London Underground line that's so haunted even Tube drivers are scared to go on it
There's one haunted Tube stop you may not be familiar with, and one which drivers are terrified of
- 11:21, 16 JUL 2022
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The London Underground dates back to 1863, making it the oldest metro network in the world. It has run during some of the most significant events of the last century, with many stations serving as air raid shelters for the bombings of World War II.
Some of the stations were even built on plague pits and burial sites. It is no surprise then that there are a number of ghostly apparitions hidden down the murky tunnels or walking among the millions of passengers who pass through every day.
One of the most famous haunted stations is Liverpool Street where a man in white overalls has reportedly been sighted wandering the platform. In 2000 when the station was temporarily closed to the public, the spectre was caught on CCTV.
Meanwhile at Bank Station, the ghost of Sarah Whitehad, widely known as the Black Nun, is said to roam at night , with her groans and wails echoing through the station.
But there is one haunted tube stop you may not be familiar with, and one which drivers are terrified of. The Kennington Loop on the Northern Line is a section of track where the train turns around and passengers aren’t allowed on.
Some drivers say they don’t like the Kennington Loop because the track has a very tight curve and trains can be held here for a long time. Another reason why they dread approaching that turn is thanks to a ghostly passenger.
When the train is emptied of passengers, drivers have reported hearing voices and even carriage doors slamming open and shut. Legend has it that a man died in the 1950s when trying to board the train between the cars at Kennington. He was dragged into the loop and killed.
The first time a driver experienced this ghostly apparition they say they heard the interconnecting doors slamming far down the train. Then another set slammed, then another, closer and closer to the driver’s compartment.
They went to investigate and found nearly half of the doors were wide open. Nobody was on the train.
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Ghosts on the London Underground
Xghosts on the london underground.
Considering the dark dark corners, strange noises and abandoned tunnels that litter the soil under London, it is possibly no surprise that stories of hauntings have emerged over the years.
On Wednesday, a couple of authors who have recently written a book on the subject gave a talk on the subject and I wandered along to the Shoe Lane Library to have a listen.
Ghosts are, despite their ethereal nature, quite a contentious topic and not unlike Marmite, they evoke very strong emotions in many people. Indeed, the authors had sometimes faced problems researching the book as people were worried about describing their experiences lest they be mocked in the staff-room.
My personal take on them is that unless you presume lots of people are lying, then something odd is going on – and I would love to understand the science behind the phenomena.
Interestingly, a survey from a couple of years ago by fairly well respected pollsters, Gallup found that belief in ghosts is higher now than at any time in the past 50 or so years.
Anyhow, the talk itself was a quick run though various hauntings and I’ll briefly summarise a few of them below:
They started off with a fairly notorious sermon by the Rev. John Cumming, who was not at all keen on the subterranean railways.
“ …the forthcoming end of the world will be hastened by the construction of underground railways burrowing into infernal regions and thereby disturbing the Devil.’ ”
Certainly there were the odd complaints of this nature about the deep tunnels, but the Victorians were digging deeper coal mines at the time without bumping into Hades or its ilk, so their pronouncements of doom were generally ignored.
One more famous incidents occurs at Aldgate Station, where allegedly there is a log book for ghost sightings. Sadly, getting a glimpse of this log-book proves as elusive as the spectres they detail.
At the station, it was reported that a worker was knocked unconscious after accidentally touching a live power rail and as another worker went to assist him, the ghost of a lady was seen stroking the unconscious man’s hair. Some stories claim the lady saved the man’s life, but it seems more that she simply comforted him while help arrived.
Another station, with a similar name is the now disused Aldwych Station , which was built on the site of a theatre, and the ghost of an actress has occasionally been seen in the station.
Amusingly, a TV show did a series of investigations into hauntings, and the physic reported seeing in Aldwych the event that had (allegedly) occurred in Aldgate. I suspect someone was doing a bit of reading beforehand and mixed up their stations!
Bank Station is also noted as a site of hauntings, and as the ticket hall is actually the former burial grounds of St Mary Woolnoth Church, many researchers cite that as the possible cause.
