Ghost Adventures investigation of Poveglia Island off of Venice, Italy caught not only lots of evidence, but Zak got a brutal lesson in the dangers of investigating dark energies.
Manuel, the team’s local tour guide was only willing to show Zak, Nick and Aaron Poveglia Island during broad daylight. Local Venetian citizens steadfastly refused to discuss the island, ignoring the crew’s questions or visibly shutting down and dismissing them.
Poveglia Island has a long, bloody and horrific history. It has served as a quarantine location for three rounds of the black plague. Once plague victims were deposited on the island against their will they often died and their bodies were burned to kill the deadly and highly infectious plague. Local rumor has it that a good amount of the soil making up Poveglia Island is not dirt and rock, rather human bones and ash.
Ironically much earlier, in 421, Poveglia was used as a refuge for people fleeing barbarian invasions. In 864 several hundred followers of Doge Pietro Tradonico fled there when Tradonico was murdered by Venetian nobles and these families found themselves opposing the new Doge. They stuck it out and created a thriving community which wasn’t abandoned until the War of Chioggia in 1378. In 1015 Poveglia hosted a monastery. In 1468 it’s use took a more somber turn when the Republic of Italy designated it as a Lazzaretto, a quarantine location for ships suspected of bearing plague or other potentially devastating diseases.
Napoleon saw it’s strategic location in the southern lagoons of Venice and fortified Poveglia Island as a powder dump, a function it served under assorted masters until 1975.
A major plague hospital was built to house the victims of the 1576 black plague. Ten-thousand people were relegated to Poveglia during that plague alone.
In 1922 a mental hospital was built on Poveglia. Zak discussed local rumors about a mental hospital doctor who tortured and killed his patients. As Zak told it, eventually the doctor went insane himself and jumped off the clock tower to his death. Zak implied that the doctors obscene and brutal treatment of his patients might have contributed to the doctors loss of sanity and subsequent suicide. I have found other versions of the story online that say the doctor was thrown off the clock tower by fellow human beings who were no longer willing to tolerate the behavior of the butcher doctor. This somewhat different version of the story said he survived the fall but a dark mist rose from the ground and strangled him. When I asked my guides the truth of the matter I was told that dark entities that often attach to the vulnerable mentally ill had a hand in the doctor’s demise, not by fully taking his sanity but by urging him to increasingly extreme behaviors such as playing with the remains of those he murdered. This escalation in his depraved actions finally led to his death, handled locally by other hospital staffers and some rivals or enemies he had made in Venice.
I wonder how many other people were thrown to their deaths from the clock tower? The doctors ghost was not the only one I saw who took a fatal plunge from it. I think a few of his patients chose a quick jump over his butchery, but I also think at least two more technically sane men were thrown from the clock tower by human hands.
As recently as 1968, Poveglia Island housed a rest home for the elderly.
My first impression of Poveglia was of battle and copious bloodshed. The Little General’s fortification of the Island could account for that, but I think some of the bloodshed was significantly more ancient. Even during the walk through I could hear the screams of the plague victims and mental hospital patients. For me, the entire episode was a camphony of nonstop screaming from hundreds of voices all at once. I have never heard that before, it was unnerving to say the least.
Ghost Adventures started their overnight investigation in the old mental hospital. Right away an assortment of disembodied sounds and voices were both heard and recorded. I saw the ghost of a patient without legs swing in front of Zak, moving at an astonishing rate of speed using his arms for locomotion.
The guys had brought along a few phrases in Italian to provoke ghosts. Nick asked the ghosts in Italian to take energy from him. An orb was recorded entering the back of Aaron’s neck at the same moment he was doubled over with a sudden energy drain. I saw that orb as an energy cord from an entity that took Nick up on his offer, but chose to grab energy from both Nick and Aaron.
