Wednesday, January 25, 2017

HGB Ep. 178 - Coco Palms Resort & Kauai Legends

Moment in Oddity - The Grand Grimoire
Suggested by: Michael Rogers

The Grand Grimoire was written in 1520 AD. Some know this work as the Red Dragon or the Gospel of Satan. It was discovered in the tomb of Solomon in 1750 and is written in either Biblical Hebrew or Aramaic. There was an apocryphal man named Honorius of Thebes that was attributed with the authorship of the Grand Grimoire. Some think that Pope Honorius I or Pope Honorius III were the actual Honorius of Thebes. The story goes that he was possessed by the Devil when he wrote the manuscript. Somehow, the Catholic Church came into ownership of the four part book and have it hidden in the Vatican Secret Archives. Despite the fact that the public cannot see the book, rumors abound about what it contains and many say it contains proof of demonic evocation and occult spells. And one reason why the Vatican may want it hidden is that it reputedly details the process how new popes are won over by Satan. The Grand Grimoire is used by practitioners of voodoo and they call it, Le Veritable Dragon Rouge. The term Grimoire is used for books of magic and this one is reputedly impervious to fire, cannot be cut, pierced, penetrated, torn, or in any other way damaged or destroyed. If this Red Dragon exists, the idea that the Catholic Church would hold on to the book rather than destroy it, certainly is odd!

This Month in History - Ireland Joins the United Kingdom

In the month of January, on the 1st, in 1801, Ireland joins Great Britain by the Acts of Union 1800, thus creating the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Before these acts, Ireland was under the lordship of the same monarch as Britain, but still retained its own boundaries and laws. The Irish Parliament resisted passage of the acts. The first vote was defeated in the Irish House of Commons by 109 votes against with only 104 for. Then the bribes came into the picture via honours and peerages and the second vote passed with 158 to 115. The Irish War of Independence was started because of a desire to establish an Irish Republic and part of Ireland seceded from the United Kingdom, forming the Irish Free State in 1922. Today, the United Kingdom is separated from the European continent by the North Sea and English Channel and includes the countries of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. England and Wales were united in 1536 and Scotland was added in 1707.

Coco Palms Resort (Suggested by: Tracy Martin)

The original Coco Palms Resort on the island of Kauai stands no more. It was demolished in 2016 and Hyatt is rebuilding a new resort in the footprint. For decades, the Coco Palms was a tropical island getaway for celebrities and people seeking a tropical location for their wedding. It also served as the setting for Elvis Presley's movie, Blue Hawaii. But long before a resort was built here, a coconut tree grove was planted and even before that, this was the seat of the island's royal family for over 600 years. The legends told in Hawaii, date back centuries and this area is rich with them because of the former royal past and burial grounds nearby. Coco Palms was believed to be haunted by spirits, maybe even ancient ones, and these hauntings will more than likely continue at the new resort. Join us as we look at the history and legends of the island of Kauai and the history and hauntings of the Coco Palms Resort!

Kauai is known as the "Garden Isle" and it is the oldest island in the island chain that makes up the Hawaiian islands. It is believed to be six million years old and was formed when the Pacific Plate came over the volcanic Hawaii hotspot. Volcanic activity formed the island. This volcanic activity led to the Hawaiian mythology of Pele who is the goddess of fire, specifically volcanoes. When people think of Kauai, they probably think of films like Jurassic Park and Pirates of the Caribbean, which have used the location because of its lush tropical foliage, gorgeous blue waters and endless expanse of white-sand beaches. But there is far more to Kauai than beautiful scenery. The island is home to some very interesting sacred sites and legends. One such legend is about a tribe of little people that lived on Kauai and they are known as the Menehune. They are said to be mythical, but there fishponds and aqueducts that have been attributed to them. It was said that the Hawaiians shunned the Menehune and they would hide in the tropical forests. They would leave the rainforests at night and build their various creations in one night like Alekoko, known as Menehune Fishpond, near Lihue.

