The haunted Island of Poveglia has always been a place for the unwanted. It has been a place for plague victims, a psychiatric hospital and burial ground. Today it’s known for being one of the most haunted places in the world.
The haunted Poveglia Island has always been a place for the unwanted. It has been a place for plague victims, a psychiatric hospital and burial ground. Today it’s known for being one of the most haunted places in the world.
Today, even fishermen avoid the Poveglia Island, not only because it is forbidden to go there. On clear days you can allegedly see skulls and bones under the surface. If a skull is caught in the fishing net, the fisherman will just dump it all back into the sea. There are no fish that are worth taking from the cursed plague island.
The Plague Island
Most of the legends started when the government closed off the whole island because of cases of the plague. There have been found numerous plague pits of dead bodies. Over the years it turned into a dumping ground of the undesired to isolate them from the rest of the population. According to locals there have been over 160 000 deaths on the island of no return. According to the legends, the ground on Poveglia Island consists of half dirt and half human ashes.
People with the plague were shipped off to this island, both the dead as well as those still alive. From 1776 it was used as a quarantine station for ships that were coming and going from Venice, although it had been used as a quarantine station way before that as well. Most notably in 1348 when Venice was hit with the Bubonic Plague, more commonly known as the Black Death. It is said you had to stay on the island for 40 days to see if you would die or survive. The word quarantine comes from the Italian quaranta, meaning 40.
The Vampires on Poveglia Island
Because of the death toll the island saw, the locals started calling it the Island of Ghosts. But it wasn’t the only fear the Venetians had of the dead that had their final resting place there. They were also afraid of Vampires living on the Poveglia Island.
When people rediscovered these mass graves of the plague pits, they noticed something strange about some of the skeletons. Some were found with large rocks between their jaws, and it is believed that the Venetians did this because they believed they were vampires.
A scientific explanation of this of course is the decomposition gasses that caused internal organs to rupture. Sometimes, blood came out from these organs and out from the dead bodies mouth. So when the Venetians opened up the plague pits to put more people into it, they were sometimes met with dead bodies with bloody mouths, looking like they had just been feasting on human flesh. That is at least what we hope happened, as the paranormal explanation is so much worse.
The Mad Doctor in the Belltower
In 1922 the whole Poveglia Island turned into an asylum to hide away the mentally ill. Because a cursed island is not complete before having operated as an asylum. The patients supposedly reported seeing ghosts of the plague victims all the time, but who would take a pshycriatic patient’s visions of ghosts seriously in an asylum?
But it wasn’t only plague victims from the past that were torturing the patients. Their doctors were as well. According to legends, there was this one doctor who took to experiment and torture his patients in the bell tower. Apparently he used to do these crude lobotomies with a hammer and a chisel into the patient’s brain.
Exactly what happened in the bell tower with the patients, we will never really know. He himself died when he fell from that very same tower sometime in the 1930s. Some say he went mad and threw himself off, some say it was the angry spirits of those he tortured and killed who drove him to it.
The fall from the tower itself didn’t kill him immediately, but he died from the wounds not long after. Together with his victims, he now haunts Poveglia Island that no one returns from.
The mental hospital closed down in 1968 and Poveglia Island has been vacant ever since. Or has it?
The Ghost of Little Maria
Although the fishermen in the lagoon try to stay away from Poveglia Island, it is impossible not to hear the screams and the moans coming from it at times. Even the bell from the bell tower can be heard at times, even though the bell was removed from the towers years ago.
One of the more known ghosts is called ‘Little Maria’. she has been spotted on Poveglia Island for more than 400 years now and is considered to most likely have been one of the plague victims that never returned. She is forever doomed now to walk along the beach on Poveglia Island as she cries for help to get away.
The Forbidden Island
Getting there is hard as Poveglia Island is off limits and its remaining buildings in desperate need of repair. This is fuelling the legends of the island being haunted. But does anyone really want to stay on the island themselves? It is said to be a haunted place by the locals, believing that the very soil, mixed with the ashes of people laid to rest there, made the very ground cursed.
1 Comment »