Marc Hoover:
A visit to the island of death

If you won a free trip to a small Italian island near Venice, would you go? This sounds like a great prize. But what if you learned that your vacation was a trip to Poveglia Island? An island known as a dumping ground for dead people.

If you’re not afraid of ghosts, it may be an interesting place to visit. Otherwise, it might be best to pass your free vacation onto someone else. So what’s so bad about an island? People consider Poveglia Island the most haunted island in the world. Many centuries ago, it was the final destination for anyone who contracted the Black Plague or the Bubonic Plague. Once visitors checked into the island, they never left.

Marc Hoover

The island was a death sentence and served as a quarantine site for people with the plague. And it’s these plagues that killed millions of Europeans. Supposedly, more than 100,000 bodies were burned and buried on the island. It became a dumping ground for diseased bodies.

People who contracted a deadly plague had no hope of survival. To prevent the plagues from spreading, the infected were quarantined. The island is rumored to be haunted by those who died on the island. I am also guessing the island didn’t have an ample food supply or any medical care. Therefore, the suffering must have been immense.

Local fisherman even avoid fishing too close for fear of becoming too close to human ash. It’s estimated that human remains cover nearly half of the island.

During the 1900s, the island was converted from a quarantine location to an asylum. From 1922 to 1968, a doctor operated the asylum. He used mental patients as guinea pigs by performing questionable medical procedures.

Eventually the island allegedly drove the doctor insane. He committed suicide by leaping to his death from the bell tower. He claimed that spirits of the dead haunted the island. Locals believe the spirits of those who suffered agonizing deaths killed the doctor. But no one knows for sure. Besides, does anyone believe the doctor saw ghosts? And who would take the word of an insane doctor?

Since 1968, the island has been deserted. Today, nature is slowly retaking the island. For now, old buildings and the bell tower minus its bell still remain. However, people who live near the island claim they still hear a clanging bell. Of course, we know this isn’t possible since it’s no longer on the island. I am guessing it’s the wind. Or does the bell still ring for the souls who are supposedly trapped on this island for eternity? I suppose it depends on your beliefs. Recently, a group of people tried to find out if the island was haunted.

In 2016, a group of people from Colorado secured transportation to the island. They decided it was a good idea to spend a night on the island to see if it was haunted. Big mistake. Within a few hours after arriving, the group claimed they were attacked by ghosts. The group began screaming for help. A passerby in a boat heard the cries and alerted Italian authorities who rescued the terrified Americans.

The island is off limits. However, some ghost hunting programs have received permission to view the island and investigate paranormal activity. The island is probably best left alone. With so much death and misery on the island, it’s not a place suited for the living. For now, the island sits void of any human presence.

Marc is a grandparent and longtime resident of Clermont County. Visit his author page Life with Grandpa and he also just wrote Just Bite Me: A Guide to Zombies, Vampires, Werewolves, and Other Walking Nightmares, which is available on