One cannot live in Venice, or even as close to Venice, without hearing the tales about the island the Italians claim is most haunted. Poveglia, an island comparable to the Sheep’s Meadow at Central Park and half of Navy Pier, Chicago, is said to be so bad that no one would want to step foot on it.
Poveglia was a closed area for fishing and was not accessible to tourists for many years.
About the Island
Just a short distance from Venice is the beautiful island Poveglia. It was used as a quarantine for plague victims. Additionally, the island was used as an insane asylum during the early 20th-century.
Ghost hunters claim that this spot is a hotbed in paranormal activity. However, visitors to the island are prohibited at the moment.
Povelgia didn’t always have to be a dark place, where unimaginable horrors occurred. The island appears in documents that date back to 421. It was a prosperous economic center with an increasing population of up to 1378.
The Povegliotti people were evacuated from Poveglia to Venice in the conflict of Chioggia. Povelgia, which was devastated by the war in 1381, was left in total ruin. But hey, you can check out the carnival of horrors too if you like to.
Deathly Plague Consequences
Poveglia, although one of the octagonal castles was built to protect the Venetian Lagoon entrances, was abandoned for many centuries. The idea of a plague island was only born after the plague decimated Venice’s head of state, Doge Giovanni Mocenigo. The Venetians wished to prevent the spread of the disease and isolate those infected.
The lagoon had many other plague islands. Lazzaretto Vecchio is well-explored, and approximately 500 people were killed each day. Archaeologists have identified the remains as belonging to children, men, and women.
Poveglia is thought to have lost around 160,000 people. However, Lazzaretto Vecchio’s investigation has not been exhaustive. It was a particular death sentence to be taken to the island.
The people would often go kicking and screaming in fear that they would end up in hell. Some believe that most of the soil is made up of the ashes from the victims of the fire.
Napoleon used Poveglia to quarantine any person suffering from the plague. Napoleon also destroyed the 12th-century church and converted the bell tower into a lighthouse.
Napoleon’s enemies found out that he had weapons stored on the island. Many battles were fought on the island, which claimed many more lives.
Opening of a Mental Hospital
In 1922, Poveglia was given the name “Reparto Psichiatria,” and a mental hospital was established. Signs that read “Reparto Psichiatria,” which are still affixed to the derelict structure, confirm the existence of the mental hospital. According to locals, the rest of the events occurred in a fictionalized Hollywood setting.
Patients, already thought to be in a state of shock, reported regularly seeing ghosts of plague victims. They also claimed that they were awakened at night by the screams from tortured souls. These claims were dismissed.
The doctor at the mental hospital tried to find a cure for insane patients by performing lobotomies. According to legends, he used hand drills and other cruel methods to perform lobotomies. You can still see some of these odd machines in the hospital’s rooms today.
A number of patients were also taken to the bell tower, where they were subject to a particular type of torture. We won’t know the details because the doctor eventually fell from the bell tower, claiming that his patients had made him insane. The nurse who witnessed the entire event is believed to have been present. However, it is not clear if the doctor actually committed suicide or if someone else did so.
After the doctor’s death, 1968 saw the hospital close, and the island is completely abandoned.
Since 1968, Poveglia was closed to visitors, and very few people have ever walked on it. Paranormal shows such as Ghost Adventures or Scariest places on Earth were granted permission to film there.
Although you may think me crazy, I have felt ghosts a few times – but not on Poveglia. We were both happy to visit Poveglia on a sunny, beautiful day last week. Because of the structural decay in the buildings, we climbed as high as possible. We saw only our shadows, and neither of us could see anything else.
Can You Visit the Island?
Today, the only way to get on the island is by boat or water taxi. Offenders will face criminal charges. However, tourists can still visit this mysterious island off the Venetian Coast by taking private boats or water taxis for a few hours.
The whole story is not recorded officially, but it has been handed down through the generations. However, those who chose to tempt destiny never wanted to go back due to the haunting atmosphere of Poveglia, also known as the Island of No Return.