Menehune Today

Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 11th, 2006

I had an excellent time on The Coast to Coast AM radio program (gulp, from 2 am to 5 am my time!) last night. George Noory and I shared high energy, great fun, and we moved through several topics you’ve been reading about here at Cryptomundo (e.g. Malaysian Mawas, Mt. Hood Bigfoot, Argentina Lake Monster, Thunderbird, Mothman, and Lizardmen). The crypto-cat fight was even briefly mentioned. In the last hour, we also had wonderful callers.

A recap of the program and link to the audio in their archives can be found here.

The first caller was a remarkable one. The woman – hey, if you are reading this, please contact me – told of how she saw about 20 Menehune, the little people of Hawaii, crossing the road in front of her car. And she hit one. She said they were three feet tall, covered in three different colors of hair, and like little humans but hairy. She said the thing left a bump in her car, and she found red hair. I think George and I ask her at the same time…"Do you still have some of that hair?"

Unfortunately, that was a long, long time ago, and she didn’t save the sample. Hers is a good story, and I hope to hear more about the recent sightings of the Menehune. They relate so directly to the Flores people, the little 3 feet tall Homo floresiensis that it almost goes without saying.

Luckily, I once journeyed to Hawaii over two decades ago, for a two-week stay with my son Malcolm and wife-at-the-time. I spent time on Kauai investigating recent sightings of the Menehune seen around that island. My research resulted in the location photographs and content in the article, “The Menehune: Little People of the Pacific,” Fate, Vol. 4, No. 7, July, 1989.

I also summarized my investigations of the 1940s’ Waimea sightings of Menehune by school superintendent George London and about 45 children from two middle elementary level classrooms, on pages 148-149, of The Field Guide of Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates.

Details of the encounter were recalled for me by Reverend Kenneth W. Smith, the pastor of Waimea’s Foreign Church, Christian Church and Hawaiian Church, who had spoken with many of the witnesses first hand. They told of seeing the Menehune playing around the large trees on the lawn of the parish property, which stands directly across the street from Waimea High School today.

I highly recommend that people in Hawaii visit that site today, as an interesting point in a cryptozoological tour of the islands.

As I briefly mentioned on Coast to Coast, there was actually a census done where Menehune were counted. An anthropological study of Menehune accounts authored by Katharine Luomala and published by the Bishop Museum in 1951, noted that 165 years previously, under the reign of Kaumualii, the last independent ruler of Kauai, a census of the population of the Wainiha Valley revealed that out of 2,000 people counted by the king’s agent, 65 were Menehune. Luomala herself wondered if the little people might be a "tribe of dwarfs."

In the field guide (page 148), I also mention the accounts of Menehune-like figures, "believed to be dwarfs," from the island of Fiji, southwest of Hawaii, according to the Fiji Times of July 19, 1975. The six witnesses to a mid-afternoon encounter described seeing eight figures, two feet tall and covered with black hair, run behind some bushes and disappear.

The Menehune of Hawaii directly relate to the reports of the Hobbits of Flores, Indonesia (cover and pages xvi-xvii), and the Nittaewo of Ceylon/Sri Lanka (pages 128-129).

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

19 Responses to “Menehune Today”

  1. jayman responds:

    Interesting, but how could they have gotten to these isolated islands? Originally brought by the Polynesians as a sort of “domesticated animal” perhaps?

  2. CryptoJoe responds:

    Maybe at one time the Menehune had the technology to build boats and abandoned it as part of an effort to avoid detection.

  3. feldspar helmet responds:

    What do we know about the size of their skulls? If they are to scale with a 2 to 3 foot tall body then that doesn’t leave much room for a large brain. If the brain case is smaller than, for example, a chimp what level of intelligence could we expect from them?

  4. cor2879 responds:

    I once had a friend who was of Asian decent that told me of some small human-like cryptids that her family in the Philipines were frightened of. Apparently these cryptids have a reputation for stealing infants as their food source. I’ve never read or heard anything else about Philipino cryptids… could they possibly be a type of Menehune?

