If you’ve ever wanted to live on a haunted island, you’re in luck: Poveglia, a small splotch of land in northern Italy located in the Venetian Lagoon and known as “the most haunted island in the world,” is for sale. As in, you could buy it. For reals.
Poveglia’s got quite a history behind it; the first reference to it dates back to 421 BCE, when citizens of Padua and Este fled to it to escape barbaric invasions. It grew steadily in the following centuries—so much so that in the 14th century, it became a battleground for the Venetians and the Genoese. Then in late 18th century, it came under the jurisdiction of the Magistrato alla Sanita—the Public Health Office—and became a checkpoint for all ships departing from and arriving to Venice. 1793 saw rather a large number of cases of the plague on two ships, resulting in the sealing off of the island after all the sick folk had been herded onto it. Poveglia became a permanent quarantine zone in 1805 thanks to Napoleon “I’m Definitely Over Compensating for Something” Bonaparte.
[Like what you read? Consider supporting The Ghost In My Machine on Patreon!]
Plague ghosts? Awesome!
Eventually the whole quarantine thing lost its charm (and, y’know, presumably the danger had passed), so in 1922, the island was made into a hospital for the elderly. It operated for almost 50 years, finally shutting down in 1968—but not before some nasty rumors broke out involving the unethical experimentation on its patients. Those unfortunate enough to be confined at the hospital were said to have suffered crude lobotomies carried out by a doctor who eventually threw himself from the hospital’s tower. So let’s add hospital ghosts, mistreated ghosts, and
Although Ghost Adventures did manage to finagle their way into shooting an episode there once (am I the only who really hates those guys? Seriously—I’ll take the original Ghost Hunters over them any day of the week), Poveglia has been closed to visitors for quite some time. Now, though, it’s about to hit the auction block in an effort to pay off some of Italy’s enormous debt. The hope is that someone will swoop in, take the island off the government’s hands, and redevelop the property into a swanky hotel with a 99-year lease. But hey, if you wanted to snap it up yourself and have your own private, haunted island to hunt ghosts on whenever you felt like it, I’m sure that would be A-OK with Italy, too.
Who ya gonna call?
Poveglia Is for Sale, So Naturally We’ve Got Decorating Tips. (This one in particular is amazing and you should read it. Just sayin’.)