Ghosts, murder and tragic love at night inside Malta’s science centre

Esplora: an interactive science centre by day and the most haunted building in Malta by night

Photos by James Bianchi/Mediatoday
Photos by James Bianchi/Mediatoday

Forbidden love, tragedy, war and occurrences out of the ordinary – history and paranormal enthusiasts alike will be enthralled by Esplora’s new interactive event which takes participants back to the days of the Royal Naval Hospital Bighi in Kalkara.

As night falls, the architecture of the science institute sets an eerie scene – as visitors are greeted by Matron Mrs Watson and Head Nurse Miss Taylor – as the visitors themselves become patients for the night and are taken on a tour before being placed in their respective wards. An angry Mrs Waston loudly complains that patients keep going off for works on their own and getting lost on site.

Visitors start their journey from the time of the Knights of the Order of St John and follow along the trail that takes them through the period of the hospital. Then, they are allowed to roam around the dark corridors and learn about murders and tragic love stories. Such as the story of a solider and the women he fell in love with during his time at the Bighi – tragically the father of the maiden disapproved of the relationship and they were forced to run away and elope. However soon after the marriage, the solider fell in and ultimately died – the maiden pregnant had no choice but to return to her family – however, she also died during childbirth from a broken heart – could her soul still be roaming the building?  

Dating back to 1675, Villa Bighi was built to serve as the country home of Fra Giovanni Bichi, an Italian Knight of the Order of St. John. On his death, the villa passed from one hand to another until in 1822 the grounds were allotted to the Royal Navy.

Photos by James Bianchi/Mediatoday
Photos by James Bianchi/Mediatoday

 In the 19th and 20th centuries, Bighi was a major naval hospital in Malta. During the Crimean War, World War I and World War II, the RNH Bighi contributed to the nursing and medical care of casualties, making Malta known as the ‘Nurse of The Mediterranean.’

People expect old buildings like Bighi to be haunted – and that could very well be true.

During the evening, footage of paranormal activity is also shown. Executive Chairman of MCST and Esplora, Jeffrey Pullicino Orlando said that while he has never experienced strange occurrences himself, the high percentage of staff members who claim the building is haunted have made him wonder. “I don’t believe I have a higher percentage of mad people on my team, so one begins to wonder when you hear the stories.

Photos by James Bianchi/Mediatoday
Photos by James Bianchi/Mediatoday

Such as windows mysteriously being opened: “The windows opening on their own is a regular occurrence – I was very cross to start off with – we take a great deal of pride in the building. So the fact that we used to regularly find open windows, which I obviously blamed on my staff, was annoying but it happens so often and the staff swear that they do not leave it open,” Pullicino Orlando said.

Paranormal Tail will be open to the public during March 2020 – and tickets for this event will be available from www.showshappening.com

More in Cultural Diary