The subject is a 19 year old student at USC, her ancestors are Hawaiian and has grown up hearing and experiencing different stories about Hawaiian culture and old folktales. I asked her to coffee to discuss such things.
Subject: “The Nightmarchers, are like ancient Hawaiian warriors who basically walk during certain parts of — in certain parts of like Hawaii, and, like, um, if you see them, they appear as just a bunch torches – glowing torches. And as they come towards you, you’re slowly going to see a strange procession, it’s like a parade, but sad. Procession, get it, like Pet Semetary?”
Interviewer: “Yeah, I do.”
Subject: “And they’re ancient Hawaiian warriors, and if you look at them it’s said that you’re going to die, or someone you love is going to die soon. So you’re not supposed to look at them.”
Upon further research, I’ve found that these Nightmarchers are deadly ghosts of previous Hawaiian warriors. On the nights honoring the Hawaiian gods Kane, Ku, Lono, or on the nights of Kanaloa they are said to come forth from their burial sites, or to rise up from the ocean, and to march in a large group to ancient Hawaiian battles sites or to other sacred places.
If a mortal looks at these warriors without fear or defiance, they will be killed violently, unless a relative is within the Nightmarchers. Legend also states that planting living ti shrubs around one’s home will keep away evil spirits, and will cause the huaka’i pō to avoid the area.