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.
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...
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[Cover image via Sogou]