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Would You Buy The World's Most Haunted Island?

“Poveglia: ‘World’s most haunted island’ is up for sale…is anyone brave enough to buy it?” The headline caught my eye. The story was about a small Italian island, Poveglia, in the Venice lagoon. With a title like that, of course I was intrigued, so I read on. The history of the island is gruesome, and in stark contrast to the sun-filled aerial shots of lush greenery and decaying buildings that I found later.

According to a mix of history and legend, Poveglia was used as a quarantine island for anyone showing plague symptoms during the various outbreaks in the Middle Ages. Legend has it that the bodies of the dead and dying were thrown into mass graves on the island and burned to eliminate the spread of the disease. Horrific rumor #1: supposedly, the soil on the island is 50% human ashes.

Hundreds of years after the threat of plague had subsided, a mental hospital was built on the island. Horrific rumor #2: the doctor in charge was said to have performed grotesque experiments on his patients, and eventually he jumped to his death from the tower still visible on the island today.

It’s hard to imagine how the now-abandoned island wouldn’t be haunted, considering its history. And in a bid to pay down some of the nation’s debt, Italy is auctioning it off. So I started to wonder, would I ever consider buying a haunted property?

Now, obviously, I don’t have enough money to buy an island (if only), but if I did, would the history of a place influence my decision to purchase it? There was another story I read a few months ago, about a man putting his self-proclaimed haunted house up for sale. I don’t know if his story attracted buyers or sent them running in the opposite direction, but he included the ghostly disturbances in his listing.

I love ghost stories and scary movies. I’m also a history nerd. So combine those two things and ghostly history will draw me in every time. Having said that, I’ve never experienced anything supernatural, and I’d probably run and hide under my bed at the first unexplained bump in the night. I like the idea of living in a house with an interesting history, but I don’t think I could knowingly live somewhere in which something terrible happened. There’s a difference between visiting a haunted place and living in one, and I’m just not sure I could share my living space with a spirit.

I think I’d have a different view if I were someone who steadfastly did not believe in ghosts. Sometimes I envy those people their certainty and unshakeable conviction that ghosts and spirits are not possible. But I’m not one of them, so I’ll go on believing that maybe that sound I just heard was more than a squeaky door. And I guess that belief means I won’t be buying any haunted property any time soon.

So, are you a skeptic or a believer? And would you ever buy or live in a place that was rumored to be haunted? Do you think places can hold energy of events and people who lived there before, good or bad? I know it’s not Halloween, but I’d love to read your thoughts and experiences in the comments.

Tweet me @StephSpitler

Featured Image via Shutterstock

  • Rachael Gostick

    I believe our house is haunted, we have seen silhouettes walking past door frames, heard voices and unknown noises, and our heavy loft door has been opened on its own. It freaks me out, I would never knowingly live somewhere that could be haunted.

    • Stephanie Spitler

      Those things would freak me out, too!

  • Chelsey Nichol

    We just moved into a house in a cemetery. My husband is the groundskeeper and does all of the burials. I do believe in ghosts and spirits and have been having a hard time adjusting. Especially at night. I’ve started a blog to record my time living here

    Rule number 1 in the house is no scaring each other, rule number 2 is no scary movies. I’m sure there will be more rules to come.

    • Stephanie Spitler

      That’s so cool, Chelsey! I’ll definitely be following your journey on your blog (and I totally agree with your rules).

  • Annie Camilleri

    I read somewhere else that there’s a legend regarding the doctor. The tortured plague spirits led the evil doctor to the bell tower where he was thrown down to the grounds below. He didn’t die from the fall, but according to a nurse who witnessed the event, a mist came up to him and choked him to death.

    Leaving the subject of legends and ghosts behind, I am quite disappointed in the Italian government, even though I am not Italian myself. To auction off such a historical island for some other hotel to be built on it is a shame in my opinion. I admire the locals who are trying their best to fight for it –

    • Stephanie Spitler

      Thanks for the link!

  • Damaris Neyra

    I used have a ghost but no one ever believed me so I got to a point where I kind of didn’t believe me myself either, that was harsh for me, made me paranoid. But anyway it was a little girl and she was always following me around and calling my name, I usually just ignored her but she sometimes would do things so that I would have to acknowledge her presence like for instance she loved knocking on doors and I would go and open the door and no one was on the other side (to this day I ignore most of the times I hear a knock, some people think I’m mean because I don’t open the door for them, hahaha), and she would also open/move doors or things and she would even make things fall to the ground (and by this I mean things that had absolutely no reason for falling, like a box of cookies that was inside a cabinet, not even at the edge and that had the door closed). I kind off got use to those things as they where very common but then she would do other weird stuff like turn down the volume of my stereo (and I went back to turn it up and she kept turning it down, I guess she didn’t like my music, ha ha ha), or putting snow inside my car and weird things like that. I guess she was a prankster kid ghost or something, but she went away when I was about 20 years old and so far she hasn’t come back, oddly enough I do miss her sometimes LOL.

    • Stephanie Spitler

      That’s creepy, but also kind of cool!

  • Diana Palomino

    At home we have this, spirit that like country music and would turn on the music to that channel, or turn on the food processor, hide things or just place them somewhere else. We could hear the footsteps at night but oddly enough it wasn’t scary… I guess it wasn’t a bad or evil spirit and that’s why we didn’t really pay attention to it.

  • Shutterbug Veronica Markland

    I agree with the hauntings. I myself have had some “unexplained experiences”. It’s amazing how something we cannot see has the power, force or energy to move objects or show themselves. Spirits are very real….

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