Phantom islands are islands that have appeared on the map for a certain amount of time, sometimes centuries, before getting removed from the maps after it’s proven that they never existed. They vanish without a single trace. Geographers might believe the existence of these islands, and sometimes they are real island that have been miss-located. In this list, we will bring you the top 10 Phantom Islands that have appeared throughout history.
10. Sandy Island
Sandy Island is a phantom island that was discovered in 1876 located between the chesterfield islands and Nereus Reef in the Coral sea, territory of New Caledonia. It was added into maps, as well as Google maps. The first time it appeared on a map was on the British admiralty map, and it was documented that it was discovered by the French. This discovery went on for years, and everyone believed the existence of Sandy Island.
In October of 2012, a ship called Southern Surveyor, which is an Australian Research ship, revealed the truth about this island. When they arrived at the area where the island was supposed to be, there was only open water. There has been many speculation about whether the island throughout the years and if it ever existed.
9. Pepys Island
Pepys Island was believed to be located north of the Falkland islands. The first to discover this phantom island was a British man named William Ambrose Cowley in 1683. He saw the island at latitude of 47. He decided to name is Pepys Island in honor of the secretary to the Admiralty, Samuel Pepys. Also, he described it as being completely uninhabited, and that it had woods and fresh water.
During the 18th century, there have been many failed attempts to locate the island. They searched both the east of the Patagonian coast and north of the Falklands but were unsuccessful. They came to the conclusion that Pepys Island never existed.
8. Saxemberg Island
Believed to be located in the South Atlantic, Saxemberg is another phantom island that appeared between the 17th and the 19th century. This island was discovered by a Dutch experienced seafarer called John Lindeztz Lindeman. After the discovery, many other sailors tried to sail to the Saxemberg Island but were unable, making them skeptic about the existence of the island. All attempts made in the 17th centuries failed. However, in the 1800s, the island appeared and was reportedly seen by many people.
7. Sarah Ann Island
Originally seen north of the equator, Sarah Ann Island is an island that has vanished. It was discovered by an American guano firm and was named Sarah Ann Island.
The United States Pacific Fleet made an attempt to locate the vanished island to use it as a place to observe the solar eclipse of 1937 but it was not found.
6. Rupes Nigra
Rupes Nigra, which is a translation for Black Rock, is a phantom island located at the magnetic north pole. It’s believed that it was a 33 mile wide magnetic island that explains why all compasses point to that direction. It was added to maps from the 16th and 17th centuries.
5. Sannikov Land
Sannikov land is an island that’s existence became a myth in the 19th century. It was located in the Arctic Ocean by a Russian explorer named Yakov Sannikov. Other explorers, such as the Baltic German explorer Baron Eduard Toll, reported seeing the island as well.
The legendary Sannikoz land was not seen nor found by other explorer and geographers who later attempted to locate it.
4. Buss Island
Buss Island is one of the more persistent phantom islands that appeared on nautical maps. It was seen by Captain James Newton in 1578. He described it as being fruitful and full of woods. Its discovery was made public when George Best published a book about it.
After the discovery, many have claimed to see it. Another captain name Thomas Shepherd reported to have seen it, explored and mapped it extensively. Others have tried to locate it afterwards, but it was not found for those who sought it out. In the end, it was presumed the island had sunk.
3. Emerald Island
Emerald Island is an island that was reported to be located between Australia and Antarctica. In the 1820’s, British explorers, including Captain William Elliot and his crew, claimed that Emerald Island was small and had mountains. In 1840, other explorers tried to locate Emerald island but found no trace of said island. It was spotted later once again, but in a follow up search, they found nothing. Emerald Island was featured in atlases and maps until 1987.
2. Saint Brendan’s Isle
Saint Brendan’s Isle is a phantom island located in the North Atlantic. It was name after Saint Brendan, who discovered the island with his followers while traveling across the ocean. The island has been featured on Christopher Columbus’s maps. In the modern age, many have claimed to have seen the island, including Scottish monk Sigbert de Gembloux and a Franciscan monk.
1. Dougherty Island
Dougherty island was believed to be located between Cape Horn and New Zealand. The island was named after an English whaler called Captain Dougherty. He claimed that it was an island covered in snow.
In the 19th and 20th century, explorers have established that the island does not actually exist.