The Truth Behind Italy's Abandoned 'Ghost Mansion'

YouTube/Atlas Obscura
YouTube/Atlas Obscura

The forests east of Lake Como, Italy, are home to a foreboding ruin. Some call it the Casa Delle Streghe (House of Witches), or the Red House, after the patches of rust-colored paint that still coat parts of the exterior. Its most common nickname, however, is the Ghost Mansion.

Since its construction in the 1850s, the mansion—officially known as the Villa De Vecchi—has reportedly been the site of a string of tragedies, including the murder of the family of the Italian count who built it, as well as the count's suicide. It's also said that everyone's favorite occultist, Aleister Crowley, visited in the 1920s, leading to a succession of satanic rituals and orgies. By the 1960s, the mansion was abandoned, and since then both nature and vandals have helped the house fall into dangerous decay. The only permanent residents are said to be a small army of ghosts, who especially love to play the mansion's piano at night—even though it's long since been smashed to bits.

The intrepid explorers of Atlas Obscura recently visited the mansion and interviewed Giuseppe Negri, whose grandfather and great-grandfather were gardeners there. See what he thinks of the legends, and the reality behind the mansion, in the video below.

Wayfair’s Fourth of July Clearance Sale Takes Up to 60 Percent Off Grills and Outdoor Furniture

Wayfair/Weber
Wayfair/Weber

This Fourth of July, Wayfair is making sure you can turn your backyard into an oasis while keeping your bank account intact with a clearance sale that features savings of up to 60 percent on essentials like chairs, hammocks, games, and grills. Take a look at some of the highlights below.

Outdoor Furniture

Brisbane bench from Wayfair
Brisbane/Wayfair

- Jericho 9-Foot Market Umbrella $92 (Save 15 percent)
- Woodstock Patio Chairs (Set of Two) $310 (Save 54 percent)
- Brisbane Wooden Storage Bench $243 (Save 62 percent)
- Kordell Nine-Piece Rattan Sectional Seating Group with Cushions $1800 (Save 27 percent)
- Nelsonville 12-Piece Multiple Chairs Seating Group $1860 (Save 56 percent)
- Collingswood Three-Piece Seating Group with Cushions $410 (Save 33 percent)

Grills and Accessories

Dyna-Glo electric smoker.
Dyna-Glo/Wayfair

- Spirit® II E-310 Gas Grill $479 (Save 17 percent)
- Portable Three-Burner Propane Gas Grill $104 (Save 20 percent)
- Digital Bluetooth Electric Smoker $224 (Save 25 percent)
- Cuisinart Grilling Tool Set $38 (Save 5 percent)

Outdoor games

American flag cornhole game.
GoSports

- American Flag Cornhole Board $57 (Save 19 percent)
- Giant Four in a Row Game $30 (Save 6 percent)
- Giant Jenga Game $119 (Save 30 percent)

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A Luxurious Private Island in Fiji Is Heading to Auction

Platinum Luxury Auctions
Platinum Luxury Auctions

There may be less expensive ways to get away from it all, but few are as luxurious as owning your own private island. Soon that dream will become a reality for someone with money to spend on real estate. According to Robb Report, Mai Island off the coast of Fiji is headed to auction.

Mai Island is the picture of isolation. To get there by boat, visitors must take a 90-minute trip from the neighboring island of Vanua Levu. The only other ways to access the island are by helicopter or seaplane.

The secluded location offers plenty to anyone willing to make the trek there. On the southwest side, there's a quarter-mile of sandy beach, and on the opposite end, there's a deep-water anchorage perfect for parking mega-yachts. The 32-acre island also features waterfalls, 300-year-old ruins, and a freshwater lake pristine enough to supply water to the mainland.

After a day of lounging by the ocean, residents can retreat to the cozy one-bedroom villa with its own spacious deck. There are also two separate cottages for any staff members on the island.

When Platinum Luxury Auctions sells Mai Island on Saturday, July 25, it will be one of the rare Fijian properties available for buyers residing outside the island chain to purchase outright. This auction doesn't list a minimum price, but it will likely garner some high bids. Recently, sellers listed the island at $4.2 million.

Villa on private island.

Private island in Fiji.

Beach on private island.

[h/t Robb Report]