The Queen Mary, Long Beach CA
If you are looking for adventure in one of the world’s most famous haunted locations, the Queen Mary should be at the top of your list. This luxury liner has had its share of history which provides it with a rich background for its haunted status. A history spanning almost one hundred years has seen The Queen Mary transformed from a luxury liner to a war vessel, and now a hotel ship in its current location. This enormous liner has earned a reputation for being one of the most haunted locations and a paranormal hotbed in the United States, making it a popular travel destination.
The Queen Mary is said to have more ghosts than guests at any given time. This is largely due to its past life as a war vessel, and the many deaths that have happened on board. The Queen Mary is buzzing with paranormal activity.
The Queen Mary is a 1,000-foot ship that was built to be more powerful, bigger, and faster than the Titanic. The construction of the ship began in 1930 at the John Brown shipyard in Scotland and took six years to complete, having been slowed down by the depression between 1931 and 1934. She made her first voyage on May 27, 1936. The Queen Mary would host famous celebrities and royalty including Sir Winston Churchill, Greta Garbo, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Liberace, and a host of others. Her time as a luxury liner lasted for only three years before being converted into a WWII ship, and commissioned to transport about 16,000 troops during the war. During wartime, she was known as “The Grey Ghost”, due to her speed. By the end of the war, she was commissioned to transport well over 23,000 war brides along with their kids to Canada and the United States. In 1946, she made a total of 13 voyages for this reason.
The Queen Mary was restored in 1947 and soon resumed its elegant cruises across the Atlantic, crossing on a weekly basis, operating between New York, Cherbourg, and Southampton. By the late 1950s and early 1960s, the world began to move away from transatlantic cruises due to the increasing popularity of air travel, which was faster and more affordable.
The Queen Mary began occasional cruises to the Bahamas and the Canary Islands 1963, then, later on, began to lose its appeal as cruise ships offered better amenities such as outdoor pools and air conditioning. After more than 1,000 transatlantic crossings, she was decommissioned in 1967. In the same year, the Queen Mary was sold to the city of Long Beach, California, for about $3.45 million to serve as a hotel and a maritime museum. She made her final voyage to Long Beach on December 9, 1967.
It is believed that the Queen Mary is home to as many as 50 spirits. Documented deaths of soldiers and civilians alike while onboard the ship are believed to add to the haunting. One of the more famous spirits is a young man known as “John” who died as a result of being crushed to death during a watertight door drill in 1966. This particular heavy door which is known as “Door 13” is responsible for two similar deaths at different times in the dark history of the ship.
Another key incident that occurred in the past of the Queen Mary involves a collision with the HMS Curacoa on October 2, 1942, which saw the HMS Curacoa sink in less than 6 minutes. The incident was reported to have claimed the lives of over 300 crew members. This incident has been blamed for the screaming and terrifying sounds of rushing water that seems to emanate from the front of the ship. These hauntings have led many guests, and paranormal enthusiasts to suggest that the spirits of the 300 crew members of the Curacoa may be dwelling in the Queen Mary.
The pool area is also a paranormal hotspot. The ghost of a small child is rumored to be there, often taking the hand of the tour guide, answering questions on EVPs, and playing with her “ghost kitty” who can be heard meowing on various recordings.
I was lucky enough to explore the Queen Mary by attending a Strange Escapes event with Amy Bruni of GhostHunters and Kindred Spirits fame. (To find out more about Strange Escapes, visit strange-escapes.com). Amy and her celebrity guests (Adam Berry, Grant Wilson, Chip Coffey, John Tenney, Greg and Dana Newkirk, Andrea Perron) and a Queen Mary historian met us on the ship, where we would spend two nights and three days investigating. We investigated many areas of the ship, including the area of “Door 13”, the engine rooms, the brig, some of the staterooms, the onboard infirmary in use during the war, the propeller room, the pool area, and the bow of the ship. We also were treated to an onboard seance with John Tenney and Greg and Dana Newkirk, curators of the Traveling Museum of the Paranormal and the Occult.
These places were indeed eerie. We captured EVPs on our devices, and my family had an in-room experience with a young girl spirit. We used my divining rods and an EMF detector for double confirmation. We understood from our experience that the girl’s mother had been onboard the ship at one time. We aren’t sure if this is the same little girl as we later heard in the pool room, but we were very satisfied with the level of interaction with this young spirit. My sister and mother slept in this same room that evening, and my sister had her shoes moved from the tall cabinet in one corner to a shelf area in the nightstand by her bed overnight, and was also woken to “tinny music” that she could hear but couldn’t locate. It was later described by another guest who also heard this music as an “old-time jack in the box” sound.
In the pool area, we have EVP recordings of a little girl responding to questions asked by other attendees at the event. Someone asked if she liked candy, and a giggle was heard. The cat was heard meowing at one point on the recording. Another guest captured the word “yellow” when the spirit was asked what color her favorite swimming suit was.
In the bow of the ship, we listened to a spirit box. The spirit responded to the questions being asked – “How many people are in the room (thirteen), where we were (The Queen), and what color the light was on the spirit box (blue). Then (green) when it was switched to a different color.
In the chapel, during the seance, we captured EVPs of a mystery person (a photo was shown to attendees) that the hosts were familiar with, but the attendees were not. We heard Billy (the Idol of Nightmares from the Paranormal Museum) answer questions as well on our recorders and cell phones. The male spirit that we communicated with during the group seance answered questions and at one point, said his name, which surprised our hosts.
I would definitely return to the Queen Mary. She is a beautiful ship, with fabulous rooms and great restaurants. We were taken on a haunted tour by the ship’s guide, and we also had a private investigation with some pros in the business.