Wednesday, October 27, 2010

October Spookfest-Poveglia

About 5 miles off the coast of Venice lies the small island of Poveglia (the 'g' is silent) that boasts a rather gruesome history. During the 14th century the Black Plague was terrorizing Europe, killing off one-third of its population during its reign of terror. Those infected died so quickly that bodies began to pile up wherever the Black Death went. Obviously, this created a rather unpleasant problem for the survivors. It was also very dangerous, as the dead and dying were extremely contagious. Homes of the infected were bricked up, sometimes even before the people had died. Mass graves, known as Plague Pits, were used to bury, then burn, the victims. However, there were just too many victims to keep up with. The people of Italy needed a better solution.


The 'solution' was to use Poveglia as a dumping ground for victims of the Plague. This included the dead, dying, and not yet infected; because if you had lived with a Plague victim, you would be infected soon enough. People were literally dragged from their homes and dumped on the island, to die in agony amongst the dead. Sometimes the dead were burned in Plague Pits, but sometimes they were just left to rot. It is estimated that about 160,000 people were disposed of on Poveglia.

Mass grave of victims of the Black Death

In 1922 a mental hospital was built on the island. As with most psychiatric institutions of that time, conditions were torturous. It is said that the doctor was performing horrible experiments on the patients. Lobotomies were performed to 'cure' them of their delusions. They kept saying they were seeing the ghosts of plague victims everywhere and hearing their cries all through the night, but the doctor did not believe them of course.

The hospital. Do you see the ghost??

After years of committing these horrible experiments on his patients, the doctor began to see things. Rotting plague victims mostly. They began to terrorize him day and night, finally forcing him to jump off of the bell tower, where he had done the worst of his experiments. He did not die though. According to an eyewitness, a nurse, after he lay on the ground writhing in pain, a strange mist encircled him, choking him to death.

The hospital closed.

The bell tower.

Today the island is abandoned. Italian fisherman refuse to go there, as it is only accessible by boat. They say the island is haunted and cursed and that if you go there you will not return. This has not stopped people from visiting the island though, as money can be persuasive. If you are 'lucky' to go there you will find an island made of ash. Human ash to be exact. The soil is filled with it. The hospital and its infamous bell tower still stand. Visitors report disembodied voices and screaming, moving shadows, and an overall feeling of evil or danger. It is claimed that Poveglia is one of the most haunted places on earth.

To watch the Ghost Adventures episode of Poveglia click on this link. Its rather dramatic, but you get a good history and tour of the island.


  1. I have that episode tivo'd at home. I am so totally going straight home to watch it.

  2. Thank you for sharing this link, this is uber creepy. I have never heard of this island. I am obsessed with anything paranormal activity-related!


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