The U.K.’s famous London Underground serves commuters traveling throughout Greater London, as well as select parts of Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, and Essex. It can also claim the title of the world’s oldest underground system of its type, given that it opened up for business on January 10, 1863. It’s the longest – as well as certainly the oldest – sub-surface railway system on the planet. Moreover, in 2007, one-billion passengers were recorded as having used the Underground since 1863.
According to a number of select souls, however, the London Underground has played host to far more than mere tracks, trains and a near-endless number of travelers. Deep within the winding tunnels of this sub-surface labyrinth, bizarre and terrible things – many of a “wild man” variety – are rumored to seethe and fester, and possibly even feed too. And British authorities are doing all they can to keep the lid on the chaos and carnage that threatens to spread deep below the streets of the nation’s historic capital city. We’re talking about conspiracies of the underground type.
Stories of strange creatures – many of a definitively cryptozoological nature – lurking in the London Underground have circulated for years, and chiefly in fictional, on-screen format. Such examples include (a) the 1967 production of Quatermass and the Pit, in which bizarre, mutated and diminutive ape men – who were the subject of advanced genetic experiments, undertaken millions of years earlier, by visiting Martians – appear in the London Underground of the 1960s in the form of spectral, manifested, inherited memories; (b) The Web of Fear – a Dr. Who adventure that surfaced in the following year, 1968, that sees the doctor and his comrades doing battle with robotic yetis on the Underground; (c) An American Werewolf in London – a 1981 film in which the beast of the title feasts on a doomed, late night rail traveler; and (d) Reign of Fire, a 2002 production starring Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey, that revolves around literal fire-breathing dragons burst forth from the old tunnels of the Underground and decimate Britain, and, eventually, the rest of the planet, too.
Some of the older tales of creature-like entities prowling the tunnels under London were incorporated into a less well known, fictionalized movie. Its name: Death Line. Made in 1972, it starred horror film stalwarts Christopher Lee and Donald Pleasance. Then, there is the matter of a man named Colin Campbell.
Campbell maintains that while traveling home on the London Underground in the mid-1960s, he had a nightmarish encounter with a very strange beast. According to Campbell, it was late at night and, rather surprisingly, he was the only person to get off the train at its scheduled stop on the Northern Line. As the train pulled away from the unusually deserted and deathly and eerily silent platform, and as Campbell made his way towards the exit, he claims to have heard a strange growl coming from behind him. He quickly spun around and was shocked to see a large, hairy ape-like animal lumbering across the platform towards the track, and seemingly mumbling to itself and no-one else as it did so.
Most bizarre of all, however, the beast was definitively spectral, rather than flesh and blood. Around three-quarters of its body were above the platform, while its legs were curiously near-transparent and, incredibly, passed right through the platform. Campbell further asserts that as he stood in awe, too shocked to even try to move, the beast continued to walk through the concrete, right onto the tracks, and then straight through the wall directly behind the tunnel – all the time paying absolutely no attention to Campbell in the slightest.
Are savage, devolved humans really living – in literal cannibalistic-style – deep under London? And are the old tunnels actually home to ghostly ape men of the type encountered by Colin Campbell back in the 1960s? I’m inclined to suspect that Campbell’s saga was his idea of a joke. After all, he admits he’s a big fan of the BBC show, Dr. Who. Enough said? Probably: the Yeti angle is, for me, a clincher. Those who are excited by tales of strange creatures roaming around deep below London, however, might suggest otherwise.