  5. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    The correlation between brain size and intelligence isn’t conclusive from what I understand. For example, according to some things I’ve read, one school of thought states that a smaller creature wouldn’t have to dedicate as much brain mass to regulate functions such as breathing, etc., freeing up more space for cognitive abilities is, proportionate to body size, the brain is larger than other creatures their size.
    Do a search on Brain to body mass ratio to read a little more about it.

  6. earthman responds:

    Articles about H. Floresiensis stated that they had very small brains. Yet, they were able to hunt giant Komodo Dragons and minature mastodons. This sounds pretty intellegent to me.

  7. LSU_Crypto responds:

    Loren, I love this blog, and I also love Coast to Coast. I do not think the two should ever mix again. I would wager that 99 of the 100 callers on Coast to Coast are insane. I would put absolutely 0 credibility in any thing a caller to that show told you. I think the appearance on C2C hurts cryptozoology.

  8. tpeter responds:

    Dear Loren,
    I myself have also always been puzzled about how pre-sapiens hominids like the Menehune could have reached a remote, isolated island group like Hawaii, as compared to a tightly-knit archipelago of closely-packed islands just off a major continental landmass like Indonesia–far, far harder for primitives to reach Hawaii than Flores or Sumatra! Maybe, as jayman suggested, the Polynesians brought them along as a “domesticated animal”? Or maybe, as CryptoJoe suggested, the menehune once had a technology including boat-building that they later abandoned to avoid detection?
    Feldspar helmet’s question about skull and brain size is not a fatal objection. As Jeremy_Wells notes, the correlation between brain size and intelligence is not necessarily conclusive. And as earthman points out, _Homo floresiensis_ had small brains and yet Komodo dragons and miniature mastodons, which certainly sounds pretty intelligent. Though earthman didn’t specifically mention it, the Flores “Hobbits” also had a sophisticated tool kit. Skull braincase scans indicate the “Hobbits” had small but complex and highly convoluted brains.
    Returning for a moment to jayman’s suggestion that the Polynesians might have brought the Menehune to Hawaii as “domesticated animals,” I have sometimes had the same thought about the Maya and the Alux dwarves of Yucatan. Did the Maya enslave a local population of _Homo floresiensis_ type Central American Proto-Pygmy hominids, teaching them to wear clothes and perform tasks like chopping wood? See your and Patrick Huyghe’s description of Xuc’s 1977 Alux sighting at Mayapan in _The Field Guide to Bigfoot and Other Mystery Primates_, pp. 70-71.
    And could Ireland’s Leprechauns, dwarfs described as wearing clothes and practicing craft skills, also be descended from runaway “domesticated” Flores-type “Hobbits” enslaved by the early Celts? Ireland’s naked hairy reddish Grogoch dwarfs could be a “wild” _H. floresiensis_ population on the Emerald Isle.
    And returning now to the question of how pre-sapiens hominids like the Menehune could have reached a remote, isolated island group like Hawaii, I have also always wondered the same thing about Australia’s Yowie. Just how did the Yowie originally get to Australia? There is no indication that the Yowie have boat- or raft-building skills–or did their distant ancestors have such skills? Or were their distant ancestors swept from Indonesia or Southeast Asia to Australia clinging totrees washed away by tsunamis?
    T. Peter

  9. youcantryreachingme responds:

    I think I have also heard that “intelligence” is more closely corelated with brain surface area.

    However, in looking for some quick facts I found a website discussing cetacean (whales, dolphins and porpoises) brains and intelligence which dispells that once-believed myth.

    I don’t know the reliability of the article – but it’s a starting point…

  10. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Loren – I’m blown away by the Menehune census.

  11. Jeremy_Wells responds:

    re: youcantryceachingme #10
    Indeed! The fact that they are included in the census would seem to indicate they were members of the society (how often are “pets” included in a census?) Which then begs the question, did they ever inter-marry with “big people”?

