Want to buy the world’s most haunted island?

Off the coast of Venice lies the small island of Poveglia. If you have several million lying around, it can be yours.

Poveglia_2883002b

But there’s a catch. It comes occupied. With ghosts.

Danse_macabre_by_Michael_Wolgemut  The history of this island is fascinating. The Venetians and Genoese fought over this island in the middle ages, but the real trouble started with the arrival of the Bubonic Plague in the 14th century. Plague victims were shunted to the island and sealed off. The dead were burned on funeral pyres in the center of the island. This history was repeated when the Black Death returned in the 1600s. Thus came the legends of ghosts. (The plague peroids of European history have always fascinated me. Maybe that’s why I like zombie stories so much.)

In the late 1800s the island was home to a mental asylum (always prime breeding ground for ghosts). There were rumors of torturous dsc_0215experiments on the mentally ill performed by a doctor driven mad by ghosts. The doctor committed suicide by jumping from the hospital tower.

More recently, an American ghost hunter/tv show host claims to have been possessed by a ghost while visiting the island, and the reconstruction of the hospital stopped abruptly and the project was abandoned, with no reason given.

Now the Italian government is hoping a developer will swoop in and turn the island into a high-end resort. I can’t wait for the stories that will follow that one.

(Hospital image courtesy of muchmoremuchier.com)

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