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Isles of Demons

Blaeu map, 1617

The Isles of Demons are found in the Newfoundland/Labrador region. They are generally shown as two islands. One of the earliest appearances was on a Ruysch map of 1507, and they became more widely known when they appeared on maps by Mercator and Ortelius in the 1560's and 1570's.  These islands disappeared from maps by the mid-1600's.  There are no islands off the Newfoundland coast as pictured above.

The island was believed to be full of monsters, wild animals, and demons whose sole purpose was to torment and attack passing ships and anyone foolish to go onto the island.  Strange noises could be heard on this island as ships passed by.  One story, by Andre Thevet, tells of a French woman in the 1540's who was on board a ship of colonists and fell in love with an officer on the ship, and was banished to the island . She, the officer, and an old nurse were tormented by the demons and wild animals.  Eventually, the woman was rescued by a passing ship, but the other two had died. 

picture of the island from a Gastaldi map of 1565

 

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