Poveglia Island is one of many island in the lagoons of Venice, Italy. It is not only regarded as one of the most haunted locations on the planet, but also one of the most evil places in the world.
Today no one visits save to harvest the vineyards. Fishermen even steer clear of the island for fear that they will catch human bones in their nets.
The dark history of Poveglia Island began during the Roman Era when it was used to isolate plague victims from the general population. Centuries later, when the Black Death rolled through Europe it served that purpose again. 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 and screaming and pleading. They were thrown onto piles of rotting corpses and set ablaze. Men, women, children... all left to die in agony. It's estimated that the tiny island saw as many as 160,000 bodies during this time.
The soil of the island combined with the charred remains of the bodies dumped there have created a thick layer of sticky ash. The core of the island is literally human remains that has given the island a loathsome reputation, but appears to be very good for the grapevines that are planted there.
As if the story was not disturbing enough, it gets worse. In 1922 the island became home to a psychiatric hospital complete with a large and very impressive bell tower. The patients of this hospital immediately began to report that they would see ghosts of plague victims on the island and that they would be kept up at night hearing the tortured wails of the suffering spirits. Because they were already considered mad by the hospital staff, these complaints were largely ignored.
To add to the anguish of the poor souls populating this island hospital, one doctor decided to make a name for himself by experimenting on his patients all to find a cure for insanity. Lobotomies were performed using crude tools like hand drills, chisels, hammers and some were taken to the bell tower and tortured.
According to the lore, after many years of performing these immoral acts, the evil doctor began to see the tortured plague ridden spirits of Poveglia Island himself. It is said that they led him to the bell tower where he jumped (or was thrown) to the grounds below. The fall did not kill him according to a nurse who witnessed the event, "as he lay on the ground writhing in pain, a mist came up out of the ground and choked him to death". 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 hospital closed down.
For a time, the Italian government owned the island, but it was later sold. That owner abandoned it in the 1960's and was the last person to try and live there. A family recently sought to buy the island and build a holiday home on it but they left the first night there and refused to comment on what happened. The only fact that we do know is that their daughters face was ripped open and required fourteen stitches.
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 the abandoned hospital, but all of them left scared to death of what they had sensed there. Every now and then daredevils dodge the police patrols to explore the island, but everyone who has made it there have refused to return saying that there is a heavy atmosphere of evil and the screams and tortured moans that permeate the island make staying there unbearable.
One report from a misguided thrill seeker who fled the island says that after entering the abandoned hospital, a disembodied voice ordered them, "Leave immediately and do not return." They never did.
Venetians are deeply superstitious about the island and see it as purgatory for evil souls. One local saying goes: 'when an evil man dies, he wakes up in Poveglia.'
The Italian government now hope that the island’s unique potential can be exploited as a luxury hotel. They are offering a 99 year lease to redevelop the property. Certainly a unique fixer-upper opportunity!
UPDATE: SOLD FOR £400,000 AT AUCTION
Italian businessman, Luigi Brugnaro, won the auction, which will allow him to lease the picturesque location for 99 years. Brugarno's spokesman said he has not yet decided what he will do with the island but wants it to have some form of public use.
It is estimated the restoration of the island's derelict buildings will cost around £16-25 million.