The conversation often started the same way. Someone would nervously ask, “Has anyone ever mentioned anything strange happening here?” As soon I heard this question, the person speaking had my complete attention.
From a child’s perspective, there was one big disadvantage to growing up in the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau National Historical Park. The big disadvantage was that we lived where supernatural events were often reported and experienced, which could be scary for a kid. After living in the park for several years, I noticed that the stories seemed to center around three general types of paranormal activity.
The most common story I heard, by far, was an encounter with an elderly Hawaiian man or woman dressed in white. As the story goes, the visitors were usually in the park during the evening when they would suddenly notice an old Hawaiian man or woman standing near them.
The visitors were almost always surprised when they saw the stranger, since they had usually been in the park for a while and hadn’t seen anyone else around. In some cases, the visitors had a short conversation with the stranger.
As the visitors walked away, something made them turn around. When they turned around, no one was there. These types of encounters were reported just about everywhere in the park, even in the parking lot.
Night Marchers are often said to be warrior spirits or Ali’i (royalty). People typically reported seeing a line of people, carrying torches, making their way down the mountainside. There are no trails on the mountainside where the sightings occur.
Since fishermen were the only ones who were allowed to stay in the park late at night, they were often the ones who reported seeing the night marchers. Many people also reported hearing chanting or drumbeats at night, when no one else was in the park.
I have heard the chanting and the drumbeats. I have also witnessed the line of torches coming down the mountainside, on more than one occasion. If you want to see where these phenomena tend to take place, then either walk or drive the quarter-mile to the end of the picnic area road.
Once you reach the end of the road, look towards the mountain. It is on this mountainside (Mauna Loa) that the night marchers are often seen making their way towards the ocean. This is also the area where drumbeats and chanting are often heard.
Fireballs or Balls of Light
The last commonly reported paranormal phenomenon involved fireballs or balls of light. People reported seeing fireballs or balls of light floating above the lava rocks at night. I also have firsthand experience with the lights.
My brother and I were walking on the lava rocks one night when we saw balls of light in the distance. (The balls of light we saw were similar to these.) Thinking it was someone we knew, we made our way towards the lights. Suddenly, we heard a fisherman yelling at us to stop.
He told us to never follow the lights (which he had also seen) as they seemed to be meant to harm people. He told us he had several friends who had followed the lights and they ended up almost falling into a hole or into the ocean.
We reluctantly agreed to go home, even though we figured he was just trying to scare us. As the fisherman walked away, we turned around to look at the lights again. The lights were gone. We ran home as fast as we could and we never followed the lights again.
If you want to take your chances at having your own supernatural encounter, visit the Pu’uhonua o Honaunau and stay until the sun sets. But whatever you do, do not take anything from the park and never, ever follow the balls of light.
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