In a bid to reduce the country's public debt, Italian officials are putting up for auction the island of Poveglia. It's beautiful, it's minutes from Venice, and it's also considered one of the most haunted places in the world.

Just how bad is Poveglia's history? Besides serving as the final resting place for an estimated 160,000 plague victims (legend has it that so many people were burned and buried there that the soil is 50% human ash), the island also played host in the 20th century to a hospital for the mentally ill and elderly. Like something out of a season of "American Horror Story," rumors say crude experiments were carried out on patients; including botched lobotomies. The head doctor later launched himself from the hospital tower after claiming "he'd been driven mad by ghosts." It's easy to see why Poveglia has caught the attention of such paranormal reality shows such as "Ghost Adventures" and "Scariest Places on Earth."

"We were only able to spend one day and night in the hospital, but we could investigate the Island itself (which is a lot of flat plains ) for 3 days," wrote one visitor to Poveglia. "The group actually did find some human remains in a field, but nothing else exciting to say the least. If anything the experience was good. I do not get chilled easily at all, however the psychiatric hospital has a very unique feel too it. Creepy, cold, dark, dank yet much solitude."

Spooky stories aside, Italian officials are offering up a 99-year lease of the island, hopeful that a buyer will transform the former hospital into a luxury hotel. 

You can a view a tour of the island by boat below. 

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.

World's 'most haunted island' to be auctioned
Venetian island of Poveglia comes with 17 acres, an abandoned mental hospital, and a disturbing history.