Picturesque Poveglia island will be going up for sale, but will any one want to buy “the most haunted place in the world“?
Poveglia has been abandoned for fifty years, and rumor has it that even fishermen avoid the island for fear of catching human bones in their nets. Ghost Adventures, who recently visited the island for the Travel Channel, say that “according to legend, the island was formed from the ashes of burned plague victims, criminals and mental patients who were exiled there.”
Most recently it was an insane asylum, where a doctor who performed lobotomies on mentally ill residents died when he jumped off of a bell tower. Presumably, if it wasn’t the lobotomies that drove him to suicide, it was restless ghosts from when the island was used a quarantine zone – for 100 years, ever since a plague break-out in 1793.
Over 100 thousand people have perished on Poveglia, many of them plague victims who were taken to the island against their will. During the worst of the plague outbreaks, Venetians dug mass graves on Poveglia, which were filled to the brim and then burned.
In short, Poveglia, or, “Plague Island,” has been an island that people have feared and avoided for over 200 years.
Poveglia has been abandoned since 1968 and it is incredibly difficult for tourists to visit, so it can be hard to distinguish hype from fact. However, Ransom Riggs from Mental Floss was able to find a boat to take him there in 2010, where he debunked some of the rumors surrounding Poveglia. For instance, fishermen do not avoid Poveglia, and you can see their nets pictured in his photos.
Now Italy’s government is putting it up for a 99 year lease, up for auction along with a few other properties, in a desperate attempt to raise revenue. But, hey, Poveglia is 17 acres, lies in the beautiful Venice lagoon, and is minutes from St. Mark’s Square. Italy hopes that someone will want to turn Poveglia into a luxury hotel or, well, any thing besides an island that’s been abandoned for 50 years.
It’s a bit of a fix-er-upper, with a few ancient buildings held up only be scaffolding erected twenty years ago, according to Mental Floss. But I suppose if you’re going to demolish every thing and build a luxury hotel, haunted bell towers aren’t much of a of an obstacle. Similar properties have sold for €3.8 million!
Want to buy an island?
photo credit: Jean-Pierre Dalbéra via Flickr