Hawaii, Islands of Strangeness and Charm

Hawaii has become synonymous with paradise. But there's more to Hawaii than sugar white beaches, awe-inspiring volcanoes, thirty foot high surf and stunning blood red sunsets. There's also a dark side to paradise. Look beyond the obvious, and you might just find something a little different, a little out of place, or even a little odd. Welcome to the strange side of Hawaii.

1. The Man Who Didn't Foresee His Own Death


Image Source: The Toronto Star
At 7:48 a.m on December 7, 1941, aircraft of the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service bombed the US Pacific Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor. Several months before, in the spring of that same year, a Scottish American mill worker by the name of William McCabe began having a recurring and vivid dream in which he saw aircraft attacking ships at sea. So repetitive was the dream, that he apparently told his friends and work colleagues about it. We don't know whether the dreams stopped, or continued on until that eventful day in December, as McCabe never lived to tell us. He was killed on the morning of the attack when the sugar mill he worked at on the island of Ohau was strafed by Japanese fighter planes which randomly attacked non-military targets.

2. The 1st Wives Club(bed to Death)


Image Source: Team Tripelli
We've probably all, at some point in our lives, been unfortunate enough to watch that Bette Midler, Goldie Hawn movie, 'The First Wives Club'. Well for the people of the Orakama tribe on Hawaii, that club doesn't exist. Some centuries ago, the elders of the tribe declared it illegal for a man to eat his second wife. But unfortunately, they didn't feel it necessary to include the first wife in this, and so first wives became fair game, or dinner, as we would call it.

Some might think this seems like blatant discrimination against the rights of the first wife - may she rest in peace.

3. Death at Morgan's Corner


Image Source: Worldgrazer
Whether it be fact or just urban legend, there have reportedly been several unusual deaths down the years involving the area of Morgan's Corner on Oahu. The most famous of these occurred in 1953 and involved a young couple.

Morgan's Corner became infamous during a period stretching from the 1930s through to the late 1950s. The area, once considered to be a hangout for drinking and for lovers to have some alone time, soon became something more notorious. One night, a couple had parked their car under a tree. A little time later when it was time to leave, their car wouldn't start. So, the man left his girlfriend in the car and told her to lock the doors, while he and went to look for help. The night was windy and when she heard the sound of something dripping on the car roof, she assumed it be rain. A short while later, she heard scratching on the roof and thought it was the branches of the tree under which the car was parked. Although, initially concerned about the noises, she eventually fell asleep. She was later awoken by the police knocking on the car window. They told her to get out of the car and walk towards the police car and not look back. However, she couldn't resist looking back. To her horror, she saw the body of her boyfriend hanging from the tree by his feet, with his head sliced from ear to ear. What she had thought was rain was actually his blood dripping on the car roof. And the tree scratching the roof was really his fingernails as his body swayed in the wind.

4. The Green Lady Child Stealer


Image Source: YouTube
Described as a scaly female creature covered in mold and moss, the Green Lady is on the hunt for children. Apparently, she was a normal mother who lost one of her own children in what is now the Wahiawa Botanical Garden in Honolulu. She and her children would cross the gulch in Wahiawa instead of taking the bridge, as she was afraid the cars would strike her children. One day, one of her children went missing. After searching and searching she went looking for help, but no one would help her. She went back into the gulch to search again and disappeared, along with her children. None of them were ever found and ever since she has been wandering the place looking for them. Now, if she sees a child alone in the gulch she will steal them away because she mistakes them for one of her own lost children. Or, some say she steals children in order to feast on them. She is easily recognizable, covered in vines and grass, and resembles a shambling marsh monster more than a ghost. She smells really bad too.

5. When is a Lava Field not a Lava Field?


Image Source: Team Tripelli
Hidden beneath a ridge of volcanic rock near Pearl Harbor lays one of civil engineering's best-kept secrets - an underground storage facility of vast proportions built during World War II to protect the fuel supply of the U.S. Navy's Pacific Fleet. Buried deep underneath Red Hill, this impenetrable, bombproof reserve of fuel for the military, the facility can hold 252 million gallons of diesel and jet fuel. The fuel is held in 20 reinforced concrete tanks lined with quarter-inch steel plate. Each storage tank holds approximately 12.5 million gallons and is 250ft high by 100ft wide. They are all connected to three gravity-fed pipelines that run 2.5 miles inside a tunnel to fueling piers at Pearl Harbor. The very existence of Red Hill's hidden feature was a closely guarded state secret from the date of completion in 1943 until the early 1990s, when the facility was declassified.

Since Sept. 11, 2001, the facility has been locked down tighter than a drum and virtually no civilians are granted access. This magnificent feat of engineering rivals the Hoover Dam, Eiffel Tower, and the Panama Canal as an important historic landmark.

