Maui Mythbusters

Maui Mythbusters

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The Hawaiian Islands are known for their storied history. As the ancient Hawaiian people passed down myths and legends for generations, no corner of the state was left without some sort of god or goddess, mythological warrior, or great battle. Maui mythbusters have many ancient legends to tackle. What is possibly more interesting, however, are some of the lesser-known, modern myths which are talked about among the island's residents today. Here is a sampling of Maui urban myths: Maui Mythbuster #1: The Superhuman Police Officer

This Maui police officer is said to have the power to ticket speeders in four different towns, 20 to 40 miles apart, simultaneously!

T/F? False. However, he is a legend in his own right.

Everyone on the island has heard of this Maui urban legend; most of us have been pulled over by him for some offense. Despite what many will say, when he does get us, we probably deserve that ticket.

Known to patrol the entire island in a variety of vehicles, with a seeming fondness for patrolling the Wailuku Town area during early morning hours, this local officer is said to be responsible for more citations than any other in history and seems to have the superhuman ability to pull people over island-wide at the same time. While his ability to be in two places at once is certainly the work of a few overactive imaginations, his single-minded determination to ensure those outside of the law are held accountable is without question, as is his urban "legendary" status (be it good or bad) among Maui's populace.

Maui Mythbuster #2: The Big Cat

An otherworldly spirit is on the prowl in Upcountry Maui, taking the form of a fiercely large, puma-esque feline.

T/F? True. To what extent, however, is to be debated.

In mid-2003, strange things began happening in the Upcountry Maui town of Olinda. A mystery animal attacked a family's Labrador retriever. Wild deer and birds were found dead in wooded areas, and many residents heard strange sounds late at night.

Not long after these initial incidents, a large (approximately 7-foot-long) dark-colored feline was spotted in the area by residents and visitors. The sightings were brief, with little or no evidence of the mysterious cat left behind.

This Maui urban legend was deemed a "Ghost Cat," an apparition representing some sort of spirit patrolling the area for an unknown reason. Soon after the first sightings, large paw prints and cat fur were documented. A cat specialist from Arizona was brought to Maui and related that he believed this cat to be a member of the mountain lion, jaguar, or leopard species.

Shortly thereafter, the cat disappeared without a trace and was last seen in late August 2003. The search continues to this day for Maui's elusive "Big Cat."

Maui Mythbuster # 3: Unidentified Flying Objects Over Haleakala

UFOs and aliens making contact with Maui residents?

T/F? True. Likely meteorites or space junk.

In the same town where the "Big Cat" was seen on the prowl, it is said that intensely bright objects float overhead at night, a possible sign of intelligent otherworldly life come to earth. While there is debate about what the objects could be, it is safe to assume that any lights streaking across the sky are simply meteorites or space junk burning through the atmosphere on the way into the Pacific Ocean.

This is a common route for such objects and many can be seen, occasionally large enough to be mistaken for an alien spacecraft, passing through Maui's night sky a few times per year. Smaller shooting stars are also a very common sight in Upcountry Maui.

Maui Mythbuster #4: Removal of Black Sand or Lava Rock from the Island

Taking black sand or volcanic rocks from where you find them may lead to VERY bad luck.

True/False? Both: True and False. Depends on who you ask.

It's a widely-held belief, not only in Maui, but all of Hawaii, that if you remove a lava rock (such as those in Makena) from where you found it, or if you take home even a handful of black sand from one of the few black sand beaches here, then you and your family will be cursed until the items are returned to their rightful place.

Many islanders and visitors swear this is true. It is not uncommon for a visitor to go home from Maui with a volcanic rock or bag of black sand in his or her luggage and then find that things begin to go wrong in their lives. Desperate to heed the warnings they were given here, they promptly mail back the volcanic rock or sand to the nearest Hawaiian post office, and usually report a subsequent change for the better in their lives.

So are the warnings true? Perhaps, or perhaps not. This writer would not tempt fate.

Maui Myth #5: Marching Hawaiian Ghosts in Iao Valley

Ghosts of ancient Hawaii are still patrolling their homeland a millennia after their deaths.

T/F? False. Although many report it to be true.

Iao Valley in the upper reaches of Wailuku is said to have been the site of an epic battle in ancient times, one so brutal that the waters that flow through the valley are said to have run red with the blood of the fallen before the battle's end. It is said these ancient Hawaiian warriors now inhabit the lands of the Iao Valley as "Night Marchers" – spirits of old Hawaii who lead processions through places of meaning. During their marches, ancient Hawaiian war drums, flutes, and chanting can be heard, while the spirits themselves appear as they did during life, but with glowing eyes.

The Maui urban legend says that if you cross their path, or look into their eyes, you are doomed and could possibly be killed. Knowing these scary urban legends, many resident thrill seekers head to Iao Valley at night awaiting the night marchers' arrival. They come back scared out of their pants from what they claim to have seen. However, as no one has captured such an event on camera, there is no absolute proof that the night marchers are more than just another myth of old Hawaii.

Iao Valley State Monument, end of Iao Valley Rd. (Hwy 32), open daily 7am-7pm, no entrance fee

Test these modern Maui mythbusters yourself. But do it at your own risk!
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