I have always had a thing for abandoned places. The older and the more reputedly haunted, the better. Mystic, an old 60s nightclub in Pembroke, falls under this category. It is definitely old, definitely abandoned and definitely weird and whimsical enough to capture my imagination. All it’s lacking to make it perfect is a good ghost story, but as far as I know the spirit of the Marquis Joseph Scicluna, who was the former owner of the place, rests peacefully and wants no truck with hauntings.
Mystic was practically the only decent club in Malta in the 60s (I stand to be corrected though) and is just the sort of place that really should sport a ghost or two. Ever since some years ago I, erm, found my way inside, I have wanted to go back to explore it in full. The last time round I was interrupted by the arrival of a police car summoned by a neighbour who thought we were up to no good. Like all abandoned places the site does tend to see a good share of shady activity, I suppose.
Since then I have been planning to go back but it was only very recently, after a couple of failed attempts, that I managed. The place can be accessed by dint of some basic climbing, sliding and stumbling, which process only took me about ten minutes. I suppose strictly speaking the public isn’t exactly welcome inside but hell, it’s not like I was planning to sacrifice any goats or anything silly like that. I was there purely as a tourist so I didn’t let the old conscience bother me over much.
The fascination of the place lies mainly in the weird and wonderful architecture. I suppose saying that it reminds me of Gaudi is a bit of a stretch but it does have a most fairyland like air to it. I spotted the remains of the main tower while still at the bottom of the hill. This is the point where I started getting super-excited and where my partner in crime gave me a look that plainly said I wasn’t doing my street cred any favours.
Option 2 involves squeezing into the garden through an itsybitsy hole in the wall. Luckily I’m quite small and managed to go through with only a couple of cobwebs brushing against my cheeks. Once I was actually inside, I was uber relieved to see that everything was exactly in the same shape as I had left it years back, with only the addition of some new graffiti. The pretty glass designs are still embedded in the floor, the walls still have rows upon rows of bottles embedded in them, the guitar shaped table remains whole and the Maltese cross still adorns most rooms.
My favourite part is probably the garden bar, with the owls and peacocks made of glass that decorate the walls. And the creepy face etched in the walls of the main tower, which is the only part of the building that I didn’t manage to get into. The terrace near the indoor bar area is pretty spectacular too. I could so see myself glass of wine in hand, music pumping from inside, just enjoying the view that stretches beyond Portomaso tower.
The Marquis’ former living quarters are actually pretty creepy. The jacuzzi, the geyser, the kitchenette, the bed with springs mostly intact… It almost feels like he just stopped whatever he was doing and upped and left. It must have been pretty cool to live there while the club was still in operation, surveying his small empire from the private terrace while people in the garden below partied away. Noisy, but cool.
The grounds, which are pretty sprawling, took over an hour to explore (with lots of photo-stops, of course). The vibe is peaceful and you almost forget the outside world, though I am pretty sure peaceful is transformed into spooky at nightfall. I almost didn’t want to leave but we had no torches with us and I really didn’t fancy trekking back in the dark.
I left hoping that nothing happens to ruin this magical building. Enjoy the rest of the pix…