6 uninhabited and mysterious islands with bizarre pasts | The Daily Star
01:37 PM, October 22, 2015 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:28 PM, October 22, 2015

6 uninhabited and mysterious islands with bizarre pasts

Moving away from all the hustle and bustle of the chaotic city to a remote deserted island sounds like a wonderful way to live, doesn’t it?

Given that some deserted islands have pasts so mysterious and terrifying that simply reading about them can induce nightmares!

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And then there are some islands which are completely isolated rendering them inhabitable whilst there are some you aren’t even allowed to visit. Scroll down to find out about some of these strange and enigmatic lands:


Located in the Adriatic Sea near Dubrovnik, Croatia, Daksa was the home of the Franciscan Monastery of St. Sabina from 1281 CE to the 19th century, reports Mental Floss according to Yahoo News. This tiny island also has a villa and an ancient lighthouse, and it was little used after the monastery closed, even less so after what happened in 1944.

During the height of World War II, Partisans came to Dubrovnik and rounded up 53 men suspected of being Nazi sympathizers, including the mayor of Dubrovnik and the local parish priest. They were never seen alive again. They were taken to Daksa and executed without trial, reports Mental Floss according Yahoo News.

Two mass graves were unearthed in 2009 in Daksa. DNA samples were taken from the victims of the Daksa Massacre, and some were identified.

The remains finally received a proper burial in 2010, 66 years after they were executed. But even after all these years, tales of the victim’s ghosts crying out for justice haunt the island. Up for sale for many years, Daksa has had no takers yet.

-Clipperton Island

The quaint Clipperton Island is a coral atoll south of Mexico and west of Guatemala in the Pacific, reports Mental Floss according to Yahoo News. It was first claimed by the French, then Americans, who mined it for guano.

A British company was allowed to mine for guano in Clipperton Island after Mexico took possession of the island in 1897.

Around 1910, Mexico sent 13 soldiers to guard the island. They were joined by their wives and some servants, and soon children were born. Another island resident was a reclusive lighthouse keeper named Victoriano Álvarez. In 1914, supply ships stopped coming because of the Mexican Civil War, and malnutrition set in. The soldiers living on the island started to die off, until only three of the wives and their children remained. Victoriano Álvarez, the lighthouse keeper, also survived.

Álvarez seized control of the survivors and declared himself king of the island. He spent the next few years terrorizing the women and children of Clipperton Island, until they banded together to kill him, reports Mental Floss according to Yahoo News. In 1917, the last surviving islanders, three women and eight malnourished children, were rescued and evacuated by an American ship. Ownership of the island reverted to France, which manned a lighthouse on Clipperton Island, but after World War II it was completely abandoned. There are now only occasional scientific expeditions to the atoll.

-North Brother Island

North Brother Island in the East River in New York City is a protected nesting area, and therefore off-limits to the public. Spanning over 130 years, the island has quite a macabre history.

Riverside Hospital opened a quarantine facility for smallpox patients on the 20-acre island in 1885. The hospital later took in patients with other communicable diseases, like typhoid. It was here that Typhoid Mary was housed involuntarily for two decades until her death in 1938, reports Mental Floss according to Yahoo News.

The hospital closed in 1942, but the buildings were used for veterans’ housing for a while, and then as a rehab center for young drug addicts, until corruption, abuse, and rights violations forced the facility to close for good in 1963. The island was purchased by the City of New York in 2007. -The buildings still stand in their ruined state, and are said to be haunted by the many who died or suffered there.

-Lazzaretto Nuovo

Lazzaretto Nuovo is an island situated at the entrance of the lagoon that envelops Venice, Italy. It was a monastery in medieval times, then in 1468 was designated as a quarantine area for ships approaching Venice, to protect the city from the plague.

This continued until the 18th century, when the quarantine facilities were abandoned, and Lazzaretto Nuovo became a military base, reports Mental Floss according to Yahoo News.

The Italian Army abandoned the site in 1975, and it suffered years of neglect. Community efforts have since turned it into a cultural museum site, now supported by the Italian Ministry of Arts and Culture. The island is currently open for tourism.

-Ernst Thälmann Island

Ernst Thälmann Island is a tiny piece of land located in the Gulf of Cazones off the coast of Cuba.

The island has always been uninhabited, and has been casually set aside to remain in a pristine condition. With a healthy coral reef, the island boasts a rich biodiversity, reports Mental Floss according to Yahoo News.

The island’s historical name was Cayo Blanco del Sur until 1972, when Fidel Castro hosted a state visit for East German leader Erich Honecker. Castro’s welcome included a renaming of the island in honor of Ernst Thälmann, who was a German communist revolutionary executed by the Gestapo in 1944.

Castro ceremonially handed the island over to the German Democratic Republic, though the territory was never legally given away. A bust of Thälmann was erected on the island, and stood there alone until it was toppled by hurricane Mitch in 1998.

Ernst Thälmann Island is the center of a “war” between the Republic of Molossia, a micronation which consists of one household in Nevada, and East Germany, which ceased to exist in 1990. The rationale is that since Castro gave the island to East Germany in 1972, and the territory was not mentioned in the documents that dissolved East Germany, the island is the last remaining part of the German Democratic Republic. This “war” has been going on since 1983.

-Palmyra Atoll

Located 1,000 miles south of Hawaii, Palmyra Atoll is a territory owned by the United States, and it is officially uninhabited (though a handful of “non-occupants” working for The Nature Conservancy or the US government temporarily inhabit the island).

The US military built an airstrip there during World War II, which has not been repaired in a while now. The airstrip is still used for infrequent supply runs. The atoll is now administered by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, with the exception of Cooper Island, which is owned by The Nature Conservancy, reports Mental Floss according to Yahoo News.

The atoll was formed by a growing reef that caused quite a few shipwrecks, one of which resulted in a rumored cache of gold on the land. It is said to be haunted by the sailors who died there, and it was also the setting for a sensational double murder in 1974 that became the basis for the novel and then miniseries called And the Sea Will Tell.

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