The most noted of the Bank hauntings though is nothing to do with the old burial ground – being the ghost of Sarah Whitehead. Her brother, who worked at the nearby Bank of England was hung for fraud and she spent the next decade or so visiting the Bank each day to ask for her brother until she in turn eventually died.
Neither were buried in the former graveyard.
Over at Bethnal Green is one of the more sombre hauntings. The station entrance was the location for one of the most serious civilian losses of life during WW2 when a panicked crowd tried to seek shelter during an air raid, and 173 people died in a crush by the stairway entrance. What made it more tragic was that the air-raid sirens were a false alarm, and the panic caused by a loud booming sound, thought to be a bomb, was actually a new anti-aircraft gun that had just been set up in nearby Victoria Park.
Since then, there have been repeated reports of unsettling sounds and people feeling uncomfortable in the station.
For reasons that are not fully understood, there is a known tendency for low-frequency sounds to make people feel uncomfortable, and the tube tunnels are certainly replete with plenty of machines that cause similar effects.
However, when a worker reports the clear sounds of women and children screaming in the booking hall, and that it went on for a period of at least 10 minutes, you have to wonder what could possibly cause that effect.
To lighten the mood, back down the Central Line to the old British Museum station – which is a disused station between Holborn and TCR – where the ghost of a mummy was reported to have been seen. The reports of this haunting are, to put it mildly, dubious and can be discarded as urban myth.
Incidentally, you can still see what is left of the station as you pass though it on the Central Line. Regardless of which direction you approach it, peer out of the right-side windows and although the platforms have been removed, you can make out the empty remains of the station structure.
One of the more unsettling ghostly experiences is had by staff at Elephant & Castle station where the Bakerloo Trains end their travels and prepare to return northbound. Late at night, a lady is sometimes seen getting onto an empty train which is to be returned to the depot, and when staff go to remove her, the carriage is empty again.
Incidentally, and a sign possibly of how our imaginations are important in ghost sightings – when it comes to ghostly trains, people rarely report the sound or sight of diesel engines. It’s always a steam train that is heard. You’d have thought some diesels would have got in on the act by now, but it seems not. Or maybe we humans cannot imagine a “modern ghost” and expect ghostly trains to be only from the steam era?
Back up to the Central Line – which seems to be overly generous with its hauntings – and we get to the up escalator at Marble Arch station. Here, several people have reported leaving a late train to ascend the escalator and feeling that someone is standing on the step right behind them, and leaning uncomfortably close towards them. Anyone turning around will find the escalator is empty. One lady reported that out of the corner of her eye she noticed him wearing a hat and smart black overcoat – and annoyed by his closeness when she also turned to confront him, the escalator was empty. She now wont use that station unless with friends.
The Screaming Spectre of Farringdon is quite famous and thought to be Anne Naylor, a girl adopted by hat maker, Sarah Metyard and cruelly treated until eventually she was murdered. Metyard’s attempted to disposed of the body into the sewer at Chick Lane, but parts of the body were discovered.
Eventually identified as the murderer, after her daughter turned her in, she was convicted at the Old Bailey in 1768 and sentenced to death. Her body, as was the norm at the time for murderers was handed to the Surgeons’ Hall to be dissected for students to study then put on public display.
The ghost was thought to haunt the region of the sewer for some years, but is now heard quite distinctively at Farringdon Station. That she moved to the station is a bit odd, as the sewer in Chick Lane lead down to the River Fleet, and while the road no longer exists, it was on the site of the now derelict Smithfield meat market buildings – a good hundred yards away from the station.
Finally – one I was quite interested in.
The Kennington Loop is a bit of track that enables trains on the Northern Line to turn around at Kennington. Passengers are never allowed on trains going round the loop, and drivers are said to quite dislike the tunnel.
Not only is it very noisy as the tight curve makes the wheels squeal on the tracks, but sometimes trains are held at the end of the loop waiting for space at the platform. Here, in the silence, drivers have reported hearing people talking in the carriage behind them and the sounds of doors slamming as if someone is walking through the train, even though they had checked to make sure it was empty before starting round the loop.