Events took a quick turn south when Zak was possessed by a dark entity. Zak doesn’t recall much except having a sudden furious rage fill him and a desire to kill Aaron. Nick had every reason to be concerned that Zak happened to be holding a machete at the time. Zak firmly believes what possessed him was demonic. I agree, but with a slight twist. I saw TWO spirits take Zak over. One was the ghost of a former mental patient. This particular ghost had been a businessman in Venice. He was beyond infuriated with being confined to the mental hospital until his death. This ghost honestly thought he had been set up, disposed of and sent away unfairly. He thought he was sane. My guides disagreed, they said he was deeply mentally ill but as is frequently the case thought he was fine and everyone else was out to get him from envy or profit motives. Classic paranoia. There was no convincing this ghost he had been locked up to protect his family and friends. That was half of what took Zak over. The other was was a demonic presence. What worried me the most was that Zak felt it had followed him home, that whenever he spoke of demonic subjects strange things happened to him no matter his location. Zak was right, that demon did follow him off Poveglia Island. When I asked my guides if Zak needed assistance I was told no, it had been dealt with since the episode was filmed. The demonic entity was of the common sort you find feeding off fear, death and pain. A mental hospital or plague dumping ground, let alone both combined on a small island was more than enough food for such a thing.
Nick prudently insisted the team leave the mental hospital post haste. Zak was visibly shaken and I felt a strong, buzzing residual energy pulsing through his system. The ghost of the businessman left Zak once he stepped outside the hospital walls. That ghost was tied to the hospital building itself and couldn’t follow. Wish the same was true for the other half of that possession.
Ghost Adventures headed out to the Poveglia plague fields. I was a crazy haunted location. I was given a view of the entire area and not only was it crawling with both residual and intelligent ghosts, they were from different centuries. Many ghosts were not aware of other spirits from eras outside their own. Ghosts were walking through each other unknowingly. I have felt and seen densely haunted locations before but this was the first time I had felt layers of haunting in both time and space. It was a little trippy. I felt like an observer standing outside of time watching it flow in different directions all at once. Many of the ghosts were intelligent and swarmed the team.
More sounds and evidence were heard and recorded. I did see a woman and her young daughter standing near Zak asking if he could help them. Zak and the guys seemed unaware of them.
One of the worst aspects of the plague field other than the screaming was knowing many of those whose ashes make up the topsoil were still alive when tossed among the corpses of the plague dead or even thrown into the bonfires to consume the bodies. Small wonder the team found fragments of a skull and bones nearly everywhere they stepped or found a small bare patch among the greenery. These were immense surface fires, so were not as efficient as the tube shaped gas ovens the team noted during walkthrough. Those were a much later addition to the buildings. Either way, human bone doesn’t burn, not even in modern crematoria. So mind boggling amounts of human bones everywhere barely concealed under a decent covering of dirt/dust or green plants.
There will be a second part to this review, but it won’t be posted until Sunday, January 24, 2010. There was simply so much going on, I need a breather, plus I have work commitments in a few short hours. Stay tuned….
on: January 25, 2010, 08:38:36 PM
While Ghost Adventures were in the plague fields Zak decided to provoke using a long billed mask once worn by the doctors who determined who would be forcibly exiled to Poveglia Island. Among his prepared Italian phrases he asked the ghosts “Do you remember me?” No doubt they remembered as I heard a blue steak of condemnation aimed at Zak from the people whose ghosts roam the fields. I heard him called a “devil”, a “demon” a “murderer and “filth”. Zak asked the ghosts to show themselves. I heard a definite response of “Go to hell” along with an assortment of all purpose curses thrown at him. I should note I do not speak Italian, but the intent behind the words was enough for me to understand what was being said.
Aaron heard running footsteps behind him right before one of the teams infrared lights was knocked off it’s tripod. Nick heard running steps on the footbridge that covers the canal and leads in the plague fields. Zak thought the footsteps were running away from his crew, but I think it was the opposite. Ghosts were intentionally running toward the team and the infrared light was knocked over in revenge against the hated doctor(s) Zak had presented himself as. I also got the impression at this point that some of the women’s ghosts in the field were conferring to decide how to handle the provoking of the Ghost Adventures team. I guess the knocked over light and footsteps from different angles did the trick because the team left a night vision static camera in place and moved on. On their way out of the plague fields Zak noted the area was covered in tough, spiked plants that acted like natural barbed wire. Aaron got a good look at a spider and freaked out about it.
