Life is strange. Islands are stranger. Or at least they have the potential to be thanks to isolation. From shipwrecked horses to obligatory gas masks, these are 25 weird islands that will leave you scratching your head.
La Isla de las Muñecas
Known as the “Island of the Dolls”, it is located in a canal near Mexico City. A man by the name of Don Julian apparently went crazy, left his family, and ran to this island where he hung up a bunch of dolls to ward off evil spirits. He drowned not long afterwards.
Just off the coast of Nova Scotia, this island is in a region known as the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”. The only things you’ll find here are horses and shipwrecks. You can probably guess where the horses came from!
While not technically an island, but rather an atoll, this bit of uninhabited paradise in the north Pacific has been home to some pretty strange occurrences since its discovery several hundred years ago. Visitors often report feeling an eerie sense of impending doom. To make the stories even worse, there was a murder on the island in 1974 of a couple (Malcolm “Mac” Graham III and Eleanor LaVerne “Muff” Graham) that unfortunately chose the wrong place to camp. Apparently an ex-con named Buck Duane Walker had the same idea.
Known as “Cat Island”, this small Japanese island has barely 100 human residents….but a ton of cats. The cats were apparently introduced in the 1850s to keep the mouse population of the island under control. After many of the residents moved away, the cat population shot up and today the remaining residents see them as good luck charms. You can even stay in a cat-like cabin if you visit the island.
There’s “Cat Island” and then there’s “Rabbit Island”. Between 1929 and 1945 the Japanese army used this island as a chemical weapons testing facility and apparently brought a bunch of rabbits as the subjects. The rabbits inhabiting the island today are said to be the descendants of their unfortunate ancestors.
The Isola La Gaiola
Sitting off the coast of Naples, Italy, nearly every single owner of this island has been found either murdered, drowned, or they ended in economic ruin. Not surprisingly it has been abandoned for some time now and is considered cursed by the locals.
Ilha de Queimada Grande
Let’s review, there were horses, rabbits, cats, and now…snakes! Located about 90 miles from Sao Paulo, Brazil this island is infested with venomous snakes. And these aren’t just any venomous snakes…they’re extremely venomous snakes! In fact the Brazilian Navy has forbidden anyone from even landing on the island due to the danger.
This Australian territory located in the Indian Ocean is home to one of largest and most spectacular animal migrations on Earth. Every year about 120 million crabs make a month long journey out of the island’s forests to the beach in order to mate. It is a site to behold!
At first glance this island found near Alexandria Bay in New York looks like any old island with some run down cottages. However, it’s actually the home of the infamous Skull and Bones undergraduate secret society of Yale University. For those of you who don’t know, many former politicians and presidents were members.
This US territory in the Pacific Ocean is where Amelia Earhart was supposed to land on her around-the-world journey. Since then the island, along with her fateful journey, has been under much scrutiny.
Today this former Japanese mining colony resembles a deserted battleship, but at one point in history it was actually the most densely populated place on the planet. The Japanese crammed it full of forced laborers from China and Korea during WWII. As you can probably guess, visiting the island can be quite a spooky experience.
The floating islands of Lake Titicaca
Entirely man made, these floating island are woven together out of reeds by a local tribe called the Uros. A long time ago the tribe likely made these floating islands their home in order to avoid trouble with other local tribes. These days the Uros still inhabit the floating islands and make their living off of fishing and tourism.
Belonging to Chile, this Pacific island is littered with hundreds of huge statues known as moia. No one knows why the ancient Polynesians built these statues but one thing is certain – it wasn’t easy!
Great Blue Hole
Found off the coast of Belize, this isn’t really an island. It’s actually the opposite of an island! It’s a huge sinkhole in the ocean floor that is surrounded by an atoll. Teeming with aquatic life, the Great Blue Hole is considered one of the world’s greatest dive spots.
North Sentinel Island
As part of the Andaman Islands, this island is “administered” by India but its locals have resisted contact ever since its discovery. In fact, any attempts to even get near the island with a helicopter are typically met with spears!
Starting with the Romans who sent all of their plaque victims to this island near Venice, for most of history it has been a dumping ground for the sick and diseased. In 1922 a mental hospital was built on the island and according to legend some crazy experiments took place. You may have guessed it but today the island is uninhabited and none of the locals even want to visit.
Infested with saltwater crocodiles, during WWII nearly 500 Japanese troops were eaten alive here. In fact, the incident is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the “greatest disaster suffered from animals”
It seems like an island paradise but that wasn’t the case for a long stretch of history. As one early explorer wrote, the tribes on the island have a long history of cannibalizing, torturing, and generally disrespecting the children and elderly.
Thanks to volcanic activity, the air on this Japanese island contains the highest concentration of sulfur on Earth. For this reason the inhabitants are required to carry gas masks with them at all times. For a visitor it can be quite a terrifying spectacle.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch
Another man made island, this one was unintentional. Thanks to ocean currents most of the garbage dumped in the Pacific ends up in one place. That place also happens to be twice the size of the United States. Don’t go looking for this island on Google Earth though, because you won’t find it. Most of the debris is small plastic particles that have broken down and sit just below the surface.
And yet again we have man-made islands on our list. This time they can be found just off the coast of Dubai. What else are they going to do with all that money?
You thought we were done with man-made islands? Wrong! Taking nearly 50 years to the build, this French fortification/concrete island was no easy project. By the time the French military was done building it in 1857, however, advancements in gun technology had made its military and tactical advantages obsolete. Yes, you guessed it…it was then turned into a prison.
How could we mention island prisons without bringing up Alcatraz. Undoubtedly the most famous island-prison in the US it housed the likes of Al Capone and Mickey Cohen before closing its doors in 1963.
Belonging to Yemen, this island has had a history of extreme geographic isolation. As a result, many of its species of animal and plant life are found nowhere else on the planet.
Also known as Vulcan Island, this small bit of rock is actually an island within a lake within an island within a lake within an island within the Pacific Ocean.