Status: Former Leper Colony, Island
This island was first seen by European eyes by Christopher Columbus himself in August of 1498. He anchored in what is now known as Monkey Harbour and called the island Port of Cats mistaking the screams of the howler monkeys for the roars of wild cats.
In the early the 19th century the island was used as a base by the rebel leaders in the – ultimately successful - Venezuelan War of Independence. The war to push the Spanish out and have Venezuela govern itself.
The island was never colonized and in the 1860’s Britain formed a leper colony run by the French Dominican nuns. Once you entered the colony you never left alive; there was no cure or treatment for leprosy at the time. The male and female populations were kept strictly apart by the nuns. A lethal disease was no reason to be fornicating out of wedlock.
In all fairness many at the time thought leprosy could be transmitted sexually. Society viewed lepers as dirty and immoral probably because it was a disease of the poor.
While running the colony 2 nuns did catch the disease; one of them committed suicide.
In 1942 the US Marines took over the island and brought electricity – via diesel generators – to the island for the first time ever. The nuns even relaxed the colony rules at the time finally allowing men and women interact.
The island was completely abandoned in 1984 when the last leper in the colony died – treatment of the disease had come far enough that leper colonies were no longer needed – and the remaining nuns moved away.
Today, the island has only a lighthouse and a Hindu Temple but it is frequently visited by the nearby population who cruise the waters and use the unspoiled island for camping. The ruins of the leper colony and the marine barracks remain.
The island is only accessible by boat and its three ferry rides if you don’t have your own boat.
Called the Caribbean’s scariest island; staying the night here may not for the faint of heart.
Curiously, the island is said to have a large vulture population. These carrion eaters are supported only by a diet of dead flesh and there’s very little of that on the island today. Many think they are attracted by the energy left from the many deaths in the island’s past.
There also Manchineel Trees on the water; simply put they are the most poisonous tree on the planet. One bite of the fruit they bear will cause wrenching pain and possibly death. Even standing under one in the rain may cause the tree’s sap to fall on you blistering your skin. Just touching one can lead to burning blisters.
Starting to understand why the locals believe the island is under an evil spell. And we haven’t even got to the ghosts yet.
The nun who committed suicide is said to haunt the nun’s cemetery – which is still kept in good condition – and there are many stories as to why she ended her own life. Each one wilder than the other.
It is believed the nun had turned evil – apparently, she was part of the research done for the Conjuring movie The Nun – yah that level of evil. The island is now considered her private domain and she deals with any interlopers quickly and brutally. Suffice it to say everyone treads carefully near the nun’s cemetery.
Other Activity: apparitions and shadow figures both walking around the island and in the abandoned buildings and ruins – nuns and former lepers are seen (one man is frequently reported by witnesses who claim he gives off a aura of pure evil); phantom screams and screeches; light anomalies and feelings of being watched.