Located in the Venetian Lagoon, the uninhabited island of Poveglia has recently gained global renown as ‘the world’s most haunted island’. This article reconstructs how this ghost island narrative originated and began to circulate and analyses the social, cultural and geographical preconditions that fostered it. It also considers how such a narrative rebounded on the island, attracting believers in the paranormal and tourists interested in ghosts. The research presented here is based on qualitative methods, such as the critical reading of various texts (social media content, newspaper articles, blogs, videos, pieces of music and television programmes) and semi-structured interviews with some of the involved actors. Behind an apparently trivial island narrative, the ‘in betweenness’ of ghosts (intended as cultural objects able to activate an emotional sphere that goes beyond the rational understanding of places) allows for a reconceptualization of the discontinuities of time and space, the disconnection between vernacular and academic cultures and many classical dichotomies assigned to insular spaces. The case of Poveglia demonstrates how ghosts can shape not only the way island narratives are told but also the way islands are approached and practiced.

Located in the Venetian Lagoon, the uninhabited island of Poveglia has recently gained global renown as "the world's most haunted island". This article reconstructs how this ghost island narrative originated and began to circulate, and analyses the social, cultural and geographical preconditions that fostered it. It also considers how such a narrative rebounded on the island, attracting believers in the paranormal and tourists interested in ghosts. The research presented here is based on qualitative methods, such as the critical reading of various texts (social media content, newspaper articles, blogs, videos, pieces of music and television programmes) and semi-structured interviews with the involved actors. Behind an apparently trivial island narrative, the in-betweenness of ghosts (intended as cultural objects able to activate an emotional sphere that goes beyond the rational understanding of places) allows for a reconceptualisation of the discontinuities of time and space, the disconnection between vernacular and academic cultures and the classical dichotomies assigned to insular spaces. The case of Poveglia demonstrates how ghosts can shape not only the way island narratives are told, but also the way that islands are approached and practiced.

THE ‘WORLD’S MOST HAUNTED ISLAND’. Ghost narratives and practices around Poveglia, an abandoned island in the Venetian Lagoon.

Cavallo F. L.;Visentin F.
2020

Abstract

Located in the Venetian Lagoon, the uninhabited island of Poveglia has recently gained global renown as ‘the world’s most haunted island’. This article reconstructs how this ghost island narrative originated and began to circulate and analyses the social, cultural and geographical preconditions that fostered it. It also considers how such a narrative rebounded on the island, attracting believers in the paranormal and tourists interested in ghosts. The research presented here is based on qualitative methods, such as the critical reading of various texts (social media content, newspaper articles, blogs, videos, pieces of music and television programmes) and semi-structured interviews with some of the involved actors. Behind an apparently trivial island narrative, the ‘in betweenness’ of ghosts (intended as cultural objects able to activate an emotional sphere that goes beyond the rational understanding of places) allows for a reconceptualization of the discontinuities of time and space, the disconnection between vernacular and academic cultures and many classical dichotomies assigned to insular spaces. The case of Poveglia demonstrates how ghosts can shape not only the way island narratives are told but also the way islands are approached and practiced.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10278/3715450
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