What could be scarier than a deserted island in the middle of nowhere? The idea of an abandoned island with no escape is inherently frightening. Of course, any abandoned island becomes more terrifying when you add scary stories to an atmosphere of dilapidated buildings. Get ready to visit some of the scariest abandoned islands in the world. Here are 10 abandoned islands that attract attention with their strange sights and stories…
1. Poveglia Plague Island – Italy
Poveglia Island, a small island off the coast of Italy between Venice and the Lido, has a history of death and disease. The first inhabitants of the island were hiding on the island from the invasion of the barbarians in AD 421. In 1348, the plague swept through Europe and killed a third of the continent’s population. During this period, Poveglia was used as a quarantine island, and anyone showing signs of symptoms was brought here to prevent the spread of the plague. People caught in the plague and brought to the island knew they were being led to death. However, the dead were also brought to the island, and tens of thousands of corpses from Venice were burned in a huge fire in the center of the island. When the plague epidemic started again in 1630, the island was again used for the same purpose.
The next use of the island was when Napoleon Bonaparte stored ammunition and weapons there. Due to the bloody history of the island, locals were afraid to visit this island. In later times, the island was discovered and great wars took place.
As if that wasn’t enough, a mental hospital was opened on the island in 1922. Locals claimed that a mentally ill doctor tortured his patients in the asylum, killed them and carried out horrific experiments on them. Afterwards, the doctor is said to have died after falling from a steeple. The mental hospital eventually closed in the 1960s, and the island has been abandoned ever since. Greenery left behind the remains of the hospital and the steeple. Islanders still stay away from the island, and some say that more than 160,000 people died on this small patch of land, and the ground is made of ashes of cremated human remains.
2. Ilha da Queimada Grande – Brazil
Ilha da Queimada Grande is an island 90 miles off the coast of São Paulo, Brazil. Although the island may seem like a paradise, everyone in Brazil avoids it as it is known to be populated by the golden spear-headed viper, one of the deadliest snake species in the world. The venom of the golden spear-headed viper can kill a human within an hour. Because of the snakes, the Brazilian government has mandated the presence of a doctor on site for any visit to the island. Even if an antidote is given to a person stung by a snake, the venom can still cause permanent damage, such as cerebral hemorrhage and muscle tissue necrosis. That’s why the Brazilian government is trying to deter people from visiting the island as much as possible.
3. Ross Island – India
Ross Island is the smallest island of the archipelago off the coast of India. In the 19th century the British had invaded and colonized India, but rebel groups were popping up everywhere. British colonists used Ross Island to house hundreds of prisoners to punish anyone who fought against them. As the British struggled to restore order, persecution on Ross Island spread to the surrounding islands. Prisoners were forced to work in the islands’ damp forests, clearing the area, and constructing luxury mansions, churches, and patios for the British colonists. While the British lived in comfort and abundance, the prisoners were forced to live in misery. Many died of malaria, cholera, and dysentery. The British even conducted experimental drug trials on prisoners. The horror of Ross Island continued until 1937.
In 1941, an 8.1 magnitude earthquake hit the island, killing more than 3,000 civilians. Shortly thereafter, the Japanese used the island to build bunkers and store supplies during the Second World War. In 1945 India recaptured the island, and the island has since been abandoned and in a dilapidated state.
4. Disney’s Discovery Island – Florida
The exotic bird-themed Discovery Island was an island off Florida and closed its doors to visitors in 1999. Later, the island was purchased by Disney World and reopened as Discovery Island in 1976. Visitors came by boat to the island, which has more than 150 rare bird species. When Animal Kingdom opened in 1999, attendance on the island dropped drastically, bringing the birds to Animal Kingdom before Discovery Island closed its doors. On the island, which has since been derelict and derelict, hurricanes and storms have ravaged structures, including the animal hospital, which still has refrigerators full of medicine and incubators. Disney now uses guards to prevent intruders from entering the abandoned island. What Disney will do to the island and why the island is so well preserved remains a matter of curiosity.
5. Hashima Island – Japan
Hashima Island, also known as Gunkanjima, means “Battleship Island” due to its resemblance to a Japanese warship. The island was used as a coal plant in 1887 after it was bought by the Mitsubishi Group. Apartments and workplaces were built for coal miners and their families. With a history far worse than coal mining, Hashima Island was used by Japan during World War II to hold Korean and Chinese civilian prisoners of war. The captives were exploited in harsh conditions, and more than 1,000 people died on the island during the war. Over the years, the island’s natural coal source was depleted, and over time it was abandoned.
6. McNabs Island – Nova Scotia
McNabs Island is a small island in Halifax Harbor off the coast of Canada. The island was used as a fishing island until it was occupied by Peter McNab in the 1780s. The island, which was abandoned after being used for various purposes, contains the remains of a wide variety of historical artifacts, including multiple shipwrecks, a smuggled soda factory, a pottery field filled with the corpses of cholera victims, and military forts.
7. Deception Island – Antarctica
Deception Island is an active volcano located in the South Shetland Islands, south of the Antarctic Peninsula. The volcanic formation gives the island a U shape forming a natural fortress. The island got its name because of its deceptive nature, which can appear in a way that the attackers would think it to be a normal island, and that they can be unexpectedly repulsed from behind the natural castle.
Once the island was used as a whaling station and a research facility for scientists from Chile, Argentina, Spain and the United Kingdom. The volcano erupted twice in the 1960s, destroying the remaining structures on the island, and the island became a tomb for whalers.
The island is now protected by the Antarctic Settlement System and is mostly used as a tourist destination where visitors enjoy natural hot springs.
8. Ukivok – Alaska
Ukivok is a village located on King Island off the coast of Alaska. It was abandoned in the mid-1900s by the Native Inupiat people, who named their tribe the Aseuluk, meaning “People of the Sea.” A small village was built on stilts along the outer mountainous edge of the island. In the warmer months, the Aseuluk people living on mainland Alaska would go to the island to hunt walruses and seals when winter came and thick ice had formed. When the Bureau of Indian Affairs closed the school on the island in the 1950s, the people of Aseuluk were forced to return to Alaska for their children to attend school. Some Aseuluk people still travel to the island in winter to hunt, but the island is mostly uninhabited.
9. Suakin Island Ancient Ruins – Sudan
The island, whose port was used by many empires for 3,000 years, now hosts ancient ruins. The island is located in the Red Sea and is now part of Northern Sudan. The island’s port was originally developed by Egyptian Pharaoh King Ramses III in the 10th century BC as a channel for trade and explorers’ travels. The island with its gates and buildings made of expensive coral has changed over time but has always remained a trading port.
10. No Man’s Land Fort – England
No Man’s Land Fort is one of four forts built during the Victorian era to protect the British from French occupation. Because castles were complex and expensive, the building took years to complete. By the time they were built, the threat of French invasion had disappeared. No Man’s Land Fort is a man-made structure that took 20 years to build. It is configured to fit 80 soldiers and 49 cannons around it. The fort was used as a defense against submarine attacks during the First World War and to store artillery in the Second World War. The British Ministry of Defense sold the island in 1963. In the 1990s the island was attempted to be converted into a luxury hotel resort complete with helipads, restaurants and a heated pool. The hotel didn’t work, and in 2004 wealthy real estate developer Harmesh Pooni bought the island as an event space. Unfortunately, the dirty water in the pool caused an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, an aggressive form of pneumonia caused by bacteria, and Pooni’s island resort failed. In 2015, No Man’s Land Fort reopened as an event venue with accommodation, along with two other forts, the Solent Forts. The castles were closed to the public in 2020 and were put up for sale that year.