London’s Underground system, the first in the world, is famous across the globe. With millions of people riding the rails every year, it’s an iconic part of our capital city. And as popular as it is with the living - it appears to be just as popular with the dead..! Find out where to find the most haunted spots on the London Underground below.
Bethnal Green Station - Central Line
Bethnal Green Station was the site of a terrible WWII tragedy.
During the air raids and bombings of London in the ‘Blitz’ it was common for Londoners to hide in London Underground stations and tunnels for protection. Bethnal Green, a deep station on the central line, could fit 5,000 bunks and offer safety for around 7,000 people.
On a March night in 1943, local residents were making their way into Bethnal Green Station to hide for the night. An anti-aircraft gun went off nearby, panicking the people who were heading down into the station and setting off a stampede that would see innocent women and children crushed to death while trying to get to safety.
It is thought that over 300 people were involved in the crush, and173 people lost their lives that night - all but 27 of those were women and children. It is said that today the sounds of women screaming and children crying can be heard when the station is particularly quiet and station staff have requested to not work the station alone.
Aldgate Station - Circle and Metropolitan Lines
During the construction of London’s Underground network, a number of surprising discoveries were made in the ground beneath the city - including a number of plague pits. Aldgate station was built atop one of these pits, setting the stage for one of the most haunted stations on the Underground network.
Apparently, the hauntings at Aldgate were so well known that a log book was kept of all the ghostly incidents that took place - until they became so common that keeping up with the book became too much work! Both commuters and station staff have her strange sounds and witness moving objects throughout the station.
The most commonly reported figure is that of a woman, although who she is remains a mystery. One of the more extraordinary paranormal events to take place eon the Underground is seemingly the result of her spirit. An Underground engineer accidentally touched the live tracks while he was working at Aldgate station. The electric voltage passing through his body should’ve killed him nearly instantly…but it didn’t. He survived without injury to the remarkable surprise of the numerous witnesses present at the time.
Colleagues who had been watching it happened all independently claimed that shortly before his electrocution, the ghostly transparent image of a woman had been seen stroking his hair..!
Farringdon Station - Circle, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan and Elizabeth Lines
Farringdon Station’s ghost has been identified by witnesses as a young girl. Historians believe that the apparition here is that of a 13-year-old orphan named Anne Naylor.
Anne was an apprentice to a woman called Sarah Metyard and she was treated incredibly cruelly by Sarah and her daughter, Sally. She was regularly beaten and was worked to exhaustion. After trying to escape her tormentors on more than one occasion, Anne was tied to a door and left, without food or water for four days. Anne, weakened from her abuse died of starvation and when Sarah and Sally realised the girl had died, they panicked, worried their mistreatment of the little girl would come to light.
To attempt to hide her death, they dismembered Anne’s corpse, burnt the remains, and threw pieces of her into the Fleet nearby. However, years later their crime was discovered and both Sarah and Sally were hanged at Tyburn for the murder of little Anne. The house where Anne was murdered was eventually demolished and today, Farringdon Station stands on the site.
But it would seem that Anne is not at rest. She has been spotted by station staff and travellers wandering the platforms of Farringdon station. However, Anne tends to be heard more often than she is seen – her screams reportedly echo out through the Station tunnels.
Bank Station - Central and Northern Lines
Bank Station is said to be the home of numerous ghosts, owing to a number of historical factors.
Firstly, the station stands on the site of a former church, St. Christopher-le-Stocks, and rests atop a former graveyard. During the construction of the station, many bodies were exhumed and moved to cemeteries outside the city. So the station was off to a grim start, anyway.
Then, at the height of the Blitz, on the 11th of January 1941, a bomb fell from a German aircraft into the station. The bomb bounced down the stairs and then exploded, killing 56 people who had retreated to the station for safety. It is said that the cries and moans of those killed can still be heard by those using the station at quiet times. Staff and commuters also report putrid smells, and bangs and scratching coming from disused doorways and old lift shafts.
And, one of the most famous London Underground ghosts is to be found at Bank Station: the ghost of Sarah Whitehead, otherwise known as the Black Nun.
In the 19th century, Sarah’s brother Phillip, who worked at the Bank of England, was in massive debt from gambling and extravagant spending. He decided to pass a forged cheque at the Bank, for the sum of £87.00 (over £3,000 in today’s currency). But his fraud was uncovered and, in 1812, Phillip was hanged for his crime.
The death of her brother sent Sarah into a distressing state of mental illness. She began to dress only in black, and would wander the streets. Refusing to accept the passing of her sibling, she would routinely come to the Bank of England, asking to see her brother. At first, the staff at the Bank had pity for Sarah and would tell her that her brother was busy and send her on her way. Some even gave her food and drink when she came searching for him, but as time passed the staff became tired of her visits and Sarah’s mental state deteriorated. She became aggressive and unreasonable, she terrorised the staff and spent all of her time in the streets surrounding the Bank until she eventually died.
Some accounts say that Sarah visited the Bank every day for 25 years…and, apparently, she hasn’t stopped. There have been countless reports of station staff and travellers seeing the image of a woman dressed all in black, wandering the station tunnels, still looking for her missing brother.
One of the things that makes this haunting so famous, is that Sarah - referred to now as the Black Nun owing to her appearance dressed and veiled in black - interacts with people. She has approached commuters and directly asked them if they have seen her brother. Station staff have seen her on CCTV but found the areas empty when they’ve gone to investigate. Not only is she seen in the station but has also appeared in the Bank of England itself and wandering along the nearby streets, on a search that will never end.
