As the vibrant hues of autumn leaves begin their graceful descent towards the earth, and a distinctive chill permeates the air, there’s an undeniable sensation that the season of witches, ghouls, and the unexplained is drawing nigh. Halloween is indeed on the horizon, and we’ve tailored our latest episode to captivate your imagination while simultaneously sending an unsettling chill down your spine.
Our podcast series has previously delved into an eclectic range of supernatural subjects that have enthralled our devoted listeners. You may recall Episode 28, in which we unwrapped the eerie tale of the Ghost of Cock Lane, a story that gripped 18th-century London. Or perhaps you tuned in for Episode 69, where we explored the fascinating yet tragic life and spectral existence of the Victorian Actor William Terriss. And who could forget the grim spectacle detailed in Episode 92, as we scrutinised the gruesome history of public executions in London?
Today, however, we shall embark on a unique voyage, a subterranean exploration into the bowels of London’s Underground network. Although it may be the lifeblood of this pulsating metropolis enabling the ceaseless movement of its residents, it is also a repository of haunting tales and spectral presences. While the spectral inhabitants may not outnumber the daily commuters, they most certainly make their presence felt, from Bank Station’s mourning ‘Black Nun’ to the eerie, unexplained noises echoing through Bethnal Green’s labyrinthine corridors. Each station is a vault, holding in its dark recesses secrets and stories that are simply begging to be unveiled. Fear not, I shall include some of the most interesting facts about each station too.
I will also be providing top 5 facts about each station too so the less-enamoured hauntings have something to enjoy.
So, I invite you to recline in your favourite chair, dim the ambient lighting to a mere flicker if you dare, and accompany us as we traverse the labyrinthine passageways of London’s famed Underground system. It is here, in this subterranean world, that the threads of history and the paranormal are intricately woven together, painting a mesmerising yet spine-chilling tapestry of a city that is as active in the realm of the spectral as it is among the living.
Thank you ever so much for joining us. I trust that this episode will not only enlighten your understanding of London’s complex history but will also provide just the right amount of spookiness to match the season’s eerie ambience.
As for the London Underground, often described as the circulatory system that keeps this vibrant city pulsating with life, it also serves as a haunting repository for some of London’s most eerie and bone-chilling tales. Presented below is a carefully compiled list of the most haunted Underground lines and stations, painstakingly ranked by the frequency and intensity of their paranormal happenings:
📍 Underground Ltd, Bank/Monument Complex, Princes Street, London, EC3V 3LA
Paranormal Activity Outline: Bank Station, London
Bank Station is one of the most complex interchanges in the London Underground system, featuring a network of tunnels and subways that connect four different lines: Central, Northern, Waterloo & City & the DLR. The complexity isn’t just due to the number of lines; the station itself is an architectural wonder, featuring a blend of various design elements accumulated over its long history.
While many of you navigate through Bank Station in London as part of your daily commute or occasional trips, how many of you are aware that you might not be the only sort of passenger frequenting its labyrinthine corridors? Indeed, Bank Station, renowned for its historical richness and architectural complexity, has also garnered attention for its unusually high level of spectral activity.
Overall Activity Level: The station stands at the very pinnacle of haunted locations within the London Underground system. The paranormal activity level is classified as Extremely High, a categorisation that should not be taken lightly.
The Enigmatic Presence: The Black Nun
The figure commonly known as the Black Nun is one of the most frequently cited apparitions in the annals of Bank Station’s otherworldly occurrences. Cloaked in flowing, dark garments, this spectral woman is often seen meandering through the convoluted tunnels that make up this labyrinthine station. Commuters and station staff alike describe her as an elusive presence, forever out of reach and vanishing the moment one attempts to make direct eye contact.
The Black Nun is typically described as a sombre figure enveloped in dark clothing, resembling monastic attire. Her presence is usually fleeting, appearing at the peripheries of one’s vision and disappearing just as quickly, almost as if she’s a fragment of a long-forgotten memory trying to break through to the conscious world.
