Saturday, 15 November 2008

The Island of Poveglia

Frequently referred to as Italy's island of horror, Poveglia is a small island in the Venetian Lagoon. Although there were small settlements on this island at certain points, it was still largely uninhabited. During the first outbreak of the bubonic plague, the city of Venice decided to use this place as a dumping ground for victims of the Black Death, dead or alive. Those who showed the slightest/most trivial signs of the fabled disease were dragged from the city and thrown into pits of rotting corpses. It is said that much of the island's soil consists of human bones and remains and fishermen avoid venturing anywhere near the island so they won't catch rotting human body parts.

As terrible as this already sounds, in the 1920's, a mental hospital was built. The patients immediately issued complaints and reports of hearing screams and voices and even seeing full bodied spirits of the plague victims. All of these were ignored, it didn't help that the main doctor performed procedures that were most inhumane. Eventually, this doctor began witnessing the same things, which drew him to insanity. There are many different stories about his demise, but the most common is that he was thrown off the bell tower next to the hospital and was buried in the tower.

The hospital has been abandoned and the island has returned to it's uninhabited state. It is said that the island is a true place of horror, with the ghosts of both black plague victims and mental hospital patients that were used for torture. Locals say that if you are to venture anywhere near the island at night, you can hear screams and cries of agony and fear. Rumour has it that the bell in the bell tower even rings on occasion.


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