Inside the eerie ‘lost island’ off UK coast that’s littered with human remains

It might sound like the stuff of horror films, but an island littered with corpses really does exist — and it's just off the coast of Kent.

Deadman's Island isn't a terribly subtle name for the place, but it accurately describes what must surely be one of the most haunting locations in the British Isles.

It earned the moniker after recent investigations found it covered in human remains, Sussex Live reports.

The island sits off the River Medway opposite Queenborough on the Isle of Sheppey, and functioned as a burial ground for convicts who died aboard prison ships more than two centuries ago.

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Changing sea levels have caused the lost bodies of the 'prison hulk' boats just off Sheppey to be uncovered.

Coastal erosion and a shift in tides mean that in 2021, wooden coffins, aged skulls and fragments of bones stick out from the six feet of mud that once blanketed the area.

Once lost under high seas the island was explored by the BBC's Inside Out South East programme in 2017.

They are among some of the only visitors who have been allowed to Deadman's Island in recent times as all others have been banned due to its bird breeding and nesting site.

Usually the island is completely out of bounds to the public.

  • UK 'horror movie' island where visitors are banned is riddled with dead bodies

Natural England owns the land which is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and is recognised to be of international importance under the Ramsar convention.

Television crews have been drawn to this spine-tingling location to explore its hidden secrets, with the BBC's Inside Out team unearthing some harrowing sites on the forgotten island.

Director Sam Supple previously told the Sun: "It is like being on the set of a horror film. It looks so surreal, it's like an art department has designed it. There are open coffins and bones everywhere."

Presenter Natalie Graham added: "What I saw there will stay with me forever. This is a really strange sight. I would imagine there can't be anywhere on earth like this."

It's not just visitors that are prohibited – no-one lives on the island and so it remains untouched by modern civilisation.

This in turn has spurred ghostly folklore about it.

Locals have warned travellers of hounds with glaring-red eyes that ate the heads of buried bodies, a skin-crawling atmosphere and 'an island solely occupied by the dead'.

And 'Coffin Bay' greets anyone who enters its perimeter with open coffins accompanied by scattered remains along its banks.

Floating prisons were former warships which housed inmates, including young pick-pockets, awaiting the death penalty in Australia.

These ships would also carry coffins and if prisoners were not healthy enough for the journey they would be left in the underbelly of the ship until they died, possibly of cholera.

They were then buried in unmarked graves on the island so the disease did not spread further, causing an epidemic.

Many have wondered whether the bodies at Deadman's will be re-buried, but experts have admitted this would be a difficult task.

This is because the constantly changing seascape threatens the durability of the bones, washing them out to sea.

Coincidentally, researchers also found more human remains of a similar nature in Chatham.

These were from many French prisoners who were held during the Napoleonic wars – those who died were buried in nearby marshes.

When the bones of these prisoners were revealed by erosion they were exhumed and reburied on St Mary's Island.

Later, when this land was needed for redevelopment they were moved to St George's Church at Chatham Maritime.

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