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Hawaii North Shore Folklore
surf fish tacos sharks cove hawaii
written by Rodrigo Diniz

on January 23, 2022

It’s October and fall has finally arrived, bringing an end to the unusually hot summer this year. For us locals though, fall doesn’t bring much change in terms of weather. Although the evenings will cool down a bit more, the most notable change of season for Hawai’i , is pumpkin spice flavored everything.

But, there is also the excitement of Halloween being right around the corner. Waikiki will be packed with witches, mermaids, Disney characters, and more. One of the most notable Waikiki attractions will be the famous near identical ghostbuster mobile that drives up and down Kalakaua Ave. every year. Speaking of ghosts, it’s that time of year for indulging in some good ol’ haunting tales and mysteries. Here at North Shore Tacos, being committed and active in our community is important to us, and we would like to share some local folklore of our island of Oahu in the spirit of the Halloween season. Let the spooking begin …

Pounder’s Beach located in Hau’ula, may be a beautiful beach to visit during the day but not necessarily at night. As legend would have it, a woman lived in a small cottage with her young son along the coastline. One night, her son had gone swimming but the current was very strong. The boy started to be dragged under the water and began crying out for help. His mother frantic, rushed to find the boy in the darkness but struggled to locate him. At the time, there were surfers several yards down the beach oblivious to the emergency occurring not too far away from them. The mother tried calling out to the surfers, but they could not hear her calls for help. In desperation, the mother ran into the water to save her son, but tragically both perished. Ever since that fateful night, people have reported hearing a young boy calling out and screaming for help. Some have reported that they have seen a woman walking around the beach, angry and seemingly yelling at them for not helping her. It is even believed, that she will try to take anyone who resembles her son and drag them into the water. So perhaps if you are deciding to pay this beach a visit, you make sure to leave before dusk.

Waimea Valley Botanical Garden is a gorgeous place, set into the beautiful mountain range of Haleiwa. It is filled with colorfully plants and flowers, some native to Hawai’i and others from around the globe. It’s a huge piece of land that takes several visits in order to fully appreciate and explore. It is also home to weekly farmer markets, that hosts local farmers, artists and musicians. But another, albeit unlikely local to this beautiful place may be a drowning spirit. At the end of the botanical garden is a large swimming pool at the bottom of a waterfall. Sounds too beautiful to be haunted, but you may want to rethink that considering numerous people have drowned at this very location. In fact, drowning has been so common at this location that the local’s refer to it as drowning pool and the non-profit organization that owns the botanical garden has effectively manned the area with lifeguards and requires all swimmers to wear life vests. Many people believed that the cause of the numerous deaths, is largely due to alcohol and carelessness mixed with cliff jumping, and the fact that the swimming hole is 30 feet deep. However, others claim that the swimming hole is home to a drowning spirit that requires human sacrifices. Every so often the spirit needs a sacrifice and someone will drown in the pool. The body usually is not found until the ritual is completed, which can last for three days. If you decide to visit the botanical garden, perhaps admiring the waterfall from afar is better safe than sorry.

If you think these two ghost stories are chilling, probably the most well-known legend and frightening one is that of the Nightmarchers. Nightmarchers have been observed in several different parts of Oahu and on other islands of Hawai’i as well. They generally are sited in places that are sacred, sites of ancient battles, or places where ancient Hawaiian warriors were stationed. One place in particular, that they visit frequently is Pu'u O Mahuka Heiau State Historic Site in Pupukea. It is said that the Nightmarchers appear on nights honoring the Hawaiian gods Kane, Ku, and Lono. They also appear on nights of Kanaloa. They are the spirits of ancient Hawaiian warriors and chiefs, dressed for battle caring torches, weapons, and drums while suspended off the ground. They begin their march after sunset and do not stop until sunrise. Locals report that you will hear the sound marching and war drums beating off in the distance. Often, they carry conch shells, which they blow as an impeding warning of their arrival. It is forbidden to look at the warriors, as bad fortune will befall anyone or their close relatives that cast their eyes upon the Nightmarches. Locals recommend that you immediately head indoors, lying on the ground face down if you hear the wail of a conch shell. Lying on the ground with your face down, is considered a sign of respect and hopefully, will not draw attention or harm to yourself. The only other way to avoid harm should they cross your path, is if you are related to one of the Nightmarches. Locals also believe that ti plants help to keep evil spirits away and recommend planting them around your home, so that they will avoid your area. And just for your information, ti plants come in a variety of color such as green or pink and only cost about $12 each.

Folklore is very prevalent in Hawai’i, and these are just a few examples of local stories and beliefs. If these tales haven’t completely spooked you, there are many books that go into further detail for your Halloween fix this year. But if these stories were a bit more than you were expecting, remember you can also start gardening as a healthier hobby. We recommend you start with some beautiful red and green ti plants. All that being said, as the famous British saying goes: stay calm and eat fish tacos.

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