With Halloween just around the corner, the ghost stories run rampant. The cinemas are jam packed with ghost movies at this time of year, but what about our own back yard? Malta is mostly bright and full of sunshine – not quite the setting you would picture for a ghost story – however there is a darker side to this holiday destination. These are some of Malta’s most infamous tales of horror.
The Prostitute at the Splendid Hotel
Valletta is full of ghost stories. This one takes place at the Splendid Hotel, originally a brothel in Strait Street. The story goes that one evening a prostitute was having an argument with one of her patrons who eventually murdered her in the bathroom of the first floor. Her spirit is said to still roam the empty corridors, where she sometimes violently hurls furniture across the room when her soul is restless
The Teenage Girl at Telgha t’Alla w’Ommu
Keeping out of haunted buildings will not necessarily spare you from Malta’s ghosts. Drivers travelling along Telgha t’Alla w’Ommu have reported seeing a teenage girl flagging down cars for help. Anyone who ever got out of the car to try and help her reported the girl disappearing into thin air. Drivers with less of a Good Samaritan gene have been in for more of a shock. As they drive by, they think they’re in the clear, only to look into their rear view mirror to find the girl sitting in the back seat.
The Priest at Mdina Cathedral
Mdina is just the place for ghost stories. Fortified by the Phoenicians around 700 BC, Mdina has seen its fair share of battles and death, so stories of lost souls wandering her narrow, meandering streets are to be expected. Perhaps the most famous of these stories takes place at the cathedral, where a congregation attending 5am mass, as well as the sacristan, noticed something strange about the priest who had said mass there for years. The same thing happened the following day. On the third day the sacristan met a friend who told him that the old priest had died four nights before. It is said that the old priest was allowed to continue saying mass until a replacement was found.
The Headless Bride of Mdina
Legend has it that a girl called Katerina was attacked by a knight, who she managed to kill. She was sentenced to death for her crimes, though not before she was allowed to marry. Many who take photos in Mdina claim there is an intruder – a headless woman, wearing a bridal gown. It is also said that she appears to widowers and brokenhearted men, encouraging them to give up on love and join her in death.
The Black Knight at Manoel Island
Malta has it’s own tale of the dark night. And this one does not feature Batman in any shape or form. The dark knight is said to watch over the bastions of Manoel Island, wearing a full set of armour and regalia of the order of St John, supervising themen working on the restoration of the island after World War I. Some workmen speculated that the Black Knight was Grandmaster Manoel de Vilhena himself as they had seen the portrait that still hangs in the President’s Palace. The knight left the workmen in peace when a crypt beneath the chapel was restored after being vandalised. In 1980 the Black Knight made a re-appearance, when, it was found, that the same crypt had been vandalised again.
Villa Sans Souci, Marsaxlokk
An abandoned villa on the top of a hill makes for the perfect setting for a ghost story. All that’s missing is the howling wind and bolt of lightning. Such is the backdrop for the story of Villa Sans Souci in Marsaxlokk. Built by Professor Salvatore Luigi Pisani as his own residence in the 1870s, the house was later used as a hotel in the 1910s. Though the reason this house is haunted remains largely unknown, it appears to be one of Malta’s most haunted locations. Noises can be heard coming from inside the building and anyone who enters claims a sense of dread overcomes them as soon as they enter the building.
The Blue Lady of Verdala
The niece of Grandmaster de Rohan was promised to a man she did not love. When her suitor discovered she was unattracted to him, he locked her up in her room. After a time of imprisonment she tried to escape from the window, falling to her death. Since then she has been seen roaming around the gardens in the iconic blue dress that she wearing at the time of her death. If you happen to catch a glimpse of a mirror at the Palace, the Blue Lady often shows herself in the reflection. Attendees of the August Moon Ball that takes place at Verdala Palace every summer have confirmed that the Blue Lady really does haunt these grounds.
The Sisters of St Ursula Street
When Malta was under British rule, two drunk sailors met a beautiful woman wandering the streets late at night. She convinced them to accompany her home in St Ursula Street and, as she had forgotten her key inside, help her open the door. They were stunned by her ornate home and stayed a while, though eventually grew weary and left. Walking home one of the sailors realised he had left a silver cigarette case behind and made up his mind to go back to the house in the morning. He was horrified to see that the Blue Dolphin House, where they were the night before, was dilapidated and neighbours said the house was not lived in by anyone of flesh and blood, but is haunted by two sisters and neighbours often see it lit from the inside.
© 2017 – VIDA Magazine – Rachel Zammit Cutajar