A Night Marcher Sighting In O’ahu? (And What To Do If You Hear Them Coming)

Ghostly Ancient Warriors Of Hawaii

A New York Post video recently claimed that a woman hiking through the forests of O’ahu in Hawaii encountered a Night Marcher of Hawaiian mythology.

Now, in my opinion, that particular video (which dates back to January 2019) is more likely to just be showing off a photo of some person in the forest. I don’t know. I mean, there’s nothing particularly supernatural going on about someone walking through the woods. Is there?

The witness claims she didn’t see anything at the time, though, and only noticed the figure in her iPhone photos later that evening. The photo in question was a “Live Photo,” by the way, meaning it was actually a few short seconds of video.

Anyway, could this have been a Night Marcher? Probably not, but let’s just go with it and see what the legends say…

What Are Night Marchers?

For starters, contrary to what the linked video states, they aren’t demons.

According to Hawaiian legend, Night Marchers are spirits that rise from their burial grounds on nights according to the phases of the moon, or during celebrations honoring certain Hawaiian gods. They might march toward the ocean on known trails, or to ancient battlefields, sometimes marching alongside Hawaiian gods, goddesses, or prominent Hawaiian chiefs.

As spirits, they appear as warriors, wearing their armor, feathered helmets and carrying weapons, with some even beating war drums or playing ghostly instruments. The image isn’t entirely unlike the sighting of the Roman Ghosts Of York, if you’re familiar with that one.

The ghosts are said appear after sunset, and march until the following dawn, though some have claimed to have witnessed them during the day. The light of their torches, however, means that you’d have a better chance of seeing them in the dark of night. Not that you’d necessarily want to, which we’ll get to in a moment. Allegedly, those who witness the Night Marchers may hear their music or their footsteps, or even smell a certain ghostly odor (because ghosts do sometimes give off smells, or so they say!). Their torches may be seen in the distance as they march through the mountains.

It would also be unlikely that you’d ever see just one Night Marcher warrior, which is something else that calls the above sighting into question, at least in this context. They march together.

Be Careful If You Hear Them

Multiple encounters with Night Marchers have involved witnessing a procession of shadowy figures walking in single file along a mountain trail at night. I’ve seen commenters write these sightings off as likely pranks, but you never can tell…

Regardless, according to legend, the sound of their conch shells and beating drums is a warning.

As with many paranormal entities, legend states that you should show deference if you come across a group of Night Marchers. If you don’t, you might just become a ghost, yourself. And if you hear them, it might be time to leave the area.

In one compelling video, Hawaiian author and storyteller Lopaka Kapanui, an expert on Night Marchers, revisits his own encounter on the western point of O’ahu. Give it a watch! According to Kapanui, if you do find yourself in the presence of Night Marchers, you should lie face down on the ground in respect.

Those who have Hawaiian ancestry may find themselves spared by the spirits, if one of the marching warriors recognizes you as a descendant and calls out your name. If not, as Kapanui says, “Good luck!”


Rob Schwarz

Writer, blogger, and part-time peddler of mysterious tales. Editor-in-chief of Stranger Dimensions.