Wednesday, October 3, 2007


By Kalani Hanohano

Arthur Cathcart´s experiences with akualele fireball-making occurred on the island of Moloka´i when he was a child of 7 or 8 years of age. He remembered clearly that the kahuna prepared a ti-leaf bundle, and into that bundle was placed awa, fingernails or bones of a deceased person and a special kind of awa that grows on a tree and has hairy roots (June Gutmanis calls this a "vining awa" and Cathcart concurred). This last awa plant with the hairy roots made up the tail of the akualele. Each item that made up the akualele was prayed over as the device was constructed.

Hawaiian translator Theodore Kelsey also had similar knowledge of akualele manufacture and described it as follows in a letter he sent to Fate magazine back in the 1960s:

"The akualele was caused by ´keeping a bundle´ (malama-pu´olo), or bones of a deceased relative or friend, generally wrapped in tapa-cloth and known as an unihipili. Through prayers and offerings this object became possessed by an aumakua, or returned spirit of the deceased, which became an entity to heal relatives and friends, or to inflict sickness or death upon enemies. Persons keeping such entities were called ´sending people´ (po´e ho´ounauna), whether or not they were kahuna, or expers in hidden lore.

"Something from the body of a departed one, such as hair or fingernail, could be imbued with spiritual power (mana) if it were prayed to, calling on the name of the deceased, and sacredly and secretly kept.

"A premature birth (pu´u-koko or bloody heap) was sometimes worshipped, and thus became an unihipili, possessed by an aumakua entity."

Arthur Cathcart´s description of the mid to final phase of the operation dovetails absolutely with what is known about the psychic energetics behind kahuna magic:

"The kahuna takes one breath - and they cannot breath after that - and they pray (with that one breath) until that thing takes off."

It is only then that the kahuna can return to normal breathing, normal functioning.

June Gutmanis asked Mr. Cathcart the following question:

"When you´ve made the bundle and you´ve got it ready and then you pray over it - if you don´t stop praying you don´t get hurt. What happens if you stop praying before it takes off?"

Mr. Cathcart replied that "Its apt to hurt the person that did it (i.e., the kahuna). There are some ceremonies where you take one deep breath and you (chant) all the way through otherwise if you stop, it will come back and kill you. It´s so kapu (taboo) certain kinds of chants."

I asked Mr. Cathcart if the akualele fireball made any noise. He replied that one could "hear a skrrrssskkkrrr (makes a sibilant sound with his mouth). You can hear that whizzing sound going through the air."

He also described watching an akualele fireball one evening with his musician uncle. The fireball exploded over the home of the intended victim:

"You know, in a little while you can hear them (crying). You know how the Hawaiians used to cry. Loud, yea! They didn´t cry softly in those days. They were loud."

Arthur Cathcart also reiterated what is known about akualele flight. The fireball heads directly for the intended and does not stop (emphasis mine). He also stated that there were still other ways to produce an akualele. The method he described to both June Gutmanis and I was the one that he witnessed personally.

I know from my discussions with Mr. Cathcart that indeed he lived among the kahunas when he was a child living on Moloka´i. I asked him how it was that the kahunas allowed him to witness akualele fireball-making. His answer remains - for me - one of the most cherished responses I have ever received from anyone I´ve interviewed:

"Because I was young and they loved me, they let me stay and watch."


There is no room here to fully discuss the importance of mana, breathing and chanting in Hawaiian culture. However, I would like to add this little piece of information gathered from Handy and Pukui´s formidable study, "The Polynesian Family System in Ka´u, Hawaii:

"Equally important in praying is the breath (ha). The mana of the prayer was in the words and names, but it was the breath that carried the words and names.

"I have seen Tutu Pa´ele, a dear old neighbor in Ka-´u, do as follows when I was a child. He used to pray over a glass of water in which there was a pinch of salt and tumeric and then, ´Ha´, expelled his breath over it after the amen, to impart a mana to the water.

"A person about to die passed his knowledge to his successor by expectorating (ku-ha) or by expelling his breath (ha) into his mouth. With this, the mana he had in whatever he was an expert in, passed on to the person to whom he had given it. If he was a skilled medical kahuna, the recipient would become one in later years. So it was the knowledge passed directly from one person to a particular one and not to other members of the family in general."

During my teen years, I had the priviledge of meeting with a woman who was a successor. A grandparent - at the point of death - expectorated his breath into her mouth. The gift he gave her was the ability to speak and understand the Hawaiian language. As she grew older the language grew with her until she arrived at fluency.

EM Cases

I have never come across any cases where electromagnetic effects (EM) was suffered as a result of the passage of an akualele. The akualele has a mission, and it does not waiver from its task. It is not a hunter-seeker. It knows precisely where it is going.

But there are many other cases from Hawaii where witnesses report that their car engine died as a result of a meandering globe of light. These are usually associated with spirit entities, but one cannot exclude the possibility of anomalous lights generated by tectonic stress (piezoelectric effect). Particularly on the Big Island. On the island of Oahu, meandering spirit lights and EM effects were at one time frequently reported in and around the old Pali road.

Physical Trace Cases

There are no physical traces left of an akualele event. Unless we count the body of the intended victim.

Personal Sightings

I have never had a sighting of an akualele. My father did. According to him he was in the army, stationed on the countryside of Oahu. He saw a fireball light heading straight for him. He knew what it was. There was only one action to take. Swear at the object. As he did so the object exploded over him. All he remembered was that as pieces of the fireball fell all around him, there was no sound. Dead silence.

I have had numerous ufo sightings during the course of my life. Several in Hawaii, one in Seattle, and numerous in Denver. And on September 9, 2007, my wife and I were witness to an incredible ufo event that lasted for 4 hours.


I have endeavoured to make the case that the Hawaiian akualele is NOT a ufo in the contemporary sense of the word. It IS identifiable. And it does have a name that identifies it. I can find no Hawaiian word or term that may be associated with an aerial device identified as coming from another world, another dimension of reality. There are old legends and chants that can be only await the day when we can return home . . . to Hawaii.interpreted as possible alien-human interaction. But this is very much open to individual interpretation.

Today, my wife (Katiuska - see her website at and I continue our interest in things borderline. We are currently residing on the island of Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain. We eagerly await our return to the USA . . . and to Hawaii.

No comments: