Floreana is most famous for its intriguing history and the several disappearances that happened in the 1930s.
A few years after the arrival of Floreana’s first residents, the Wittmers (a German physician and his lover) and the Ritters (a husband and wife who gave birth to the first baby to be born on Floreana) things began to change on this small, remote island.
Baroness Eloise von Wagner left her boutique clothing store in Paris to live on the island with her lovers, Robert Philippson and Rudolf Lorenz, with the intention of building a hotel for millionaire yachtsmen stopping by. The Baroness also had plans to transform the island into an adult-themed bacchanalia. She would strut around the island with a revolver strapped to her leg, carrying a whip and calling herself the ‘Pirate Queen of the Galápagos’.
The resident couples did not take well to the new arrival, and less so when the Baroness apparently started stealing and reading everyone’s mail. One of the Baroness’ lovers then began to spend time with the Wittmers, causing the Wittmers and the Ritters to turn on each other.
On the 27th of March 1934, the Baroness and one of the her lovers disappeared, leaving behind virtually all of their possessions. It was said that they left the island on a strange yacht that, according to Margaret Wittmer, belonged to a friend, however nobody on any of the other islands recalled seeing a boat on that day. The Baroness and her lover were never seen or heard from again. The Ritters later claimed that the other lover had killed the pair and the Wittmers had helped him to cover it up.
A short time later the Baroness’ other lover left the island on a fishing boat heading for Guayaquil but never arrived. His corpse was found on the deserted island of Marchena, 160 kilometres (100 miles) from the island to the north of the archipelago. A few months later, Dr. Ritter died of a mysterious poisoning. According to the Wittmers, he said before dying that his lover had poisoned him.
To this day the disappearance of the Baroness and her lover and the circumstances surrounding the deaths of her other lover and of Dr. Ritter remain a mystery.
Baroness Lookout is a natural lookout point on the north of the island in La Olla Bay, between Cormorant Point and Post Office Bay. It is said that the Baroness particularly liked this spot and would spend hours enjoying the panoramic views from there.