Having completed my personal A-Z of Horror last week, I thought it would be fun to look at spooky things in England on a county-by-county basis. Using the 48 Ceremonial Counties of England (I don’t know what that means either), I’ve decided to look at each county starting from the most populous and working my way downwards.
Which means I’m starting in Greater London and looking at the ghost stations.
The name ghost stations comes from According to a recent article from CNN, “The London Underground tube network has 270 stations, but even before the coronavirus crisis drastically reduced the number of passengers and trains, another 50 or so had already been forsaken.” These forsaken stations, described with the German word geisterbahnhöfe which means ghost station, have been abandoned or repurposed or simply left to decay.
Examples include Crouch End, which is decorated with the sculpture of a spriggan, the sprite from Cornish folklore, and the old Highgate Station. Both are currently home to populations of bats, which doubtless add to the idea of ghost stations being associated with the supernatural.
The British Museum station in Holborn was supposed to have a secret tunnel connecting the underground to the Egyptian room. According to CNN, “Through [the secret tunnel], a disgruntled Egyptian mummy, or an apparition of the deity Amun-Ra, is said to appear, wandering the corridors and platforms, loincloth and all.”
These ghost stations are used mainly by urban explorers, although some are now being featured as part of history tours and ghost walks, whilst others are used by the TV and film industry for things such as James Bond’s Skyfall, which was filmed in a non-operational section of Charing Cross, and Aldwych Station, which was used for the setting of the 2004 film Creep.
But that is not to say that there aren’t supposedly some ghosts on the London Underground.
Covent Garden is purportedly the home to the ghost of the actor William Terriss who was murdered in 1897. He appears as a tall man in a hat and cloak, wandering the corridors late at night. Farringdon Station allegedly rings with the cries and screams of Anne Naylor, a murdered hat maker whose body was dumped at that location back in 1758. My personal favourite is Liverpool Street Station, where many workers have spotted strange figures on the CCTV system in the dead of night. Passengers have also reported seeing a man in overalls wandering up and down the platforms.
Liverpool Street Station was rumoured to be built on a mass burial site. Unsettlingly, this rumour turned out to be true, as over three thousand skeletons were unearthed in 2015. The bodies were identified as the remains of plague victims who had been buried during the black death.
All of which suggests, if you’re thinking of visiting London, make sure you take appropriate care whilst travelling on the underground.