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Into dark tourism? Here are some of Malta’s spookiest sites
Into dark tourism? Here are some of Malta’s spookiest sites

Francesca Xuereb

Whether you’re into paranormal activity, or you just have a fascination with dark tourism, Malta’s got many spooky sites you can visit.

From creepy abandoned houses to historical sites and hauntings – we’ve rounded up some of the most popular sites and stories from around the Maltese islands.

With that being said, take your pick!

Villa San Souci – Marsaxlokk

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Designed and constructed by Prof Salvatore Luigi Pisani in the 1870s, this villa served as his residence until his death in 1908.

Pisani’s heirs later used the villa as their summer residence, before using it as a guest house in the 1930s. They sold the property to the Royal Air Force 1940 so it could be used as a base.

Unfortunately, the site was later abandoned and became subject to vandalism and looting. Now, it is known as Malta’s most haunted house due to its reputation for paranormal activity and ghost stories.

Splendid Hotel – Valletta

Originally a brothel in Valletta’s Strait Street, this hotel closed its doors in the late 1960s following a murder that took place on the premises.

One night, an argument broke out between an escort and her client in their room upstairs, leading to the client stabbing her to death. As one of the most haunted places in Malta, her spirit is believed to still roam around the deserted hotel, tossing furniture around.

Despite rumours of this ghostly presence, the Splendid is now used for art exhibitions and other events.

Ir-Razzett tax-Xjaten – Mellieħa

This spot, known in English as The Devil’s Farmhouse, was built in the 18th century during the rule of the Knights of Malta, who would use it as a horse stable and horse-riding school.

However, according to Maltese legend, this property was built by the devil (or multiple evil spirits) in one day on a full moon or three days – depending on which version you hear. This is where its name comes from.

Despite this legend, the only thing that’s ‘demonic’ about the property itself is its two enclosed staircases that lead to the stable’s roof – with many suggesting that they resemble two horns.

There are many stories surrounding the farmhouse. For example, some locals have allegedly heard noises coming from diabolical creatures at night during a full moon – while some have even heard classical music…

Myths and legends aside, Ir-Razzett tax-Xjaten is a Grade One National Monument due to its architectural and historical significance. This means that while a property’s damaged parts can be reconstructed, it is protected from being demolished, altered, or further developed. The building is also part of the National Inventory of the Cultural Property of the Maltese Islands.

Secret Passageway in St Gregory’s – Żejtun

This secret passageway was discovered in the 1960s under the St Catherine Parish Church in the limits of Żejtun. The contents of this passageway undoubtedly scared the people who found it, for it contained an alarming number of human bones!

The original Żejtun Parish Church, now known as St Gregory’s, is one of the first ten parishes in Malta – having been listed all the way back in 1436!

But the question still stands – why is this passage full of bones?

According to local legends, these people were buried alive while in hiding during the 1614 Ottoman Siege of Żejtun, and the story can be traced back to a ballad written by Walter Zahra following the discovery of this passage.

While studies carried out in 1978 confirmed that the bones were actually exhumed and probably moved to the site from a cemetery, they also discovered that these people had all died around the same time.

This brought up more questions: Were they killed during the siege and brought there later? Why bring them up to the passageway in the first place?

If that wasn’t puzzling enough, there were several objects buried with the bones, such as a wooden shoe, a Byzantine cross, and even some pottery and coins!

Also found in this passageway was some graffiti with the initials VA and CZ – and dated 19/02/09. This was traced to Carmelo Zahra, who later confessed that he had entered the passage as a child before it was officially discovered. Zahra wasn’t alone, and he claims that those who accompanied him stole several objects from the site, such as soldiers’ uniforms, weapons, and flags.

The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum – Paola

The Ħal Saflieni Hypogeum is the oldest underground temple in the world, and it was first discovered in 1902 by Emmanuel Magri. Four years later, Sir Temi Zammit took over the excavation works until 1911.

Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Hypogeum use to serve as a burial ground for around 7,000 people!

The site is a complex of interconnected chambers, spread across three levels. The upper level is the oldest one, cut into a small natural cave at around 4,000 BCE – or even earlier! It’s mostly hollow with burial chambers on all sides. This level is thought to have been previously exposed to the sky, and excavations taking place in the 1990s indicated that there may have been a monumental structure at its entrance.

The next two levels – middle and lower – were built centuries after the upper one, between 3,000 and 2,500 BCE.

The middle level is where one can find the most well-known features of the site, such as the red ochre wall paintings and carvings. It’s made up of many rooms, such as the main chamber, the Oracle Room, the Decorated Room, and the Holy of Holies.

The lower level contained nothing but water, which suggests that it probably served as storage.

Since the temple has been open to visitors since 1908, the humidity and temperature levels of all those people proved to be detrimental to the site’s microclimate – making it difficult to preserve the temple and its red ochre paintings.

In order to prevent further damage, the temple was closed for a conservation operation to take place between 1990 and 2000. After that, an environmental control system was put in place, along with a strict 10-persons-per-hour policy, applicable for up to 8 hours a day.

Telgħa t’Alla u Ommu – Naxxar

This steep hill on the outskirts of Naxxar has its very own ghost story. Many are said to have seen a teenage girl stumbling along this road, trying to flag down anyone driving past.

Drivers had two choices: either stop to assist her, or just keep driving. Those who were charitable enough to help her would be puzzled to see that she had vanished by the time they stopped to pick her up. Anyone who chose to ignore her would get quite the fright – as when they would look in the rear-view mirror, they’d find her sitting in their car’s back seat!

Because of this story, many understandably find this road to be quite creepy at night.

Verdala Palace – Siġġiewi

Verdala Palace, the President’s official summer residence, was built in 1586 during the reign of Hugues Loubenx de Verdalle, the 51st Grand Master of Malta. The palace is said to be haunted by a spirit known as the Blue Lady.

The story behind the Blue Lady is that she was the niece of the 70th Grand Master, Emmanuel de Rohan-Polduc. She was arranged to marry a suitor that she did not like and was locked in her room after she rejected him. In desperation, she tried to escape through her window, but ended up falling to her death.

Since then, she is said to appear all over the palace, wearing her blue dress. Most notably, the then-Governor of Malta Field Marshal Lord Methuen, offered her old room to his guest, Howard Jones. Jones then asked the Governor about a young lady in blue that he kept seeing in the mirror. It is said that other members of staff had also seen the Blue Lady.

More recently, many visitors claim to see the ghost’s reflection in mirrors or on the edge of the palace’s balconies. Attendees of the annual August Moon Ball, which is held at the palace, have also allegedly seen her on numerous occasions.

Manoel Theatre – Valletta

Built in 1732, this iconic theatre is the third-oldest functioning theatre in all of Europe!

And like any old building, the Manoel Theatre has reportedly witnessed its fair share of paranormal happenings. Actors and audience members alike have seen and heard fog coming from Box One, slamming doors, shadowed figures, and even a woman singing lullabies.

One notable spirit is Rita, who is said to have fallen to her death from one of the theatre’s balconies while trying to save her infant daughter from a stranger. Others have said that the woman singing lullabies could be the voice of the mistress of Grand Master de Vilhena, who built the Manoel Theatre.

Have you experienced anything strange at these sites?

 Malta Unwrapped/Facebook, Kappa Vision/Facebook, Ghost Hunters Malta/Facebook 

18th September 2022


Francesca Xuereb
Written by
Francesca Xuereb
Equipped with puns and references galore, Francesca is a writer who's interested in almost anything and everything. When not creating or consuming memes, she can probably be found listening to music, playing video games, reading, and going down endless Internet rabbit holes.

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