Snake Island, Brazil

Destination 10: Snake Island, Brazil

Off the shore of Brazil lies an island untouched by humans known as “Snake Island.” Researchers estimate that there are five snakes per square meter. The snakes are a family of pit vipers – the golden lanceheads. Locals in Brazil love to recount two grisly tales of death on Snake Island that can be found at

Related Film: Sinister (2012)


Sinister is a 2012 supernatural horror film chronicling the existential crisis of Ellison Oswalt, a fictional crime author who is trying to resurrect his fledgling career. Following an opening scene that shows an unnamed family being hanged from a tree, we meet the Oswalts who are moving into their new Pennsylvania home. On moving day, they are met by the town sheriff, who after admonishing his deputy for soliciting an autograph, tries to convince Ellison to load his boxes back onto the moving truck and leave. The sheriff ‘s warning, a harbinger, serves as foreshadowing of the Oswalts’ fate, as it is ultimately learned that the house they are moving into is the former “Stevenson home;” a Pennsylvania house that’s become an urban legend because it was the site of the horrific hanging depicted in the movie’s opening scene.

While Sinister isn’t set on an island, the film does focus on a snake. A professor of occult crimes informs us that a snake, scorpion, and dog are the precursors to the arrival of Bugghul, a demonic entity who feeds on the souls of children.

How it relates to the field of psychiatry

Approximately 90 minutes into the film, Deputy So and So contacts Ellison to inform him that he’s discovered the pattern of the murders. If the deputy’s explanation is deemed unreliable, the entire plot changes and allows for a diagnostic formulation that promotes Sinister as a movie depicting severe mental illness. For the full text article that explains how the plot of Sinister may be manipulated to depict a case study of the dissociative disorders, click here.

Anthony Tobia, MD, Copyright © 2017 Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. All rights reserved.

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