Clarissa Johal: #Paranormal Wednesday-Cursed Islands

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

#Paranormal Wednesday-Cursed Islands

I've been working on my next novel tentatively titled The Island. The novel is set on an island (duh) that has "a history." There are demons and all sorts of other fun things going on...I can't tell you any more or I'd have to kill you.
So anyways, I decided to do some research into cursed islands and if there were any. Turns out there are several! Take a look at these...

Public domain photo courtesy of Baku 
Island of Gaiola
Located in the Gulf of Naples, it was originally known as Euplea and held a small temple dedicated to the Roman goddess Venus. It became known as the cursed island because of the premature deaths and misfortunes surrounding many of its owners. In the 1920s, it belonged to the Swiss Hans Braun, who was found dead and wrapped in a rug; a little later, his wife drowned in the sea. The subsequent owner died of a heart attack in the island's villa. The owner after him committed suicide in a mental institution.

If owners of the island didn't die themselves, they experienced other calamities. In the 1990's, the island belonged to the head of Fiat, Gianni Agnelli. When Agnelli's only son committed suicide, his nephew stepped in to take over the company. The nephew ended up dying of a rare cancer at the age of 33. Island owner and multi-billionaire Paul Getty endured the kidnapping and subsequent death of his grandson. Gianpasquale Grappone, the island's last owner, was jailed when his insurance company failed.

Today, the villa is uninhabited and abandoned.

Permission to use photo courtesy of Clarkma5
Palmyra Island
Located south of the Hawaiian Islands, Palmyra Island is reported as having a "not quite right" feeling by those who have visited. A long list of disasters have been associated with Palmyra since its discovery in the late 17th century. Though it seems to be a paradise and offers an abundance of fish in its surrounding lagoons, many of those fish are poisonous because of ciguatera, a type of algae that grows on coral.

In 1816, the Spanish pirate ship Esperanza was loaded with treasure--gold and silver from Incan temples in Peru. The ship came under attack and wrecked on a nearby reef. While surviving crew members managed to move the treasure onto the island, they were stranded for over a year. They finally managed to escape on rafts. One raft was rescued by an American whaling ship while the other raft was never recovered. The sole survivor died of pneumonia shortly after and the Incan treasure has never been found.

In 1855, a whaling ship was reported wrecked on Palmyra's dangerous reefs. Attempts to locate the ship and its crew turned up nothing.

During WWII, Palmyra Island functioned as a refueling station. A former Navy officer who was stationed from 1942-1944 reported several odd events. Patrol planes that went down near the island could not be found, he reported it was "like they had dropped off the face of the earth." One plane that took off from the island's runway climbed to a couple hundred feet, and then turned in the wrong direction. The two men aboard the plane were never heard from again. The Navy officer also reported that a plane sent to Palmyra to pick up the stationed officers, crashed before it could even find the runway.

Permission to use photo courtesy of Clarkma5
In 1974, the double murder of a sailing couple on Palmyra Island became the subject of the book And the Sea Will Tell . Several odd circumstances and events surrounded these murders are attributed to the island itself.

To this day, the island remains unoccupied.

Peche Island 
Photo courtesy of Angela via flickr
Permission to use Creative Commons License
A French-Canadian family by the name of Laforet established a homestead on this island located off the coast of Ontario, Canada. In 1883, the Laforet's were involved in a property feud with Hirum Walker, a whiskey distiller. A group of Walker's men forced their way into the home of heiress Rosalie Laforet and forced her to sign over the property deed. As the family left Peche Island, Rosalie Laforet (who claimed to be familiar with "the ways of the natives") placed a curse upon the land stating that, “No one will ever do anything with the island!”

At the age of 28, Willis Walker died not long after he had handled the island purchase. Hiram Walker suffered a stroke and passed away in 1899. His son, Edward Chandler Walker, died at a young age in 1915. By 1926, when prohibition saw an end to the family distillery business, the Walker dynasty had faded from history. In 1929, the Walker mansion burned to the ground.
And so the island sits, desolate and uninhabited.

Photo of Rarotonga Beach 
GNU Free Documentation License
Cook Islands
Located in the South Pacific. In 1911, New Zealander William John Wigmore leased a plot of land from More Uriatua, a Cook Islander. Later, Uriatua decided he wanted his land back and refused to give his approval to the intended coconut copra plantation. They argued and Wigmore shot Uriatua, killing him. Wigmore was deported. In 1913, More's daughter was said to have placed a curse on the island stating “no business activity operated on the land Vaimaanga 4 would succeed unless the land was returned to Ngati More and the rightful owners.”
Plans to construct a commercial citrus orchard in the 1950s and 1960s fell flat, as did a proposed herb plantation and (later) a pineapple plantation. In the late 1980s, the Sheraton hotel chain bought the land and invested more than $60 million into an intended holiday resort. The project was plagued by setbacks. In 1993, with 80% of the Sheraton project finished and an estimated $120 million invested, the construction came to a final halt. Designed to be a palatial 200-room holiday complex, the Sheraton resort lies abandoned to decay in this island paradise.

Cursed? Odd series of events? What do you think?


Carol Browne said...

A great blog and it has reminded me of the mystery of Flannan Isle which you might be interested in too.Perhaps all islands are cursed and spooky places!

Clarissa Johal said...

Thank you! I haven't heard of that one, Carol. I'll have to look it up now.