In 1832, a small, 3-acre island in Passamaquoddy Bay began being used to quarantine arriving passengers who were thought to be bringing cholera or typhus into the United States. There was no drinkable water on the island, so it was brought over by sailboat.
Named “Hospital Island” in 1847, it was especially busy during the Great Potato Famine. Many Irish immigrants died both on route or upon landing and as many as 400 people were buried on the island. A storm in 1869, the “Great Saxby Gale” took off most of the soil on the island, including the cemetery. A report at the time read,” … the sea broke so violently upon the Island, as to make serious inroads on the soil, washing away the earth from the outer edge of the Irish emigrants’ grave yard and uncovering the coffins, in some cases tearing out the ends of the same, exposing the ghastly contents of skull and bones, and in some instances washing them out; even now the curious who visit the Island can see the arm or leg bones sticking out through the soil.”
The bones were scattered along the coast of Maine, with stories told of kids using wash-up skulls for soccer balls. Now the island is supposedly filled with the wailing of spirits, who are never at rest. In 1995, a Celtic cross was erected to honor the dead.