67. Subterranean Dwellers
As a child I was always peeping from the stairs at the latest horror movie my mum and dad had hired. One such shocker was the 1972 Brit-flick 'Deathline', also known as 'Raw Meat', which concerned the horrific rumour that a race of cannibals were existing under the streets of London, and their acts of carnage taken out on all manner of victims such as tramps, drunks, city workers and pets. Author Michael Goss looked into the legend on several occasions and concluded that although primal or neglected humans may not be loitering in the underground, belief in such dwellers was indeed once rife.
The sewers and disused tunnels beneath the capital are a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. As tourists flock to commercialism, workers rush to their towering blocks of business, and shoppers scuttle like rats to their next retail high, below their feet is alleged to exist a seedy, brutal world beyond the imagination of mundanity.
As Goss stated with regards to whispers of underground dwellers, "They are not representatives of the desperate, homeless poor, nor are they thrill-seeking interlopers indulging in the frisson that comes from being where they are not supposed to be... the London subterraneans are real troglodytes, born and bred down below and seldom if ever coming to the surface."
Of course, these secretive souls, who feed on the food we don't want as well as animals such as mice and rats, and as eerie murmurs have it, the occasional human victim, have never been sighted. Is that because they exist as mere urban legend, or because the London above them is completely oblivious to their existence?
No-one knows exactly when the rumours began to circulate with reference to these underbelly prowlers. What we do know however is that such 'people' are known to roam the sewers, the London Underground, railway tunnels and just about any black hole they can find to shelter and conceal themselves. They have their own guttural language, they are known to be aggressive when encountered... even though legend states no-one has seen them, but such ideas tweak at our fears, because we know that despite travelling on ghastly, claustrophobic tubes, we are not folk accustomed to the dark, dingy confines of London, or indeed any other city's grimy underside, and that's where these cultural dreads always hide, and sometimes... but only sometimes... they crawl like vermin into the backs of our minds and cause panic, until once again they sink below, where we first created them.
Image by Mr. J Doe on flickr