Work of Anita Marie Mosocso

Halloween - Seattle News
Urban Myths
Eventide at The Soul Food Cafe
A Numinous Dream
I See My Tia

Searching for Eldorado

The Mine
Death of Leaning Birches and Company

Moscoso Specials

Spirits of the Eventide

In the Lemurian Abbey Catacombs

The Catacombs
The Nisqually Earthquake




Shark Man by Anita Marie Moscoso

I'm thinking of my family home in Hawaii tonight because for some reason the fog and cold that come up to my door here at the Curio Shop feels odd tonight. Like it's looking for some bones to wrap itself around. I'm thinking of warm tropical breezes and a clear blue sky...but the clock here in my shop says it's Eventide and it's time for an Eventide Tale...

My Grandparent's home is on a bluff overlooking the Waipio Valley on the big island of Hawaii.

As beautiful as it is, I don't like going down to the Valley. Though I enjoy pictures of it and am very content to look at it from the observation point I don't go down there, I don't like to because it's haunted.

When I was a little girl I use to spend a lot of time playing outside.

My Grandmother grew beautiful orchids and we had banana trees and macadamia nut trees, chickens and orange trees, she grew all sorts of other beautiful plants and trees. Across the street were the cane-fields. It was my own private paradise and I loved playing outside from sunrise and far into the evening.

My Grandfather's best friend lived right next door to us and on the other side of our house was a house hidden behind an overgrown garden of all sorts of tropical plants. I didn't play over there very often for some reason. Probably because my Grandfather's best friend was as much fun as my own Grandfather and indulged me when I performed impromptu Hula dances or one of the rock and roll songs from my Mom's time (the 50's) and my cousins time (the 60ís). In other words he spoiled me rotten and what child in their right mind would walk away from that to go play in a messy yard?

However, one day I noticed the house on the other side of my grandmother's house. I found a little path and followed it to the house. It looked like my grandmother's place but smaller and dirtier. There were leaves all over the porch and I remember not smelling any food cooking. There was no music and there wasn't any curtains or shades on the windows.

It was very cold in the shade of that house.

I decided to walk around back to see who was home because that's where we all did household work during the day, the gardening the washing. Everyone in my small world did that. So if I wanted to find someone at home the back was where to look.

No one was there.

Then I saw some steps, dirt steps leading down into a basement. I walked down the steps and at the bottom sat a man dressed a lot like my grandfather. He was wearing a baseball cap and a khaki colored shirt. He was carving something onto a stick. At least it looked like a stick. It was long and white and it made a funny sound as he ran his knife against it.

Then he looked up at me and smiled. I use that term loosely. It was more like he opened his mouth and it just looked like a smile. He seemed to have many, many teeth and they all looked broken.

He was showing me what he had carved when I heard my Grandmother call me. She sounded very loud. Like she was standing next to me and yelling in my ear.

All I could think of was that she sounded very angry and that I had better get home NOW.

I remember she was very angry because I had not answered her when she called, she wanted to know where I had been and I told her. She looked very grim. She also made it clear I was never to play at that house again.

We moved away to the mainland when I was about 5. Mom brought me back for her brother's funeral a few years later but I didn't see my Grandmother's house again until I was almost 12.

When we went back I walked over to where the little house was. The house was gone; all that was left was a foundation. I asked my Uncle what happened to it and he told me it burned down years ago. How many I asked.

It burned down in the1930's he told me.

Do I need to point out there was no basement?

It was when I was an adult that I heard the story about the Shark Man, and this is why I don't go down to the Valley.

Like a lot of folktales, if you read listen you will find grain of truth that is the real story.

Apparently the Shark Man may have been a cannibal and I've been told that this story is supposed to explain his craving for human flesh.

Or maybe this story is just the simple truth:

The Shark Man was born of a human mother and a Spirit from the Sea.

When he was born the Shark Man had a hole on his back that was actually a mouth filled with many sharp teeth. His mother kept his mark hidden and she did other things to cover up her son's true nature.

She never allowed him to eat meat and she would never allow him to swim with anyone else.

When he was a boy and his mother put him into the water to bathe or swim he changed. His skin turned gray, his teeth grew long and pointed and if any little fish swam by he would catch them and eat them alive.

But when the little boy grew into a man, he tasted meat at a party and he began to change.

Now when he went into the water, the Shark Man turned completely into a shark. He would viciously kill and eat anything that got close to him, and one day that included a boy from his village.

He started to invite his friends to go fishing with him and when they were far enough away he would slip into the water and attack. Sometimes he would challenge them to a race and when they got far enough out, he turned into a shark and then he killed and ate them.

People from the valley began to disappear more and more frequently. And the one thing people knew was that the last person to be seen with all of the missing people was the Shark Man.

The people of the Waipio Valley tried to kill the Shark Man, they caught him in a net and tried to pull him to shore, but he escaped. Another time they tried to catch him on the beach but he ran into the surf and turned into a shark and swam away. No matter what they did he was very smart, he always found a way to catch people when they were in the water. He even went to where the waterfalls were and waited for people to come to bathe. Then he would slip into the water there, turn into a shark and kill them.

He was supposed to have ended up on Maui where the people there were suppose to have caught him, chopped him into pieces and burned him in a fire pit. But when they cleaned his bones and ashes from the pit and threw them into the Ocean, he turned back into a shark and swam away.

If I had been one of those villagers who's child or husband had been killed by the Shark Man in the Waipio Valley and I believed water was going to help him; I wouldn't chop him up, or have him near any beach. I would take him high above the beach to the top of the bluff. I would dig a pit and I would bury him in it. I'd want him to hear the surf and suffer because he can't ever reach it to escape.

Maybe he's up there on the bluff dreaming about the Valley and the waters below. You can hear it from the top of the bluff.

I do, when I visit my Grandparent's house. I also try very hard to ignore that little house that I can still sometimes see when I'm outside working in the yard or when I drive by on my way to town. I'm not surprised to see it, and I'm not surprised when I don't.

I also never go to the Valley.

It seems wise not too.