Summer's right around the corner, and it's time to pick your next vacation spot. Now, we know the problem you're facing: You want a nice island paradise, but you also want to experience horrors beyond comprehension, and maybe you even want to die on your trip. Well, we've got some great islands for you...
Over at Forests.org, there's an article that opens with a description of, "A deserted island where the forest floor writhes with the world's most venomous vipers. A fisherman found dead on his boat, its deck awash with his blood. A lighthouse keeper and his family massacred in a nocturnal snake invasion of their isolated cottage home.
And no, Forests.org is not a site for terrifying Indiana Jones / Anaconda slash-fiction. You see, Ilha de Queimada Grande is a delightfully exotic sounding island off the coast of Brazil that plays host to a certain breed of exotic sounding snake known as the Golden Lancehead. This snake has one of the worst venoms in the world, which literally causes your flesh to rot off your bones.
Now you may be asking, "But Cracked, there are poisonous snakes in loads of countries. What's so special about this one tiny island?" Well that's an interesting question, and we are only too pleased to haunt your dreams by filling you in.
Remember how we mentioned the snakes only live on this one island? Well it's quite a densely packed island. In fact, the Brazilian Navy has forbidden anyone to visit the place, and they aren't doing that to protect the snakes. Conservative estimates range from the spine tingling one snake per square meter to the "drop dead from pants shitting fear" five snakes per square meter. Can you picture it? Allow us to help you:
Not pictured: The dead people just out of shot.
Now imagine five of those. Now imagine those five in an area that's smaller than your bed. Now imagine that writhing nest repeated over every inch of this God-forsaken place.
Let's back up and talk about that fisherman:
"I heard the story of the fisherman who went ashore to pick bananas, got bitten and somehow managed to struggle back to his boat. There, he bled to death and was found sprawled on the blood-soaked deck of his boat."
And the lighthouse keeper's family?
"The family ran in panic one night after snakes crawled in through their windows, so the story goes, and were bitten as they fled through the forest by vipers dangling from tree branches. Their bodies were found spread across the island when a navy vessel stopped to make a routine supply drop."
A young snake, receiving its terror-enhancing steroids, as is the snake custom on this island.
Yeah. Imagine just sleeping peacefully when snakes start crawling through your bedroom window and you know the only option is to run outside into the jungle where there are even more snakes and they all govern themselves because this is an island of snake monsters and you are the intruder. And you struggle through the underbrush, alone, scared, knowing that you will never make it back to civilization to punch that fucking Realtor who sold you a house on goddamned Snake Island.
Think of the scariest premise you can for a horror movie. OK, now think scarier than that, plus 1,000 times the brutality of Hostel, and you're close to Poveglia Island. Located in a lagoon in Venice, Italy, this island got its scary start when the Romans, being the kind, gentle souls they were, decided the best thing for society was to round up all the plague victims of the era, and stick them somewhere. That somewhere happened to be Poveglia Island.
Several thousand people were gathered and quarantined on the island, where they died together. You can write that off as a crazy decision symptomatic of a time when people presumably still pooped in holes in the ground and thought the sun was a chariot, but not a few centuries later, when everyone did the exact same thing again.
When the Bubonic plague tore through Europe, the island was reinstated to its former "glory;" a final vacation spot for anyone with the plague. When the plague got worse, they lowered Poveglia's requirements from "plague sufferers" to "anybody with any sign of sickness at all." They also changed their policy of "let the infected die peacefully" to "throw them in a large pit (atop already-dead bodies), and set them on fire," which, was quite a leap. Estimates put the death toll at 160,000 on the island, where charred bones still wash up on shore.
As if this wasn't scary enough, in 1922, a mental hospital with a scary fucking bell tower was built on the island (an island, you have to believe still smelled like centuries of charred, plague-infected corpses).
That hospital was where everyone sent the allegedly insane members of society. Remember, these were before the days of the first (and still horrible) DSM I. Anyone could be thrown into an asylum, wherein anything could be done to them.
According to legend, this particular hospital featured a doctor who routinely experimented on his patients with such things as lobotomies (performed with a hammer and chisel), for what was most likely described as "shits" with a potential for "giggles." As the legend goes, the doctor tortured his patients in the bell tower (we totally saw that shit coming), and ignored their cries that they heard and saw the ghosts of plague victims.
The doctor was then thrown off the tower by the ghosts of plague victims and, while in the dirt struggling to stay alive, was "strangled by a mist that arose from the ground." We would actually be tempted to disbelieve that part if this were any other island. Though we guess a much more plausible explanation than "the doctor was murdered by plague ghosts" is "the doctor was murdered by all those lunatics he tortured."
In later years, people voluntarily moved to the island and, the day after, moved back the fuck out. To this day, the island remains uninhabited. Unless you count the tortured souls of the hundreds of thousands of innocents who were wronged there. In which case, uh, yeah, it's pretty booked.
The year is 1945. World War II is all up in your shit. A 900 man cadre of Japanese forces on a small island off the Burmese Coast is being outflanked by Allied forces. With one side open to them, they make a bee-line toward reinforcements. It was approximately at this point that they found themselves badly wishing they were on Snake Island up there.
You see, the only thing standing in the way of salvation was a swamp. Figuring swamp vs. death was an easy decision, the 900 man force entered the swamp...
Five hundred were never heard from again.
You see, Ramree Island, not content with being just the home to malaria-carrying mosquitoes, blowflies and deadly scorpions, also harbored another deadly creature; the saltwater crocodile. Lots and lots and lots of them.
We like to imagine a Predator-esque stalking--random soldiers disappearing, followed by mass chaos and frantic gunfire. Or maybe, as soon as the soldiers were a third of the way through the swamp, they were attacked en masse by a testicle-shrinkingly large herd of thrashing, ravenous crocodiles. Of the men that survived the encounter, the majority were wounded badly, but still technically alive enough to wish they were dead.
In fact, the massacre of the Japanese troops by crocodiles was so horrific, it earned the title of being the Guinness Book of World Records' "Greatest disaster suffered from animals." The Japanese wounded would probably be honored to be a part of such an historic event. Someone should tell them, if they ever recover from the constant personal hell that is the recurring Crocodile and War flashback.