The Queen Mary was bigger, faster and mightier than the Titanic. She was constructed at the John Brown shipyard in Clyde, Scotland and made her maiden voyage on May 27, 1936. At one time, the Ocean liner hosted elaborate parties where royalty, world leaders and top entertainment figures enjoyed fine wine and seven course meals.
From 1940-1946, she was transformed into a carrier ship aiding forces during World War II. She is said to have carried over 760 thousand military personnel. She was painted a drab-gray to keep her hidden in the misty waters, giving her the nickname “The Gray Ghost.”
The ship contains the Hotel Queen Mary with 365 restored original First Class staterooms. It has a maritime museum and has had numerous exhibits with the artifacts from the Titanic, the legendary Marilyn Monroe's personal possessions, “Treasures of the Last Czar”, Princess Diane exhibit, and Alcatraz to name a few. It also hosts the Scottish Highland Games every February, Art Deco Festivals, The annual Halloween Terrorfest, and the Annual Long Beach Holiday Tree-Lighting Ceremony.
With so much to see and do, the Queen Mary attracts thousands of visitors every year whether it is to enjoy the exhibits or to experience first hand if she is truly haunted.
Haunted tours are offered daily for fun with their theatrical version of Ghosts and Legends, but they also have a more serious view. My friends and I took all three different tours, all interesting and informative. We especially liked the paranormal evening excursion with Erika Frost that we took July 2006. She brought us to places on the ship that weren’t available for the guests to explore.
Our evening with Ms. Frost began in the Observation Bar, which served first class passengers during the ship’s sailing days. It is decorated in the Art Deco splendor of its time. Through the lounge’s portholes, you can see the lights of Long Beach, giving you a romantic view across the bay.
My husband had his camcorder, microphone and other equipment in hopes of capturing something paranormal, but nothing stood out when he listened to the recordings.
On the haunted tour, they mentioned that there were ‘hot spots’ and vortexes throughout the ship. The first class swimming pool and the dressing rooms were the most active of the paranormal sightings. It is believed a woman was attacked in the pool’s dressing room and numerous psychics feel there is a negative energy that still lingers. It has been reported a little girl’s laughter can be heard on occasion and a forlorn girl clutching a teddy bear has appeared to guests and staff. They believe she may have drowned. At times, they have heard splashing and have seen wet footprints leading to the changing rooms. Another sighting is of a woman and a child dressed in 1940’s clothing standing near the gate leading to the pool.
One spirit said to haunt the Queen Mary on D Deck or door #13 in shaft alley is John Pedder. He was a fireman/cleaner in the number 3 Boiler Room in 1966. For some reason on a routine drill, the eighteen year old tried to squeeze through the watertight door that closes in less than six seconds. Some speculated that he was trying to play “Chicken” and unfortunately, it became a deadly game where he lost his life.
Ms. Frost let us hold the small copper dowsing rods. They are used to pick up paranormal energy in the air. Albert Einstein believed dowsing worked. He is quoted to have said, “I know very well that many scientists consider dowsing as they do astrology, as a type of ancient superstition. According to my conviction this is, however, unjustified. The dowsing rod is a simple instrument which shows the reaction of the human nervous system to certain factors which are unknown to us at this time."
I held the rods in the Engine Room where staff and tour guides have reported strange clanging sounds and balls of light move slowly across the walls. Others have seen a mysterious black-bearded man wearing coveralls ride the escalator as if he was on his way to do a job. Erika Frost asked if the spirits wished to speak with us. The rods uncannily moved. It wasn’t a slow movement, but fast and to the left as if someone came by and pushed it. It continued to do this each time she would ask a question.
On G Deck where the morgue was thought to be located, there have been reports of lights flickering, doors slamming, and numerous sightings in this area. John Pedder (crushed by door #13 during a watertight drill)l is sometimes spotted wearing the blue coveralls in which he died. Another was William Stark, who accidentally drank poison that the ship's captain was keeping in an old gin bottle.
The cabin, B-340 (B deck) is supposedly one of the most haunted cabins on the ship. The cabin is supposed to be haunted by a purser who was murdered. The hotel no longer allow guests stay in the cabin.
