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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