I’ve have the pleasure of taking the Kennington Loop, and in a 1938 tube train , but sadly we didn’t stop at the spot to listen for the sounds of passengers long lost to history seeking to commune with us.
That’s a quick run though of some of the ghosts mentioned at the talk, and I have dug a bit deeper into the Farringdon Ghost story to find the location of the streets involved. The book they have written is Haunted London Underground .
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I have recently written on my own ghostly experiences at deisenberg.blogspot.com, but, to be honest, despite the mildly alarming experiences, I still do not believe in them. Like with UFO’s, I can’t help but believe that after all this time, there would be more persuasive evidence. In fact, I would say that visitors from space is much more likely than one’s from beyond.
Nice article, I enjoyed reading about the underground having recently returned to London after many years abroad. But if I may be a stickler we say “hanged” when talking about a person, not “hung”.
Additionally it would seem unusual for a woman to be a hatter (never haymaker), it would be more likely that she’d be a milliner.
Interesting reading! My father was station master at Blackhorse Road station when i was about 15 years and spent many late nights seeing off the last train and helping dad switch on the tunnel lights! There is a ghost at this station of a worker who fell down the ventilation shaft whilst it was being built. I expeienced wierd things when I was down the station late at night and many staff there have seen “things”.
Another minor nitpick; Diesel-accompanied ghosts would be unlikely to feature anywhere on the London Tube, since aside from the very earliest days when certain lines began running under steam, it’s almost always been powered by electric locomotion… Which, being silent (aside from the obvious screeching of wheels) , would make it all the more creepy in my view….
I was speaking in general terms about ghost trains across the UK, not just on the Underground.
Just to say,in the 1980s,I had the experience of the Kennington loop ghost,no one was on the train as I had walked through the train to see the driver,very scary experience,someone was opening the doors and walking along the cars,only happened once,25 years as train crew..
Saw live footprints in the ballast on the underground , District line . This is supposed to be quite common and has been seen by many worker’s over the years.
You cant see footprints in ballast, the stones are too large and rough to leave any sort of mark.
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10 Things You Didn’t Know About The London Underground
5. it's haunted by a lot of ghosts.
Considering how old it is, how famous it is, and how creepy being underground can be, it's perhaps unsurprising that The Tube is reportedly home to a number of ghosts and ghouls.
The so-called Kennington Loop - a part of the Northern Line where trains reverse back round - is supposedly very haunted. Tube Drivers have reported hearing carriage doors slam on empty trains and there are rumours of a former employee who was electrocuted on the tracks still lingering in the Loop.
Then there's Sarah Whitehead, better known as "The Black Nun". The story goes that Sarah's brother was hanged for stealing money from the Bank of England and now her spirit haunts the nearby Bank station.
That's actually only the second scariest thing about Bank, after what it feels like to try and change lines there.
And finally, we have William Terriss. One of Victorian London's most acclaimed stage actors, Terriss was stabbed to death outside the Adelphi Theatre by a fellow performer in 1897.
Several sightings of the deceased actor have been reported at nearby Covent Garden tube station over the years - one final performance for a star cut down in his prime.
Jacob Simmons has a great many passions, including rock music, giving acclaimed films three-and-a-half stars, watching random clips from The Simpsons on YouTube at 3am, and writing about himself in the third person.
A miscellany of curious facts, historical whimsy, architecture delights in and around this lovely part of South London
A collection of North Lambeth Halloween Ghost Stories
As a special Halloween treat here is a collection of spooky tales and mysteries from our part of South East London.
Thanks to the https://www.paranormaldatabase.com/ for the information.
Haunted Underground Stations
Kennington Underground Station
Slamming doors on the kennington loop.
Now that the Northern Line extension has opened the Kennington Loop is no longer required, however up until this year, this part of the track was used to Turn trains around to begin the return journey. All passengers were required to disembark at Kennington and the carriages are checked just prior to trains turning in the loop. However, as the train drivers sit waiting in the dark loop tunnel, at least two have reported hearing the connecting carriage doors open and close as if someone is moving from the rear of the train towards the driving compartment.
