Updated: Apr 12
Every day in London, five million people, both resident and tourist alike, ride the London Underground across the city. Opened in 1863, the Underground, known affectionately as "the Tube," is the oldest underground railway system in the world. With such a long history, it's no surprise that the Tube has its share of spirits. Here are five haunted London Underground station
King's Cross Station
Those in my generation mostly know King's Cross Station as a secret portal to the Hogwarts Express. But this station has more than just wizards hanging around without muggle knowledge.
On November 18, 1987, a fire broke out in the station. It began on an escalator, but rapidly spread, eventually killing 31 people. It was the Underground's deadliest fire to date and prompted drastic changes in safety protocol for the Underground system.
In past years, a woman has been spotted at the station. She's said to be wearing stylish clothing and screaming. The most well known sighting was in 1998, in which a passerby stopped a sobbing young woman who, upon approach, abruptly disappeared. Some accounts even say she walked right through the passerby. Could this woman be a victim of that fire, lingering behind all these years after her tragic death?
It's said you can hear screams echoing throughout Farringdon Station, day or night. These screams are thought to belong to Anne Naylor, the station's resident ghost. As the story goes, Anne was a 15-year-old hat maker's apprentice who was killed by her boss and the boss's daughter in 1758. Her killers initially hid her body in the family's attic but, when the stench became unbearable, disposed of the remains in a sewer close to what is now Farringdon Station. Fortunately, the mother/daughter pair that covered up Anne's death were later caught for their crime. But that doesn't stop the stories of piercing screams that allegedly ring throughout the station, giving Anne the nickname "the screaming spectre."
British Museum Station
Closed as a station in 1933, the British Museum station later became an air raid shelter during World War II, and is now used for storage. But even before closing, stories began circulating that the station was haunted by the ghost of an ancient Egyptian mummy from the British Museum. Dressed in a loin cloth and headdress, the mummy reportedly walks around tunnels at night, screaming in his (or her) native language. Rumors got so big that a newspaper allegedly offered a monetary reward to anyone willing to spend the night in the station, but nobody would.
In 1935, a film called Bulldog Jack was released. The crime thriller introduced the idea of a secret tunnel from the British Museum station to the Egyptian room of the museum. Although the existence of this tunnel has never been publicly confirmed, legend has it that two women disappeared from nearby Holborn station -- where screams have also been reported -- on the night the film was released. The next morning, claw marks were found on the walls of the British Museum station.
Highgate Station was opened in 1867. In 1935, there was a plan to remodel and reconstruct, but World War II got in the way and the project was never finished. Today, the abandoned construction still stands, and the station is no longer used for transporting passengers.
If this sounds like an uneventful history for a supposedly haunted station, that's because it is. There are no reported deaths or other tragedies in the area, nothing that would explain paranormal activity. Despite this, locals still report train sounds coming from the area of the abandoned construction. Are these sounds coming from nearby trains and only being mistaken as coming from Highgate? Or has years of abandonment done something strange to this station?
Bank Station, like many, is no stranger to tragedy. In January 1941, when the U.K. was in the middle of World War II, a bomb ripped through the station, killing 111 people. Ever since then, visitors have reported hearing moans and screams when the station is quiet.
But the station's most popular ghost is Sarah Whitehead. Her older brother, Phillip, who worked at the nearby Bank of England, was arrested for fraud in 1812 and promptly executed. Once Sarah noticed she hadn't seen her brother in awhile, she started dressing in black and visiting the bank, asking for him. This later earned her the nickname 'the black nun.'
For some reason, Phillip's former co-workers didn't tell her the truth right away, possibly because they were afraid she couldn't handle it. Apparently they were right, because even after receiving the news, she continued to show up day after day asking for Phillip.
Eventually, she was banned from the bank property, even given a bribe to convince her to stay away. Maybe this is why her ghost wanders the nearby station, still asking passengers if they've seen her brother. Visitors have reported unusual smells as well as overwhelming feelings of sadness.
What are your favorite haunted train stations? Let me know in the comments below.