So few of the floating palaces of long ago remain. Many lie in a black silence at the bottom of the sea. Lusitania (1915) Titanic (1912) Britannic (1916) Empress of Ireland (1914). Many were sold for scrap and their treasures auctioned to the highest bidder. Olympic (1937) Mauretania (1935). Some met an undignified end by burning and capsizing in port. Normandie (1942) Queen Elizabeth (1972)
But in the safe harbor of Long Beach California, a glorious piece of maritime history lies at anchor for the curious to explore and for the weary to take rest. She has a memory. Ghosts of her past can be seen walking her decks and dancing in her salons. Her walls will speak to you if you take but a moment to listen. I encourage you to listen to the whispers of Queen Mary.
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Shaft Alley / The Engine Room / Watertight Door # 13
A routine watertight door drill on July 10, 1966 turned deadly when 18-year old foreman, John Peddar was crushed in watertight door #13. This door is located in the bowels of the ship’s engine room, also known as Shaft Alley. There have been multiple sightings by visitors and crew of a young bearded man dressed in blue coveralls walking the length of shaft alley. The young man disappears at watertight door #13.
The Queen’s Salon
A beautiful young woman dressed all in white is often seen dancing alone in the shadows of this former First Class Lounge.
Two employees were working in the passenger information booth one day when they noticed a woman wearing 1930’s attire. They watched as she walked down the deck and realized that she looked blurry. As she approached a pillar, she stepped behind it and out of the employee’s view. Curiosity got the best of them and one of the employees walked over to the pillar. But there was no one there. The woman had vanished.
“The Grey Ghost” and her Lower Bow
The queen Mary was painted a camouflage grey and transformed into a troop ship nicknamed “The Grey Ghost” during World War II. The Grey Ghost proved herself as an important member of the allied forces and Adolf Hitler offered a $250,000 reward and the Iron Cross to any submarine Captain that could sink her. While sailing a routine zig-zap pattern to avoid German U Boats, she sliced the British Cruiser HMS Curacao in half. Due to maritime law during time of war, The Grey Ghost was not allowed to stop and assist the Curacao because she would have become a target for U Boats. Over 300 British soldiers went down with the Curacao. The Grey Ghost sustained minimal damage to her lower bow.
Forty years later, a television crew left their audio recorder running overnight in the exact location in the bow of the Queen Mary where the two ships had collided. As the tape was played back the next day, incredible sounds of pounding could be heard, as if they were hearing the sounds of the collision. Others have claimed to hear voices and blood-curdling screams from those sailors who dies onboard the Curacao. Paranormal researchers who have investigated this area say that it is still haunted by many of the 300 men who were killed in that terrible accident.
The Boiler Room
Adjacent to the lower bow is the boiler room. When the ship was permanently berthed in Long Beach, the boiler room was completely gutted. However, ghostly sightings abound in this area. Located six fathoms below the waterline, the boiler room was the most dangerous part of the ship during operation. Many crew members were killed here when several pipes containing high-pressure steam exploded.
First Class Suites
Many occurrences have taken place within the confines of a number of the First Class Suites. There have been reports of running water in the middle of the night, the phone ringing at early hours of the morning, and lights suddenly turning on in the middle of the night. Passengers have reported hearing heavy breathing and people tugging on the bed covers, only to realize that there was no one in the room with them. One such event happened early one morning as a tour guide was taking interior photographs. One picture, which captured the suite’s beautiful tinted mirror, was taken from across the room. When the photos were developed, the particular print featured the reflection of a tall dark haired man in the mirror. This would not be considered unusual except for the fact that the man in the photo was wearing a 1930’s style suit and did not resemble the picture-taking tour guide in the least.
The First Class Swimming Pool
Although no deaths were ever reported in this area, the First Class Swimming Pool is the most haunted area of the entire ship. Women in bathing suits are seen walking around the pool area. Wet footprints are seen on the tile floors even though there is no water in the pool. The sounds of splashing and children’s laughter are often heard. A litter girl carrying a teddy bear peeks around corners at visitors and crew.
Paranormal researchers who have investigated the ship claim that a vortex (which allows spirits to move from the spirit world to ours) exists in the pool’s changing room. The vortex is credited with the high volume of paranormal activity in the pool area. Our tour guide had us crowd around a small area out in the area of where the vortex is suspected to exist to see if we could feel a change in temperature. Most reported feeling nothing. However, after about 45 seconds, I noticed that my hand began to tingle as if it were asleep.
I took multiple pictures in the pool area and changing rooms hoping to catch something on film. Only one photo showed something odd. Note the orbs and the light anomaly in the upper right-hand corner. Did I catch ghosts on film?
Hotel Queen Mary
Today the Queen Mary operates as a floating hotel in Long Beach, California. It’s currently closed due to COVID. After it re-opens let us know if you’re interested in a rather unusual and spooky stay! Tours and attractions are available for those who might not want to stay but would consider checking out the ship in the light of day.