Hawaiʻiloa is the legendary discoverer of the Hawai'ian islands. He was a Polynesian navigator and his favorite son was named Kauai, which is where the island gets its name. The name Kauai is thought to mean "place around the neck." As an aside, the dialect of Hawaiian in Kauai was different originally and there are some that still hold to that dialect, which had no K sound. It sounded more like T, so Kauai would have been Tauai. Hawai'iloa accidentally stumbled on the islands and he returned to his home to bring a group of settlers with him back to the islands. They landed on Hawai'i, which is named in his honor. This is legend and the actual reality is that Polynesians from other islands traveled here and settled.

Captain James Cook was a British explorer and navigator who was the first European to discover the islands, which he called the Sandwich Islands. This was in honor of the 6th Earl of Sandwich, George Montagu, who was his financier. Cook landed in Waimea Bay and as we have featured on a This Day in History, Captain Cook came to his ultimate demise at the hands of the Hawai'ians after taking advantage of them and allowing them to believe he was a god.

King Kamehameha reigned during the late 17th century and early 18th century. He pulled all the islands into his Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, but Kauai resisted along with Ni'ihau. *This is where Ni'ihau shells come from.* Their ruler was Kaumualiʻi and he pushed back for years. King Kamehameha twice tried to take the islands by force with a huge armada of ships and canoes and he failed both times. Kaumualiʻi finally decided that he didn't want anymore bloodshed and he conceded and became Kamehameha's vassal in 1810. He ceded the island to the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi upon his death in 1824. The last reigning monarch of the Kingdom of Hawai'i was Queen Liliuokalani. She was overthrown in 1893.

The property where the Coco Palms Resort was built has a coconut grove planted from coconut tree nuts imported from Samoa by William Lindeman in 1896. It is in the Wailuā area that is near Nounou Mountain, which is also known as the "Sleeping Giant," and rises about 1200 feet. The Wailua area is culturally, spiritually and historically significant and in close proximity to three of the most important historical heiau on Kauaʻi. Heiau are temples. A heiau structure could be a small house surrounded by a wooden fence or a stonewall enclosure surrounding multiple houses or a massive open-air temple with terraces and large stone platforms. Ruling chiefs would pay homage to the Hawai'ian gods in these temples. The name Wailua is believed to mean spirits. It is near the Lihue International Airport and approximately five minutes from the town of Kapaa, which was recognized as one of  “America’s Prettiest Towns” by Forbes Magazine in 2013.

The property beneath the Coco Palms Resort was the ancestral home of Kauaʻi's royalty and home to Kauaʻi's last reigning queen, Queen Deborah Kapule Kekaiha ‘akulou , in the mid-19th century. She died in 1853. It had been their home for 600 years. The developers of the resort kept this all in mind when designing the resort and it was billed as the epitome of exotic Hawaiian tiki luxury. Perhaps they should have thought a little bit harder about the fact that the legendary walk known as the King's Trail is nearby. The aliʻi spirits follow the King's Trail in the afterlife. Ali'i is the term used for nobility or kings, so these are the spirits of the royalty. The "Royal" Bell Stone is where Kauai rulers were blessed prior to their births and that is at the corner of the property. Ancient burial sites are all around the grounds and on the grounds.

This did not detract the developers and they opened the resort on January 25, 1953. The name Coco Palms refers to the coconut palm tree groves. There were 24 rooms with two guests and four employees. The Wedding Chapel on property was donated by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer to Coco Palms in the mid-1950s after using it in the film Miss Sadie Thompson, which starred Rita Hayworth. Grace Guslander became manager and the resort grew under her leadership to 416 rooms by the mid-1970s. She also kept the coconut grove expanding as she hosted akua, which means replenishment, ceremonies that entailed plnting new coconut trees. This opportunity was offered to celebrities and notable people like Hawaiian Olympic swimming champion, Duke Kahanamoku, the von Trapp Family Singers, Bing Crosby and the Prince and Princess of Japan.

Something that also helped the expansion and popularity of the resort was the Elvis Presley movie Blue Hawaii, which was filmed at the resort in 1961. Elvis fell in love with Hawaii and he stayed at the resort many times, in the same bungalow, number 56. It was a small little suite with a front room, one bedroom and a bathroom that had a shell sink. Outside was a lava rock shower that used to be screened by a bamboo fence. In the movie, he gets married at the resort and Coco Palms soon became a popular place for couples to get married. They did about 500 ceremonies a year. The ceremonial torch lighting ceremony that was the "Call to Feast" and took place every night at 7:30pm was featured in the film as well. There was also a scene featuring conch shell blowing as a greeting. Throughout the movie Elvis and many lei-draped women danced on the beach, surfed and ran among the resort’s coconut groves.

