Show Mobile Navigation
Mysteries |

Top 10 Puzzling Island Mysteries

by Estelle
fact checked by Jamie Frater

Islands, in general, are breathtakingly beautiful places located in oceans worldwide. They are the stuff exotic vacation dreams are made of. This, however, does not mean that they are immune to strange incidents or unsolved mysteries. On this list are 10 islands with puzzling mysteries that remain to this day.

Top 10 Islands With Fascinating Stories And Artifacts

10 Metal objects in potatoes—Prince Edward Island

In 2016 police were called in to investigate a case of potato tampering in Prince Edward Island after a family discovered a sewing needle in a dish of potatoes they had peeled and cooked.

This came after a spate of potato tampering incidents in 2014 during which several metal objects, including needles, were discovered in potatoes originating from the island. At the time the federal government pledged $1.5 million to invest in metal detection equipment and the provincial government added $500,000 to train extra staff to assess and inspect potatoes for foreign objects.

Farms affected by the strange incidents reported losses of more than $1 million. To date, no one has been implicated in the potato crime and the mystery of who would stick metal objects in spuds, continues.[1]

9 Robbery in former leper colony – Spinalonga

Spinalonga is an uninhabited island in the Gulf of Elounda. It is known for being one of Europe’s last active leper colonies after the last inhabitant left in 1962. Today it is a popular tourist attraction because of its ancient fortress and shallow water beaches.

The only way to get to the island is by boat, which is exactly what unidentified robbers did in 2018. They arrived on the island, reportedly at night, and stole around 50,000 euros from the safe located in the guards’ room. Investigation revealed that power tools were used to break into the safe. The island has no electricity therefore no alarm system exists, and as there are no accommodation options the security guards leave at 6:30 every day.

To date, the thieves have not been identified.[2]

8 The abandoned Ghost Palace Hotel – Bali

Photo credit: The Travel Tramp

The PI Bedugul Taman Rekreasi Hotel and Resort, better known these days as The Ghost Palace Hotel, was built in the nineties and then abandoned. This apparently before it ever opened. It now sits dark and lonely alongside a mountain ridge while theories zip around about what may have happened there.

Some residents tell a tale of a real estate developer so overcome with greed that he became involved in corrupt business practices and eventually ran out of money. He then declared bankruptcy after his hotel became cursed as consequence for his evil deeds. Another, creepier, theory has it that the hotel was functional and had paid workers and paying guests but that every last one of them disappeared without a trace one night, leaving only their restless ghosts to wander the place for eternity. It is believed that the ghostly visitors could also be attributed to laborers who were forced to work on building the hotel until they dropped dead.

Whatever the true reason is for the resort being abandoned, has yet to be revealed. [3]

7 Time travel or just a creepy story? Tenerife

On the island of Tenerife lies Barranco de Badajoz; a ravine where several Guanche mummies have been found, making it an important site for archaeological research purposes. Overshadowing its historic significance, however, are the numerous reports of strange and paranormal activity. Some visitors to the ravine have claimed that at certain points, time seems to stand still when night falls and watches stop working. Others have reported seeing unexplained lights flitting over and through the ravine while some claimed to have seen tall angelic beings dressed in white.

One of the most repeated tales is the one about the girl who visited the ravine in search of fruit and then simply disappeared, seemingly into thin air. Search parties found nothing to reveal her fate and the searches were eventually called off. Twenty years later the girl simply reappeared, looking as though she had not aged a day since her mysterious disappearance two decades earlier. She told locals she had only been gone for a few hours and was shocked to learn that twenty years had passed.

These stories have made their way around the world to the extent that Barranco de Badajoz is now considered on par, in terms of creep-factor, with the Bridgewater Triangle in Massachusetts.

Do people really see into other realms while visiting the ravine? Or are these all just scary stories designed to entertain?[4]

6 Lost Nessie – Magnetic Island

In 2013, beachgoers on Magnetic Island were astonished to see a monster-like object appear in the ocean off Picnic Bay. Local resident, David Herron, snapped a photo of the object and decided it looked a lot like the famous Loch Ness monster. He also decided that he would call it ‘Lost Nessie.’

The sighting is still unexplained in 2020, but most believe that the most reasonable explanation for the monster-resembling object could be the remains of a dragon boat that had sunk the week before during a race. Nevertheless, at the time, people with any explanation for the sighting were urged to come forward. And in the absence of any explanation other than the above-mentioned sunken dragon boat, some cling to the belief that Nessie had come to visit warmer waters after finding things a bit too chilly in Scotland.[5]

Top 10 Nonexistent Islands That Appeared On Maps

5 Death of a recluse – Great Barrier Island

On 30 June 1999, the decomposing body of 51-year-old Colin Michael Goode was found in his home near Claris on Great Barrier Island. Goode’s right hand was missing, and the remains of his dog were found beside him. Prior to the discovery, Goode had been seen for the last time in April 1999. He was a known cannabis grower and had been assaulted and robbed of money and cannabis in 1991.

