Author J.H. Moncrieff talks about her visit to the island of Poveglia, rumored to be the most haunted island in the world, and scene for her novel THE GIRL WHO TALKS TO GHOSTS.
“You realize you are alone on this island.”
Those were the only words the water-taxi driver said before dropping me off on the desolate shores of Poveglia, a little island off the coast of Venice that is rumoured to be the world’s most haunted.
As the forbidding tower of Poveglia first came into view, I was excited, but by the time I climbed out of the water taxi, I was feeling something different.
I didn’t have a chance to reply to the driver before the skies opened up, unleashing a torrential downpour. There was no time to debate whether or not it was a good idea to go inside one of the condemned buildings. I had no choice but to make a run for it.
Part of the ceiling was missing, and as the water hit rusting metal contraptions many decades old, it very much felt like I wasn’t alone. I told myself it was just the rain. And the wind. And the angry lagoon, slapping at the shore.
Whether it was my imagination or not, I noticed certain places on the island bothered me more than others. The asylum unnerved me. I forced myself to explore it as much as I could, although a lot of the rooms were pitch black and I hadn’t thought to bring a flashlight. All I had was my camera’s flash, and I couldn’t help but think of those scary movies where a flash reveals something horrible looming out of the darkness.
The tower where the mad doctor had met his death was another location that made me extremely uncomfortable. Looking up through the gloom at the rusted metal ladder, I was grateful the tower’s windows were bricked up, making the climb pointless.
Near the end of my visit, when I knew my trusty water taxi was already on its way back, I felt brave enough to speak to the ghosts of Poveglia.
“Hello?” I said, stupidly, before remembering I was addressing Italian-speaking phantoms.
As soon as I repeated the greeting in Italian, there was a noise from the next room. Was it something falling or shifting? The building settling? Or was the soft-yet-deliberate thud something’s attempt to communicate?
I decided spending the last ten minutes outside on the shore was a fantastic idea. I’ve never felt as terrified in my life as I was during those two and a half hours on Poveglia.
About The Author
About J.H. Moncrieff
J.H. Moncrieff’s City of Ghosts won the 2018 Kindle Book Review Award for best Horror/Suspense.
Her work has been described by reviewers as early Gillian Flynn with a little Ray Bradbury and Stephen King thrown in for good measure.
She won Harlequin’s search for “the next Gillian Flynn” in 2016. Her first published novella, The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave, was featured in Samhain’s Childhood Fears collection and stayed on its horror bestsellers list for over a year.
When not writing, she loves exploring the world’s most haunted places, advocating for animal rights, and summoning her inner ninja in muay thai class.
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