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The Haunting Of Poveglia Island

Updated on June 4, 2016

Things That Go Bump In The Night

The boogeyman, monsters under the bed and scary ghost stories are becoming more and more mainstream nowadays.Some would say they are all hoax's, but true believers in the paranormal know this is not the case. The past leaves an imprint on the future. Untimely deaths, murder, demon worshiping all contribute to some of the most ghastly horror stories of the time. Get ready to sleep with one eye open as we delve into the Haunting of Poveglia Island.

Poveglia Island

Poveglia Island
Poveglia Island | Source

The Beginning...

Poveglia is situated in the South Lagoon between Venice and Italy. It is a magnificent sight though it's history is one most locals would like to forget. Shrouded in a very dark cloak, twisted with war, disease, murder and suicide, Poveglia has seen its fair share of horror. It all started in 421 A.D.

Barbaric invasions prompted people from Padua and Este to flee to Poveglia's sanctuary in order to escape the invasions. By the 9th century the island was heavily occupied of those who fled to it's safety. This did not stop the invasions. The most noteable invasion happened in 1379 when Venice came under attack from the Genoan fleet.They moved the people from the island to Giudecca and the Venetian government began plans to fortify the island as a stronghold. They succeeded with the fortification called "the Octagon", which is still visible today.

The "Octagon"
The "Octagon" | Source

The Middle...

The island remained uninhabited for quite some time. Research shows that in 1526 and 1661 groups of people were offered to build on the location. All of them refused to. No one really knows why.

In 1771 Poveglia became a check point for all goods coming in and going out of Venice by ship. This is when the island took its most drastic turn for the worse. In 1793, there were several cases of the plague on two ships that were able to make it past the check point and in to Venice. On-board these ships was the Bubonic Plague or "Black Death."

The "Black Death" was a fatal disease that was spread by fleas which lived on rats and humans. Few who caught the Black Death ever lived to tell anyone there story. Whole towns and villages could and were wiped out in this period. If a rat bit a person's leg or arm, it would swell up into a painful bulging welt. Those welts were jus the beginning. More painful welts would appear all over the person's body until the infection was so bad that the person died; usually within three days. This scared the Venice locals so much so that Poveglia was transformed into a temporary confinement station for the infected. The dead were dumped into large pits and buried or burned. As the plague tightened its grip, the population began to panic and those residents showing the slightest sign of sickness were taken from their homes and to the island of Poveglia kicking, screaming and pleading. They were then thrown onto piles of rotting corpses and set ablaze. Men, women, children, people of all ages and backgrounds, all left to die in agony. It's estimated that the tiny island saw as many as 160,000 bodies during this time. Poveglia became a permanent confinement station in 1805 under the rule of Napoleon Bonaparte.

The island became a putrid wasteland of decay before it took on its next change. The soil of the island combined with the charred remains of the bodies dumped. It created a thick layer of sticky ash. The core of the island is literally human remains. It's next big change came in the year of 1922.

What would you say if you had to stare at this on your way to Poveglia, possibly never returning to the home you once had?
What would you say if you had to stare at this on your way to Poveglia, possibly never returning to the home you once had?

The End...

As if the "Black Death" wasn't scary enough, in 1922, a mental hospital with an enormous bell tower was erected on the island. This hospital was to be used to house the allegedly insane members of society. Anyone could be thrown into this place. Anything could be done to them. The days of asking permission before performing anything on the patient had not come into play yet. It didn't take long for the patients of this hospital to begin reporting all kinds of paranormal phenomenon. Many stated they saw ghosts of plague victims all over the island. Some reported that they would be kept up at night hearing the tortured wails of the suffering spirits. Sadly, these complaints were largely ignored.This is when the most dastardly atrocities began to happen.

According to the legend surrounding this hospital, one doctor there decided to make a name for himself by experimenting on his patients all in hopes of finding a cure for insanity. The bell tower was where it all began. Lobotomies were performed on his patients using crude tools like hand drills, chisels, and hammers. Mind you, all of this without any anesthesia or pain medication. All patients were awake and struggling for there life.

The legend goes on to say that after many years of performing these immoral acts, the devil doctor began to see the tortured plague spirits of Poveglia himself. It is said that they led him to the bell tower where he jumped (or was thrown) to the grounds below. The fall alone did not kill him according to a nurse who witnessed the event. She claims that as he lay on the ground writhing in pain, a mist came up out of the ground and choked him to death. Truly mind boggling to say the least. It's rumored that the doctor is bricked up in the hospital bell tower and on a still night, the bell can be heard tolling across the bay.

The infamous bell tower where the "mad doctor" did his experiments and met his utter demise.
The infamous bell tower where the "mad doctor" did his experiments and met his utter demise. | Source

All That Remains...

Since 1968 Poveglia has jumped back and forth between peoples hands with no clear reason as to why no one wants to own the land. For a time, the Italian government owned the island. Today Poveglia is uninhabited and tourism to island is strictly forbidden. Every now and then the lapping waves on the shore uncover charred human bones.

Several psychics have visited the island. Most, if not all of them left scared to death of what they had sensed, felt or heard there. Every now and then daredevils dodge the police patrols to explore the island. According to reports, everyone who has made it there have refused to return saying that there is a heavy atmosphere of evil and they the screams and tortured moans that permeate the island make staying there unbearable.

Pictures are worth a thousand words. Scroll down to see what disease, murder, decay and ruin left in its wake on Poveglia.

Nothing is more eerie than coming across this as one ventures around the island.
Nothing is more eerie than coming across this as one ventures around the island. | Source
The ladder in the bell tower. Supposedly this is the ladder the "mad doctor" climbed to end his own life.
The ladder in the bell tower. Supposedly this is the ladder the "mad doctor" climbed to end his own life. | Source
Earth taking over.
Earth taking over. | Source
An aerial shot of Poveglia.
An aerial shot of Poveglia. | Source
A room in shambles.
A room in shambles. | Source
Stairwell in shambles.
Stairwell in shambles. | Source
Poveglia in the daylight.
Poveglia in the daylight. | Source

Poveglia - The Island of No Return

Causes For The Hauntings

What Happened
The Years
The End Result
Barbaric Invasions
421 A.D.
Untimely deaths
Bubonic Plague
Sickeness and death
Mental Hospital
Suicides and Ghastly Experiments

Televised Publicity

The stories of Poveglia's haunts resonate with people of all ages. It has become a popular place for televisions crews and ghost hunters alike to come and visit. The Ghost Adventures crew and The Scariest Places on Earth crew have both done investigations here. Here are a couple short clips of the shows.

Ghost Adventures

Scariest Places On Earth

Opinions Valued

Do you believe in ghosts?

See results

Final Thoughts

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, Poveglia's legacy alone is one for the history books. There was so much death and ruin in one small location. Pain and turmoil leave an impact. What do you think? Leave your opinions in the comments below!

Poveglia from a distance as storm clouds roll in.
Poveglia from a distance as storm clouds roll in. | Source

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