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Deadman's Island: Human remains and coffins litter the island patrolled by red-eyed hounds.

The small island opposite the isle of Sheppey is lined with the human remains of convicts who died aboard prison ships over 200 years ago.

Deadmans island Kent
Deadman's island is littered with the human remains of convicts that died on the prison ships

A hidden and often unknown island that lies in the estuary of the river Medway in Kent is littered with ancient human remains. Known as Deadman's island, this small isle opposite Sheppey island was once used to bury the remains of prisoners who died aboard prison ships that would transport convicts from the UK over to Australia.

Hundreds of often unhealthy people were packed into the ships known at the time as prison "hulks" which quickly turned into a breading ground for sickness and disease.

When the prisoners died, they were buried in unmarked graves of Deadman's island, the reason behind this was the government wanted to keep them out of the way to avoid the potential spread of the infectious diseases, most frequently cholera.

The shift in tides combined with coastal erosion has now left an island covered with ancient skulls, wooden coffins and human bone fragments littered around the island on complete display.

There is a particular part of the island that has been named 'Coffin Bay', as the name suggests this area is filled with old coffins that are covering the landscape.

If the thought of an island that is literally filled with death and disease is not enough to raise the hairs on the back of your neck, locals have often reported stories of huge, red-eyed hounds that wander the island.

Still today locals report the sightings of red-eyed hounds patrolling Deadman's island

According to the Daily Mail, this fabled beast was said, "… to eat the heads of its victims on the eerie landmass." This legend is centuries old and the number of bones that continue to wash up on the shore pay testament to the evil hound. Whether this is true or not, many have reported seeing a sizeable black dog in the area. However, folklorists and scholars have provided insight into how this myth came about.

Black dogs are widespread motifs used in mythological stories around the world. All cultures have have had its own variation, the most specific folklore of the British Isles relates to large man-eating black dogs with large red eyes.

As expert dog folklore researcher Mark Norman explains, the earliest accounts of black dogs in English literature came about in 1127. Based on his study of common wolf myths, Norman suggests that there are two variations to these tall tales. The first is made up of eyewitness accounts in which a black wolf, or dog, is seen and identified. In the other, and most common, is made up of vague and confusing reports which make it impossible to understand where the wolf existed. The latter fall under the category of ghostly apparitions, based more in legend than in fact. Part of these stories includes the sounds and gestures the wolf apparition makes, which, Norman attests, can be used as an indicator of how old a wolf legend is.

Believe it or not, the fact still remains that the sightings of the terrifying black dogs seen on the shores of Deadman's island have continued for decades and are still frequently reported to this day. If you have any experiences with this story make sure you let us know in the comments below! Don't forget to follow us on Facebook for more stories like this.


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