The Legend of Hawaii’s Night Marchers

In the shadows of Hawai‘i’s moonlit nights, there’s a haunting legend that is well known to the people of the islands—that’s the legend of the Night Marchers. These spectral warriors, known as “huaka’i po” in Hawaiian, are said to be the spirits of ancient Hawaiian chiefs, warriors, and gods, marching in solemn procession across the islands.

The Procession

Wrapped in ancient garments and carrying torches, the Night Marchers move with purpose, following the paths of their ancestors. Their ghostly figures glow in the darkness, a chilling sight for those who cross their path. Legend has it that encountering the Night Marchers can bring misfortune or even death, so it’s wise to show respect and whatever you do, avoid direct eye contact.

Tales of Fear and Respect

Stories of the Night Marchers are filled with fear and reverence. The sound of distant drums and flickering torchlight signal their approach, sending shivers down the spine of anyone who hears them. To escape the deadly fate of the Night Marchers, it’s said that one must flee or lie face down on the ground, showing submission. Some take it a step further and say you should remove your clothing when you lie face down to show you aren’t worthy of the spirit’s attention.

Protective Measures

To protect themselves from the Night Marchers, some believe in chanting ancient prayers or wearing protective herbs. Others avoid certain areas altogether on nights when the Night Marchers are known to roam. Building homes off the paths of the Night Marchers is also a common precaution. Some say only true blood Hawaiians that can recite their ancestor’s names are the only ones that can hope to survive the encounter. If anyone looks the Night Marchers in the eyes, they will take your spirit with them to be part of the procession, never to return to the land of the living.

Night Marchers in Wailua, Kaua‘i

Wailua is known for ghosts and spirits. It was thought that during a certain phase of the moon, spirits of those who had recently died would paddle down the river in large numbers and work their way around the island to a cliff at Polihale where they would leap to the next life. Known as night marchers, these ghosts are still believed by many Hawaiians to exist, and sightings are most prevalent along the highway between Wailua and Lihu‘e. Interestingly, this stretch of road has also been responsible for many bad car accidents. Of course, police blame the wrecks on another type of spirit—the kind that comes in a bottle.

Night Marchers in Waikiki, O‘ahu

Even the most popular spot in Hawai‘i is known to have Night Marcher sightings. City workers of all stripes have mentioned the phenomenon through the years, sometimes even thinking the procession of torches to be part of some new parade. The feelings of confusion shift to chicken-skin (the Hawaiian term for goose-bumps) once they realize it’s not part of any city-planned event. One of my favorite tours across the islands will take you to these and other haunted spots on a walking tour around Honolulu. Mysteries of Hawai‘i is the real deal when it comes to Hawaiian legends and lore told by an expert in the field. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary on your next visit, be sure to look them up.

Whether you’re looking for stories and legends, or the best places to explore and dine, my guides have it all. I’ve been exploring and writing about Hawai‘i for over 30 years and my guides have become one of the most trusted sources for visitors. If your’e visiting Hawai‘i, Las Vegas or one of our country’s amazing National Parks, my believable guides will bring you unbelievable vacations.



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