The Queen Mary, a cruise ship now permanently docked in Long Beach, is the purported home to a hotbed of paranormal history. Altogether, at least 49 crew and passengers died onboard during Queen Mary’s commercial operation. (ref: Wikipedia) In the 2014 Halloween season, Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor event featured four new mazes dedicated specifically to honoring the ship’s sordid and mysterious past.
The most notoriously haunted room on the ship, this maze capitalized on the atmosphere brilliantly. When my group went through, I ended up mysteriously alone in this room where the slaughters allegedly occurred. Perhaps it was my mind and imagination playing tricks but I found myself hurrying anxiously out of the room as quickly as possible (while simultaneously kicking myself for rushing the experience). B340 maintains a truly creepy aura.
History here is the stuff of legends – plural. Allegedly, while the ship was still sailing, a man was found gruesomely murdered in bed in this room. As for the cause of death, versions differ: slashed throats, gunshots, poisoning, even suicide. A second story asserts that B340 was the living quarter of the ship’s head steward who died there and continued to roam the halls. Still another tale describes this as a holding cell for a mentally ill patient who snapped into a violent rage and murdered his young daughter. The one element seemingly agreed upon? Whatever happened, it was unexplainable and gory.
In 1967, the ship was turned into a permanent hotel. Guests staying in B340 reported bizarre occurrences such as bedsheets being pulled off in the middle of the night, a toilet flushing by itself, hangars rattling with no wind, or a disembodied voice yelling “GET OUT”.
Due to these complaints, the hotel sealed off this room, removed the infamous number and refused the space to guests under any circumstance ever again. Regardless of what may or may not have happened here, the hotel surely had its reasons for committing to this precaution.
This maze presented a nod to Queen Mary’s WWII history carrying U.S. soldiers to Great Britain during 1940-1946. The ships’ wartime nickname was The Grey Ghost and it was the largest and fastest troop vessel of WWII. Some believe the ghost of Winston Churchill haunts the ship to this day. During the war he used the Grey Ghost for transportation, considered it his headquarters at sea, even signed the D-day declaration onboard. (ref: Queen Mary)
Two young girls, aged between 5 and 8, were said to have drowned in the second class pool around 1949. Jackie is the more amicable spirit and has been heard singing, giggling, laughing, calling for mommy and daddy, or answering questions on EVP. Sarah has a temperamental/aggressive edge and reportedly guards Jackie. The two can be heard singing together.
The Submerged maze paid respect to these girls, starring Scary Mary, the Queen Mary’s youngest ghost, seeking willing playmates to join her in eternity.
The abandoned pool is quite a sight and this maze had a cool spatial ambiance.
Historically, there was a young and beautiful woman who enjoyed dancing to unheard music in the main lounge. This ghost is reportedly sighted in her white gown in the lobby area of the ship. (ref: Queen Mary Shadows)
In Dark Harbor’s maze, they call her Graceful Gale. Her mission? Lure sailors into her lair, cut them up, and assemble the parts into her version of the perfect man. Seeking an entity that does not exist, in the end she dances alone, bloodied, while the frozen shells of her suitors watch on in assembly. This one was of the most theatrical, cinematic mazes with breathtaking visuals.
A bonus favorite moment: experiencing the limited-access engine room, located deep within the ship. I was fortunate to walk across the suspension bridge here, a space reportedly haunted by a young sailor who was crushed to death by watertight door #13 while on duty. This area is also said to be a vortex where spirits cross over from this world to the next.
Walking slowly, talking it all in, I could certainly understand how the latter may be true. I stopped in the center and listened to an eerie silence that would be difficult to compare. Staring off into the inky black abyss, seeing shadows of machinery seemingly hundreds of feet below, hearing the echoes of clicks from the boiler – this moment was a treat to all senses, turning the wheels of my imagination. A ghost sighting would certainly be apropos.
The haunted Queen Mary presents a unique, exquisite environment of opulence for hosting one of the country’s most talked about attractions. The narrow passageways and creaky corridors lend themselves to a rich heritage. Though no one can ever be certain if some of the esteemed former guests have chosen to remain within these walls throughout eternity, let’s face it: ghost stories are FUN. They create atmosphere and build tension, helping our minds to relax into that transcendent world of fantasy.
And that’s what Halloween is all about.
Have you toured or worked events onboard the Queen Mary? If so, we’d love to hear any tales of encounters in the comments section below.
Queen Mary offers paranormal tours where you can check out these haunted hotspots for yourself, including locations not open to the general public. You’ll be joined by a professional investigator and utilize handheld monitoring equipment along with participating in group EVP recording sessions.
General Admission: $75
Hours: FRI-SAT 11PM, SUN 10PM. At least a 2.5-plus hour tour.
Link: Queen Mary paranormal investigations
For a more leisurely experience where you can view the ship’s interior without conducting a full invesigation, they offer a paranormal ship walk. Tickets for this are $39, hours 8-10pm, Sunday-Thursday.
And for updates on 2015’s Halloween attraction, check out: Dark Harbor