Holborn Station - Central and Piccadilly Lines
One of the most enduring hauntings on the London Underground takes place at Holborn Station.
Holborn Station sits near what is often referred to on the Underground as a ghost station. Ghost stations are Tube stations that have been closed - but still exist within the tunnels of the network. The British Museum had their own tube station in the early 1900’s, which was eventually closed after the opening of Holborn Station, which became more popular.
Rumour has it that there was a tunnel connecting the Egyptian Room at the British Museum to the British Museum Station and that this tunnel was used by a very vengeful spirit. The ghost is said to be that of Amen Ra, whose mummy was unearthed and brought to England to be placed in the museum. Angry at her unearthing, Amen Ras’ spirit is restless, haunting the museum, the tunnels, the disused British Museum Station and Holborn Station (she’s busy, isn’t she?).
Witnesses have reported hearing screaming and banging throughout the otherwise empty station. Employees in the ticket hall report screeching and wailing. Some have even seen the apparition of a woman wearing an elaborate Egyptian headdress walking the platforms of Holborn station.
Covent Garden Station - Piccadilly Line
Covent Garden is home to another identifiable ghost on the Underground Network.
William Terriss was a well-loved actor in the 19th century, and was known for his swashbuckling roles. He had taken a disgruntled, struggling actor, Richard Prince, under his wing to try to help the man resurrect his flagging career. Prince’s abuse of alcohol and his diminishing mental state eventually meant he was unemployable, and he took out his anger on William.
On the 13th of December, 1897, Prince attached William outside the Adelphi theatre, stabbing his former friend to death in the street. But it would seem that although Williams’ body was removed, his spirit has remained behind. His spirit has been seen not only at the theatre, but repeatedly throughout the decades at Covent Garden Underground Station.
He is often seen in a black suit with a top hat, and many witnesses say that he has a “sad face.” Station staff have seen his ghost after closing the station to the public, both on station platforms, in the stairways, and even in the staff toilets. And all this when he isn’t busy knocking on dressing room doors and stomping around the Adelphi theatre. The last recorded sighting of William Terriss was at Covent Garden Station in 1972 when a new member of staff spotted him after locking the station for the night - he apologised to the man, thinking he had inadvertently locked a member of the public into the station, and went to unlock the gates to let him out, only to find out that the well dressed gentleman had vanished…for now.
Kennington Loop - Northern Line
This entry on our list isn’t a specific station, but part of the Northern line itself. The Kennington Loop is a section of track where southbound Northern line trains turn around for their return trip to the northern reaches of the network. All guests are removed from the train at Kennington Station, before the train makes its' loop back around, which means the drivers are the only people left on the train.
Or are they? Multiple drivers have reported the sound of carriage doors slamming throughput the train, and bangs on the door behind their compartment. Some drivers actively refuse to drive the loop alone, finding the entire thing too creepy to handle. As for what is responsible for the noises and bangs in the Kennington Loop, the jury is still out. Two theories are that the culprit is either the ghost of an Underground worker who was electrocuted on the Northern line, or a passenger who was dragged underneath a train and killed while he was attempting to board.
Elephant & Castle - Northern and Bakerloo Lines
Elephant and castle station is home to a single spirit, just known as “the girl on the train.” And no, we aren’t referring to the novel!
It is said that Underground station staff and drivers will routinely see a young woman board the train at Elephant and Castle…but she never steps off, seemingly to vanish as soon as she steps through the doors. That is creepy enough but Elephant and Castle is also well known on the Underground Network for the near-constant sound of somebody running through the station. Even when empty, the sound of footsteps echoes throughout the station but the owner of said feet is never seen.
The Bakerloo Line
Now this one isn’t technically a station but is too creepy not to include! Plus, this one comes with some compelling photographic evidence…
In 1983, a woman named Karen Collett was on a day trip to London with her family. While riding the Bakerloo line, Karen took a picture of the young boy she was travelling with and, when the photo was developed later, a startling image appeared in the background.
In the window of the train, behind the young boy, is the image of a man strapped to a chair, with electric bolts shooting from his hands. Karen confirms that the picture was taken between stations, so in the dark tunnels where no people - or posters or pictures - would be present. That’s creepy enough on its’ own, but further investigation reveals that the figure depicted is that of Bruno Hauptmann.
History buffs among you may recognise this name, as Bruno Hauptmann was the man found guilty of the kidnap and murder of Anne and Charles Lindbergh’s baby boy. He was executed at the New Jersey State Prison on the 3rd of April 1936. So, what could his connection to London possibly be? Well, in the 1980’s, Hauptmann’s execution was depicted with a wax effigy on display at Madame Tussauds Chamber of Horrors! Bruno’s figure is strapped to the electric chair, and his hands are balled into fists.
The wax figure appears to be nearly identical to the figure depicted in Karen’s photo, aside from the electricity coming from his hands. It would be easy to think that this could just be the case of a strange double-exposure except that Karen has never been to Madame Tussauds!
No evidence of tampering has been found in the photo and neither Madame Tussauds or London Underground have ever used the image of Bruno in any advertising or promotional materials that could be have been captured outside of the wax museum - let alone through the window of a Bakerloo line train!