MalDia The entrance to the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum

The entrance to the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum



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Myths or mysteries – Malta overflows with them ranging from theories that Malta was the ‘nerve control centre’ of the lost continent Atlantis to regular reports of UFO ‘sightings’, a huge explosion a few years back which has never been properly or scientifically explained, and all the myths and mysteries that swirl around the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum.

MalDia Mystery and myth underground

Mystery and myth underground

Malta is a honeycomb of mysterious caves and caverns, lengthy underground tunnels that submerge below sea level and stretch into the Central Mediterranean. Mysterious cart tracks on land have never been scientifically explained, again causing extravagant ‘explanations’ and speculations of whether they were forms of Stone Age vehicle carriages, or maybe material transporters, or whatever purpose they served.

MalDia Entering the Hypogeum at Hal Saflieni

Entering the Hypogeum at Hal Saflieni

The most popular theory is that the continent Atlantis surrounded Malta as its centre and messages were relayed to the ‘Malta Station’ from outer space and then relayed by Malta throughout the continent. Stone tablet letter carvings were certified as being identical to stone tablets found in some parts of the United States!

MalDia Underground tunnels and channels

Underground tunnels and channels

However, the real impetus of mystery took place in 1910 when workmen in the Tarxien area were digging residential water wells and burst through the roof of a vast underground chamber that turned out to be an enormous catacomb burial chamber. It was named the Hal Saflieni Hypogeum and further excavations and studies were placed in the hands of medical doctor and archaeological historian Sir Themistocles Zammit who drew up a preliminary report in the same year.

MalDia Bone fragments and skulls at The Hypogeum

Bone fragments and skulls at The Hypogeum

Zammit recorded finding skeletal fragments and the remains of some ten skulls which he measured, at a time when there was an ongoing international debate about the linking of different sized skulls to different ethnicities. Basically, there are three different types of Earth skulls and Zammit reported that those found were of the long-headed type.

MalDia The Hypogeum

The Hypogeum

From that point onwards speculation began to run rife, pointing out these skulls did not relate to current Maltese skull shapes and were therefore totally alien skulls. Speculation grew even wilder, claiming the length of the skulls was hitherto unknown on Planet Earth and therefore the only possible conclusion had to be their origins were not Planet Earth but some other planet.

MalDia Sir Themi Zammit measured the skulls

Sir Themi Zammit measured the skulls

Some linked the skulls to “snake” or “serpent” priests as depicted in skull paintings and inscriptions found in the Egyptian Pyramids.

MalDia Are these the skulls of aliens from Outer Space

Are these the skulls of aliens from Outer Space

To fuel speculation further, the skulls were put on display in Malta’s National Museum of Archaeology but suddenly withdrawn from public display in 1980s, a move interpreted to mean the museum was trying to “cover up” the evidence so as not to cause further public alarm at a time when UFO ‘sightings’ were becoming popular.

MalDia An elongated skull

An elongated skull

The reason forwarded by the museum was that they were simply long skulls and not ‘elongated’ skulls and were therefore not special, over and above, anybody wishing to carry out scientific studies could apply to the authorities to be given access to them.

MalDia Are skulls related to etnicinity

Are skulls related to etnicinity

Moving on 30 or so years to today, speculation has dwindled and those who view the skulls confirm they are nothing more than long skulls and therefore conform to the three basic Earth skull shapes.

MalDia Different types of Earth skulls

Different types of Earth skulls

As if this was not enough to be getting on with, in 1940 National Geographic magazine reported that some years earlier a group of schoolchildren visiting the Hypogeum and accompanied by a teacher disappeared and were never seen again.

MalDia Myth or Mystery

Myth or Mystery

B-c-ing-u site motivator and Editor Lyn Funnel has written a detailed and highly popular article about this which can still be read on the site and therefore I will not go into it.

Malta’s Catacombs, Aliens & The Disappearing Children; True or Urban Myth?

However, National Geographic also reported that for many weeks after their disappearance, ‘wailing and screaming’ sounds could be heard around the Hypogeum vicinity.

MalDia Reporting Maltas missing children

Reporting Maltas missing children

When asked about this ‘myth’ Heritage Malta’s Senior Curator of Prehistoric Sites Katya Stroud explained that a similar incident also surrounded the St Paul’s Catacombs at Rabat and such “happenings” were ploys invented by the authorities to keep curious people – especially children – away from the sites so as to avoid dangerous repercussions.

MalDia A year old skull

A year old skull

Sir Themi’s report also led to a further source of speculation. His investigations had concluded that from the skeletal fragments found, as many as 7,000 people may have been buried in the Hypogeum based on his having found 100 skeletons in a particularly small area. Taken overall, this could mean 7,000 burials over the years.


As during the Stone Age and Iron Age the populations of Malta and Gozo were minimal, this was interpreted to mean that people from “other sources” could also have been buried there, and linked to the ‘elongated skulls’, this could surely lead to only one thing – alien skulls.


And there matters stand – myths or mysteries? Malta and Gozo abound with them!



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“He is boasting of his own feathers”

Referring to a person who boasts about themselves i.e. how handsome they are, how clever they are, how rich they are, etc

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