26. Going Underground
Urban legends of the more sinister variety have always intrigued me, so continuous whispers and friend-of-a-friend tales concerning a mutant race of beings inhabiting the dark tunnel systems, sewers and subterranean passages beneath the capital are always welcome, even if unfounded (despite rumours circulating as far back as the nineteenth century). However, one thing us folklorists do know is that the underbelly of the city is teeming with all manner of spectres, and a majority of these seem trapped in the London Underground.
The most impressive ghost, or recording in this case, is that of a train which was last observed around the 1920s in the vicinity of South Kensington; whilst on the East Finchley to Wellington underground, legend has it that an old steam train silently travels on through the Northern Line.
I’m sure that a majority of apparitions that are said to stalk the tracks and tunnels are either in limbo as spirits, possibly people who either died down below or simply feel tied there after once being employed.
Workmen, or at least ghostly figures perceived as workmen, have been seen at West Brompton Tube Station, South Kensington, and Vauxhall, with the Vauxhall spectre appearing as a seven-feet tall man in a cap, making for an eerie and imposing sight. Tulse Hill and Stockwell also have their own phantom workmen, whilst stations such as Covent Garden, Lewisham and Farringdon all seem to be haunted by people who were tragically murdered, whilst nuns and monks have been sighted drifting silently through the Bakerloo and Jubilee Line. The monks have been seen as recently as 2000, on a path from Westminster to Stratford. It is believed that ground work had disturbed several graves, or indeed unblocked some dormant portal to the ethereal void.
To be continued…
By Neil Arnold
Picture taken from swh’s Flickr photostream under the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial 2.0 licence.