Fort Manoel was constructed in the 18th century by the Order of Saint John, during the reign of Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena, after whom the fort was named. The fort is located on Manoel Island in Gżira, Malta.
A small hospital was in operation on the Island, during the plague of 1592 – 1593, which helped to serve travelers and maritime workers. It served as a place of quarantine during the plague, and continued to serve as one after the British started to govern Malta in 1800.
Fort Manoel is thought to be haunted by a ghostly figure known as the Black Knight, who appears to wear the Armour and regalia of the Order of St. John. Although the Black Knight’s identity remains a mystery, he is said to resemble a portrait of the Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena.
Grand Master António Manoel de Vilhena (Born 28 May 1663 – Died 10 December 1736), was the 66th Grand Master of the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem of Rhodes and of Malta.
The Chapel of St. Anthony of Padua was bombed during World War II, and shortly after, among the ruins, the Black Knight was repeatedly seen by both English and Maltese men.
Restoration work began on the Chapel, and the workers responsible said it was as if the Black Knight was there to supervise their work.
The crypt beneath the chapel was opened with the permission of the Archbishop, and it was found that it had been vandalized, and the remains of the knights who had been buried there had been scattered. After the crypt was restored, the bones reburied and masses said, the apparition of the Black Knight stopped appearing. However, the apparition began appearing again in 1980, after the crypt had been vandalized for a second time.
Whoever the mysterious Black Knight of Manoel is, he is said to still walk the fort to this day.