Olfactory and Emotional Resonance
Accompanying her visual apparition are often reports of an unexplained, fetid smell, reminiscent of decay or stagnant water. This odour is inconsistent but occurs frequently enough to have been noted by numerous witnesses. Moreover, a heavy atmosphere of sorrow seems to envelop the space she occupies, affecting even those who may not have directly witnessed her form.
Soft footsteps echoing in empty corridors, whispered conversations in hushed tones, and indistinct murmurs contribute to the auditory phenomena associated with the Black Nun. These auditory clues are often reported during the less populated hours of late night or early morning, adding to the station’s eerie reputation.
Historical Roots and Legends
The narrative behind the Black Nun is tinged with historical sorrow. It is believed that she endlessly mourns for her executed brother, an unfortunate soul who was once an employee at a bank situated on the site where Bank Station now stands. Theories posit that her restless spirit remains anchored to this locale, perhaps as a manifestation of her unending grief.
The accounts are not merely lore or hearsay; they come from credible witnesses. Maintenance and security staff, who perhaps know the station better than anyone else, have shared personal experiences ranging from unsettling feelings of being watched to even capturing visual apparitions on CCTV cameras. This has led to a notably higher number of transfer requests among the staff assigned to Bank Station, compared to other stations within the network.
A variety of independent studies and paranormal investigations have sought to corroborate these claims. Employing sophisticated equipment like Electronic Voice Phenomena (EVP) devices and thermal cameras, several of these studies have lent credibility to the common reports, making it a subject of intrigue even for the scientific community.
Roman Heritage: The station may be named after the Bank of England, but the area boasts a much older lineage. Artefacts and remnants of Roman architecture have been discovered during construction and renovations, implying that the region around Bank and Monument stations might once have been part of the Roman settlement of Londinium. More of which you can listen to in episode 1: An Introduction to Roman London.
Hidden Graveyard: Surprisingly, a concealed graveyard exists close to Bank Station, specifically under the site where the Bank of England stands. The churchyard of St Christopher le Stocks was subsumed by the Bank’s expansion in 1781. Far from being eradicated, the graveyard was respectfully integrated into the garden of the Bank of England. It wasn’t until later, in the 1930s, the graves were transferred to Nunhead Cemetery in Peckham when the Bank of England was rebuilt.
Wartime Sanctuary: During World War II, Bank Station’s deep and extensive tunnel network served as a makeshift bomb shelter. The station offered Londoners a subterranean refuge from the devastating Blitz, showcasing not just the utility of the station’s design but also its unexpected role in the resilience of the city’s population during a tumultuous period.
Unique Safety Features: The platforms of the Central Line at Bank Station are notably curved, leading to an unusually large gap between the train and the platform. The famous warning, “Mind the Gap,” takes on a more immediate significance here. Special announcements and signage are in place to ensure commuter safety, making this a quirky but important feature of the station.
Farringdon Station (Circle Line, Metropolitan Line, Hammersmith & City Line, Elizabeth Line)
📍 Farringdon Station, Cowcross Street, Farringdon, London, EC1M 6BY
Activity: Very High
Ghosts: Anne Naylor, the ‘Screaming Spectre’
Details: Farringdon station is notoriously haunted by Anne Naylor, who was murdered by her employer in the 18th century. Her body was dumped where the station now stands. Blood-curdling screams are commonly reported here, adding to the station’s eerie reputation.
Historical Roots: Farringdon Station has the distinction of being one of the oldest railway terminals in London. It was originally opened as Farringdon Street Station in 1863 as part of the Metropolitan Railway, the world’s first underground railway line. More on that in episode 88: The World’s First Underground Railway https://londonguidedwalks.co.uk/podcast/episode-88-the-worlds-first-underground-railway/
Architectural Heritage: The current station building was designed by architect Charles Walter Clark and opened in 1922. The structure displays elements of Edwardian architectural style and has retained several of its original features, making it a point of interest for architecture enthusiasts.
Interconnected Lines: Farringdon serves as a key interchange between the London Underground, the Thameslink National Rail services and Crossrail, also known as the Elizabeth Line, it is expected to become one of London’s most well-connected stations.
Annual Footfall: Farringdon Station sees a robust footfall, with over 25 million passengers utilising its services in the year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. This figure is projected to increase dramatically with the full operation of the Crossrail services.
