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The most dangerous place on earth?
by Michael H. Brown
There may be no place more precarious. There is certainly no comparably sized vicinity under so many threats of disaster. The place is Hawaii, and it is under constant threat of earthquakes, tidal waves, hurricanes, and the world's largest active volcanoes. High atop Mount Kilauea old pagan altars stand next to a caldron that spews the smell of sulfur.
Ironic it is how a center of paganism -- a place where there are still strong residues of goddess worship, and where there are now strong trends of liberalism (including key battles over gay marriage and abortion) -- is one of the most dangerous places on earth. It's like a portal to the netherworld, the locals proud of the heritage of idols that are still invoked: Kane and Pele and Lono. Gods of fertility and rain. An "earth mother."
This of course is pure danger. And it manifests in nature. For reasons that are mysterious evil often tends to congregate in areas that are under geophysical threat and there are few better examples than the big island of Hawaii -- the largest of the Hawaiian islands and a place that seems like the end of the world. Along the remote shore near a chain of craters, lava pours into the sea and steam billows from the water as if in seething anger...
According to locals, those who take lava rocks from the old pagan land are cursed, and when I was there an attendant at the airport told me that countless packages containing rocks are returned from travelers who say that taking away the souvenirs sent their luck downward.
That's one threat: volcanoes. There is also the threat of tidal waves. In 1868, 1946, 1960, 1964, and 1975 significant tidal waves hit the islands. The waves come from both earthquakes that are local and those that occur as far away as Chile and Alaska.
At any time the alarm could go off and the horizon fill with the muddy gray of a tsunami.
While in modern times the largest waves have been about 45 feet (and in one isolated valley as high as 88), geologists told me that in ancient times they may have been much higher.
Some believe that the collapse of huge chunks from the islands may have generated local waves that rose hundreds of feet skyward.
Thousands of years ago a towering wave is thought to have flooded the island of Lanai.
There is also the threat of storms. On September 11, 1992, Hurricane Iniki swept across the island of Kau'ai, wiping out the tourist industry and damaging 10,000 homes. This too was seen as a portent. "The noise was unbelievable, shattering glass, twisting metal, flying debris impacting, and of course the piercing howl of the wind," wrote one resident. "The suction in the room [of one banquet room] was so great that the doors which open out were immovable. All twenty or so large hurricane windows were bowing dangerously inward."
It's like the old gods are still riled. I have been to the big island twice, and both times I felt the oppressive forces around it. On my first visit I flew to the island with about twenty prayer-warriors from Honolulu and we interceded at a church dedicated to the Archangel Michael for the immorality that is rampant in the islands. On the second visit I was conducting interviews with scientists and when I prayed up near those craters -- in the stench of sulfur -- it was like the wind rose in resistance.
Now we see on the news that a submarine plowed into a Japanese boat near here and a couple days later two helicopters crash.
Perhaps it's a coincidence. Or perhaps there are still some old "gods" that need to be purged.
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