Crying in Braganza Street
In 1984, at approx 3am, two employees at the station, while smoking outside and sitting on a wall, heard a woman sobbing no further than three or four yards (2.7 – 3.6 metres) away, although no one was visible. As the crying moved away, one of the workers followed the sound, which travelled down the road and into a side street behind the station, where it ceased.
Vauxhall Underground Station
The tall man.
Reported in the 1960’s this seven foot tall man was seen underground several times by diggers working on the line – he wore brown overalls and a cap.
Stockwell Underground Station
The man with the lamp.
In 1984 a trainee manager sent to walk the line by himself as part of his training encountered an old man with a tilly lamp working at South Island Place. They exchanged a couple of words in passing. When the trainee reached Stockwell Station and commented that he had seen someone else along the line, a search party was dispatched to find the worker as no maintenance work was scheduled. No one could be found, and the trainee later discovered that the old man had been seen dozens of times over the years. The ghost was believed to be that of a worker killed on the spot during the 1950s.
Elephant & Castle Underground Station
Haunted by phantom footsteps, knockings, tapings and doors which open of their own accord – on investigation, no source can be found. Another story says the last train of the night is haunted by a lone girl who walks from the last carriage to the tip of the train, vanishing as she reaches the engine.
Imperial War Museum
The site of the second Bethlem Royal Hospital, the site was used by the Woman’s Auxiliary Air Force during the Second World War. Staff based there reported hearing ranting and screaming at night, and the sound of chains being rattled. Some believed it was the ghost of Rebecca Griffiths, who moved with the hospital when it relocated from its original location. More recently, a security guard reported hearing shouting and screaming on the site.
More here The Haunting of Bedlam
St Thomas’s Hospital
Women in boots.
A nurse dressed in late nineteenth century garb has been seen walking down the corridors of the hospital, sometimes placing her hand on patient’s shoulders to reassure them. When not seen, she is heard – pacing loudly down echoing walkways.
The Grey Nurse
A ghostly nurse dressed in grey, reluctant to leave her job, has been mistaken for a real person – until she vanishes into thin air. Other stories say that the nurse’s legs abruptly end at the knees. Although her facial details are perfect and of utmost clarity, no one has been able to place or identify her. Some tales report that patients who spot this phantom woman died soon after, a theme repeated in a few other hospitals in the UK.
Carried in a Thames barge crewed by faded grey figures, the shade of Boleyn is taken to the Tower of London where she met her maker. The palace itself sometimes echoes with Anne’s voice, pleading and crying for her life to be saved.
Old Vic Theatre
This ghostly woman has appeared several times, always clasping her bloodstained hands. Some believe that she was an actress, and that the blood is fake – used for a stage production of a Shakespearian play. More at the Old Vic website
The Angel of the Thames
At least four people have reported seeing an angel hovering over the River Thames in 2006. Some people say the sightings date back to 1666, the Great Fire of London, while other recent sightings have occurred around war time. Others have called the sightings a hoax, naming people behind a charity event as being responsible for the ‘sightings’.
More here https://www.spookyisles.com/the-mysterious-angel-of-the-thames/ & http://www.angelofthethames.com/index.html
Don’t have nightmares
As Scooby Doo has taught us – There is NO SUCH THING AS GHOSTS.
Haunted Lambeth is a collection of real-life stories of apparitions and poltergeists from all across the London Borough of Lambeth. Included are the ghost stories of Lambeth Palace, the terrifying tradition of the ‘Tomb of the Tradescants’, a ghost at The Old Vic Theatre, the dream house that haunted the entertainer Roy Hudd, supernatural echoes of Waterloo’s Necropolis Railway, the ghosts of Ruth Ellis and others at Streatham’s Caesar’s Nightclub. These stories have been collected and researched over many years, and come from a variety of sources including original newspaper articles, books and, as often as possible, personal communication with people directly involved.
You may also like
Kennington’s mysterious case of Spontaneous Human Combustion
Murder, Insanity and the making of the English Dictionary(Opens in a new browser tab)
Necropolis Railway – end of the line(Opens in a new browser tab)
The Zombie horror ward at Waterloo Hospital