Two rifles were found in the bedroom where the grisly discovery was made but it was quickly determined that Goode had not died of gunshot wounds. In fact, no cause of death could be established even after extensive and comprehensive post-mortem examinations. The case grew cold over time and remains that way today, with no suspects ever identified or apprehended.[6]

4 Disappearance from paradise – Hawaii

There are a lot of eerie tales surrounding the idyllic paradise that is Hawaii, including the creepy Night Marchers, the ghost of the woman in the red dress and the Choking Ghost of Waikiki. However, it is the real-life unsolved mysteries that truly sends a chill down one’s spine. In this case, it is the tragic story of Diane Suzuki.

19-year-old Diane Suzuki was a dance instructor who lived in Halawa, worked at the Rosalie Woodson Dance Academy and dated Lester Gantan. Diane was planning a trip to the North Shore of Oahu after work on Saturday 6 July 1985. Her last class ended at 15:00 and at 15:15 a friend arrived at the academy to pick her up. Diane was nowhere to be found. Her car was still where she had parked it that morning and her keys and purse were inside.

After her parents were notified of their daughter’s disappearance, they camped outside the academy in their car hoping she would show up. During that time, they witnessed a man named Dewey Hamasaki, as well as his father and sister carrying a trunk and stowing it in a vehicle. Dewey was known to have had a crush on Diane and worked as a photographer at the academy. He was present when she gave her last lesson. Dewey was questioned and the marsh around his house searched. A lack of evidence led to him never being arrested or charged.

Five and a half years later, clothes resembling that which Diane was wearing the day she disappeared, were found on a pig farm owned by Dewey’s father. Frustratingly, after this discovery, the suspects (Dewey, his father and sister) as well as around 100 witnesses were brought before a grand jury but still the court declined to press charges.
Diane Suzuki’s remains have never been found. Her mother died in 1997 without ever finding out the truth about her daughter’s disappearance.[7]

3 Sea pants – Baffin Island

In 2017, a photo of a massive rock formation in Canada’s Arctic drew all sorts of attention as it resembles a giant pair of pants. The rock was photographed by a hunter, Max Kalluk, around 90 kilometres south of the Arctic Bay community. It is only reachable by boat during the summer and is estimated to be over 50 metres tall.

The formation, or sea arch, stands overlooking the water of Arctic Bay and the local Nunavut community have named it Qarlinngua, which means ‘like pants’ in Inuktitut. The arch looks so unreal that most people who saw the photograph of it believed it to be Photoshopped. Four Canadian geologists have examined the photo of the sea arch and agree that they had never seen such a formation in the Arctic before.

But after an information counsellor with the Unikkaarvik Visitor Centre reached out to her sources, she was able to verify that the arch does exist. Some believe it to be a sacred monument and several tourism companies were excited to promote it to their clients.

It remains baffling, however, just how this structure remained hidden from the world for so long, considering that one tourism company afterwards stated they had taken groups of tourists to the arch for the past three years.[8]

2 The Hobbits—Flores Island

In 2003 fossils of Homo floresiensis were discovered on Flores Island. The fossils were so small, that they were dubbed ‘the hobbits’ of Flores Island. The discovery immediately ignited controversy and debate over whether the fossils were the remains of an unknown branch of early humans or rather modern humans ravaged by disease.

In life these beings stood at less than 4 feet tall and their brains were one third the size of modern humans. Despite this however, they ate meat, travelled thousands of miles across the ocean to make the island their home and worked with home-made stone tools. It is believed that they may have encountered our own species if they existed as recently as 50,000 years ago, considering Homo sapiens are thought to have reached Australia around 65,000 years ago.

The origin of the ‘hobbits’ remain unknown however, as does their fate. It is yet to be determined where exactly they fit into the evolutionary family tree and what caused them to disappear.[9]

1 Mystery box – Santa Cruz Island

Dr Carey Q. Stanton never married and eventually left NYC behind to live on his family’s ranch on Santa Cruz Island in 1957. He was somewhat eccentric and on the rare occasions he had visitors over to the ranch he would follow a rigid schedule and expect his guests to adhere to it as well. Dinner would be served at 7:30pm, coffee and cookies at 8:30pm and he would promptly retire to bed at 9pm.

Stanton died on 8 December 1987 and was buried in the island’s private cemetery. His will stated that the ranch be left to the Nature Conservancy who would oversee activities on the island.

In April 1990, a metal box was discovered in a shed on the ranch. Inside it were severely decomposed human remains that was basically just a heap of ashes. Alongside the remains were sets of false teeth dating back to the 50s, a clothing fastener dating back to the 40s and a diamond-studded ring dating back to before the Second World War. Tests were done on the fragments of bone found, and it was established the remains belonged to an elderly female who most likely died soon after the war.

While Stanton was never believed to have been responsible for the woman’s death, it remains unclear why her remains were in a metal box on the ranch. She has also never been identified.[10]

10 Terrifying Tales From Mysterious Islands

fact checked by Jamie Frater

Estelle is a regular writer for Listverse.