Censorship through Black Magic: The Pacific Commercial Advertiser’s Brush with a Kahuna
That was what Henry Martyn Whitney faced as the editor of the Pacific Commercial Advertiser. He criticized native Hawaiian boat men for their “outrageous charges” for boat services and threatened to offer the same services if they keep overcharging.
The angered boat men wanted to kill him, but legally. So they hired a kahuna to pray Whitney to death (“anaana” in Hawaiian).
In the shroud of night, the kahuna went to the Pacific Commercial Advertiser building with a white pig and found the front gate locked. With the pig occasionally grunting, the kahuna then leaned over the fence and placed the pig, whose feet was tied, on the other side of the fence onto the stone steps. At midnight, the kahuna started his incantations in a “weird and minor key”:
“Seats for their Kahunas will be placed in front of the building occupied by the paper. A cage will be furnished for the white pig. And whenever the Kahunas become weary of repeating the weird incantations composed of our contemporaries’ editorials upon the wickedness of the Advertiser, the proximity of Mr. Cunha’s establishment may enable them to ‘work the growler’ with happy facility, and make the proceeding doubly interesting.”
– Alice Kim
“Praying to Death”
The Hawaiian gazette., November 08, 1898, Page 4, Image 4