Clarissa Johal: #FolkloreThursday - Night Marchers or Huaka'i pō #Hawaii

Thursday, May 12, 2016

#FolkloreThursday - Night Marchers or Huaka'i pō #Hawaii

Night Marchers are ghostly apparitions of ancient Hawaiian warriors, also referred to as "Spirit Ranks" (huaka'i pō). En route to battle or searching for an entrance into the next world, they are clothed in full regalia and armed. Although Night Marchers allegedly float a few inches off the ground, some local accounts tell of seeing mysterious footprints after they have passed.

The ghostly procession must never be interrupted. Resting your eyes upon the Night Marchers is said invite certain demise. Witnesses are urged to avert their eyes and leave the area (best practice), or lie face down to show respect. These ghosts are on a set path and won't deviate to haunt humans. Placing leaves of the cordyline plant (ti) around one's home is said to ward them off.

Alleged Night Marcher Trails by Island


  • Nu'uanu Pali Lookout, Ka'a'awa Valley and Kalihi Valley 
  • The Pali Highway that runs along the Kamehameha battle site. 
  • The campus of the Kamehameha School (est. 1887) in Kapalama  
  • Kualoa Ranch - an area said to house the remains of hundreds of Hawaiian chiefs. 
  • La'ie - a city of refuge in ancient Hawaii which held criminals and offenders of the culture's strict aikapu religious practices. 


  • La Perouse Bay in the Ahihi-Kinau Natural Area Preserve


  • The town of Kaunakakai. Remnants of Ili'ili'opae Heiau, a sacred temple site, are located nearby.

Characteristics of Night Marches 

  • Heavy wind
  • Rows of spirits carrying torches
  • Alternating male and female rows
  • Lightening and thunder
  • Heavy rain or high surf
  • Chanting and beating of drums
  • Revelry and games
  • Mist or fog

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