The Queen Mary has been a permanent feature in Long Beach, California for decades and is one of the most famous cruise ships of all time. The ship has become a hotel, museum, and popular tourist attraction, and the historic ship is internationally renowned, attracting thousands of visitors each year. In addition to the living guests, the ship is said to be home to various ghosts. It has been speculated that the Queen Mary could be one of the most haunted places in the world. Reports say that as many as 150 known spirits have taken up residence and lurk in various locations around the ship.
The Queen Mary made her maiden voyage on May 27, 1936. Built in Scotland for use as part of a two-ship express service from Southampton to Cherbourg and New York, the Queen Mary is 1,000 feet long and at the time was said to be bigger, faster and more powerful than the Titanic. She also held the record for the fastest North Atlantic crossing in history. Passengers on the historic ocean liner included the most famous people of the day, including royalty, top entertainment figures, and important world leaders.
At the start of World War II in 1939, luxury voyages stopped and the ship became a transport ship that was used by Allied forces to transport troops from March 1940 to September 1946. It was during this time that it would become known as “The Gray Ghost”. By the end of World War II, the ship had carried more than 700,000 soldiers, traveled more than 500,000 miles, and played a major role in nearly every major Allied campaign. She also survived a collision at sea, set the record for carrying the most people on a floating ship (16,683), and participated in the D-Day invasion.
When the war ended, the Queen Mary was refitted and began her elegant cruises again in July 1947, with a weekly service between Southampton, Cherbourg and New York. In the early 1960s, the popularity of transatlantic cruises waned considerably due to the increasing affordability of air travel. The ship attempted to revive her popularity, but without central air conditioning, outdoor pools, or other amenities offered on most other cruise ships, the attempt was unsuccessful.
In 1967, the Queen Mary was decommissioned and sold to the city of Long Beach, California, for use as a maritime museum and hotel. On December 9, 1967, she made her last trip to Long Beach.
During its 60-year history, the Queen Mary was the site of 49 reported deaths, opening the door for potential spirits to haunt her. Reported ghosts include a young crewman in the engine room, first class pool swimmers, a man in black and a woman in blue. Some of the most haunted places on the Queen Mary include the propeller box, engine room, boiler room, cargo hold, and first-class swimming pool.
One of these ghosts is believed to be the spirit of John Pedder, a teenage firefighter who was crushed to death by an airtight door in 1966 during a routine drill. Inexplicable banging was heard around the door, and a tour guide reported that he saw a figure dressed in dark clothing as he was leaving the area where the youth had been killed. He saw his face and recognized him from the photographs of him. He was dressed in blue overalls and sported a beard. The young man has often been seen walking down Shaft Alley before disappearing through door number 13. This famous door was used in the filming of Posiedon Adventure and has reportedly crushed at least two men during the ship’s history.
The first class pool seems to be a hot spot for ghostly encounters. Wet footprints mysteriously appear even though there is not a drop of water in the pool. These steps lead from the pool deck to the changing rooms. Occasionally women in vintage bathing suits are seen stopping to swim, even though the pool has been closed for over 30 years. There have also been reports of seeing the spirit of a girl carrying her teddy bear along with disembodied voices, laughter, and splashing sounds.
In the second class pool area, the spirit of another girl named Jackie is often seen and heard. The girl drowned in the pool during the ship’s sailing days and she doesn’t seem to want to go on. Her voice and the sound of her laughter have been captured in this area.
In the room that was used as a third class playroom, there have been reports of the sound of children crying in the nursery room. There is also a report that a single baby cry has been heard. This cry is believed to be that of a baby who died there shortly after birth.
In some of the first-class cabins there have been reports that a tall, dark-haired man wearing a 1930s-style suit appeared in various locations. In addition to sightings of the man, taps and lights turn on in the middle of the night, and phones ring early in the morning, but there is never anyone on the other end of the line.
There are several other reports of sightings about the ship, including a beautiful young woman in an elegant white evening gown dancing alone in a dark corner of the salon, once used as the ship’s first-class lounge. Another mysterious woman in white has been seen near the reception. Usually she will disappear behind a pillar.
Other phenomena that have been reported throughout the ship include the sounds of banging, slamming, and high-pitched screeching, drastic changes in temperature, and the recurring smells of another time.
The Queen Mary has been investigated by various paranormal professionals, print publications, TV shows like Ghost Hunters and Most Haunted, and various others. In addition to parts of the movie “The Poseidon Adventure” being filmed there, The X-Files filmed a 1998 World War II-era episode about a time warp in the Bermuda Triangle aboard the ship. That was a great episode, it was called “Triangle.” You should watch it if you missed it!
In the Ghost Hunters episode, what was thought to be a fantastic videotaped paranormal event turned out to be not so fantastic, as it looked like someone had tampered with the video camera. So is the Queen Mary really haunted or not? The Ghost Hunters will return in February 2008 to see if they can find out. Hopefully this time there is no tampering and that they can capture some evidence to back up all the claims of paranormal activity on the Queen Mary.