Farringdon Station is not for the faint of heart, particularly for those intrigued by the paranormal. The station stands atop a site with a dark history that reaches back to the 18th century. As a hub for travellers today, it remains haunted by Anne Naylor, a young girl who met a tragic fate.
This is a narrative filled with tragedy, haunting manifestations, and indelible traces that history leaves in its wake.
Our story revolves around Anne Naylor, a young apprentice in the hat-making trade who met a grim fate at the hands of her employer back in 1758. The gruesome detail that adds a layer of eeriness to this story is that her lifeless body was discarded right where Farringdon Station would later come to stand.
Let’s first talk about the auditory manifestations that add an aura of the supernatural to Farringdon Station. The most recurrent of these are blood-curdling screams that have been reported echoing through the tunnels and platforms. These aren’t your average sounds of a busy, bustling underground station; these are screams that send shivers down your spine. Alongside this, whispers are occasionally heard. Imagine being a late-night commuter or a station worker and hearing soft, unexplained whispers floating through the air. The sound spectrum at this station certainly seems to vibrate on an otherworldly frequency.
Moving onto sensory manifestations, there have been multiple accounts of sudden and unexplained drops in temperature. These icy patches often correlate with the areas where the infamous screams are usually heard. Add to this olfactory phenomenon—a musty, decayed scent that wafts through the station, particularly during the quieter late-night hours. It’s as though the station itself is exuding an aura of unease.
Eyewitness accounts corroborate these strange occurrences. Station workers have detailed odd happenings during their shifts, especially in the later hours when human activity dies down. Moreover, paranormal investigators who have ventured into the station have reported capturing EVP, or Electronic Voice Phenomena, which include recordings of these mysterious screams and whispers.
There are also anomalies that defy straightforward explanation. Flickering lights, disturbances in surveillance camera feeds, and even glimpses of orbs and shadowy figures have been reported, often coinciding with the aforementioned screams.
It comes as no surprise that Farringdon Station’s hauntings have made it a subject of fascination in various forms of media. There have been numerous articles, books, and even documentaries focusing on these paranormal activities, enriching London’s already complex tapestry of history and mystery.
So, the next time you find yourself at Farringdon Station, especially if it’s late at night, you might be extra attentive to the sounds and sensations around you. Who knows, you might just hear or feel the lingering presence of Anne Naylor, a young life cut short, whose spirit many believe still wanders the station’s tunnels. If you would like to learn more about Anne Naylor then join me on my Bleeding Hearts and Body Parts tour which starts at Farringdon Station.
Bethnal Green (Central Line)
📍 Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, London, E2 0ET
Bethnal Green Station, which was opened on 4 December 1946, is part of the Central Line. Despite its construction starting in the 1930s, the station’s opening was delayed due to the onset of the Second World War.
Unique Architecture: Designed by architect Charles Holden, Bethnal Green Station is a prime example of the modernist architectural style, featuring an aesthetically distinct cylindrical glass entrance. Its architecture makes it a stand-out feature in the landscape of London Underground stations.
High Footfall: Bethnal Green is one of the busier stations on the Central Line, especially given its proximity to local attractions and venues. It serves as a major transit point for those visiting Victoria Park, the Museum of Childhood, or taking a stroll along the nearby Regent’s Canal.
Ghosts: Women and Children from the 1943 stampede
Details: This station is infamous for the haunting cries of women and children, echoing the catastrophic events of a 1943 air raid. The screams, which start softly and crescendo into a cacophony, can be especially unsettling.
Bethnal Green Station isn’t your everyday tube station; it’s steeped in a history that’s not just fascinating but also incredibly sombre. During World War II, tube stations often served as shelters during air raids, and Bethnal Green was no different. However, it became the site of a tragedy that left an indelible mark on its walls as well as its aura.
Picture this: it’s 1943, and the air raid sirens have just gone off. A panic-stricken crowd rushes into Bethnal Green Station seeking sanctuary. In the chaos, someone trips on the stairs. What follows is a catastrophic stampede. When the dust settles, 173 people, including many women and children, are found dead, not from the bombs above but from the crush of bodies below.
