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Bizarre Encounters in Wahiawa, Hawaii
And more on Aikanaka, the giant of the pineapple fields.
Source: University of Hawaii -Manoa Student Folklore Project, 1973
Informants: Haole male, 35-years-old; Japanese-American female, 35-years-old
Rob Carlson was a "military brat" who grew up at Schofield Barracks, graduated from Leilehua High School and attended the University of Hawai'i. In a personal story that he recorded in 1973, he described his own encounters with a Hawaiian "bigfoot."
One night he had gone to the river in Whitmore Village, by the Wahiawa Mountains, with his friends to catch catfish. They laid traps in the river for about an hour, intending to come back in the morning to gather up the fish. As they were busy putting in their traps, they heard a bloodcurdling scream.
'It sounded at first like a wild man screaming in the bushes right next to us. I thought at first it was a joke by one of my friends, but we were all standing there, and the screaming was in the bushes. We looked at each other and we ran like hell up the side of the embankment. We just ran, totally panicked."
As they got to the top of the hill, running down a little trail, they came to a curve in the path. As they entered the curve, they all stopped dead in their tracks. An 8-foot tall man was walking down the trail, heading right for them. He was naked except for a cloth around his waist.
"I tell you, he was coming right for us! So we turned and ran back to the river. As he stumbled down the side of the embankment, a giant woman stepped out from behind a tree. She must have been at least seven feet tall!
Turning downriver, they ran and ran until finally they came out of the ravine safely. "It was one helluva night," Rob continued. "I didn't sleep at all. But in the morning, we figured it was safe to go back and get our traps. We couldn't believe our eyes when we arrived at the river. There were huge footprints in the ground near the place were we had been laying the traps. Giant footprints at nearly twenty inches long! We never will go back fishing at that river near Whitmore Village at night. Never."
Do screams, giant footprints and sightings of a larger than human figure at Helemano and the Wahiawa Mountains really exist? Is a Man-eater walking the earth where over 300 years ago he had been slain for practicing the vilest of customs? Did he leave a curse on that land?
A teacher from a school in the Makakilo area shared with me in 1993 an interesting urban legend from the town of Wahiawa, where she grew up. She had heard many times the strange stories told by people who try to drive the Kaukonahua Road from Wahiawa to Waialua--the two-lane, winding road through the pineapple fields. As they drive the lonely stretch of road, they sometimes see a giant man lying on the road. This giant is named Aikanaka, she told me. The older folks of Wahiawa, she said, had many times seen this giant.
When she used the name Aikanaka, it was the first time that someone in this contemporary Hawai'i had made reference to the ancient man who had left his unpleasant mark upon the area.
Ancient legends abound
in the Hawaiian soil--legends that have a peculiar way of faltering through
time and affecting the modern mind. Can these old collective myths of
an ancient civilization be so powerful as to leave huge imprints in the
earth, to shatter the still midnight air with screams from a spirit realm
or to manifest huge forms that haunt their former abodes? The question
must be left to those with greater wisdom than I, as I roll up my windows
tight, lock my doors and speed across the plains of Wahiawa through the
land of Aikanaka, as if such precautions could help.