“The ghost was me!” says Giuseppe Negri, who grew up at Villa de Vecchi.
IN THE FOOTHILLS OF CORTENOVA, Italy, the mansion known as Villa de Vecchi sits crumbling, covered in graffiti. It dates back to the 1850s, when it was built to serve as a summer residence for Count Felix de Vecchi, the nobleman and decorated war hero. The count and his family ultimately met tragic ends, or so the story goes, but it wasn’t until the 20th century that the property solidified its reputation as a “Ghost Mansion,” (it’s also sometimes referred to as the “Red House” or “The House of Witches”).
In the 1920s, the occultist Aleister Crowley allegedly spent a few nights at Villa de Vecchi, leading to widespread rumors of ritualistic orgies and animal (and perhaps even human?) sacrifices. By the 1960s, the entire property was left permanently uninhabited.
Giuseppe Negri’s family were caretakers of the property for multiple generations. As he explains to Atlas Obscura in the video above, Negri and his brother-in-law sometimes dressed up as ghosts at night to scare off trespassers, which may help explain why rumors of paranormal activity at the mansion persist to this day.