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10 Weird Islands You Never Knew About

10 Weird Islands You Never Knew About
Rebecca Howard

Doesn’t a getaway to a tropical island sound like heaven? But before you book that vacation you might want to do a little investigating. Some islands may be paradise, indeed, but if your travel agent’s offering an unbelievable deal on one of these 10 weird islands, you might want to think twice.

1. Tashirojima Island

If you’re a crazy cat lady, then this may just be the ideal vacation spot for you. If you suffer from allergies, though, this is one place that would be more hellacious than heavenly. “Cat Island” has only about 100 human residents, but is overrun by cats. Originally brought to the island to keep the rodent population under control, they’re now fed by fishermen who believe they bring good luck. Tourists can stay in cat-shaped cabins on the island. No dogs allowed.

2. Ōkunoshima Island

If cats aren’t your style, visit “Rabbit Island” which was used as a chemical weapons testing site leading up to World War II. The island is now home to hundreds of feral rabbits, believed by most to be the descendants of those used for chemical testing. Yikes! Nowadays it’s a popular tourist spot with beaches, golf courses and camping - and rabbits, so many rabbits!

3. Ilha de Queimada Grande

Okay, so much for the fuzzie wuzzies. This next island is no picnic spot; in fact, even setting foot on it is strictly forbidden because its sole inhabitants are a breed of deadly venomous snakes, the Golden Lancehead vipers. Their venom is said to be strong enough to melt human flesh. Suddenly that annoying sunburn you got at the beach doesn’t seem so bad.

4. Isola La Gaiola

Actually two tiny islands, located off the coast of Italy and connected with a small footbridge and cobblestone streets, Isola La Gaiola sounds like an idyllic destination. However, this island has been abandoned, believed to be cursed after a personal tragedy of some kind — from murder and drowning to financial ruin and prison sentences — befell every one of its owners. Not looking so pretty now, is it?

5. La Isla de las Muñecas

Legends differ as to why, but a demented man named Don Julian fled to this island in a canal near Mexico City. After hearing a girl drown, he spent the next 50 years collecting and hanging found and donated dolls and doll parts from the trees to ward off evil spirits. Since Don Julian’s death (by drowning in the canal - coincidence?), his son allows curious tourists to visit this creepy mausoleum. Personally, I wouldn’t go anywhere near it; not taking any chances on Chucky coming after me.

6. Hashima Island

Another Japanese oddity, this island about nine miles from Nagasaki was once the most densely populated place in the world. Founded as a coal-mining facility, the Japanese crammed the tiny island with forced laborers before and during World War II. At its height, the population grew to over 5,000; but the island has since been abandoned and its coast-to-coast structures now stand empty as an eerie shrine to its populous past.

7. Bishop Rock

Holding the Guinness record as the world’s smallest island, the only thing you’ll find on this tiny isle off the British coast is a lighthouse, standing for more than a century after the first attempt to build it was washed away. Oh, and you might come across the tortured souls of criminals who were routinely left here to die in years past. Shiver me timbers!

8. Poveglia Island

Known as one of the most haunted places on earth, the Romans dumped victims of the bubonic plague on this island near Venice, where their bodies were eventually burned. During the early 1900s, it’s said that a doctor performed gruesome experiments on mental patients in an asylum there, before leaping to his death from the bell tower, which is still heard ringing, even though it no longer exists. Locals won’t go near the abandoned island. Can I interest anyone in a vacation rental?

9. Vulcan Point

Located in the Pacific Ocean’s Ring of Fire, the Filipino island of Luzon houses Lake Taal, which in turn houses the area’s second most active volcano. Within that volcano’s crater lake is a tiny island known as Vulcan Point, one of the volcano’s cones. So it’s an island inside a lake inside an island inside a lake on an island in the Pacific Ocean. A sight to see, but from a safe distance, I’m sure you’d prefer.

10. North Sentinel Island

This forested island may be a beautiful place to visit, but we’ll never know, because the natives don’t exactly roll out the welcome mat. In fact, they’re known to attack anyone who comes near with spears and arrows. Not much is known of the 50-400 or so indigenous people or the island they inhabit, since even helicopters come under fire. Two unlucky fishermen who drifted into the island’s waters were murdered there in 2006. I think I’ll stick with Club Med.

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