Author Guest Post

{Guest Post} AUTHOR J.H. Moncrieff on Visiting the Island of Poveglia

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. 

View of the Tower from the Outside

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. 

Missing Stairs and Graffiti

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. 

Stairs to Doctor’s Tower

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? 

Memorial stone on the island that warns that “those who lay here died of contagion”.

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.

To get free ebooks and a new spooky story every week, go to


I am an avid reader/reviewer and collector of books--primarily horror, supernatural, and supernatural-themed thrillers.


  • Jim Edwards

    The Girl Who Talks To Ghosts by J.H.Moncrieff is a brilliant read! I couldn’t put it down when I started reading it.
    Set on the island of Povelglia a short distance from Venice it is a spell binding tale of the supernatural based around a real place and real events. Her description of the short time she spent there is unnerving!

  • J.H. Moncrieff

    Thanks so much, Jim and Susan! You, as always, ROCK.

    Rod, technically you’re not allowed to visit Poveglia. The site has been condemned and there are many warning signs. No tours or water buses go there, so you have to take a water taxi, and it’s not cheap. It is also privately owned, so I’m not sure how the owner feels about people visiting “his” island, but as far as I know, he’s never there.

  • Kimberly


    I think if I went I would HAVE to see it at any cost….. (says the girl who has a graveyard fence enclosing part of her backyard . . . )

  • Oliver

    Thank you, I’ve just been looking for info approximately this subject for ages and yours is the best I have discovered so far.
    But, what in regards to the conclusion? Are you positive about
    the source?

    • J.H. Moncrieff

      Hi Oliver,

      Thanks for your comment, but can you please clarify what you’re asking? Are you referring to the source of the sound described at the end of the article? In that case, no, I can’t be sure of what caused it. It could have been many things–the timing was just interesting.

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