This entry takes a look at some of the ghosts that are reputed to haunt the London Underground. For modern-day stories on life on the London Underground check out Going Underground. Meanwhile, here are the ghosts...
This station was closed in 1994 (not because of ghosts) although it is still currently used for parties and trendy opening nights. However, the 'fluffers', people who clean the tunnels and stations, claim to have been scared by a figure who appears on the tracks at night. The ghost is that of an actress who believes she has not enjoyed her last curtain call, supposedly haunts the station. Aldywch used to be on the site of the old Royal Strand Theatre.
Workmen who were building Bank station in the last century roused the spirit of the so-called 'Black Nun'. The Nun's brother, Phillip Whitehead, was a cashier and was executed in 1811 for forgery. The Nun, Sarah, wearing black, waited for him outside the bank every evening for 40 years until she died. To this day, it said that she still searches for him along the platforms.
A double whammy here - a ghost station and a ghost. British Museum station closed on the 25 September, 1933. There was a local myth that the station was haunted by the ghost of an Ancient Egyptian. Dressed in a loincloth and headdress, the figure would emerge late at night. The rumour grew so strong that a newspaper offered a reward to anyone who would spend the night there. No one attempted to do this!
The story takes a stranger turn after the closure of the station. The comedy thriller, Bulldog Jack, was made in 1935 which included a secret (fictitious) tunnel from the station to the Egyptian room at the Museum. The station in the film was called 'Bloomsbury', and in all likelihood was a stage set, but it was based on the ghost story of British Museum.
On the same night that the film was released, two women disappeared from the platform at Holborn - the next station along from where British Museum was. Marks were later found on the walls of the closed station. More sightings of the ghost were reported along with strange moanings from the walls of the tunnels. Eventually the story was hushed up as London Underground has always denied the existence of the tunnel from the station to the Egyptian Room.
However the lead character in Keith Lowe's novel Tunnel Vision resurrects the story to impress/scare his girlfriend with tales of tube horror.
If you listen carefully when you're standing at the platform at Holborn, sometimes - just sometimes - you can hear the wailing of Egyptian voices floating down the tunnel towards you.
A tall man in a frock coat, tall hat and gloves is said to be pacing the tunnels and has been seen since the 1950s. When he appeared in the staff rest room the staff demanded a transfer - no wonder they look so miserable.
The ghost is supposed to be actor William Terriss who was fatally stabbed near the Adelphi Theatre in the Strand in December 1897. Apparently William regularly visited a baker's shop which stood where today's Tube station was built.
Elephant and Castle
When this station is closed people say that you can hear the steps of an invisible runner, strange tappings and doors being thrown open. What follows is a genuine testimony from an h2g2 Researcher - a tube driver on the London Underground. He's actually seen the ghost but didn't appear to be all that impressed...
'Twas around six of the evening at a Bakerloo line Underground Station - about a week ago. I was in pursuit of my duties as an employee of London Underground (Northern Line - and I should apologise to all who are condemned to this line - not my fault Really. Heh! Heh!)
So I join the train at the terminus at Elephant and Castle and walk forward to the front of the train with a view to travelling with the driver. At this point the driver has not arrived so I put my bag down and move to the rear door to wait for him. While I am waiting a girl gets into the carraige - she walks straight through the carriage and I have to move aside making some muttered apology - I sort of have to do this since I was in uniform!
A minute or so later the driver turns up, and we move toward the front of the train. I notice that the girl is not in the carriage and this is a rather immediate cause for concern - she could not have left the train without passing me - I had full view of the carraige and platform at the time. My reaction was to inform the driver - the only place she could have gone was to have walked down the tunnel - not really what we want! The driver's response was unusual: 'Oh, her. We hear about her all the time - she's even been in the papers.'
Lovely - my first real ghost is a media celebrity, - and, it must be said, very, very boring indeed.
A 13-year-old trainee hat maker, Anne Naylor, was murdered in 1758 by her trainer and the trainer's daughter. People claim to hear her cries echoing down Farringdon Station. She has been nicknamed 'The Screaming Spectre'.
In 1941 Highgate station was rebuilt to join an extension from the Northern Line. However, the project was abandoned and the cutting became overgrown. Nevertheless residents still claim to hear eerie sounds of trains going through the cutting.
Now here's a sighting of a ghost train. A passenger from the last westbound tube saw a train pull into South Ken station in December 1928. An ear-piercing whistle broke through the night and the passenger spotted a ghostly figure in a reefer jacket and peaked cap hanging from the side of the engine. Both the man and the train then vanished into the tunnel never to be seen again.