comScore The "World's Most Haunted Island" Is For Sale | The Mary Sue

Buyer Beware: The “World’s Most Haunted Island” Is For Sale

On the bright side, you won't have any neighbors (to hear you scream).



Who wouldn’t want to have their own island in Venice? Romantic views, historic architecture, great gondola parking–living on Poveglia should be any eccentric millionaire’s dream. Providing you know a good exorcist, that is.

Poveglia lies in a lagoon between Venice and Lido. The Italian government has put the now-deserted property up for sale and will be auctioning it off to the highest bidder on May 6th. But beware: as I’m sure a grizzled fisherman/prophet will appear to tell any prospective bidders, the island comes with a gruesome history.

Poveglia’s past has been obsessively chronicled by numerous “ghost hunting” shows and websites which, to be fair, are probably not the most historically accurate sources of information. During the Roman Era the island was used to quarantine plague. When the Black Death came through Europe centuries later, Poveglia was once again used as a dumping ground, and anyone suspected to be sick was taken to the island and burned. An estimated 160,000 people died on the island during that time, so get ready to have a lot of tombmates roommates.


If that isn’t an eerie enough backstory to convince you to get your AmEx out, in 1922 the island was also turned into a mental hospital. According to one website¬†—¬†which, again, may not be the definitive source of historical information — inmates on the “Island of Madness” reported seeing thousands of ghosts. One of the hospital’s doctors jumped or was pushed from the island’s belltower (which incidentally, would probably make a lovely breakfast nook) and a nurse on the island at the time reported that the doctor actually survived the fall but was then killed by a mist that arose from the earth to swallow him up. The hospital was then closed down. Good call there.


Pictured: Ye olde haunted belltower, chock full of ghosties.

The Italian government took over the island for a time until it was bought and then abandoned again by the new owner in the 1960s. A family tried to move in (because abandoned sanatoriums are a great place to raise kids) and reportedly left after just one night, so Poveglia has basically been a party island for ghosts for the past fifty years.

The Italian government is looking for someone to take on a 99 year lease. If you are an aging rich person I say go for it, and then have a clause in your will that says anyone who wants a piece of your estate must spend a night on the Island. Alternatively, turn your new purchase into a boarding school and/or amusement park. Those are probably the only horror movie tropes that haven’t happened on Poveglia already.


(via Gizmodo and Huffington Post, images via tedlum and Destination Venice)

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