The Queen Mary
Moored in Long Beach Harbor is one of the most haunted ships in the world. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this 1,000 foot long ship’s construction started in 1930, and, being delayed by the Great Depression’s influence, could only take its maiden voyage in 1936. For three glorious years The Queen Mary was the star of the ocean liner industry, hosting people like the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, the Gershwins and Sir Winston Churchill—just to name a few. The Queen Mary held the record for the quickest North Atlantic crossing in her hey-day, but with the outbreak of World War II in 1939, her luxury services were set aside and she became known as “The Grey Ghost,” a troop transport.
During the war she participated in almost every important Allied campaign, including the D-Day invasion. It was during this time in her amazing history that tragedy struck. In an attempt to dodge enemy ships, “The Grey Ghost” maneuvered right into one of her smaller companion ships, nearly cutting it in half. Under strict orders, she left the 300 survivors to a watery death. It is said you can still sometimes hear their screams and the pounding of their fists on her fore hull. As the war drew to a close, “The Grey Ghost” took part in the “Bride and Baby Voyages,” carrying more than 20,000 war brides and their babies to the US and Canada. In 1946 alone, The Grey Ghost made 13 voyages of this type.
In 1947 she was refurbished and renewed her job as a luxury liner, running weekly between England and New York. Later she took tourists into the Caribbean, but not being fitted with air-conditioning she was not very popular. In 1967 she was sold to the city of Long Beach, California to be used as a maritime museum and hotel.
Now she is frequently visited by curious tourists. It’s claimed that as many as 150 spirits roam the ship, with the ship herself being the site of nearly 50 deaths over the last 60 years.
The spots where most of the disturbances are located include the engine room, Door 13, the first and second-class pools, the women’s changing room, the first-class lounge, the third-class playroom, the Queen’s Salon and one particular cabin.
In The Queen Mary’s engine room and the boiler room, cameras go dead, batteries get drained and orbs show up in photos. Occasionally cameras simply “give up the ghost” refusing to operate normally until they’ve left the area. In Engine Room 2, people report feeling a sense of dread—perhaps because this was the spot many stowaways believed would be their safe-haven. Instead, when the engines roared to life many were burned. Door #13 in the belly of the boat has crushed two men to death, one a young seaman who lied about his age to get the job he so desperately wanted. People report seeing him, dressed in blue coveralls, hurrying down “Shaft Alley” towards the door before he disappears.
The old swimming pools are also the sites of frequent sightings. Visitors have reported women in wearing swimsuits from the 1930s walking the pool decks. Others have heard splashing or spotted fresh wet footprints. Near one of the pools people have even seen a little girl, sometimes clutching a teddy bear, and at other times calling for her mommy and dolly. Is this the ghost of the little girl, named Jackie, who drowned while the Queen Mary played ocean liner? Or is it the little girl—supposedly quite precocious and a child who enjoyed sliding down banisters—who went for a slide and got bucked off when the ship hit a huge swell, the child’s neck snapping as a result of sudden impact? Perhaps the two have even found each other and play together, as many report hearing childish laughter.
In the third-class children’s playroom a baby’s cries are sometimes heard. Those who know the ship best think it is the sound of the little boy who died there, shortly after his birth. Other ghosts occasionally are spotted in the playroom, too—perhaps parents picking their children up from what was essentially daycare, or maybe the caretakers themselves linger, watching for the children still aboard.
A strange vortex phenomenon has also been reported near the women’s changing room, supposedly the resulting negative force because of a woman being raped nearby.
In some first-class staterooms, a man wearing a 1930’s style suit has been seen and phones are known to ring without anyone on the other end. Faucets also turn on in the middle of the night as if someone is washing up after a late night enjoying themselves.
A beautiful young woman in a stylish evening gown can sometimes be spotted in the Queen’s Salon. Some claim she dances alone in a shadowy corner of the room.
But beyond the tragic deaths of children and military men, perhaps the darkest thing still clinging to the Queen Mary is the remnants of one mysterious man’s deeds. Once, a single male passenger checked in, and stowing his luggage, gave a steward some cash to see if he could find a willing female companion to share his cabin for the night. The steward was successful and dropped a woman off for the man. The pair retired for the evening. The next morning, when the steward realized his patron was not at breakfast, he went to see how things had gone. He knocked on the cabin door, but got no answer. Worried, he raced away to find his superior—a man who could open the door. When the door opened they were horrified to find the corpse of the willing woman, her blood spread round the room. They searched for the only suspect—the male passenger—but found no sign of him—no registration information, no luggage… There had not even been a passenger assigned to that cabin. To this day, the man’s identity and method of escape baffles everyone who hears the chilling tale of what happened when two people met for a sudden tryst.