Life is really strange. The islands are strangers. When we think about our holiday destination, some beautiful tropical islands come with our consideration.
However, some islands deviate so much from this stereotype that they deserve to be included in a separate article.
From destroyed horses to obligatory gas masks: These are 20 strange islands where you’ll scratch your head.
1. Christmas Island
This Australian territory located in the Indian Ocean is home to one of the 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 sight to behold!
2. Deer Island
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.
3. Easter Island
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!
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.
5. 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.
6. Hashima Island
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.
7. Howland Island
This US territory in the Pacific Ocean is where Amelia Earhart was supposed to land on her round-the-world journey.
Since then the island, along with her fateful journey, has been under much scrutiny.
8. 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.
9. Izu Islands
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.
10. 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 afterward.
11. 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!
12. Ōkunoshima 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.
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.
14. Poveglia Island
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.
15. Ramree Island
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.
16. Sable Island
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!
17. Tashirojima Island
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.
18. The floating islands of Lake Titicaca
Entirely man-made, these floating islands 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.