Travelling to places to visit sites or partake in events associated with death and the macabre has been carried out by tourists since the eleventh century; this has been given the title ‘dark tourism’.
So, what is it about places of death or calamity that attract flocks of tourists each year? Is it the holistic view that dark tourists visit these sites as a way of remembering a tragedy or to better educate themselves. Or is it that we simply like to be thrilled and entertained?
What ever the reason may be, what better time to throw yourself into dark tourism than Halloween? Here are a variety of destinations around the world where you can do just that.
Poveglia Island – Venetian Lagoon, Northern Italy
Poveglia Island is 1 of 118 islets surrounding the Venetian Lagoon. It has long been described as one of the most haunted places in the world, with many tales suggesting that the Venetians are too superstitious to take anyone there.
Its history is unnerving, stories discuss Poveglia’s role as a quarantine island for victims of the plague and there are many rumours of doctors performing unsolicited experiments.
Venice had very strict sanction laws and those who were sick or even merely suspected, were rounded up and taken to the island. According to historical estimates, as many as 150,000 people died here and countless of those were buried on the island.
In 2014, Mike Deere, a photographer from Reading paid a local fisherman a hefty price to take him to the island. The local agreed to do so, agreeing to transport him and pick him up. However, he refused to stay on the island whilst Mike captured his photographs. According to sources, Mike described his time on the island by saying, “beyond the initial landing point, the natural decay has an unrivalled purity to it that I've never seen anywhere else. Although, I'm not going to forget the soil composition of the burning grounds in a hurry”.