Hawaiian spirits to thrill and spook you, just in time for Halloween.
By Kimberly Lew (Playwright/Blogger)
Halloween isn't really my thing. I like a night of debauchery as much as the next shirtless frat boy, but that doesn't mean that I need a day designated to acting a fool. A big reason behind my lack of Halloween excitement might be due to the fact that I scare easily. I am fascinated by the supernatural, but I also tend to let my imagination run away with it. I'm the type who sees a horror movie and spends the night awake with all the lights on, swearing that I can hear footsteps at my door.
Still, I've always been fascinated with the art of a scary stories and being able to instill fear through storytelling. I remember reading my dad's Scary Stories to Read in the Dark as a kid, gingerly holding the pages as though the grotesque pictures would spring to life if I didn't tread lightly. One of the things that I think of most when I think back on ghost stories that have really stuck with me over the years is Glen Grant, a famed storyteller who was especially good at telling terrifying tales about Hawaiian spirits.
Every hometown has its lore, and Hawaii is no exception. Given its rich history, it's no surprise that spirits live on the islands, and many of the stories about supernatural occurrences incorporate Hawaiian culture with Japanese myths. Glen Grant was known for storytelling abilities, and he is the author of the Chicken Skin (You know... as in goosebumps) series of books that chronicles some of the Island's spookiest encounters. Here are some of the creepiest Hawaiian ghost stories I grew up with:
- The woman of the old Waialae Drive-In. According to legend, someone spotted a woman combing her hair in the bathroom, only to realize upon closer inspection that the woman had no face.
- The Nightmarchers. It starts with the sound of drumming, warning everyone that they are approaching. The Nightmarchers are composed of ancient Hawaiian warriors, rising from their burial sites and making their way to sacred spots around the island. Word is that if you set eyes on the Nightmarchers or get in their way, the results will be fatal unless a blood relation in the march spares you.
- Pali Lookout. This is a very scenic area of Oahu and a fun place to go if even just to experience the crazy wind that passes through the area. However, a frequent warning was not to bring pork over the Pali, particularly at night. Weird things were said to happen when people, even absent mindedly, had attempted it.
- Pele. Known as a goddess of fire and volcanoes, there are numerous stories about Pele playing tricks on people and testing Hawaii inhabitants. Sometimes she bestows good fortune on people who show the land respect, but there are also many stories about the strength of her wrath and how she wields it.
- Menehune. Small spirits similar to sprites or elves, menehune were known to cause mischief and for their craftsmanship, having supposedly created many essential Hawaiian structures.
Happy Halloween, all!
KIMBERLY LEW is a playwright with two published one-act plays for high schools, as well as full-length Searching for Candi (co-written with Gabriella Miyares), which debuted at Mt. Holyoke college. Her latest play, Other People's Children, was recently featured as a part of The Beautiful Soup Theater Collective's new works reading series and was a semi-finalist for the 2012 O'Neill Playwrights Conference. She also created/manages the Emerging Musical Theatre blog. www.kimberlylew.com
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