Poveglia Plague Island is one of the most terrifying places on Earth. Period, hands down no questions asked. The island in the Veneto region of Italy, has been witness to an insurmountable number of human deaths, many of which were violent, slow, and painful. The island has been the focal point of many a ghost story, and once you know the history you’ll understand why…
History of Poveglia dates back to 421 BC when it was used as an escape route for people from Padua and Este fleeing a barbarian invasion. This was just the beginning of Poveglia’s violent history.
In the 16th century, the island was turned into a place where plague sufferers were disposed of. Upwards of 160,000 sick and dying people were left on the island in an attempt to quarantine the illness that was completely ravaging Europe.
For years the island sat totally abandoned, until it was turned into a mental hospital in the 20th century for those suffering serious illness. Unfortunately putting an asylum on an island that saw the deaths of nearly 160,000 deaths wasn’t a good idea, and many of the patients claimed to have had strange experiences with something “otherworldly.” Eventually the hospital was abandoned altogether.
Rumors about Poveglia began spreading around Italy, and eventually the world, about the strange terrifying island, infested by ghosts. One of the stories was about the head doctor, who they say, had a history of butchering his patients. According to the legend, once guilt finally got the best of him, he threw himself off the island's tower, only to be choked to death by a mysterious “ghostly mist.”
Since then, the island has hosted pretty much every paranormal-themed television show in existence, and most cast and crew leave vowing to never return again. People have experienced being pushed, shoved, scratched, and even possessed by the spirits believed to be lingering in the dark buildings. Some have even witnessed full-blown apparitions of doctors and their grotesquely disfigured patients.
Poveglia has been nicknamed the “island of terror” and “nothing more than a cesspool of pure dead,” and you might think that would be enough to keep potential buyers at a distance. The answer? Nope. The island was recently snatched up after an online listing, and the new owner intends to turn it into a luxruy hotel resort... probably a bad idea.
There are plenty of equally terrifying places in America ripe for an afternoon (or evening) of scares. A few suggestions for Poveglia-level screams include, the always terrifying Ohio State Reformatory, the iconic Bachelors Grove Cemetery, or for the especially haunted Villisca Axe Murder House.