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Observations placeholder

Malta - 07 The Hypogeum of Ħal-Saflieni - The terrifying vision of Miss Lois Jessup



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

From the otherworld to another world? - Philip Coppens [Source: Wikipedia linked]

Miss Lois Jessup, working for the British Embassy in Malta, wrote an account of an experience she had inside the Hypogeum.

She described how on her first visit, she convinced the guide to allow her to investigate one of the so-called "burial chambers" near the floor of the last chamber in the lower level. In her own words, she asked “What's down there”, pointing to a small opening off the walls. To quote from Jessup’s account:

“‘Go there at your own risk, and you won't go far,’ he replied. ‘I was wearing a dress with a long sash that day and as I decided to lead the group I asked the fellow behind me to hold onto it. So, with half-burnt candles in our hands the four of us started through that low, narrow passage, groping and laughing our way through. I came out first, of course, onto a ledge pathway only two feet wide, with a sheer drop of fifty feet or more on my right and the wall on my left. I took a step forward, keeping close to the rock wall side. The person behind me, still holding on to my sash, was still in the tunnel. I held my candle higher and peered down into the abyss, thinking that with this dangerous drop it was better not to go on further without a guide.

Then I saw about twenty persons of giant stature emerge from an opening deep below me. They were walking in single file along another narrow ledge down below. Their height I judged to be about twenty to twenty-five feet, since their heads came up about half way on the wall on the opposite side of the cave. They walked very slowly, taking long strides. Then they all stopped, turned and raised their heads in my direction. All simultaneously raised their arms and with their hands beckoned to me. The movement was something like snatching or feeling for something, as the palms of their hands were turned down.”

Her friends then pulled her back into this reality, though a sudden draft of air extinguished her candle, making her panic.

A few days later, one of the friends of the excursion called her: “Remember that tunnel you wanted to explore in the Hypogeum? Well, it says here in the local paper that a schoolmaster and thirty students went exploring and apparently got as far as we got. They were roped together, with the end of the rope tied to the opening of the cave. As the last student turned the corner where your candle blew out the rope was clean cut. None of the party was found because the walls caved in.”

Apparently, for several weeks, the cries of the children could be heard emanating from the underground, but none were ever recovered alive.

The source of the experience


Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Visit sacred sites


Sensory deprivation