Humans are naturally curious beings, and nothing draws out attention quite like the mystery of creepy islands. Mystery and intrigue can drive humans to do things that they may have never dreamed of doing nor had the guts to pull off. When we think of creepy or abandoned places, our sense of wonder is heightened. This sense of wonder usually drives us to explore what these places were hiding. Islands like Jeffery Epstein’s private island or Alcatraz are some of the most creepy islands with terrible stories. An abandoned island, however, takes intrigue and wonder to a whole new level.
Typically, creepy islands come with a fascinating backstory. This of course is to be expected. To evacuate a whole island’s population immediately, the situation must have been dire. Or does it?
Events like volcanic eruptions, war, economic instability, and disease, are just a few of the reasons that some islands have become unpopulated overnight. Here’s a list of abandoned, creepy islands and the unbelievable stories behind their mysterious desertion.
Before the ‘70s, Hashima Island, Japan, was home to more than 5,000 people. It’s not the typical ‘island’ metropolis you would think of that could have resources enough to compensate such a population nor the aesthetics of a traditional Japanese island. The island served as a rocky base for multiple apartment buildings. As odd as that sounds, that’s not even the most interesting part. Deep under the apartments was a maze of coal mines that employed the thousands of people that called the island home.
During its boom, Hashima Island was a densely populated city with schools, apartment complexes, restaurants, and clinics to accommodate the coal mining community. Coal was excavated for the Mitsubishi Company, who remained the employer for the duration of its days.
Once the coal deposit ran out, the corporation left the metropolis to fall apart, and eventually, so did the people. Hashima has seen somewhat of a revival again as tourists now flock thereafter that it was featured in the 2012 James Bond film, “Skyfall”. This creepy island would be a perfect villain lair.
Sudan is mostly known for its culture and impoverished people. However, its characteristics now do not reflect what it once was. Sudan used to be known for its wealth of trading opportunity. Before this creepy island made its way onto this list Suakin Island was once one of the main sources of such opportunities. The port of Suakin was a crucial trading port for numerous empires for over 3,000 years. It was developed by Ramses III in the 10th century BCE and has been credited by some historians for delivering prosperity and wealth to Sudan.
Suakin Island was truly magnificent. Besides the stunning water, it had stunning buildings made of coral with delicate stone carvings. Unfortunately, as time went on, the purpose of Suakin was altered and corrupted; and soon became the epicenter for East Africa’s slave trade. So when the trade diminished, the island’s use declined alongside it. Today, the ruins of the creepy island’s beautiful coral buildings are all that’s left of the luxurious gated port.
Erosion is most known for ruining farming land, cliffside houses, and landslides. When combined with a plot of land that is completely surrounded by water, disaster is bound to happen. This was Holland Island’s fate, as the last house located on the island finally gave in to a storm in 2010.
Before then, Holland Island located in the Chesapeake Bay was a five-mile-long stretch occupied by hundreds of seamen and farmers. The eroding island basically shrunk till it was non-existent. Flooding was also a significant issue the islanders dealt with until most of them moved away in 1922. Now it remains amongst the long list of creepy islands that remain uninhabited.
Ross Island or sometimes referred to as the “Paris of the East”, is located in South Anandam, India. As is the story with much of India, its ownership and control has varied over the years. Control of the island was exchanged between numerous countries before it was finally left to rot.
Initially, it was home to a penal colony and jail, along with the British officers that ran it. Ross Island was particularly popular because of the extravagant clubs, gardens, pools, dance halls, and bakeries. In 1941 an earthquake ravaged the island and was soon followed by the invasion of the Japanese. Afterward, Japan and the British took turns to claim the island until 1979 when it was given to the Indian Navy. When all was said and done, Ross Island was left abandoned. Today a few shops are set up for the tourists who visit one of the world’s creepy islands.
Juan Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer and conquistador, named/established the Dry Tortugas in 1513. It was first a famous shipping corridor that was the primary gateway to the Gulf of Mexico from Florida. after some time, Fort Jefferson, the Navy’s anti-piracy fortress, was built there to protect the shipping channel and the nation’s gateway.
The fortress was never fully operational but did make its mark in a historical sense. Most notably, the Fortress was involved in the conspiracy surrounding Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Many Civil War deserters were also imprisoned here.
President Roosevelt registered the fortress as a national monument and the island as a national park. Today tourists can visit by means of boats, seaplane, or ferry.
King Island Alaska
The village of Ukivok on King Island was once home to a local Inupiat population and now sits abandoned as one of the world’s creepy islands. The villagers survived by fishing and whaling in the summer months and hunting crabs and seals in the winter months.
With such a small population of people, the community had only one school that educated generations of residents. The school was eventually shut down due to a perceived threat by Alaska’s Bureau of Indian Affairs. As a result, the community was forced to vacate the island. The Bureau reportedly considered the school building a hazard to the people because of its proximity to loose rock. Rocks slides are not uncommon in geographical regions such as theirs, so it’s no wonder the school was shut down. Being that the children had to join schools on the mainland, the adults of the community had no help to gather food for the winter months. Adults in turn had no choice but to return to the mainland. Despite the supposed imminent danger, a decade later, the school remains unchanged and unharmed.
Poveglia Plague Island
Ever heard of the Poveglia Plague Island? Don’t feel discouraged if you haven’t. Poveglia Plague Island has a very grim history behind its name and its use. The island was used as a secluded quartile zone for Black Plague sufferers were taken to die. The island is located in Venice, Italy, one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it is still considered one of the most haunted places on earth.
People commonly liken the Poveglia Plague Island to the real “Shutter Island.” Between the 14th and 17th-century plague victims were shipped off to the island where they were left to die. Several theorists estimate that over 50% of the sand on the beach is made up of human ash.
Asides the Black Plague sufferers, an underhanded mental hospital was opened on the island in 1922. Several stories account for doctors experimenting with humans. The mental hospital was shut down in 1968.
Disney World’s Discovery Island
Disney World’s Discovery Island in Bay Lake Florida was opened in 1974 as a bird sanctuary and initially named Treasure Island. The tourist destination featured a range of exotic animals, a flamingo pool, a beach for tourists, and an aviary. From the 1970s to the 1990s, the island was a premier tourist destination for many Americans.
Unfortunately, the site was closed down in 1999 for various security reasons. Some reasons for shut down included deadly bacteria found in the park’s waters and fear of wild-roaming alligators. The animals were eventually moved to the animal kingdom resorts by Disney World.
The Japanese Imperial Army used this island to produce poison gas during World War II that was responsible for the death of about 80,000 soldiers and civilians in China. Today, the Ōkunoshima Rabbit Island is home to more than 300 rabbits. History recounts that the rabbits were brought in to be test subjects for the poison gas. When the plant was decommissioned, the rabbits were released to the island. As rabbits famously do, they reproduced at an exponential rate, birthing one of the favorite tourist destinations of Japan.
The Palmyra Atoll was claimed by Hawaii and soon became a part of the US. Rumors claim that the island is the site of various treasures due to several shipwrecks.
A wealthy family purchased it in 1922 and allowed it to be used as a refueling station for the US Navy during World War II. Don’t let its beautiful palm trees and crystal clear, blue waters fool you. Palmyra Atoll is also famous for its mystery of double murder and considered a haunted island.
Do any of these islands sound like a possible vacation destination for you? Which of these islands would you like to visit? Did we miss any? Let us know!