This Is The Shark Goddess That Was Said To Live In Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor was the site of one of the most significant events of the entire 20th century. But even before the fateful ambush by the Japanese that dragged the United States into World War II and changed the world forever, the harbor was still significant. In particular, it was important to the native Hawaiian people that lived on the archipelago long before its occupation in the late 19th century and designation as a state.

According to Mental Floss, Pearl Harbor was the home of Ka'ahupahau, a human who Hawai'ian legend said was turned into a magical shark. The shark was said to live underneath the lagoon in a series of caves along with her brother and sons, protecting those who came to the harbor to fish. In 1902, a project began to expand the entrance to the lagoon, which angered natives. They feared that the artificially widened channel would upset the shark goddess, and when a dock collapsed around a decade later, many felt Ka'ahupahau was enacting her revenge.

The guardian sharks fought against man-eating sharks

Ka'ahupahau's brother, Kahi'uka, was also a guardian (via Kamahao Canoe Club). Guardian sharks, known as Pu'uloa by native Hawai'ian, are not exclusive to Pearl Harbor. Indeed, they are said to be found along the coastlines of every island in the archipelago. Ka'ahupahau and Kahi'uka protected life on land and in the sea from the evil man-eating sharks, fending them off with vicious strikes from their tails and splashing to let nearby fishermen know that danger was near. They could also take different forms: Ka'ahupahau could turn herself into an extremely tough net, while her brother could take the form of an underwater stone.

The dock that was destroyed was replaced with a floating dock that exists to this day. Engineers say that area of Pearl Harbor is subject to tremors and seismic activity that prevent anything from being attached to the bottom of the lagoon. Still, some native Hawai'ians believe that it's not the Earth that is shaking, but rather the thumping of guardian shark tails preventing further construction to Pu'uloa.