Italy's Most Haunted Island: Poveglia Island of Horror Poveglia is a small island floating in the lagoons of Venice.

In stark contrast to the beauty of its surroundings, the island is a festering blemish. The waves reluctantly lapping its darkened shores will often carry away the polished remains of human bones. When the first outbreak of bubonic plague swept through Europe, the number of dead and dying in the city of Venice became unbearable. The bodies were piling up, the stench was oppressive, and something had to be done. The local authorities decided to use Poveglia as a dumping ground for the diseased bodies. The dead were hauled to the island and dumped in large pits or burned on huge bonfires. As the plague tightened its grip, people panicked, and those showing the slightest symptoms of the Black Death were dragged screaming from their homes. These living victims, including children and babies, were taken to the island and thrown into the pits of rotting corpses, where they were left to die in agony. As many as 160,00 tormented bodies were disposed of over the years. The soil on the island, combined with the charred remains of some of the bodies, formed a layer of sticky ash on the land. The top layer of ash has dried in the sun to form a fine dust that swirls in the breeze and catches in lungs. Part of the island core consists of a layer of human remains. Fishermen avoid this area, as the chances of catching a body part or two are high. In 1922, a psychiatric hospital was built. It was an imposing building with a magnificent bell tower. The patients immediately reported seeing the ghosts of rotting plague victims and of hearing whispers echoing off the walls. Their harrowing reports were dismissed; they were already deemed demented and mad. The hospital was run by a doctor who was a little too ambitious. He decided to make a name for himself by experimenting on his patients in a bid to discover the cause of their insanity. His methods were crude, to say the least. Lobotomies were performed using a basic hand drill or just a hammer and chisel. The already deluded patients were taken to the observation tower, where they were subjected to the most hideous of tortures. After years of performing these horrible acts, the doctor himself began seeing the ghosts of harrowed plague victims. It is said they led him to the bell tower, where he threw himself off. Miraculously he did not die immediately, but according to a nurse, as he lay writhing in agony, a fine mist swirled up around him, entered his body, and choked him to death. It is rumored that he is bricked up in the bell tower, and on a still night the bell can be heard tolling across the bay. The hospital has since closed down, and the island is uninhabited. It is not open to tourist, and its ashy beaches remain deserted. Recently a family sought permission to visit the island, hoping to buy it cheaply and build a vacation home. The left before the night was over and have refused to comment on the reason for their abrupt departure, The only fact known is that their daughter�s face was ripped open by �something� and needed twenty stitches. A few people have dodged the light police patrol that guards the island, and all have sworn never to return. They say the moans and screams that reverberate around the island are unbearable. There is a feeling of the most intense evil, and one misguided thrill-seeker, upon entering the deserted hospital, was told, �Leave immediately and do not return.�

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