The team wandered into the building that held the infamous clock tower where the doctor who butchered his mental patients either jumped or was pushed off the tower to his death. Zak asked if anyone was there and requested they talk into the light of his running DVR. Zak then asked in Italian if the doctor had killed any of his patients. Nothing was picked up but I heard a response that was more chilling for it’s nonchalance when the doctor replied, “Of course. They were animals.”
Continuing with his provoking, Zak climbed partway up the clock tower ladder and challenged the late doctors ghost to throw him off, to make a noise, to “Do it!” An enhanced EVP caught a disembodied voice responding, “no”. The team left a looped tape of prerecorded questions spoken in Italian along with an EM pump and a running DVR. Twelve minutes after departure an old man’s voice said in a local Italian accent, “Come here… I am here.” This was confirmed later by Venice native Andrea Bassani. Apparently the EVP was a direct response to the question “The doctor and the nurse, have they beat you up?” Sadly I think a lot of gross abuses happened at the hands of medical staff on Poveglia especially in regards to the plague victims, condemned criminals and mental hospital patients.
There was a white mist and disembodied voices caught on camera in the hallway outside of the clock tower. It may have been an exterior corridor as it was somewhat overgrown with brush. I think the unclear disembodied voice EVP was saying, “Get them!” I had a strong image of soldiers chasing a a woman who was running away from them.
At this point the team split up. Amazingly Zak went back to the mental hospital “bad room” where he had been possessed earlier in the episode. Zak told any ghosts in the vicinity, “I bet you are thinking I am a brave little bastard for coming back here.” I heard the sardonic response, “Or a fool.” in a male voice. I think Zak caught part of this response with an EVP of an unexplained voice. Several times Zak’s camera showed a hole in the wall that seemed to lead into a tiled bathroom. My guides told me that space had been used both as an embalming room AND a bathroom over the course of the mental hospital’s active life. The room Zak was in was once used as a viewing room for the more prestigious of the hospitals dead.
Zak was on a roll and informed the ghosts around him, “You are a bastard!” in Italian. The unrecorded response was immediate, “So are you!” What Zak did record was a ten degree temperature increase as Zak shivered with cold. He caught an EVP of moaning and footsteps followed by a direct challenge, “Let’s fight!” Taking a slightly different tack Zak asked the ghosts around him, “Are you a murderer?” He got back an EVP interpreted as saying, “Hey” a moment before his camera stopped working. I thought the ghost was asking Zak to stay. However a garbled EVP of an unexplained voice contradicted that sentiment with a strong intention telling Zak to “Get out of here.” In both cases I was following the intent of the energy rather than the sounds captured on the EVP’s.
Zak made a comment that there was likely a crazy ghost behind him. He was right. I saw a balding man, perhaps in his 50’s dressed in silk red robes with gold embroidery. He was somehow connected to a past Doge. I think he was an administrator or perhaps a fact finder for his master. He was not a patient nor a criminal. Zak’s final EVP was caught by the static nigh vision camera he set up. Minutes after he walked away a mocking EVP was caught calling, “Bye bye”.
When Ghost Adventures split up Nick went back to the chapel inside the hospital and an adjoining room. That chapel was creepy. The first time Ghost Adventures walked into it I saw and heard desperate and miserable people coating the floor, pleading with God for deliverance, forgiveness, help and healing. It would have been impossible to walk across the floor, it was covered with begging bodies.
Almost as soon as he entered the chapel the batteries in his camera drained. Nick asked in Italian, “Do you need medicine?” I heard back, “Always.” Nick caught a male voice on EVP, but nothing discernable was recorded. The same ghost told me that Poveglia was often the last on the list for medicines and chronically short of badly needed supplies. Nick invited the ghosts around him to use his energy and they took up on it. A static camera left in the room outside the chapel recorded a black mist curling down from the ceiling. Zak’s voice over speculated that the mist was responsible for the sudden drain of power in Nick’s camera batteries. I agree. I got the most insolent smile from the dark thing behind the mist. The static camera also picked up an unexplained moan.
