The next stop on our alphabetical cross-country journey takes us to exotic Hawaii. The name usually conjures images of a tropical paradise full of palm trees, sandy beaches and crystal blue water. There is a much darker side to this cluster of islands than the typical vacationer knows about. Hints of what else may be there are found through folklore, personal experiences and reports of the unexplained.
Haunted Hawaii: Manoa Falls Trail
The Manoa Falls Trail is a haven for nature lovers in Hawaii. This gorgeous stretch of green runs approximately 1.5 miles. Hikers can observe exotic plants and wildlife as they make the journey. It’s well worth a look, even if you are not into the paranormal. Just be aware that you may encounter something completely outside of the realm of the living .
The trail, found on O’ahu island, ends at a stunning 150 foot high water fall with a wading pool at its base. While most come to see the water fall, others are intrigued by the curious Banyan tree which grows just off the trail head.
According to folklore, banyan trees are believed to hold lost spirits. The one found along the Manoa Falls Trail is especially unique because locals say it is positioned along the path of the famous Night Marchers. Some believe that the Night Marchers are a group of spirit warriors making their way to or from unseen battles. They carry traditional weapons and wear garments from a long lost era, including cloaks and helmets. They may be a testament to the region’s long and bloody history which includes vicious conflict and sacrificial rituals.
The Night Marcher’s path never changes and crosses islands, mountains and coast lines. They are also said to chant and/or beat drums while carrying torches as they move. A majority of sightings were reported during the dark hours although a handful of daytime sightings have been noted. Some of their appearances seem to correspond with specific moon phases. Curiously the apparitions are usually also described as marching inches above the ground rather than walking directly on it, yet some have discovered footprints that correspond with the warriors’ path.
The legends go on to warn that the Night Marchers should never be disturbed or interrupted. Those who gaze directly upon the ghostly procession will soon die. Any kind of movement or sound can draw their attention. Witnesses are advised to crouch or lay on the ground and play dead to avoid detection. If a deceased relative is among the Night Watchers, then the person may be spared.
Paranormal Activity on the Manoa Falls Trail
Most of the reports coming from the Manoa Falls Trail are of the audio variety. Visitors who braved the darkness and explored the area in the evening have heard unexplained drums maintaining a rhythmic beat. Although nothing has been circulating about the trail specifically, other similar Night Marcher sightings have also included the appearance of ancient Hawaiian warriors walking just above the ground.
Former New York Resident Mike Ledger from Skrap Magazine shares a personal experience with the Night Marchers. Story begins at around 1:30.
(WARNING: NSFW – some explicit language)
The Manoa Falls Trail Today
It’s hard to say how many actual reports of paranormal activity can be attributed to the Manoa Falls Trail and its banyan tree. This phenomena is steeped in folklore, but there are elements that remain consistent. Many visitors travel to the Manoa Falls Trail to enjoy some fresh air and verdant scenery. Those who vacation or live in the area should stop by just to see the beauty of nature, but should also keep an open eye and a sharp ear tuned into the environment just in case a hint of anything ghostly appears.
Have you been on the Monoa Falls Trail (or would you like to go)? Share your personal experiences or investigative approach to this location in the comments.