Moses Alohikea’s ghost marchers Story

In September 1940, “Honolulu Star-Bulletin” feature columnist George Mellen was vacationing on Kauai, when he learned that Moses Alohikea of Wainiha was said to know something of the unusual activity that had recently occurred at the ruins of the Ke’e Heiau at Haena.

Mellen found Alohikea — a Wainiha powerhouse operator — at home in the very last house at the end of the Wainiha road, and Alohikea informed him that a portion of the Ke’e Heiau was dedicated to Laka, the goddess of dance and the forest, where dances were performed before an altar — “Ke Ahu a Laka” — a simple frame decorated with leaves.

Alohikea went on to explain that dancers from all islands had been brought to the heiau by their teachers to offer a graduation dance to Laka about two weeks previously, and he’d heard chanting and had seen a glowing yellow light atop the heiau in the evening.

Then Mellen asked if he had ever heard of the marching ghost army of Lumahai, to which Alohikea replied: “Lumahai is full of legends; great sacred ceremonies on the beach there. One night about 12 years ago, toward midnight, I was returning from Hanalei in my car. As I began to cross the mouth of the valley, I heard the steady beat of many pahu (drums) and the tramping feet of a thousand men. The air right there was warm, like a big crowd, and smelled of men. Creeps went up my back. I knew it was the marching ghost army of Lumahai. If I had been afoot, I would have been trampled to death. But, I explained I meant no harm, that my car would not hurt them, so I went through safely. The crowd filled the mouth of the valley, and I heard women walking, too; they make a different sound. I tell you I was glad to get through alive.”

Afterwards, Mellen asked if Alohikea would sign a statement, which he did, and Mellon filed it.


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