Who doesn’t love a good urban legend? Here are the spookiest ghost stories for those nights around the campfire – or alone on the train, if you dare.
You can shy away from learning Cantonese. You can skirt around those boisterous lion dances on the street. But you just can’t completely avoid the MTR when you’re living in Hong Kong – and this is exactly why MTR-related ghost stories are so creepy. Whether or not you believe in spirits and the afterlife, here are some eerie Hong Kong urban legends about the MTR that’ll get you tram-bling with fear.
1. Choi Hung Station
This rainbow-coloured station is perhaps a little more sinister than it seems. Some of you would’ve realised that Choi Hung Station has three railway tracks, instead of two (like most other stations in Hong Kong). The middle track is seldom seen to be used, and this is said to be because it leads straight to the gates of hell…
The story goes: At the time of construction, an engineer brought his team for a test drive on the train towards the Kowloon Bay Station. However, their train didn’t return for a good half hour, and all contact was lost. Eventually, the train did come back, yet everyone on it seems to be in shock and disoriented; a few even passed away after being sent to the hospital, without a clear cause of death. To investigate the incident, a medium was hired. He then explained that the track led directly to the gates of hell, and that the engineers must’ve witnessed something they shouldn’t have seen. Hearing this, the company decided to build new tracks, abandoning the one that is now in the middle.
But wait! Sorry to disappoint the fans of ghost stories among you, but this particular myth surrounding the Choi Hung Station has been debunked. Many people have actually seen the middle track being used; in fact, it has always been in use for trains to return to the depot in Kowloon Bay at the end of the day. So next time you see an empty train driving slowly on the middle track in Choi Hung Station, don’t fret! (That is, until you see a blurry group of figures in one of the cabins, perhaps…)
2. Yau Ma Tei Station
The strange tale of Yau Ma Tei Station is one of the best known urban legends in Hong Kong, perhaps because it is, in fact, based on a real incident that happened in the 1980s. (Those of you who can read Chinese can check out the article for yourselves on page four of the Ta Kung Pao archives here.) In November 1981, a train was approaching Yau Ma Tei Station when the driver spotted a girl falling down onto the tracks. Although the driver immediately stepped on the brakes, the train took a while to stop, and the driver had felt something (or someone, even) was run over in the process. Many of the people on the platform also claimed to have witnessed a teenage girl in white uniform suddenly jump in front of the train. Yet, when the police and the emergency services arrived, there was no sign of an accident. In fact, even with the train being lifted for inspection, absolutely nothing was found – no bodies, no limbs, and not even blood.
So, where is the girl? Could the incident really just be due to mass hallucination? Almost a decade after the story resurfaced on an online forum in 2012, a local writer stated that she’s received news from the victim’s alleged friends. Reassuringly, they said the girl had actually survived the crash back in the day by hiding between the tracks, then sneaking back onto the platform after the train had stopped. Whether you believe in this happy ending or not, the urban legend of Yau Ma Tei Station is living on.
3. Rumsey Station (Sheung Wan Station)
Have you ever noticed that on the way to Exit E of Sheung Wan Station, there is a completely unused storey? Though the area is now blocked off and renovated as part of the East Lobby, an actual platform still lies behind the walls. This is the abandoned platform of Rumsey Station, a stop that was once planned to be the southern terminus of the East Kowloon Line. Because many fatal accidents (allegedly) happened during the construction of the Rumsey Station, the project had to be halted altogether. Yet, rumours of various hauntings have never ceased to circulate within the local community. Stories range from seeing the spirits of the construction workers who passed away, to hearing blood-curdling screams coming from behind the walls of the East Lobby in the dead of night. Some even claim that the Rumsey platforms were fenced off because someone died after trespassing them.
However – once again we’re sorry to disappoint you thrill-seekers – reality proves to be much less exciting. Rumsey Station was only abandoned due to the decision to make the West Island Line an extension of the Island Line, rather than having a separate line. If you’d like to see what Rumsey Station had looked like (before walls were built to close off the area), check out the pictures from this local blog. Not gonna lie – it does seem a little eerie!
4. Whitty Station (HKU Station)
Apart from Rumsey Station, Whitty Station was also a thing of the past – and therefore an (in)famous urban legend in Hong Kong. In the 1970s, MTR had planned to build Whitty Station as part of the Island Line to make the Shek Tong Tsui neighbourhood more accessible for its residents. But due to the station’s proximity to the notorious High Street Mental Hospital (now Sai Ying Pun Community Complex), there were allegedly many creepy occurrences during its construction, forcing the project to be called off. One of the best known episodes was that workers often heard a woman’s terrifying screams when they were inside the Whitty Station tunnels. And when a foreign engineer tried to debunk the myth by checking out the venue for himself, he and his team ran into a lady dressed in white on the platform. As they approached her, the woman leapt onto the tracks. Yet, when they took a closer look, they couldn’t find anyone. Explanations emerged following the incident, claiming that the woman was the ghost of a patient from the Mental Hospital, who committed suicide by jumping off the hospital building.
It may be difficult to verify this spine-chilling tale today, but the undeniable truth is the plans for Whitty Street Station have been replaced by the building of the West Island Line extension. Where Whitty Street Station would have stood is now the site of HKU Station (formerly named Shek Tong Tsui Station). That said, if you’d like to explore the fascinating (and frankly spooky) history of the Old Mental Hospital, we’d be glad to tell you more about it too! So, stay tuned for more urban legends with us at the Honeycombers. 😉