Haunted Manoa Valley

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This house has to be the most festive residence in Manoa. Christmas, Thanksgiving and even Fourth of July – the old Victorian-style dwelling gets decked out from yard to rooftop. But Halloween in Manoa is an especially spooky affair – with its tricks and its treats and its…ghostly occupants? A Manoa home goes all out for tonight. Halloween in the valley is a time for candy and spooky adventures.

Many believe this valley to be one of the most haunted on Oahu. For centuries, generation after generation has made this place their home, from the ancient Hawaiians to Hawaii’s first Chinese immigrants. They lived here and died here, and some never left.

Here are a few stories about the valley that are sure to send a chill down your spine:

Banyan Marchers

Everyday, dozens trek through the muddy trails to Manoa Falls, where bamboo and lush verdance color its surroundings. A giant banyan tree sits among the exotic flora and greets hikers who walk passed. Its hanging roots ground itself deep within the soil and create a natural barrier for the trail.

When night falls, however, the tree’s duties as trail keeper changes. It no longer nods its leafy head to backpacking tourists but to marching ghosts. Night marchers, or hukai po, are believed to be warrior spirits returning or entering from a battle. The lined procession of ghosts cross paths with the banyan, and on some nights, the faint drumming from these night marchers can be heard.

Marchers usually carry torches while drumming and chanting. They float several feet above the ground but somehow still leave footprints.

If you’re one of the unlucky ones to be here when these apparitions come through, don’t dare look at them. This often incurs a tragic and permanent ending. It’s best to just lay low to the ground and “play dead.” Better yet, just don’t hang around the tree after dark.

Dead Live on at Manoa Cemetery

The Chinese Cemetery in Manoa is believed to have several ghostly occupants.

Many claim this cemetery to be haunted. People have told stories about glowing fires and swirling balls of light that fly over graves. Hawaiians called these fireballs akua lele (Flying Gods).

Another story tells about the children who are buried at this place. Their spirits grow restless during the day, so at night, they come out to play. People have heard children’s laughter and sometimes crying when passing by the cemetery. Local storyteller Glen Grant shared a man’s experience in the cemetery one rainy evening. The man finds a young Chinese girl crying behind one of the tombstones. But when he asks her what she’s doing there, she says nothing. She vanishes into thin air, and that’s when he realizes she is a ghost of a girl buried at the cemetery.

And there really is something up with the trees in Manoa. The cemetery has a tree that’s not only more than 150 years old but also believed to be a portal between this life and the afterlife. More spookily, it’s been known to burst into flames, as shown in its charred outer bark. People can stand under the tree’s roots, with a picturesque background of Waikiki, but I wouldn’t recommend staying long unless you’ve got a fire suit.

Hopefully you’re able to dig up some of Hawaii’s spooky history tonight from the ghouls and goblins lurking in the streets. Happy Halloween!

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