Some people get a rush when the power goes out and they see a flash of movement in the corner of their eye (while others hide). If you consider yourself a bit of a thrill seeker and never miss an episode of Ghost Adventures, you should probably get in the real estate game and buy Poveglia island.
Italy is auctioning Poveglia off next month as an attempt to raise some money to help chip away at their current debt. While it might be thought of as a real estate agent's worst nightmare, we're thinking there's a few of you spook-crazed folks who would jump at the chance to own what's widely considered to be the most haunted island in the world. If you do watch Ghost Adventures, you may recognize it, since the show's host, Zac Bagans, claims to be possessed by a ghost while taping an episode there.
The 17-acre chunk of land is found in the South Lagoon between Venice and Lido, and has historically been used as a refuge, stronghold, place of exile, and a water-locked jail cell for the dying, diseased, and dead. According to the Travel Channel, the first people to live on Poveglia arrived in 421 and came in the form of women, men, and children who were fleeing from barbarians who invaded the mainland. Since the island was so small, the newcomers were able to keep it protected — plus, what army would care about conquering such a teeny plot of land? Though people lived there in peace for quite a while, they eventually died off and Poveglia was empty again by the 14th century.
1348 is where the real nastiness comes in, when Poveglia was used to quarantine people afflicted by the Bubonic Plague — which killed one out of three Europeans. Anyone who showed even the slightest symptom (plus those who had already died) was taken to the island and left there, whether or not they actually had the plague. The same thing was done in 1630 when the Black Death hit. Later, the stories and legends surrounding the island were so scary and effective that Napoleon's military campaign even left gunpowder and weapon supplies there for protection.
And it gets worse. In the late 1800s, all of the local mentally ill were taken to an asylum built on the island (which was really just another form of exile). There are even rumors that a doctor used to experiment on patients before going crazy himself and jumping off the bell tower. People on the mainland report hearing the chimes echoing from the island, even though the tower was torn down long ago. The building was turned into a geriatric center in the mid-20th century, only to be closed in 1975, and since, the island has been left empty — future attempts to restore the old asylum were ceased without explanation and people are currently not allowed to visit Poveglia.
According to The Telegraph, Italy is hoping that someone will buy it with plans to turn it into a luxury hotel destination, complete with a 99-year lease to redevelop the property (you actually have to maintain permits to redevelop in order to buy it). We aren't sure how a luxury hotel will play out, since people generally don't want possession as one of the amenities, but we're certainly interested to see how this plays out. Surely there is someone out there with the nerve to give the ghosts of Poveglia a second chance.
Spokespeople for the sale refuse to name a possible price, but have pointed out barrack buildings on the island have previously sold for upwards of €3.8 million ($5.27 million). The minimum bid is €1,000 ($1,386) and the deposit is €20,000 ($27,712).