6. The Niihau Incident


Image Source: Team Tripelli
Niihau is also known as ‘The Forbidden Island' because non-native Hawaiians are not allowed to go there. Access to Niihau is restricted and today is by invitation only. In practical terms, this means that outsiders can only visit the island if a Niihau resident or a member of the Robinson family (the islands owners) extends an invitation. There are approximately 150 native Hawaiian residents living on Niihau and their lifestyle has remained the same for over 150 years.

The island first came to the attention of the outside world as a result of the ‘Niihau Incident'. This occurred in December 1941, when an Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service pilot named Shigenori Nishikaichi crash landed his Zero fighter plane on Niihau after participating in the attack on Pearl Harbor. While it's not known exactly how he died, it is known that he was killed by the less-than-welcoming inhabitants of the island.

Today, Niihau has no paved roads, no running water, no cars, no stores, no restaurants, no doctors, no police, no fire department, no internet, no smoking and no drinking. The residents live off the land and grow their own fruit and vegetables. They still hunt with ropes and knives and fish with spears and nets. The 70 square mile island's sandy beaches see more animal than human footprints.

7. Watch out for the Menehune, or be turned to Stone


Image Source: Only in Hawaii
According to legend, many centuries ago a race of small people known as the Menehune existed. These creatures (think of dwarfs, pixies or trolls) and were rumored to live on the island of Kauai before it was colonized. While these creatures are generally assumed to be mythical, a census from the 1820s officially counted 65 Menehune living in Wainiha Valley, on Kauai. It is believed that the Menehune varied in sized from 2ft down to 6 inches in height. They are said to have had distended bellies, hairy and muscular bodies with short noses and bushy eyebrows over large eyes.

What makes the Menehune notable is their alleged almost supernatural ability to construct anything within an astonishingly short space of time. Today, they're probably best known for the Menehune Ditch on Kauai. This is a stone cut irrigation ditch that carries water from the Waimea River. What makes it interesting is that it's considered an ancient engineering masterpiece because the rocks used in its construction have been carefully squared and smoothed to create a watertight seal, without the use of mortar. Perhaps even more intriguing is the tunnel into which the ditch discharges water. At its highest, the tunnel is a little over two feet high and so an average adult of today would have trouble even crawling through it.

Legend also tells that if the Menehune were ever disturbed whilst building, they would drop their tools and immediately disappear, never returning to finish their work. And the person who interrupted them would be turned to stone where he, or she stood.

8. The Curse of Pork on the Highway


Image Source: Team Tripelli
Pele, the Oahu fiery volcano goddess, rather than the Brazilian soccer player, is someone you shouldn't mess with. And one thing that upsets her more than anything is the transportation of pork through the tunnels of the Nu'uanu Pali Highway. This is the highway that separates the windward side of Oahu from Honolulu. As with a lot of things in life, Pele's hatred of pork involves a failed relationship. Way back in the mists of time, Pele loved a half-man, half-pig demigod named, Kamapua'a. But, after a long, painful and tumultuous relationship, they eventually broke up. They both vowed never to see each other again and each retired to a different side of the island. And so if Pele catches you with pork, she assumes that you're trying to smuggle Kamapua'a over to her side of the island.

So what, you may ask. What is a volcano goddess going to do to me? Well assuming you're travelling in a car, she will cause the engine to fail and it won't restart while there's pork in the car. As soon the pork is gone, the car's engine will fire up, like it's just been serviced. So, then next time you're on Ohau, and a feel like a portion of baby back ribs for the road, think again!

9. The Terror of the Night Marchers


Image Source: Honolulu Magazine
Huaka'ipo, also known as the Night Marchers are ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors and they roam the islands on certain nights visiting old battlefields and sacred sites. They march in single file, heavily armed and dressed for battle with drums pounding and torches held high. When they appear, it's a sign that they have come amongst us to escort one of the living over to the other side.

It is said that their arrival is heralded by a foul stench of death and that when their procession begins it must never be interrupted by the living. Should you make eye contact with a Night Marcher, then legend dictates that you too shall be taken to the other side.

To protect against certain death, you must hide or lie silently on your stomach and show total respect. If you fail to do this, then your only hope is that a past relative of yours is marching among the Night Marchers and if he acknowledges you, then your life may be spared.

10. The Curse of the Lava


Image Source: Team Tripelli
Beyond her curse for carriers of pork on the roads of Oahu, Pele has another, better known curse, that seemingly affects thousands of unsuspecting tourists to Hawaii each year.

At a distant point back in time, Pele discovered that sailors from foreign ships were taking lava rock from the island back with them on board ship. So, angered was she by this, that she put an eternal curse on any visitor who takes rock or sand away from the Hawaiian Islands. The curse states that if they do so, then they will suffer bad luck until they return all of the native Hawaiian materials back to the islands.

Down the years, various local people have cast doubt on the validity of the curse, but each year, tons of material is returned by mail to the island. These parcles and packages are sent by former tourists who, having left the islands, are now desparate for their bad fortune to be reversed by the vengeful goddess.