Graveyard Shift

Ghosts And Hauntings Connected To The Black Plague 

Erin Wisti
Updated March 27, 2020 30.4k views 11 items

The oozing sores. The black spots. The staggeringly high number of fatalities. Any paranormal enthusiasts will tell you that trauma causes spirits to linger on Earth - and few episodes in history were as traumatic as the years of the black death. The horrific disease swept through Asia and Europe in the 14th century, felling as many as 200 million people along the way. It's no wonder that black plague ghost stories are still shared in hushed whispers.

Any brave souls seeking haunted black plague locations don't have to look far. Churches, tunnels, and even entire towns where people perished are rumored to bear the paranormal mark of the disease. And the spirits themselves aren't exactly secretive - ghosts from this time supposedly often appear frightened, weeping, and wailing. Visitors to notorious sites, like the island of Poveglia, report how they can feel the pain of the past. These stories are a tragic reminder of that dark time.

A Ghostly Girl Still Weeps For Her Parents
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Photo: Giuseppe Crespi/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

The British city of York has been called one of the most haunted cities in Europe. According to one tale, a family moved into a house, and began to hear crying in the hallways. They couldn't locate the source, but the sound filled them with feelings of sadness and regret.

Later, they learned a little girl had died in the house. After her parents succumbed to the disease, villagers feared she had become infected. In truth, she was healthy - but that didn't stop the masses from locking her up with her parents’ corpses. The girl slowly starved, alone, and seemingly continues to weep for her tragic fate today.

Visitors To Poveglia Feel Like They're Being Watched
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Photo:  Wellcome Images/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 4.0

Poveglia is an island in northern Italy that once served as the final destination for victims of the black plague. During the outbreak, sufferers were hastily transferred to the island to prevent the disease from spreading. While it is unclear how many people perished on Poveglia, the topsoil is rumored to be 50% human ash.

Visitors to Poveglia have come back with some chilling tales. People have described feeling the overwhelming sense of being watched as soon as they step foot on the island. They also claim to have felt invisible hands scratching them, and say they've been pushed into walls by unseen entities. Needless to say, a visit to Poveglia is not for the easily frightened.

A Spectral Figure Haunts A London Tunnel
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Photo: Unknown/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

A tunnel running between the London districts of Knightbridge and South Kensington weaves past the mass grave of 17th century plague victims. Needless to say, this is a prime location for ghost hunters. In June of 2016, a man caught what appears to be a ghostly apparition on camera leaning over the tracks near the Knightsbridge station.

While this could simply be a trick of the light, believers consider this evidence that spirits remain near their bodies' final resting place.

A Cruel Doctor Was Driven Mad By Plague Ghosts
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Photo: Arnold Böcklin/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Italy's Poveglia Island was once a dumping ground for plague victims. But even after that gruesome practice ended, the dark history of Poveglia was not over. The Public Health Office began using the island as a place to house the mentally ill in the 1920s. Patients were kept in inhumane conditions, and were subject to unauthorized and often unethical medical testing. They also reported seeing ghosts and hearing unexplained wailing.

According to local legend, one particularly twisted doctor used these ghost sightings as a justification to preform grisly lobotomies on patients. In one small glimmer of justice, vengeful spirits allegedly harassed the doctor until he was driven to throw himself off a building.

The asylum was closed in 1968.