The Most Haunted Island In The World
Poveglia Island has been called the real life Shutter Island as well as being more commonly known as The Island of Madness.
Situated a few miles south of Venice, Italy, Poveglia Island was a dumping ground for criminals and people suffering with disease and insanity. First inhabited in the year 421, the occupants fled the Barbarian invaders. Centuries later, in 1348, during the Black Death, the Romans separated the sick people from the healthy people and shipped the “infected” to the island, sometimes against their will. Back then, medicine was not understood like it is today, there were no cures, and anyone who showed any signs of sickness or disease were sent there. After the death of an inhabitant, their bodies were burned on giant fires, and it is even said that the some living inhabitants were thrown into a fire as well, though this may be an exaggeration to dramatize the island’s history.
Later in the 14th century, Poveglia Island was abandoned until 1630, when the black death (The Great Plague of Milan) returned.
The island once again became a dumping ground for the diseased and dying until it was again, abandoned.
In 1922, one of the island’s existing building was converted into a psychiatric hospital were the mentally ill were kept in terrible conditions which have been described as “prison-like”. At this time, mental illness was still not very well understood and the people who were sent there seemed to be expendable at the hands of the asylum doctor’s experiments. He was known for carrying out excruciating operations and experiments on patients, including lobotomies, but that all ended when he fell from the bell tower.
It is unknown whether he, himself, went insane, or if he was pushed by an invisible force. Though he survived the fall, he was shortly killed. A nurse reported him being strangled to death by a black shadowy figure, though there was no one there, leading to the start of many of the ghost stories of the island. The final hospital and island abandonment happened in 1972, after it had seen the death of over 100,000 people. Since then, few have visited the island, mainly due to travel there being banned without government approval. Those who have visited the island have witnessed many paranormal experiences, and one family who visited as potential customers of the land had to take their daughter to have stitches in her face after she was violently attacked by an unseen force. Construction workers mysteriously left the island while working on restoring one of the building, but refused to talk of their ordeals and would not return.
The paranormal stories have haunted the locals, so much so that a captain who took a photographer to the island refused to leave his boat. With a large percentage of the island’s soil being human ash from the thousands of bodies that were burned there, it’s no surprise Poveglia Island is the home of strange happenings that scare people away.
One man who wasn’t scared off was Luigi Brugnaro, an Italian businessman who, in 2014, acquired a 99 year lease on the land at auction. It is said that it will cost €16 million ($17 million) to restore the buildings on the 18 acre plot, his plan is to turn it into a tourist attraction.
Locals still hear the echo of the bell ringing at night, though the bell tower was removed sometime ago.
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