When islands are the topic, most people imagine sunny places of unspoiled, pristine natural beauty where you can stay on the beach all day, relax and do nothing. But not all islands are a slice of paradise. There are some islands on our planet that attract travelers, not with their sunny beaches but with dark curiosity. From abandoned prisons and asylums to nests of paranormal activities, here are the scariest haunted islands around the world.
We’ll start this list with probably the most famous haunted island on this list. You probably saw some of the movies made about the legendary prison or heard the stories about the legendary cell block D, also known as ‘the Hole’.
This is the most active location in the prison when it comes to paranormal activity. Rumors have it that there were multiple occasions in which inmates screamed in terror throughout the night, claiming that an evil creature was strangling them.
Hart Island, USA
According to multiple sources, over one million people are buried in the deep pits of Hart Island. In the past, the island served as a narcotics rehabilitation center, a prison, a women’s asylum, a Cold War missile base, and a quarantine zone for yellow fever.
Hart Island is known as ‘the Island of the Dead’ and for a good reason. Over 85,000 bodies were discovered in mass graves so far and this number continues to rise. Today the island is home to a prison and inmates have reported several instances of paranormal activities in the past.
Deadman’s Island, Canada
According to the historical chronicle about the aftermath of the period when Squamish people inhabited British Colombia, something very strange happened on this island. During the war between the northern and southern tribes on the island, the Southerners captured 200 northern warriors and killed them on the spot. The next morning, the southerners found “flaming fire flowers” on the same spot where they threw the bodies. After this, they immediately fled the island in horror.
Additionally, the list of paranormal activities on the island continued to grow over the last 100 years. Many people claim to have heard sounds of breaking glass, inhuman screams, spooky chanting sounds, glowing eyes in the fog, mysterious lights etc. There were attempts to turn the island in an amusement park and later, a navy base but both plans were unsuccessful due to reasons unknown to the public.
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Isla de las Muñecas, Mexico
Back in the 1950s, the only resident of this island was Julian Santana Barrera. One day at the shore, he found the body of a little girl who drowned under mysterious circumstances. Supposedly, the girl’s ghost haunted Julian and to please her, he started hanging dolls from every single tree he could find on the island. There are recent stories of witnesses who have seen the dolls move and whisper in the night.
To make everything even more strange, 50 years later, Julian drowned himself on the same spot where he found the girl’s body.
Isle of Wight, UK
There have been multiple cases of paranormal activity reports on the island but two particular places stand out. The first one is the Botanic Gardens, located at the same place where the Royal Hospital for Chest Diseases used to be. There were multiple reports of strange men weeping and groaning in the garden.
The other one is the old manor house of Knighton Gorges. This house has been demolished since the 1800s. However, supposedly a ghostly apparition of the manor appears every New Year at midnight.
Anyway, these two supposedly haunted destinations don’t scare tourists away from the Isle of Wight. It’s actually one of the best holiday destinations in the UK.
Isola La Gaiola, Italy
This deserted islands in the Gulf of Naples was once a symbol of wealth. However, a series of unfortunate mysterious events changed this. In the 1920s’ the body of the then-owner appeared inside a rolled-up carpet. Otto Grunback from Germany was the next owner but not for long. He suffered a heart attack shortly after buying the property.
The next owner, a pharmaceutical tycoon from Switzerland committed suicide. Gianni Agnelli, the head of Fiat and the next owner, suffered a similar faith. His nephew was the next owner and he died from an extremely rare type of cancer. The last owner was kidnaped shortly after buying the island. Isola La Gaiola has been on the market ever since.
Back in the 1800s, this island served as a quarantine station for the Bubonic Plague. According to several sources, residents that had even the slightest signs of illness were thrown here against their will. If these rumors are true, that means that roughly 50% of the island’s soil is composed of dead human remains.
In the 1930s, the island became an asylum, where a doctor performed horrifying experiments on the patients. Eventually, the doctor went mad and threw himself from the island’s bell tower. The bell tower was later removed but locals still claim they can hear it echoing from the isolated island.
In recent years, several Italian construction companies attempted to restore the old hospital building but ended up abruptly stopping all activities without explanation. Today, the island is closed for both, locals and tourists. These two haunted islands are just a drop of the things you can see only in Italy and nowhere else on our planet.
The owners of Daksa have been struggling to sell the island since 2013, eventually lowering the price to $1.5 million. This is a ridiculous price for a 12-acre private island with several historic buildings. Not only there is no buyer for this island but people don’t even want to go anywhere near it. Daksa was the scene of a brutal massacre in 1944, where 53 suspected Nazi collaborators were executed, with their bodies left to rot in the open. Ever since there were multiple stories about paranormal activities.
In 2009, locals discovered several mass graves on the island. Shortly afterward a detailed searched by the authorities lead to finding even more remains of adult mails across the island. Most of the victims’ identities remain unknown and most locals today avoid going anywhere near the island.
Vozrozhdeniya, Uzbekistan-Kazakhstan Border
Photo credit: МACTAK MC/Panoramio
Vorozhdeniya (Rebirth Island) was one of the biggest biological test sites in the world during the Soviet era. Genetical engineering of bubonic plague, anthrax, and smallpox took place on the island, taking a lot of lives along the way. The scientists also released these substances into the air and recorded the effects on livestock. In 1988, authorities tried to destroy the evidence of their weapon programs by drenching the entire anthrax stock in bleach, sealing it in stainless steel drums, and burying them. This plan didn’t work and anthrax started seeping through the soil.
This also poisoned not only the island’s earth but the groundwater too. Today, the complete eastern basin of the Aral Sea has dried up completely as a consequence. No wonder, this “island of rebirth” wears the nickname the “ticking time bomb in the heart of Asia”.
Corregidor Island, Philippines
Corregidor Island is where one of the largest mass suicides in human history took place. During World War 2, the Japanese took control over the island in 1942 but the Americans eventually recaptured it in 1945. After the final battle, 3,000 Japanese soldiers chose to commit suicide to avoid capture by sealing themselves in the numerous subterranean passages of the island. According to stories from the locals, some of these Japanese soldiers never left the island…
Related: Looking for a different experience in the Philippines capital? Check out this list of hidden gems in Manila.
Okinawa Island, Japan
Okinawa has a similar history to the one of Corregidor. During World War 2, the island witnessed 82 days of destruction which took the lives of 13,000 American soldiers, 90,000 Japanese soldiers, and over 100,000 civilians. In the end, the remaining 4,000 Japanese soldiers committed mass suicide to avoid getting captured by the enemy. In the years after the war, there have been multiple stories of haunted hospitals, eerie hotels, re-occurring suicides at odd locations, and even construction work getting interrupted over reports of paranormal activities.
Norfolk Island, Australia
At first sight, Norfolk is a wildly picturesque, remote island but it’s the most haunted place in Australia. Norfolk Island used to house the most violent criminals in the world in the 1800s. The unlucky fellows who ended up here were kept in inhumane conditions, were tortured and brutally murdered on the island. However, unlike other islands on this list, locals used the paranormal activity rumors to attract tourists. Roughly 30,000 tourists visit Norfolk Islands every year haunting for ghosts.
Have you ever heard about some of these islands? Would you be brave enough to visit them? Let me know in the comments!