Execution in a Railway Tunnel
by Tom Slemen

Heswall housewife Maria Cunningham will never forget the Halloween of 1996. Maria visited London with her twelve-year-old son, Jason. In the morning they went to Madam Tussaud's and later paid a visit to her sister in the London district of Kensington.
Just after nine o'clock that night, Maria and her son boarded the London to Liverpool train at Huston Station. As the train entered a tunnel, Maria, Jason, and several other passengers, were startled and horrified to see the flashing image of a man convulsing in the throes of death in an electric chair, just beyond the window-panes of the railway carriage. The disturbing image ;ould not have been projected on to the wall of the tunnel by some hoaxer, because the witnesses all agreed that the man in the chair had looked three-dimensional and completely solid. The deeply disturbing image had been so detailed and vivid, that Mrs Cunningham had even seen sparks of electricity around the metal wristbands fastening the man to the chair. The same terrifying apparition was later seen by tourist in the same railway tunnel in 1999. The electric chair has never been used in Britain, but there are rumours that a London gangster was tortured in an access tunnel off that stretch of railway line in the 1950s. It is alleged that he was wired to an electrical transformer to make him talk.
When I gave out an account of this strange story on the radio, I received a call from a man called Freddy Ryden. In 2000, Freddy and four friends decided to go to London to look for work in the construction industry, and minutes before their train pulled into Huston, they all saw the distinct image of a man bound by metal bracelets to what seemed to be an electric chair. On this occasion, the man's face was obscured by a dark vapour, but Freddy and his friends could clearly see the body violently convulsing as sparks fizzed from the bracelets on his hands.
The Liverpool men informed a guard about the electrocuted man as soon as the train pulled into the station, but the guard said that it was impossible for anyone to be sitting in a chair in that stretch of tunnel, as there were simply no vaults or passages where the figure could be situated.
To deepen the mystery further, I recently received a newspaper cutting about the ghost in the electric chair, published in the Daily Mirror in the late 1990s. Here is the gist of the article:

A twenty-two-year-old Watford housewife, Karen Woo, was taking the tube to London for a spot of sightseeing with her family and her eight-year-old nephew Kaitian, when she decided to take his photograph. Only after the snapshots had been developed did Karen realise that she had captured a strange apparition on film. Behind her nephew, framed by the window of the tube train, in the inky blackness of the tunnel, was the clear image of a man being executed in an electric chair. Karen said, "My husband's family was visiting from Malaysia and wanted a picture of them all travelling on a tube train. I had the photos developed a few months later and was completely astounded because I'd never seen anything like it before. I'm not one for believing in anything weird ... but ..."

So many independent witnesses, all describing the same apparition, lend weight and credibility to the sightings, and we can only speculate as to their significance.

Copyright Tom Slemen 2010. All rights reserved. Published in the Haunted Liverpool 7