The Haunting of the Volcano Goddess

Madam Pele, the Volcano Goddess – Maui County, Mauna Loa, Hawaii

Photograph ©Thalia D. Naidu

Madame Pele, Volcano Goddess, is a longtime legend of Hawaii. As the story goes; Pele was driven out of Na-maka-o-kaha’I by her sister, the goddess of the sea, and Pele moved to the top of Mauna Loa where she could once again find warmth.

Mauna Loa literally means “Long Mountain” and it is the largest known volcano in the world. This volcano covers half of Big Island and it has erupted thirty-three times since the year of 1843; the latest eruption being documented in 1984.

Legend says that Madame Pele comes down the mountain to warn the people below that the volcano is about to erupt! Many islanders, as well as, tourists have claimed to have seen Madame Pele and many have spotted her little white dog.

In 1959, Mauna Loa Solar Observatory staff members, noticed a white dog and attempted to capture it. They always failed in their attempts and in December of that year, two active craters erupted. The dog was seen several times after that but the sightings seem to stop around 1966.

As for Madame Pele, she is said to wear a red muumuu and always has her little white dog trailing behind her. It is also said that if you see her and you’re not friendly, death will swiftly take you.

Personal note: As absurd as this story sounds, a skeptical reported is said to have seen Pele and the volcano erupted two days later. Also, volcanologists, studying the volcano, also admitted to seeing her shortly before eruptions! The scientists admitted that they could not scientifically explain this phenomenon but they did agree that if you see her you’d better high-tail it out of there!

Mauna Loa, Hawaii