Writing Greenwood Tree – and more

Haunted Venice?

Venice has often seemed strangely empty of phantoms to me; there used to be ghost tours but these I believe faded with time. I

certainly haven’t seen their posters in a long while.

Yet talk to those who work in old buildings …

There is one shop in Venice, filled with beautiful fabrics and silk lanterns; its large windows offer glowing, vibrant colours of the velvet and silk items displayed within – with prices to match. It commands a restrained presence on a busy tourist thorough-fare, more suggestive of pragmatic commerce than spooks and spirits. And yet …

A quiet day, off-season, very few people about and ‘Clara’ was on her own.

So she thought.

It started with the sensation of somebody standing behind her. Turn and turn again as she might, there was never anyone visible. But the presence was very strong, and, she said, definitely male. What made her think that? The smell of tobacco, for one thing.  Not from a cigarette, either. That sweetish smell of a pipe being smoked.

Again she turned to see who else was in the shop, and again, there was nobody to be seen.

She shrugged it off as imagination and set to work sorting out one of the cupboards.

‘There wasn’t a breath of air,’ she said, ‘a warm day, too, and I had a pile of cushions to store away. I was sorting the things, still trying to ignore the sensation of somebody standing behind me when puff! There was a breath on my cheek – quite distinct. Made me turn round pretty sharpish – but not a soul to be seen. That shook me. I couldn’t wait to finish that day, I can tell you.’

Later on, (there always is a ‘later on’) she discovered others working in the shop have had similar experiences. Guesswork suggests the original owner from when the company started up in the 1900s. Then there is a female presence on the fourth floor – nobody cares to venture up there alone after dark, and one of them always makes sure to ‘greet’ the presence on entering the room ‘otherwise she plays tricks’ – such as moving or hiding objects.

Can all this be put down to imagination, an overly sensitive reaction to the suggestive force of an old building? These might perhaps be termed urban or contemporary myths; I am only puzzled not to have encountered many more. There is for example a house in Cannaregio whose inhabitant claims two presences are often to be seen: one human height, the other small (she thinks it might be a cat); her dog often refuses to go indoors, apparently sensing something not quite right within. Awkward if it’s raining, I should think.Walkies takes on a whole other aspect then …

Venice, Italy

Venice haunted ? or haunting ….

More ‘classical’ ghost tales and legends dating from the time of the Republic, can be found collected together in a smart little volume by Alberto Toso Fei : Venetian Legends and ghost stories

( TosoFei  Mysterious Venice on Youtube)




17 responses

  1. P.S. For those looking for some Halloween tales: two novella newcomers are available on Amazon: V.R.Christensen’s Blind & B.Lloyd’s Ungentle Sleep …Happy Haunting ! 🙂

    October 31, 2012 at 6:07 pm

  2. Great post! We all seem to love houses and buildings with ‘history.’ Perhaps they have more lingering ‘history’ than we’d like at times!

    November 1, 2012 at 1:07 am

    • Thank you, most kind. Yes, indeed; if houses do act as ‘recording machines’, it must get quite crowded in the phantom world! Thanks for popping by – I liked your post too, will be back!

      November 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm

  3. Great post.

    I’ve never been to Venice but after watching horror film Don’t Look Now I think I might find it somewhat intimidating.

    November 1, 2012 at 5:33 am

    • 🙂 Thanks for popping by. If you ever the opportunity to get to Venice, you may find it full of surprises; it can be almost surreal at times ! But to my mind, perhaps more atmospheric than intimidating …

      November 1, 2012 at 9:45 am

  4. candylittle

    If I ever get to Venice I will just stay away from that shop!! Very spooky story.

    November 1, 2012 at 11:56 am

    • 😉 Might be hard to resist, it can look so opulent …. 😀
      Thanks for popping by and .. Happy Haunting!

      November 1, 2012 at 3:57 pm

  5. Only time I’ve been to Venice – one very hot summer. I was put off by the stench of death from the water. Dead cats, pigeons, the odd rat or two, and probably, if I’d looked closely…
    Wonderful post. I don’t recall seeing the shop you mention, but many years since I went.

    November 1, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    • Thank you, glad you enjoyed it, thanks for popping by!

      November 1, 2012 at 3:59 pm

  6. I love these sort of stories even though I’d hate to experience something similar. Thoroughly enjoyed.

    November 2, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    • Aw, thanks for popping by as always! Got any anecdotes you can share with us ? 🙂

      November 2, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      • I was walking in the grounds of Rievaulx Abbey in North Yorkshire when I noticed in the distance a man watching me from one of the ruined windows. For some reason it made me self-conscious and I looked away. When I looked back a second later – yes, you’ve guessed it – he’d gone. The odd thing was, I’m so short-sighted, I shouldn’t have been able to make him out since I wasn’t wearing my glasses, yet he was as clear as day, with ruddy complexion and nearly black hair cut in a fringe. Odder still, as I realised when I reached the room where he’d been standing, he was completely out of scale – maybe twice the size of an ordinary man. Strangely, the room was the infirmary.

        November 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm

      • Now that is a stunner of an anecdote – brrrrr! How very curious. By ruined window I imagine you mean there was no question of glass panes creating an illusion…echoes of Turn of a Screw, when the governess spots Quint at the top of the tower …. wuuuuuuhuuuuuuuuuuuuuu….. (exits to murmuring wind and banshee laments…..) 🙂

        November 6, 2012 at 8:33 pm

  7. Venice is an old and alluringly beautiful place to visit. I’m sure there are a few ghosts wondering around. Enjoyed the post!!

    November 4, 2012 at 5:22 am

    • That’s great you enjoyed; thanks for popping by! 🙂 (Yes, surely there are a few phantoms waiting in the wings; perhaps they have been frightened off by tourists! :D)

      November 4, 2012 at 3:54 pm

  8. Thanks for this. I’ve always wanted to go to Venice and this has definitely given me a new perspective. Thanks for taking part!

    November 4, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    • thank you for dropping in – it was fun to do ! 🙂

      November 4, 2012 at 3:54 pm

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