Nick’s static night vision camera picked up an EVP of an unexplained scream 53 minutes after he left the area. I saw a female patient who was about to be cut into as part of a medical experiment, sans painkiller or anesthesia. She cried out, “spare me”! Of course, nobody listened. She died on that “exam” table.
Aaron was given the task of retrieving one of the teams night vision cameras from the plague fields and setting it up in the notorious clock tower. Just as he made it back to collect the camera in the plague fields he heard something behind him. Once Aaron returned in the clock tower he attempted to ask in Italian, “Are there any spirits here?” He gave it up as a bad job and switched to English, probably to the relief of both viewers and ghosts. He repeatedly called out to Prestio and was obviously talking to the doctor whose life ended when he went over the edge of the clock tower. However I am not sure if Prestio (sp?) is a given name or a title. Aaron asked, “Prestio, is this where you jumped?” He caught an EVP of a disembodied voice. What I heard was, “No, no don’t push me!” I saw the butcher doctor pleading for his life at the top of the clock tower while being restrained and urged to the edge of the tower by three soldiers and two patients I think bore witness to the doctors atrocities. No need to bother the Doge with such a matter.
While provoking in the clock tower Aaron clearly heard something fall or was thrown off a table. He was spooked and tried to take comfort in his wicked looking machete telling his camera he would “F*** something up!” if it messed with him. The problem was he was dealing with beings without bodies. A machete only works on something that can be cut. This was made clear almost instantly when Aaron got another EVP with a disembodied voice followed by an unidentified noise.
The team met up and left Poveglia Island at first light. They took their evidence back to LA with them to get some input from Robert Davis and Ashely Blackwell of Planet Paranormal Investigations. Ghost Adventures shared some footage and garbled EVP’s from the plague fields. Robert agreed with Zak that the EVP while indistinguishable did sound like it had a watery sound to it. Zak confirmed there was water under the footbridge leading to the plague fields where the EVP was captured.
Zak’s possession was shared with Planet Paranormal and Robert noted that Zak’s body didn’t tense in a normal manner when he was taken over. Zak confirmed he wanted to kill Aaron at that moment. Moments of undue ghostly or spirit influence in past investigations in California and Georgia were briefly touched upon. Just as the Poveglia possesion was being discussed a set light tumbled off a nearby side table and hit the floor. Nobody was near it. Zak said a number of odd things had been happening every time he discussed his experiences, even back stateside or at home. Robert nailed it when he said Zak’s experience was a good teaching tool for novice investigators. This sort of thing can happen. I would add to Robert’s comment to always ground yourself and pull in divine protection before investigating any paranormal hot spot. Also set ground rules. Some of the ground rules I use in intensely haunted locations such as Poveglia or Waverly Hills are nobody can follow me off the grounds or home. I also stipulate that no more than two or three ghosts can talk to me at one time. This avoids being overwhelmed by swarms of ghosts or the dead clamoring for help or just to be heard. A few things to consider when you ghost hunt.
Lynne Olson can be contacted for private readings via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reply #8 on: January 26, 2010, 07:58:31 AM
I agree it seemed something had followed Zak home, but when I checked in with my guides to ask if anything else needed to be done I was told it was taken care of. It is my understanding Zak has access to clergy to assist with such things. Apparently the guy he consults knows what he is doing.
As Robert from Planet Paranormal commented in the episode it is important for fledgling investigators to know such things can happen. It is equally critical they know how to protect and ground themselves to prevent them from happening. Any ghost hunter can and I would suggest should set the intention nothing is allowed to follow them home from an investigation.
The government of Italy is prudent to not allow general public access to Poveglia Island. The sheer layers of misery from the centuries of horrific events is staggering. The only place that comes close to Poveglia in my experience thus far is the death tunnel at Waverly Hills and I would say Poveglia’s plauge fields are worse, hands down.
Lynne Olson can be contacted for private readings via email at: email@example.com
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