An Island and a Saddistic Doctor

If you are like me, and the hopes of visiting a real life haunted house, or haunted town, go to Savannah, Ga or even Charleston, SC. I for one, even if it weren’t abandoned, or forbidden, would not go to Poveglia. It is actually up for auction the last I heard, may have even been sold by now.

Either way, makes for a great story, so grab your coffee, curl up in your favorite chair and enjoy.

Poveglia is a cursed and mysterios island, where strange historical events have shaped its reputation as the darkest place of the Venice Lagoon and labeled this island the most haunted in the world.

Poveglia had been a thriving and populated island, however with the outbreak of the war of Chioggiain 1378-the fourth and last conflict between Genoa and Venice- its inhabitants were moved to the island of Giudecca. From that very moment this island remained deserted for three hundred years.

Since 1645, it was then employed as an outpost to control the transit of ships in the lagoon with aim of protecting Venice. Proveglia’s darkest moments will date back to more recent years, when due to the 1700 Black Death, the island became a lazaretto (an open-air cemetary), where quarantined people-even those with the slightest signs of sickness were sent to die.

I ask you, what if they had done this to us when COVID hit?

But to continue…Bodies were left on the island’s streets to decompose. Then they were burnt and their ashes were thrown in mass graves. It is said that more than 160,000 people died in agony during the bubonic plague. Today, strata of bone can be found beneath the surface, which is made up of 60% of human ashes.

Historical reconstructions were done, and during that time, in that period, the island was also the scene of the execution of criminals, who were usually killed by drowning. But believe me, this isn’t the scariest part of the story, at least not for me.

In 1922, the buildings hosted a home for the elderly. The furniture still present today witnesses that the building was actually an asylum. From the moment a person was diagnosed with a mental illness and taken to Poveglia, there was no possibility of redemption or rehabilitation. (What does that say for you or me? Those we love?) The only aim of the new use of the island was to isolate these people, and separate them from society. It’s important to remember, in the past, any uncommon way of thinking and behavior different from the socio-cultural norms of the time, was considered mental disorders. Anyone could be identified as mentally ill and locked up.

Local legend has it that the patients of Poveglia asylum reported that they saw strange shadows-probably belonging to the ghosts of the plague victims- and that they could not sleep at night because of the wails of the suffering spirits. Of coarse, the doctors did not believe them. Patients were subjected to tortures, sometimes death. It is believed that a sadistic doctor did evil experiments on them, even performed labotomies, as he believed that this cruel practice was a great way to treat and cure mental illness. This procedure was incredibly wicked and painful, as the doctor used hammers, chisels and drills without anesthesia or any concern for sanitation.

Because of the doctor’s practices, he was tormented by the ghosts who drove him crazy to the point where he jumped (or was thrown) from the clock tower that stands out on the lagoon. The legend tells that he did not die from the fall, but that he was chocked before by a mysterious fog. In some silent and calm nights you can still hear the bell tolling across the bay, despite being removed years ago.

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The Ghost Town of Bodie

Voices Past, Present, and Future would like to bring to you the story behind The Ghost Town of Bodie, in California, USA.

According to a TV documentary, some say that Bodie is inhabited by ghosts who guard the town against pilferers. Supposedly, a visitor who dares to remove any artifact can be plagued by the dreaded “Curse of Bodie”.

The town was officially founded in 1876 when miners discovered rich deposits of gold and siver. The people of Bodie were in search of a better life and wealth, and people soon flooded into the small town.

The town of Bodie soon earned the reputation of “Sin City”. It was full of brothels and hip joints. The town went bankrupt, and by the 1940’s it became a real ghost town. It is consdidered to be one of the best well-preserved ghost towns in the world.

The town and curse are named after a miner who died in a deadly blizzard before claiming his gold. According to local park rangers, they frequently receive mail from people who stole something from the site and experienced the curse. One local ranger stated, ” The curse still exists today. Most of it comes back in an unmarked box. We still get letters from people saying ‘I’m sorry I took this, hoping my luck will change.”

Stories about the “Curse of Bodie”

  • In one letter to the town: ” I started to think about the car accident, the loss of my job, my continuing illness, and other bad things that have ‘haunted’ me for the past year since my visit and violation. I am generally not superstitious but… Please find enclosed the collectibles i just couldn’t live without, and ask the spirits to see my regret.”
  • According to one story, when a German tourist visited the town of Bodie, he had decided to take a bottle as a personal souvenir. When the man returned to Germany, he suffered an accident on the Autobahn. After the wreck, his son took the bottle to school for show and tell. Coming home from school, the boy had a bicycle accident similar to his father’s.
  • A Bodie tradition says you should throw money on a particular bed for good luck. On a 1972 family vacation, two girls found the bed and felt understandably confused about people throwing away good money. They snatched a couple of bills and took off, assuming it was no big deal, but they forgot about the curse. The family plunged into a financial spiral, which entailed an inability to hold down a job or keep a home.

The origins of the Town of Bodie can even be considered Dark

Around 1859, W.S. Bodey and four men discovered a large deposit of gold in the eastern foothills of the Sierras. They agreed to keep it secret until they returned, but Bodey had no intention of staying true to his word. He returned with a man nicknamed “Black Taylor, but a snowstorm caught up with them. Bodey died in the storm, but his name lived on in the founding of Bodie, CA. Supposedly the misspelled name was due to the sign maker’s mistake.

The town remained quiet for almost a decade, and then in 1876 Bodie boomed when a mine caved in and exposed a large amount of gold. The town again boomed from about 1879 to 1882. It then began a slow decline into obsolescence.

A huge fire struck the town in 1892, beginning the town’s final days and then The Great Depression and Prohibition hit sealing Bodie’s downfall.

Voices Past, Present, and Future warn you, whether you choose to believe in curses or not, if you visit the town of Bodie, do not take anything home with you. Leave the rocks where they ly, and the artifacts where they sit. Why take to chance “The Curse of Bodie”.

I hope you enjoyed this post and I urge you to stay tuned for more rivetting stories like this one.

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