Home

Home ] Tours ] Speeches ] Books ] Schools ] Supernatural ] Festival ] Career Highlights ] Contact Us ] Links ]

Malcolm Hanson - Skipton tourist guide

Malcolm Hanson

 

 

Web Design by

This web site is best viewed in 1024 x 768 screen resolution

 

Forward by Malcolm Hanson

Malta is a fantastic place to visit. It has it all: great sun, great beaches, great history, and great ghosts! Concerning the latter, however, the Island didn't make much of a hubbub about them. I found only three books that dealt with the subject, though thankfully, it was enough for my needs. A month spent there in December 2005, walking the Island and immersing myself in its history and fables gave me plenty of inspiration to come up with a world first: a do-it-yourself ghost walk in book form! 

Why? Well, I love ghosts - I've walked with them all my life and it just seems that wherever I go they follow me around. In fact, when I first went to Malta the whole idea was to have a holiday away from them! But then, try walking the back streets of Valletta or Mdina at night - the feeling that you are not alone is very prominent. And when that happens, then for me there is only one thing to do - create a ghost walk. Only this time the ghost walk takes place within a book..

The book is easy to follow. It will guide you to the start of the walk, then it will take you off on a journey through the darkest streets and alleyways of the city of Valletta . There's a bevy of female spooks, animal spooks, religious spooks, and - at the end - of all things, a VAMPIRE!

Get yout teeth into it - before he gets his into you!

.A little Taster...

Continue along Saint Barbara Bastion, and up ahead you will see the floodlit Lower Barrakka Gardens beyond the Castile Curtain. If you have not left it too late they should still be open. Make your way to the gate.

Lower Barrakka Gardens can be pretty spooky at night; particularly when viewing Captain Alexander Ball’s sepulchral monument – the first of its kind to be erected in a public place, and not, since ancient times, in a church setting. (Captain Ball was a Governor of Malta, who in 1800 led the siege against the French, subsequently becoming the first British Civil Commissioner for Malta. Strangely enough, we have those very same Frenchies he kicked out to thank for cultivating the gardens between 1798 and 1800!)

This type of structure – built in the Neo-Classical style – was introduced by the British to reflect their Imperial glory; others soon followed: the portico of the old University and the main guard in palace square; the exedra in Fort St. Elmo; the folly at Villa Frere, and the sepulchral monuments in Upper Barrakka Gardens.

However, it is not the monuments, flora and ornamental fish-ponds that brings us to Lower Barrakka Gardens; nor is it the view of the World War II Memorial and Siege Bell Monument next to Lazarus’s Curtain, and nor is it the stunning view across the mouth of Grand Harbour. Lower Barrakka Gardens beckons us here to stand atop St Christopher’s Bastion, and to listen; to strain our ears in the hope of hearing the faint shrieks of a thousand tortured souls reliving battles long past – shrieks that have been reported over many decades by Valletta’s fishermen, who, on returning from their fishing grounds, have claimed to have heard them as they’ve made their approach to the entrance of the Grand Harbour.

…What were these shrieks the fishermen claimed they heard night after night, year in year out? Could they not have been seagulls? They might well have been, had the shrieks not occurred outside the seagulls’ time and season. Similarly, it might be said the noises were caused by the wind howling through the caves and rocky coastline; yet, on the quietest of nights - with not even the slightest stir of a breeze - the shrieks continued to be heard across the waves.

A number of possibilities were put forward: they were the cries of the spirits of the executed in the time of the Knights of St John, who often left their dead and dying hanging over the ramparts – there to bake in the merciless sun; they were the shrieks of those who had once hung on the communal gallows that adorned the bay of Kalkara; they were the shrieks of the Maltese and Turks, who viciously fought each other in the Great Siege of Malta in 1565. It might even be possible they were the shrieks of just one man: Captain General Francesco St Clement, whose flotilla was routed by the Turkish corsair Luciali off the Tunisian coast in 1570. The Captain General was put to death by the Knights, who duly threw his tortured body over the bastions.

There is one further possibility: A friend of mine, who is a Maltese sea captain, told me that in the time of the Great Siege the Turks, upon capturing Maltese defenders, would sever their heads, place them on their bodies, and launch them into the bay to float steadily across to the fortress of St. Angelo – the idea being to frighten the Maltese into submission. My friend felt pretty sure that it was these unfortunates – at the moment their heads parted from their bodies – that shrieked so loudly the echo has been heard down through the centuries. Who can say? Certainly not I; all I can ask of you is to linger here, in the dark, and listen - carefully…  

See also the Valletta Ghost tour.

To order the book please Contact Us

[ Top ]

Home ] Up ] Reviews ] The Gateway Walk ] The Dark Side of Town ] This Frightful Town ] Keighley's Darkest Secrets ] 10 Brilliant Schools ] A Skipton Anthology ] [ The Do-It-Yourself Valletta Ghost Walk ]

Webmaster Dawnwatcher

Copyright © 2003 Malcolm Hanson. All rights reserved.