Since the 19th century, England’s historic underground railway system, built under famous landmarks and urban streets, has created a vast underworld beneath one of the world’s largest cities. Buried deep, with approximately 250 miles of track spanning across Greater London, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex, the dark tunnels have captured the imagination of passengers and attracted a fascination mixture of superstition, hearsay and reality. From sinister spirits, freak accidents and medieval plague pits, there is a story lurking on every station.
It has been said, a few years ago, an electrician working at the station had slipped between the tracks and hit a live rail which sent 22,000 volts through his body. Miraculously, he managed to survive; instead, he was knocked unconscious and experienced minor bruising on his forehead. However, his co-workers, who watched the accident happen, told an investigation that they saw an old lady stroking the electrician’s hair just before his fall. This was not the first time Aldgate station have experience paranormal activity, the staff have reportedly heard mysterious footsteps in the tunnels during their night shift. Some have even claimed the station keeps a special log book for ghost sightings.
Location: Aldgate East Underground Station, Whitechapel High Street, London, E1 7PT
Liverpool Street Station
In summer 2015, new archaeological evidence revealed the station was dug through one of London’s mass burial pits, containing the remains of plague victims from the 17th century. The plague pit, thought to have at least thirty bodies, contained coffin remains and a grave stoned marked “1665”. Samples were taken for tests and researchers at the Max Planck Institute in Germany were able to scan the teeth and confirm that the cause of death was bubonic plague. The workers at the station have reportedly complained that the air often felt oppressive and at times they felt uneasy.
Location: Liverpool Street Station, Liverpool Street, London, EC2M 7PY
British Museum Station
British Museum was a working station on the London Underground. The “ghost station” is still located between Tottenham Court Road station and Holborn Station on the Central Line; Londoners can still see the disused platform when they look through their window but no passengers have used the station since 1933. The abandoned state of the station has captured the attention of influential writers, with an appearance in Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, a mention in the 1972 horror film Death Line and featured in a movie called Bulldog Jack.
In Bulldog Jack, the station had a fictitious tunnel from the station to the Egyptian room at the museum. Rumour has it, on the same night the movie was released two women disappeared from Holborn station, the next station along, and strange marks were found on the walls of British Museum station. Stories began to spread that the station was haunted by an Egyptian spirit that appears in a loin cloth and Egyptian headdress. Some sources suggest that prior to the station’s closure a local newspaper offered a reward to anyone willing to spend the night and hunt the vengeful spirit.
Location: British Museum Station, 133 High Holborn, London, WC1V CPN
Bethnal Green Station
During World War II, Bethnal Green station was used as an air raid shelter, providing shelter to the public from German bombs. On March 3, 1943, nicknamed “The Bethnal Green Tube Shelter Disaster”, an explosion was heard and panic spread causing 173 people to be crushed to death as people desperately trying to desperately enter the station. In fact, allegedly, most of the lives lost were women and children. It has been rumoured that a member of the station, as the last train departed, had heard strange noises. He claimed to hear children sobbing, women wailing and compared the sounds to people panicking.
Location: Bethnal Green Underground Station, Cambridge Heath Road, London E2 0ET
Covent Garden Station
Legend has it that notable Shakespeare performer William Terriss, who was stabbed to death by fellow, mentally unstable, actor Richard Prince at the nearby Adelphi Theatre, haunts Covent Garden station. The late William Terriss was said to be a regular customer at a bakery which stood in the station’s place; it was well known he was fond of their cake and bread. So late at night, members of the public reportedly spotted a tall man in an old-fashioned grey suit, hat and gloves pacing around the platforms. When they were shown a picture of the deceased actor, they claimed the ghost looked identical to William.
Location: Covent Garden Underground Station, Long Acre, London, WC2E 9JT
Edited by Chermaine Sowah