Reporting ghost stories in the popular press is nothing new.
Today’s tabloids will seem to run any blurry photograph of an alleged apparition providing it attracts the ghost-hungry Most Haunted crowd. But it seems newspapers of yore were also pretty happy to run creepy column inches too. – especially at Halloween!
On 30th October 1893, the Yorkshire Evening Post and other English newspapers that day ran a syndicated yarn titled: “A Haunted Railway, A Ghost at a Railway Station” about the spooky choo-choo trains in Kent, in the south of England.
The article goes: “Some sensation has been aroused among the residents of locality intersected by the main line of the London, Chatham, and Dover Railway at Sittingbourne by the strange story that level crossing that spot is haunted ghosts.
“The tale goes that at the witching hour midnight a person has appeared on the line, where the apparition is said to take its ghostly walk, heedless of passing trains.
” Of recent years the level crossing which used to exist at the spot has proved veritable deathtrap to several persons, and in consequence of the numerous fatalities a foot-bridge has replaced tbe crossing.
“It is actually alleged that the spirit of one of the victims now haunts the crossing, and numbers of people who reside in the immediate vicinity may seen out of doors at night time, waiting for the apparition.
“The rumours arise, no doubt, from the fact that a few days since, as a goods train was passing the spot, at about 2 a.m., the driver thought he saw someone on the line, and he believed that he had run over the person.
“The train was brought a standstill and search made, but no one was to be found. The driver is credited with the belief that the apparition foretells impending danger.”
All newspaper cynicism aside, the Halloween story is pretty creepy. Sittingbourne’s railway station still exists and maybe worth a look and an investigation one day to see if this Kent ghost from over 100 years ago is still haunting commuters.
David Saunderson is the editor and founder of www.spookyisles.com, a London-based website dedicated to paranormal, horror and dark history in the UK and Ireland.