By 1984, the number of rooms at the resort was reduced to 393. In August 1985, Wailua Associates acquired the resort from the Guslander/Amfac group. Things went well for the resort until September 11, 1992, when Hurricane Iniki struck the island of Kauaʻi and closed the resort for good. Hurricane Iniki caused $1.2 billion in damage. The property stood vacant as the rainforest and jungle took the property back a fire on July 4, 2014 damaged the resort further. A long planned demolition finally commenced in June of 2016 with plans for Hyatt to build a new resort to open in the first quarter of 2018. Before the demolition, developers Chad Waters and Tyler Greene with Coco Palms Hui, LLC tried to save as many relics of the former resort as they could. These include the first footprint, the original square footage and site plan and they are doing this through selective demolition. Greene said, "Our mantra on this has been to honor the past and celebrate the future." The total renovation is projected to cost $135 million and the new Hyatt will have 331 rooms, 32 bungalows, three restaurants, banquet facilities and more on a 46 acre lot of land. There are plans for a community center featuring the area’s native culture, history and arts.

We discussed earlier the ancient burial grounds and sacred spots near the resort property and how that might effect the energy in the area. The property was very creepy before it was demolished and stood abandoned for many years. Tours were offered and we have a link in the show notes to a video if you want to see it pre-demolition. Stories of the hotel being haunted date back to when it was a popular resort. As we mentioned, Elvis liked to stay in Bungalow 56 and it is here where his apparition had been seen after his death in 1977. No one saw his spirit after the hurricane damaged the resort. The interesting thing though is that his bungalow was untouched. As for other ghosts connected to the resort, we could find nothing. But there are other supernatural and strange creatures connected to this area meaning that they will likely still be around after the rebuild. One of those creatures is the kupua, which is basically a Hawaiian goblin. They play tricks on people. This seems relatively tame, but not all kupua are nice. Kauai's most famous kupua is Akua-pehu-ale. He is known to have a taste for human flesh and even ate some of his own followers.

Some of you may have heard of Hawaii's Night Marchers. They are named for what they do and that is march. That marching is usually accompanied by ghostly drum beats. These ghostly appartitions travel in bands and appear to be carrying ancient weaponry and wearing helmuts and cloaks. They are seen on all the Hawai'ian islands and in Kauai they are seen at Hanapepe. *Fun fact: The buildings featured in Lilo and Stitch were taken from Hanapepe.* These Night Marchers are also said to carry torches raised high and to say olis, which are chants. They are very rarely seen during the day, which is why they are referred to as Night Marchers. They float a few inches off the ground and sometimes leave mysterious footprints after they have passed. Some say they are here to avenge their deaths and other people claim they are searching methodically for an entrance into the afterlife.

High-ranking ali'i (ruler) spirits are seen walking the King's Trail. They are occasionally mistaken as Night Marchers, but they are usually seen as individuals. They are thought to be restless spirits looking to reclaim their rightful territory. Now, if you happen to see a ghostly procession of Night Marchers, what should you do? Do not interrupt the procession! And try not to rest your eyes on them and crouch low so that you will not be seen. Even play dead. Because if you are seen or they catch you watching them, a grim fate awaits you. Their glance is reputed to be deadly.

Another ghost tale we heard that originates in Kauai is connected to Chiefess Kamakahella Middle School near Lihue. This queen ruled from 1770-1794. She married the ruler of Ni'ihau and so it was at this time that Kauai and Ni'ihau came under rule together. Their son was Kaumualiʻi. A train used to pass through where the school is located and it is said that a lady in white has been seen as though she is waiting for the train to arrive. The story goes that this woman used to wait at the track every day for the train. One day she fell onto the track and was hit by the train.

Are the Night Marchers real or just legend? Was the former Coco Palms Resort haunted? Could the new Hyatt resort be haunted when it opens? That is for you to decide!

Show notes:
A great video by Michael Rivero of the ruins before demolition:

1 comment:

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