  12. feldspar helmet responds:

    Wow, all I wanted to know was how large the brain case was. I am perfectly aware that here is no direct correlation between brain size and intelligence. I simply asked the question for the sake of having the information. As I said I know next to nothing about this particular cryptid species and was just asking. Does anyone actually have the answer? Noone ever posted it, they just posted that brain size isn’t related to intelligence. I’m actually trying to develop a theory as to minimum brain size vs. intellectual ability. If anyone has the data I requested that would be great.

  13. twblack responds:

    I agree if they were included in a cenus. This would lead one to believe these were real known species of at least a relative form of intellectual ability. Is thier any known photos of them???

  14. youcantryreachingme responds:

    More info on the Philippines version; thanks to my brother-in-law Alec for this tidbit:

    “I saw an interesting documentary, on the indonesian ‘hobbit people’ a few weeks back, it may be related to these legends. i was told they’re called “dwende” in the Phil’s.”

  15. youcantryreachingme responds:

    And thanks to my father-in-law, Alex, for this information on the Philippine aborigines. My guess is that these are not the smaller people we’re looking for, but the info is interesting either way…

    “Filipino aborigines are called “Aetas” are about 4.5 – 5 feet tall (mature height). Some tribes can be found in Zambales mountains. They have their own language (which i am familiar with some word). They are dark brown skin, kinky hair, some still wear G-strings, use bow and arrows for hunting wild pigs and deer. We had an Aeta family work for us in the farm for sometime in the 60’s.”

    He also sent through some photos taken by relatives who are doctors; they were taken during a mission into an Aeta community in San Marcelino.

  16. P.S.Anderson responds:

    My girlfriend and I are planning a trip to Hawaii in the spring. Hopefully, I will be able to kick it with some Menehune. I heard that they’re party animals.

  17. youcantryreachingme responds:

    Further news on the Philippines’ equivalent of the menehune, and the dwende.

    As just implied, I am told these are actually two different things.

    Thank you to Auntie Adele for the following insights:

    “The dwende is different from the cryptids Chris mentioned. Although there are supposd to be white and
    black dwendes as in good and evil, I don’t think even the evil ones eat babies. But they are supposed to bring bad luck to anyone who has seen them.”

    and separately,

    “I remember our nanny when we misbehaved. She used to scare our wits
    with them. And my grandmother used to call them some names I can’t recall at the moment. Anyway, I’ll keep you posted.”

    I believe from the context that in this second message, she is referring to the Philippine-menehune-equivalent, and not the dwende.

    I too will keep you posted as I hear more; and many thanks to all family members who are looking into this for us!


  18. Mnynames responds:

    It has been suggested before that Homo erectus had raft-building skills. The assumption about H. floresiensis is that they are descended from H. erectus, so why not the Menehune, Dwende, etc.? Their erectus ancestors could have travelled to these islands, then lost the technology (or had no need for it), and evolved into diminutive forms more in keeping with island life.

    On a separate note, I hope that no one here is seriously proposing that the Baka people of Africa are less intelligent because their brains are smaller. I’ll admit that intelligence seems a hard trait to evolve, but once the cranial equipment is there, it seems much easier to scale the design down without losing any intellectual capacity. The brain is quite adaptable, and there have been several medical cases of people who have been found lacking most of their brains that showed no signs of diminished capacity. If a genetically-abberant H. Sapiens can function with 1/3rd of our brain matter, why can’t a Proto-Pygmy relative that had time to evolve into that down-sized brain do so?

  19. shumway10973 responds:

    really truly, I do hope they can find at least one. I would hate to think that science might back track. There was a time in early evolution that some “scientists” tried using the brain cavity theory to say that certain people (races) weren’t quite human, therefore their treatment didn’t have to be humane. That is where the term mongroid came from, thinking that the mongols were quite human. I would hate to hear that someone took everything learned about these little people, and used it to bring up old (unfortunately not dead) prejudices against other races. Oh, one other question, you mentioned above that these beings were in a census, did the hawaiin people also count animals, pets or the such? I’m hoping not, I would love having these guys be totally homosapien

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