Room 340, which is supposed to be the most haunted room.
In the Boson’s Locker you can hear strange noises. During World II, the Queen Mary was being pursued and to avoid being an easy target, they used the zigzagging technique. Unfortunately, her escort ship, a British cruiser H.M.S. Curacao moved in the wrong direction and the Queen Mary sliced her in two. They were not allowed to stop for survivors and over 300 hundred men drowned. We were told there was a television crew who left their audio recorder running overnight in the exact location where the two ships collided. The next day they played back the tape and sounds of pounding could be heard. Others claimed to have heard voices and cries for help. When we were down in the once damaged area, we heard strange groaning noises and tapping.
In the third class playroom, which is now a used as a storage room, a baby’s cry has been heard. It is believed to be Leigh Travers Smith, an infant boy who died shortly after his birth.
The Queen Mary is a fascinating old ship with a rich history. As any old structure with dim lighting, it can feel creepy and make noises that will make you jump. So whether you are a skeptic or a firm believer in the paranormal, you’ll enjoy the different tours that are offered aboard the Queen Mary.
The psychic Mable Fortescue-Harrison predicted that the Queen Mary would know its greatest fame when she no longer sailed. It seems her prediction came true. The ship is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is permanently docked in Long Beach, California.
March 2017, Strange Escapes is going to host a weekend of mixers, meals, lectures, entertainment and of course, ghosts. My friends and I are attending and I can't wait to share my new ghost adventures with you.
About the Author
Karen Michelle Nutt resides in California with her husband, three fascinating children, and houseful of demanding pets. Jack, her Chorkie, is her writing buddy and sits long hours with her at the computer.
When she's not time traveling, fighting outlaws, or otherworldly creatures, she creates pre-made book covers to order at Gillian's Book Covers, "Judge Your Book By Its Cover". You can also check out her published cover art designs at Publishing by Rebecca J. Vickery and Highland Press.
Whether your reading fancy is paranormal, historical or time travel, all her stories capture the rich array of emotions that accompany the most fabulous human phenomena—falling in love.
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Books Available at: Amazon (Print and eBook) / Amazon UK (Print and eBook) / Barnes and Noble (Print and eBook) / Smashwords (eBook only) / OmniLit (eBook only) / aRE (eBook only) / Createspace (print only) / Book Depository (print only international)
Books where my characters visit the Queen Mary:
(Full length time travel romance)
The last thing Gillian Metcalf remembers before she passes out is being aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, where she witnesses a dog disappearing as if it were a phantom. So how did she end up in 1870 and in a man's room aboard the Ida
Belle, traveling down the Mississippi?
Zachary Creighton, a gambler with one goal: to win back Creighton Manor. Marriage is not part of the plan, but since he is found with Gillian in his room, reputations are at stake, his included.To keep peace with his reluctant bride, he makes a bargain with her. He needs a tutor for his nephew Tyler, and she needs a roof over her head until they can annul their sham of a marriage. However, Zachary finds himself falling for Gillian's oddly charming ways despite the fact the woman claims to be from the future.
The gamble is trust, but will the stakes prove too high for Zachery to risk it all and win Gillian's heart?
Ebook: Amazon Kindle /In Print: Amazon / Createspace / Book Depository
(Short Story) 99¢
A tragic accident leaves Brynna and Travis devastated. Instead of turning to each other for comfort, they drift apart. However, they must complete one more assignment—set on an old ship, The Queen Mary, during Yule, one of the most haunted times in the Celtic calendar. It is believed souls of the dead prevail and anam cara—soul friends can visit.
Will Travis and Brynna confront the spirit of love, allowing them a chance to heal and find their way back to each other?
Available in these formats: Kindle / Nook / Smashwords
Looking for a Ghost Story this Halloween?
Brona lives in an isolated house on the cliffs which overlook the sea. She arrives home to find the door ajar. Her husband is out of town and her sister, who is staying with her, has disappeared.
Blood-stained floors appear and disappear, low whispering voices greet her, and a storm outside rages causing the lights to flicker. Brona must put her fears behind her and unravel the mystery that haunts this house.
Ebook: Amazon / Amazon UK / Smashwords /Nook