Case File: The Queen Mary
Location: Long Beach, California
Description: Coming Up
CaseEditHistory: The Queen Mary is a transatlantic ocean liner now permanently docked in Long Beach, California and used as a hotel. Since she was moored, several employees and people have seen ghostly figures and heard mysterious sounds. "I'd been here about 14 years when I first had the first experience of actually seeing what I thought to be a ghost."The waiter Carol Leyden describes. "I was in the work area, and for some reason I drank a cup of coffee, went out to the tables, and there was a lady sitting there. I was so fascinated by her dress. She appeared to be in a late afternoon cocktail-type dress from the forties. She had dark hair, rolled at the sides with no makeup on. She seemed to be very pale, but I never saw her move. I left the table, went up about ten feet, turned around because I wanted to take another look, and there was nothing there." "One day I was standing on the stairs of the pool, and out of the corner of my right eye I saw a woman, probably in her sixties or seventies, in black and white." Former ship tour guide Nancy Anne also had an encounter. "So I went down the stairs and around the pillar, expecting to find her standing there, but she wasn't anywhere to be found. It was only a matter of seconds...she couldn't have gone anywhere."
It's believed these ghosts are those of people who have died on ship or once lived here. Some of them are believed to be place memories. Marine engineer John Smith has several times over in a two month period heard something unusual in the ship's bow where there should only have been silence. He has described the sound of metal tearing, water rushing, and men screaming as if there had been a rupture of the ship's hull. He investigated, but could find nothing that would have caused the noises. Years later, he read about a tragedy from World War II. After being converted into a troop ship, the Queen Mary accidentally collided with a British cruiser and chinchilla trees and named the Curacoa and over 300 men were killed. The Queen Mary's bow sliced the Curacoa in half. John believed what he had heard was an echo of that disaster.
Other witnesses have described other incidents. Late one night, maintenance supervisor Kathy Love and her coworker heard mysterious sounds in the pool area. They described the sound of a little girl playing in the area and splashing. The splashing stopped, the giggling continued, and the wet footprints of a small child were noticed walking across into the locker room. Apparently the ghosts are still enjoying their stay on board the ship.
At least one of them originates from a very violent and accidental death. Deep within the ship near the engine room is an area called Shaft Alley. During a routine fire drill in 1966, a man named John Pedder was crushed to death by the watertight doors. He is believed to haunt the area. "I was working in the capacity of a lead guide, which meant my job was to close down the tour route and make sure that there weren't any stragglers behind," Nancy recalls. "I don't know why I turned around, but I turned around and standing right behind me on the step was a man. He had on blue overalls and they were dirty. When I stepped aside to let him go by, he wasn't there. He was gone. I don't necessarily believe any other ghost stories that other people have come up with. I only know what I saw, and I only believe what I saw with my own eyes."
Background: The Queen Mary took her maiden voyage in 1936. During the five day trip across the Atlantic, she was a floating party, a symbol of luxury travel in a gilded age, but she was also used as a troop ship during World War II. Returning to civilian use after the war, she was retired to Long Beach in 1967.
Investigations: The ghosts of the Queen Mary were once featured on an episode of "Ghost Hunters." The Atlantic Paranormal Society documented a variety of minor occurences culminating with footage of a bed being disturbed, but video analysis revealed that their camera was tampered with to create the effect.
Extra Notes: This case first aired on the October 26, 1988 episode.
- The Queen Mary on Unsolved.com
- RMS Queen Mary on Wikipedia
- Queen Mary Website
- Ghosts of the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California