Since that tragic evening, the station has been anything but ordinary. Passengers and station staff alike report hearing haunting cries of women and children, especially during the quiet hours. The screams often begin softly, almost like whispers, but then crescendo into an overwhelming cacophony. Imagine standing there, late at night, only to be enveloped by a symphony of echoing cries. Some say it feels as though the station is reliving that horrendous night, over and over again.
Many have ventured down to Bethnal Green in search of these spectral sounds, and several have come away convinced that the station serves as a monument, not just to architectural or engineering feats, but also to the souls that were lost that fateful night. This auditory haunting continues to intrigue paranormal investigators, who often descend into the depths of Bethnal Green hoping to capture these haunting echoes on their audio equipment.
But, as with all tales of haunting, we can never be entirely sure what it is that causes these phenomena. Is it the imprint of the past, forever ingrained in the walls of Bethnal Green, that we’re hearing? Or could it be something more inexplicable, a mysterious dimension of reality that we’re yet to understand? While we may not have the answers, what is clear is that Bethnal Green Station remains one of the most compelling examples of paranormal activity in London’s Underground.
Covent Garden (Piccadilly Line)
📍 Underground Ltd., Long Acre, London, WC2E 9JT
Edwardian Architecture: One of Covent Garden Station’s most distinguishing features is its Edwardian architecture. Designed by architect Leslie Green, the station opened in 1907 with the characteristic oxblood-red glazed terracotta façade, which has become emblematic of early 20th-century London Underground stations.
193 Steps: Perhaps the most infamous feature of Covent Garden Station is its 193 steps, equivalent to a 15-storey building. There are signs which warn passengers about the exhausting climb, suggesting the use of lifts instead but some choose to test their endurance, often regretting at after a couple of flights.
Annual Footfall: Covent Garden Station sees a tremendous amount of foot traffic. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the station had an annual footfall of around 16 million passengers, making it one of the busiest stations for tourists due to its proximity to various landmarks and entertainment venues.
Platform Depth: The station is relatively shallow compared to other London Underground stations, with its platform situated just 16.2 metres below ground level. This may make the 193 steps seem even more perplexing to those who are unaware of its architectural history.
Activity: Moderate to High
Ghosts: William Terriss
Details: Since the station opened, staff have been rattled by encounters with a tall man in a hat and cloak, believed to be William Terriss. Terriss was an actor who frequented a bakery previously located on this site. His scent of cologne occasionally fills the air.
Covent Garden Tube Station is a location with moderate to high paranormal activity that has left both commuters and station staff alike feeling rather uneasy.
So, who is the spectral resident of Covent Garden Station? The ghost is widely believed to be none other than William Terriss, a Victorian actor of some renown. Picture this: a tall figure clad in a hat and cloak, a distinct, old-world charm about him. That’s how he’s often described by those fortunate, or perhaps unfortunate enough, to encounter him.
What makes the story of William Terriss truly intriguing is his connection to a bakery that once stood on the very site where Covent Garden Station was later built. Terriss was known to frequent this bakery during his lifetime, and it seems his affinity for the location persisted even in the afterlife. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill haunting; this is a ghost with a penchant for places that held meaning for him while he was still among the living.
Perhaps one of the most striking elements of this haunting is the olfactory experience. Many have reported a sudden whiff of cologne wafting through the air, seemingly out of nowhere. Given that Terriss was known for his elegance and style, it’s hardly surprising that his ghostly manifestation would also be accompanied by his signature scent. And let me assure you, the aroma isn’t constant; it comes and goes, often when least expected, adding an unsettling but fascinating layer to this tale.
Now, if you happen to find yourself at Covent Garden Station, whether you’re waiting for a train or simply exploring the area, be aware. If you catch that unexpected scent of cologne, or perhaps feel the fleeting presence of a tall man in a cloak, remember the tale of William Terriss—forever etched into the very fabric of Covent Garden’s history, seemingly unwilling to exit the stage just yet.
Listen to episode 69 about Victorian Actor William Terriss
That’s all for now. I will save for another time the eerie station worker in overalls, the mysterious woman who boards trains but never disembarks or Roman construction workers – until next time!