In the South Lagoon in Venice, Italy lies what some consider one of the most haunted places in the world. Poveglia Island, also known as the “Island of Madness,” was abandoned for centuries until the Black Plague spread to Venice. In 1348, the island was used to quarantine those that were infected. When the plague hit a second time in 1630, anyone with even the slightest signs of the illness were brought to the island against their will and burned on giant pyres alongside dead bodies. It is estimated that 160,000 bodies were burned in the island.
Poveglia was abandoned again until the 1920’s when a psychiatric hospital was built with a large bell tower. It already had a reputation for being haunted, but this became worse when patients began reporting seeing the ghosts of plague victims. Those working at the hospital ignored this because the patients were already deemed insane. As if these patients hadn’t suffered enough, it is rumored that there was a doctor that would experiment on patients in the bell tower to find a cure for insanity. The legend is that after years of experimenting, the doctor began to see the ghosts of plague victims himself. The ghosts lured him to the top of the tower where he either jumped or was pushed off. A nurse said to have witnessed this, said that the fall did not kill him and that it was a mist that came up from the ground and choked him. It is rumored that the doctor was bricked up in the bell tower and although the bell was removed, people can still hear the bell ringing in the distance. The island was owned by the Italian government for a time, but was later sold and abandoned by the owner in the 1960’s. No one else attempted to live there, but one of the last families that tried to buy it left after the first night and refused to say what happened. Today the island is abandoned and tourism is strictly forbidden by the Italian government. The only people that go onto the island are those that harvest the vineyards. Not even the fishermen will sail too close to the island for fear of catching human bones in their nets.