The haunted ancient city of Nan Madol floating within the Pacific Ocean

The haunted ancient city of Nan Madol floating within the Pacific Ocean
16 May 2024 J.W.H

The once great seat of the Pohnpei chieftains in Micronesia is now abandoned and feared. The floating city of Nan Madol is believed to be haunted by ghosts, and locals imagine that when you spend the night there, you’ll die.

In the guts of the vast Pacific Ocean lies the enigmatic island of Pohnpei, a part of Micronesia, home to probably the most mysterious and haunted places on Earth: Nan Madol, also called the “Heavenly Reef”. This ancient city, built on a series of artificial islands connected by a network of canals, has long been shrouded in legends and whispered stories about supernatural phenomena.

The place has inspired many and is even said to have been the inspiration for HP Lovecraft's city of R'lyeh in his Cthulhu Mythos.

The city found on the islands of Temwen and Pohnpei was called the eighth wonder of the world when a European explorer stumbled upon it and was in comparison with the lost island of Atlantis, with many believing it to be the lost continent of Lemuria and Mu. It was once almost not possible to succeed in this strange place because of its distance, but now individuals are beginning to search for more details about this strange place.

Nan Madol and the haunting: Ruins of the traditional and supposedly haunted city of Nan Madol in Pohnpei from 2001 with canals next to the ruins along the canal. // Source: Flickr

The legend of its creation

Research says that human activity dates back to the first or 2nd century, but megalith structures were in-built the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. There isn’t any written record of Pohnpeians functioning without it, so there isn’t any recorded history that tells us exactly how this city got here to be.

It is just not certain how Nan Madol's gigantic stone foundation was created, but local legend has it that it was brought there using black magic or that giants placed the rocks there. However, we all know that the mass of the black rocks was roughly 750,000 metric tons and, in keeping with some reports, required more work than the Egyptian pyramids.

The Mystery of the Rocks: One of those never-ending mysteries that we haven't quite discovered tips on how to get there. Local tradition holds that they were brought by giants or that the town's founding fathers carried the rocks to the town on dragons. // Source: Flickr

According to local tradition, Nan Madol was not built by mortal hands, but moderately by magic. Once upon a time, two twins from the mythical western Katau, or Kanamwayso, got here in a big canoe in the hunt for a spot to construct an altar.

The island was habitable, so the dual brothers, Olishipa and Olosohpa, were sorcerers. They began to worship Nahnisohn Sapw, the goddess of agriculture, in whose honor they wanted to construct an altar. They then brought the basalt rock back to the island on the back of a flying dragon after which formed the Saudeleur dynasty.

It is alleged that the dynasty was destroyed when Isokelekel invaded and moved into the town. However, lack of food and great remoteness forced his ancestors to desert the town, ultimately forsaking the town, which was reclaimed by the lagoon and its palm trees.

The city of Nan Madol

In the center of nowhere, one might wonder why such an impressive city was built here. Some partitions are over 25 feet high and 17 feet thick, and the ruins are spread over 92 artificial islands. Nan Madol was the capital of the Saudeleur dynasty until 1628, which consisted of a series of artificially built islets off the southern coast of Temwen. The ruins include tombs, baths and temples and were clearly intended for the Polynesian elite, and the town itself can have been inhabited by at most a thousand people.

As with most abandoned cities, the query stays: why? The ultimate fate of the Nan Madol civilization stays a disturbing mystery to many. Theories include natural disasters or the island being swallowed by the encroaching sea, leaving the advanced society lost in time.

The name Nam Madol means “the space between”, and researchers should not sure of its origin. Perhaps the more accurate translation is “in the gaps” and refers back to the canals on which the ruins are built. Perhaps the worst thing is that individuals also often call it a “ghost town” and that the local inhabitants of Pohnpei don’t need to go near it since it is alleged to be extremely haunted.

Haunted gossip on the town

As Nan Madol emerged from the ocean, stories about her cursed nature also emerged. Locals whispered of strange happenings inside the crumbling partitions – voices heard in the midst of the night, shadows moving of their very own accord, and unsuspecting travelers disappearing and not using a trace upon entering the maze of corridors.

The city's foundations themselves are a sort of magnetic rock, and while you bring a compass near them, they spin and spin, losing their sense of direction.

It is alleged that the locals are afraid of the island due to strange glowing orbs they’ve allegedly seen there. According to popular superstition, when you spend the night on the island, they may die.

Why chances are you’ll ask, but there are more questions than answers at this point. The island was the burial place of local chiefs, in addition to the positioning of vital religious rituals. Thus, the importance of the island each spiritually and religiously goes back an extended time.

Haunted island and city

Many brave souls have tried to unravel the mysteries of Nan Madol, but have met a fate worse than death, as when the German Governor Berg opened the supposed tomb of Isokelekel on the island. He died of sunstroke, which confirmed the local superstition about this place.

It is alleged that Isokelekel saw his reflection within the water and decided to commit suicide because of his age. According to one in all the bloody legends, he decided to tie his penis to the highest of a palm tree. His penis was cut off and he bled to death. After his death, he’s believed to have been buried in a big ossuary on the island and should even haunt the realm himself.

Even to today, Nan Madol stays a spot of mystery and horror, its secrets hidden beneath the waves, waiting for those silly enough to hunt them out. And because the winds howl among the many crumbling ruins and the waters of the Pacific churn with an otherworldly energy, the whispered legends of its creation and the haunting rumors that surround it function a chilling reminder of the darkness that lurks inside all of us.


Featured image: CT Snow/Flickr

A mysterious 'haunted' town floating in the midst of the ocean that terrified locals call 'Ghost Island' – Mirror Online

Nan Madol: a mysterious, technologically advanced city built 14,000 years ago?

Nan Madol – Wikipedia

Isokelekel – Wikipedia

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  • J.W.H

    About John:

    John Williams is a Reincarnationist paranormal Intuitive freelance writer...he is living proof of reincarnation existence, through his personal exploration, he has confirmed its authenticity through visits to the very lands where these events transpired.

    Through guided meditation/s using hemi-sync technology he has managed to recollect 3 previous lives to his own, that go back to the Mid to Late 19th century.

    JWH - "You are the GODS! - Inclusion of the Eternal Light of Love and you shall never die”.

    “Death is Just the Beginning of Life”