Ghosts and Other Mysteries of the Moscow Underground
Underground railways can be scary places at the best of times, but some are definitely worse than others. At the top of the list of weird and disturbing underground rail networks is the Moscow Metro.
The metro has long been a great way of getting around the city. There are hundreds of stations and countless miles of rail lines. In fact, the majority of Moscow residents go down to the subway every day. They also have to deal with a ton of potentially weird and disturbing legends from ghosts to secret underground military bases.
As with any older metro system there are plenty of forgotten places, walled up stations and half-finished tunnels leading nowhere. There are rarely used sections where slime slides down the walls and stations built directly under cemeteries. The Moscow network is also supposed to have a complete second set of underground lines linked to sealed up military facilities all built during the nightmare WW2 days of Stalin, Beria, and Molotov.
It’s a strangely complex system and old enough that few if any people know exactly what’s down there. Located underground, in eternal darkness, and only lit by the occasional dying bulb, the metro and Subway II has become the source of many legends, stories of strange events and unexplained incidents.
Urban explorers and paranormal investigators are convinced that much of the Moscow Metro is still hidden from the eyes of both passengers and even employees. They believe that deep underground dreadful things lurk, living according to their own rules and purpose far from the ordinary train routes.
Stations of the Dead
Its widely believed that some stations on the Moscow subway were built either on or directly under graveyards and that this was kept quiet so as not to put people off using them. One of these stations is Sokol, where the graves of those who fought on the battlefields of the First World War were buried. To make things worse, this was the same place later used for state executions. Workers at the station say they often feel as if they are being watched. At other times they claim to have seen wounded people walking around with some partially dressed in prison clothing.
Savage Dogs and Maybe Worse
Another location built on a cemetery where ghosts are seen is Vladykino Station. According to the staff they sometimes hear terrified howling late at night. They are unsure whether the sound is from an animal or a human. Still, the area around Vladykino Station is known for packs of feral dogs and in 2005 a woman by the name of Valentina Arkhipova was bitten to death. There are those that believe her ghost now haunts the area.
The Lonely Lineman
One of the most famous legends of the Moscow metro is the Lineman. It is said to be the ghost of a man who worked as a lineman for forty years. He died at the age of 82 but continues to come to work to check the tunnels and the systems. His ghost has been seen many times.
A train once derailed, and the first carriage burst into flame. The driver was able to bring the train to the station, but after a few days he died of his burns which covered his entire body. Apparently, the authorities blamed the driver even though it wasn’t his fault and refused to pay compensation and support to his widowed wife. Soon, the ghost of the driver began to be seen in the metro in the form of a man burned black. Paranormal researchers claim that he will haunt the metro until his reputation has been cleared.
The Bunker Children of Chistye Prudy Station
Many people claim to have seen children and young teenagers looking lost at Chistye Prudy station. When approached these youngsters simply vanish – usually through the marble of the east wall. The story goes that Stalin wanted an ultra-secret bunker built and used orphans and abandoned street children to do much of the work. They chose Chistye Prudy as it was the deepest part of the metro in 1939 at the start of WWII.
When the Bunker was finished the children simply disappeared and were never seen again. People speculate that they were killed and buried near the station to keep the location of the bunker secret. Researchers believe that the ghosts of those children still roam the subway tunnels until their bodies are found and given a proper burial.
New York may have albino alligators in the sewers but many people who use the Moscow metro believe that they share the tunnels with huge radioactive rats. The story goes that a second covert metro was built under the first so Stalin, and the soviet leadership of the old USSR, could move about in secret if the need arose.
Part of the network was a series of bunkers that were later used for experiments involving radiation. It was a perfect place to hide Russia’s secrets from the prying cameras of the American U2 Spy planes. As it was part of the metro, people could come and go in their hundreds and never be noticed. Then something went wrong, and part of the system had to be closed in the late 1950’s.
Alone in the dark the rats were exposed to chemical and radioactive leaks. Over the decades they have grown to the size of large dogs which incidentally is their main source of food. Although some claim that, from time to time, the odd railway worker will also mysteriously go missing.
Moscow tabloids actually ran a number of stories about sightings of the rats which seemed to peak during the late 1990’s. Famous Russian urban explorers like Vadim Mikhailov actually claim to have seen giant rats close to where he believes is the entrance to the Secret Soviet metro.
The whole idea that a tribe of giant rats could live off stray dogs isn’t as weird as it sounds. Moscow has long had a problem with feral dogs. The crazy thing is that they’ve learned to use the metro to get around the city.
There are an estimated 25,000 stray dogs in Moscow and many of them have ties to the subway. They’ve learned how to travel the lines, trick people into giving them food and even know how to use pedestrian crossings. The authorities have largely given up trying to cull them and now just neuter them as it’s believed they are effective at keeping down the rat populated and cleaning up old food. Maybe sometimes that rats bite back.
For many decades Muscovites have believed that there is a vast network of tunnels, bunkers and secret railways hidden under the existing Moscow Metro. There was apparently accommodation for 15,000 people as well as vast stocks of food, weapons, and defence laboratories. The fact that government officials rarely deny the existence of the network has added fuel to the fire.
Rumours circulate about urban explorers – known as diggers – that have mysteriously disappeared. One digger has even claimed to have seen her friend shot by shadowy guards that lurk in the depths of the tunnels.
According to researchers, the Metro 2 network is still operating and functions as a government underground communication system that connects all strategic assets not only in the city but also outside the city. Subterranean passages and railways are said to go as far as Ramenki, Pushkin, Fryazino, Odintsovo, Krasnoznamensk, Vnukovo and Barvikha.
Many people doubt it actually exists as there are no photos or video recordings, but many senior Russian officials believe it that it’s true. A US intelligence report from 1991, even verified its existence.
Some of the dangers of the Moscow metro are clearly real and some are probably no more than soviet inspired horror stories. The problem is nobody knows which is which.