The story of Deadman’s Island, littered with dead bodies and out-of-reach to visitors, sounds a perfect setting for a Hollywood movie.
Just one thing – it is actually a real place.
The little-known island has been essentially hidden from public view for two centuries.
However, our colleagues on KentLive report report it is very much still there, and not too far off the Kent coast.
Deadman’s Island lies opposite Queenborough in Sheppey, just off the River Medway, and was last visited by humans in 2017 for a BBC Inside Out programme.
More than 200 years ago the island was used as a burial ground for convicts who died aboard prison ships en route to Australia.
However, rising sea levels and coastal erosion mean wooden coffins, skulls and fragments of bones now stick out from the 6ft of mud that once blanketed the area and covered the gruesome remains.
The island is completely out of bounds to the public due to its status as a unique bird breeding and nesting site. 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 from the Inside Out team unearthed 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.