The Terror of Poveglia Island

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The energy of an event can resonate indefinitely and sometimes islands are a place to hide secrets. Poveglia, an island among the Venetian lagoons, remains completely uninhabited. Though the vineyards are harvested annually, fisherman will not stray into its waters for fear of pulling up human bones in their nets. One family purchased the island in order to convert it into a vacation home,  but abandoned it after one night. It is said one of the daughters had her face split apart, requiring 14 stitches.

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Its first mention in history occurred in 421 CE, as people from Padua and Este fled to the island to escape invading barbarians. Many wars were fought upon the island as the barbarians pursued them. However, the people of Poveglia won several of the wars and did not have to relocate until invaded by a Genoan fleet.

The island makes The Lady in Black look like Sesame Street. It is incontrovertibly rampant with enraged spirits. During the Roman era, it was used as a dumping ground for plague victims. A few centuries later, during the Black Death, it served the same purpose. The dead were dropped into mass graves and burned. Only, it wasn’t just the dead. Anyone with even the faintest sign of illness would be forced onto the island only to be burned alive. An estimated 160,000 have died on this island. Poveglia was offered to Camaldolese monks during 1527 and to the descendants of the original Poveglian inhabitants in 1661 to reconstruct a settlement there, but both declined.

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As if the malevolent energy of past horrors inspired the decision, the island was then converted into a psychiatric hospital in the early 20th century. The patients told the nurses and doctors they heard ghastly and tortured shrieks of the plague victims. The patients were ignored due to their supposed insanity, giving a sadistic doctor the opportunity to torture his patients in the bell tower. The buildings had been converted from a temporary quarantine station into the hospital, in 1922. Some have tried to claim it was a retirement home, but the evidence on the island proved at least some of the buildings were used to house mental patients. The  legend surrounding the doctor tells of horrific acts he conducted, including  frontal lobotomies with cruel tools such as drills. Until one day he fell from the bell tower. It is said the fall did not kill him, but instead ethereal mist rose from the ground and strangled him to death.

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Today, the few people the Italian government have allowed onto the island departed terrified. Ghost Adventures did an episode there, spending the night on the island. Zak, one of the ghost hunters, felt he was possessed inside the asylum by a spirit of unfathomable rage. I haven’t seen the episode of Ghost Adventures or the episode about it on Scariest Places on Earth, but apparently the crews encountered many spirits, even coming away with EVPs.

People report the island has a heavy, evil energy. It is readily apparent to all who have been there that it is a place of suffering. It is a particularly harrowing place for those with psychic ability, but even those without it report hearing tortured moans and seeing specters.. One man, able to spend the night on the island, entered the abandoned insane asylum at night. As soon as he stepped into the building a loud, booming voice told him “leave immediately and do not return.” I would say that is pretty sound advice.

For more photos of Poveglia island I suggest going here. Warning: there are photos of mass burials I decided not to add to this page. 

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