The Cursed History of Poveglia Island. The Black Plague was a disease that affected Europe for many centuries. States of the time tried various methods to halt the spread of the epidemic. However, the most chilling of these methods was found by the state of Venice. Their method involved quarantining the sick on an island. But for this disease, which had no known cure at the time, being on the island meant certain death. Poveglia Island was used precisely for this purpose.
Poveglia was one of 166 islands in the Venetian Lagoon in northern Italy. The island might look like a cheerful place, but its history is rather dark and diseased. Hence, it is considered one of the most haunted and paranormal activity-infested places on Earth.
Europe was battling the Black Plague in the 14th century. The epidemic re-emerged centuries over. The island eventually became a quarantine center for those infected with the plague, and most of those sent to this island lost their lives. Thus, Poveglia Island started to be referred to as the “Island of Death” or “Ghost Island.”
Poveglia was settled by the Romans in the 5th century AD. In the 14th century, a defense fortress was built by the Venetians, and the island was used as a checkpoint. But the plague turned this small island into a center of death.
In the 16th century, the island was turned into a checkpoint by public health officials to protect Venice, a major trade city, from the plague epidemic.
The plague seemed endless, and the city had already lost half its population to it in the past. From the late 1770s, Poveglia Island became a control point for all goods and people entering and leaving Venice. When a case of the plague was detected on ships, the sick were sent to Poveglia and quarantined. But there was no cure for the plague. The sick had to stay on the island for 40 days. They would either recover or die. Unfortunately, for many, Poveglia Island became their final resting place. Over time, with the increasing number of dead, the island transformed into a mass grave. The authorities, unable to manage the number of corpses, had to resort to burning them. Even today, a significant portion of the soil on Poveglia Island consists of human ashes.
The island served as a quarantine station between 1793 and 1814. In 1922, the existing buildings began to be used as a refuge for the mentally ill. However, it was later revealed that horrific experiments were conducted in the hospital setting. Therefore, the hospital was closed in 1968. The island was briefly used for agriculture afterward, but today it stands abandoned.
By 2014, the Italian government considered auctioning Poveglia Island on a 99-year lease to convert it into a hotel to boost revenue. Italian businessman Luigi Brugnaro made the highest bid, wanting to buy the island for 513,000 Euros, but later withdrew his offer.
Today, Poveglia Island is known for its many plague pits. According to an estimate by National Geographic, over the centuries, more than 100,000 people died on the island and were buried in plague pits. Some sources claim this number reaches 160,000.
Because of its dark history, Poveglia frequently features in paranormal shows. Visiting the island is prohibited, but various books and articles describe writers’ and photographers’ visits. It is believed that Poveglia is the most haunted island in the world. Locals avoid setting foot on the island, and fishermen prefer a more distant route rather than passing near the island. Some claim they hear the voices of plague victims coming from the island.
Due to its eerie and intriguing past, Poveglia Island has been featured in numerous films, books, series, and documentaries.
“Ghost Adventures: Poveglia Island” (TV Series): An episode of the TV series Ghost Adventures is dedicated to Poveglia Island. This episode delves into the island’s haunting past and paranormal activities.
“Poveglia” (Book): A thriller novel titled “Poveglia” by J.H. Moncrieff. The book tells a horror story revolving around the island’s cursed history.
“Ghost Adventures: The Curse of Poveglia” (Documentary): The Ghost Adventures team prepared a documentary to investigate the paranormal activities of Poveglia Island. This documentary takes a deep dive into the history and mysteries of the island.
“Poveglia: Unraveling the Mystery of Venice’s Ghost Island” (Book): Written by Paul S. Valenti, this book covers the island’s history and stories. The eerie past of Poveglia Island, the epidemics, and paranormal beliefs are the central themes.
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