MR is a student at the University of Southern California, originally from Ames, IA.
MR was full of terrifying stories for me:
“One of my friends who goes to school at [George Washington University] was riding the last train of the night back from her office one day, and it was just her and one other guy at the stop, and they both got on the same car and sat a few seats away from one another. She said he was wearing business clothes and carrying a briefcase. The only other people on the car were two boys and one girl, the girl sandwiched between them in one seat…and as soon as she sat down, she realized the girl was staring at her. My friend was supposed to be on the train for like, 20 minutes, and every time she looked up the girl was still staring at her. The guys were just listening to music, but this girl wasn’t blinking, wasn’t turning her head, just full-on staring down my friend. She was starting to get really uncomfortable and thinking about changing seats, when the guy who was waiting at the original stop with her all of a sudden came over and sat next to her. Now she was really freaked out, but he just whispered to her ‘You need to get off at the next stop with me.’ She wasn’t sure who to be more freaked out by, but she decided to trust this guy and followed him off the train at the next stop. When they got off, she asked him why they needed to get out there, and the guy just said ‘that girl was dead.’ She tried to ask him how he knew but he didn’t have very many answers to give her, so she ended up just catching a cab ride home.”
This story is pretty vague, but definitely horrifying. While I couldn’t find any other instances of DC metro folklore, this piece seems to highlight a general fear and distrust in metropolitan public transportation, especially late at night. There’s the same kind of sentiments in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, where a lot of people feel unsafe using subways and light rail after dark, afraid of being in situations like this: alone in a car with sketchier passengers. In part it might be a class thing, where people see public transportation being used by the homeless and working-class who could potentially harass them with less of their peers around. Urban legends in big cities a lot of times play on people’s apprehension about other groups, either political, social or economic.