The Haunting of Beijing's Metro Line 1

By Matthew Bossons, October 22, 2020

4 0

Tales from the Chinese Crypt is a regular web column exploring bizarre and creepy stories from across China.

To tell this tale, we turn the clocks back to 1965, when Beijing’s Metro Line 1 began construction. According to a narrative from Xu Ziqian in a 2013 Global Times article, the early phases of the subway’s construction were mired with problems, including “dangerous accidents” and broken equipment. As urban legend would have it, these issues were the result of vengeful homeless souls whose graves were destroyed while building the metro line.

In an effort to oust or appease these bitter spirits, monks were allegedly brought in to conduct ceremonies aimed at securing the blessing of the now restless ghosts (cue the Ghostbusters theme). The monks, in an effort to pacify the restless souls, promised the spirits that the metro would close before 11pm – since 11pm to 1am is the dead’s time of rest (who knew?), according to the Global Times

The monks also promised the souls that after the subway closed and all the passengers had left, the trains would do one last lap to return the dead to their proper resting places.

READ MORE: Tales from the Chinese Crypt: 1981's Eerie Sky Spiral

According to the story, the remainder of Line 1’s construction went smoothly and no further issues were encountered.

Those who believe this tale point out that Beijing is an ancient city with evidence of paleolithic human habitation dating back 27,000 years, so it is more than likely that human remains were disturbed at some point during the subway’s construction.

Line 1 also services the Babaoshan Revolutionary Cemetery – a slightly eerie connection.

The main problem with this story, however, is that most (if not all) metro lines in Beijing now close after 11pm and the last train arrives at Line 1’s Pingguoyuan station at 12.11am most nights

Much like our previous Beijing-related ‘Tales from the Chinese Crypt’ article, Beijing’s Ghost Bus, this spine-chilling story seems to us to be simply that: a story. What That’s can confirm though, is that Beijing Metro Line 1 is home to two phantom metro stations – Gaojing and Fushouling – both of which are off-limits to the commuting public...

READ MORE: Tales From the Chinese Crypt: 4 More Strange Cryptids


This article was originally published on Thatsmags.com in 2016. It has been updated and republished on October 22, 2020.

Enjoy this story? Click here for more Tales from the Chinese Crypt.

[Cover image via Sogou]

more news

This Day in History: The 2008 Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony

A look back at the first ever Olympics to be hosted in China.

Beijing's An Yu on Her Debut Novel 'Braised Pork' and Her Inspiration

We hear from An Yu about her fantastic novel and the inspiration behind her work.

Tales of the City: Beijing's sex doll industry

With fewer women in the dating pool to choose from, some men are making their own.

Tales of the city: Beijing's anti-terrorism volunteers

We meet some of the capital's 870,000-strong red armband brigade

Tales of the City: Beijing's new smoking ban, will it work?

We hit the streets to see what residents thought of Beijing's upcoming smoking ban.

This Day in History: When Albert Einstein Came to Shanghai

On arrival the Swedish consulate reiterated that he had officially been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics.

This Week in History: Finding of the First Panda to Leave China

And the incredible story of the American socialite who became the first person to bring a giant panda to the US.

This Week in History: The Coup of Empress Dowager Cixi

The 1861 power grab of the woman who went on to control the Qing Dynasty.

0 User Comments

In Case You Missed It…

We're on WeChat!

Scan our QR Code at right or follow us at ThatsBeijing for events, guides, giveaways and much more!

7 Days in Beijing With thatsmags.com

Weekly updates to your email inbox every Wednesday

Subscribe

Download previous issues

Never miss an issue of That's Beijing!

Visit the archives