerful Kahuna called Maka’u. Maka’u was feared because of her great power, or mana. She lived in the area of Kaluako’i where the trees had evil spirits trapped inside them, causing them to be poisonous only on Moloka’i.

Maka’u’s powers came by her being able to release these spirits by akualele, or fireballs. Those who had the mana and could see these blue and green balls of flame spoke of their great power and destruction. When Maka’u sent one of these akualele, nothing was able to stand against it.
The people of Molokai lived in constant fear of Maka’u and finally pleaded with the rest of the kahunas to unite and battle against her. The kahunas had never united before, but decided that the reign of terror of this one evil kahuna and her evil powers had to end.

Together they travelled to Kaluako’i, to the head of Waiahewahewa Gulch, to the old heiau of Hina at the head of the spring that always was present there. Maka’u saw them coming and took her malama pu’olo (bundle of sticks from which to release her evil spirits) and prepared for battle.

When the kahunas were close enough, Maka’u commanded them to stop. As she took out the most powerful piece of wood, she began to use the chant of complete destruction. The kahunas were fearful, but continued to move forward, and then began to chant “Ho’i no’ai I kou kahu,” and “ho’i no kau me ‘oe,” which means “Go back and destroy your keeper and what you have just given to me, return to you.”

As the brilliant blue akualele was released from the stick, it heard the chant of the kahunas and returned to Maka’u. Maka’u’s eyes grew as the brilliant blue akualele began to veer and return to her. The horror that filled her was clear to all the kahunas. The blast and the blaze of the fireball sent the kahunas tumbling to the ground and the earth shook with the power of the “god’s” anger. As they recovered they saw that the spring that never failed was dried up and completely destroyed, and there was no sign of Maka’u.

The kahunas united in one last ceremony. They formed a circle around the spring and chanted. They begged Hina to forgive the destruction of the old heiau, but pleaded with her to see that the good of the people goes before any one place of worship. Even to this day, the spring is gone, the heiau is still in ruins, but the lesson of Maka’u still remains.

Tengan, Tracy (1979, February). Legends: The Legend of Kaluako'i Akualele. The Nalo News.


Kamapua'a at The Merrie Monarch

Informant: 14 years old/female
Location: Hilo Hawaiian Hotel, Big Island
For the past 30 years my grandma's hula halau, has been in the Merrie Monarch hula competition in Hilo on the Big Island. One night, my cousin and I went walking around the Hilo Hawaiian Hotel at three or four in the morning. We walked out to the beach and we sat on the dock just talking.

We looked out to the ocean saw this small cat-like figure on the rock wall in Hilo bay. My cousin and I started freaking out. We decided to walk down the road to the gardens at hotel and we looked back and saw a black pig following us. We started to get scared. We go back to the dock and the pig was there again. My cousin and I were wondering what the heck a pig was doing following us.

After this, a young but older lady came up behind us and she started chanting in Hawaiian. Her presence was very warm, but my cousin and I were still scared as ever. I speak fluent Hawaiian; the lady chanting was saying, "Kamapua'a leave these girls alone. You are a pig, and a pig you will be."

My cousin and I looked at the pig and it just disappeared. We turned to the lady and she told us our grandma was looking for us and we should go back upstairs. We got back upstairs and told our grandma about what we saw. She told us that around Merrie Monarch time, Kamapua'a comes around Hilo in search of Pele. Legend says they had a thing going on. 

Every year since that incident my grandma has made sure that my cousin and I stay in our rooms. But every Merrie Monarch since that night, my cousin and I go outside to go look at the dock and we see that same lady we saw from 2003, making sure that we are safe. My grandma said it's Kapo, Pele's best friend keeping us safe from harm.