The stories of Poveglia's haunted past started in the 16th century when the island was used to quarantine those afflicted with the bubonic plague. People sick with the plague were sent there to be burned or just to isolate them to avoid further outbreak.
Hundreds of years later, the hospital was turned into an insane asylum where the head doctor allegedly tortured his patients and performed unnecessary lobotomies until he pitched himself off the tower of the asylum.
The cast of "Ghost Adventures" on the Travel Channel visited the island for a show once and one of the people exploring the old asylum claims he was possessed by the ghosts that still haunt the island as he banged the wall on camera.
Venetians, understandably, think the place is evil, but the Italian government has still decided to put it up for auction in hopes of reducing its national debt.