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The RMS Queen Mary “The Grey Ghost”
By Heather Ryan

The Queen Mary is considered to be one of the most haunted locations in the world. Its history is vast and varied. She has seen war, peace and death during all periods of her active commission. Though she is now currently and permanently docked in the calm clear waters of Long Beach, California. Her history comes to life within its hulking hulls, hallways and rooms. Those that have passed aboard the Queen Mary, be it by unimaginable tragedy, natural death or by close proximity, have something to say. And if you listen hard enough, you may hear them.

Built in Scotland, she made her maiden voyage as a luxury passenger liner on May 27, 1936. She was 1,000 feet long and for her time was considered to be bigger, faster and more powerful than the Titanic. Holding the record for the fastest North Atlantic crossing by any ship of her era.
During her heyday as a playground for the rich and famous, and considered by the upper class to be the only way to travel, she transported the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Clark gable, and Sir Winston Churchill among others.

But this phase in her glorious commission would come to an abrupt end with the arrival of WWII in 1939. Luxury travel was no longer safe and the Queen Mary was transformed into a transport ship for troops. Painted grey to make her less detectable and outfitted with anti-aircraft guns, bunks and hospital areas, she was given the nickname The Grey Ghost. During her war service she transported hundreds of thousands of troops, prisoners of war, and played a role in virtually every Allied campaign including the D-day invasion in Normandy, France. In October 1942, while The Grey Ghost was transporting allied troops to Europe tragedy struck. During wartime ships would sail in a zig-zag pattern in order to throw off the aim of any oppositional U-boats. During one of these maneuvers, the Grey Ghost unable to change direction in time collided with a smaller escort vessel the HMS Curacao, literally cutting the smaller ship in half. Over 300 members of the Curacaos crew died in that tragic accident at sea. The Grey Ghost, under orders to not stop for any reason sailed onto her destination leaving the sailor’s to perish. Many visitors aboard the Queen Mary have reported hearing loud banging on the side of the ship, the sound of grinding metal, the sound of rushing water and ghostly screams coming from the bow of the ship where the two boats collided. Could these be the souls of those sailors that died in those frigid wartime waters reliving their last moments? In 1947, her wartime service complete, The Grey Ghost was refitted once more as a luxury liner and The Queen Mary was born again. But times had changed. With air travel and cars becoming the more economical and more convenient way to travel the Queen Mary was ultimately the victim of progress. and in 1967 was eventually sold to the city of
Long Beach, California to be used as a Floating hotel and museum. Where it remains today.

Attracting thousands of visitors every year, both living and dead, the Queen Mary has its share of Ghost stories and sightings. The number of deaths associated with the ship both onboard and off are numerous. In addition to the over 300 men who perished aboard the Curacao in wartime, there are at least 47 confirmed deaths aboard the ship itself. Is it possible that the iron walls of this ship are imprinted with the energy of these lost souls? Or is it the energy of the water that surrounds the ship that holds them there.

Watertight door #13 – Engine Room
There are two confirmed deaths that occurred within the engine room. Both victims of watertight door #13. Located 50 feet below water level, this area is said to hold the spirits of the two men who died within its walls. One man perished while trying to escape a fire within the engine room, but was crushed to death when the door closed on him. A second man perished while performing a routine watertight Door drill and was also crushed to death. Witnesses claim to see a bearded young man in blue workers coveralls walking towards the door before disappearing just before reaching door #13. Others have heard ghostly screaming, seen strange light anomalies, and have smelled smoke.

First Class swimming Pool
Though the pool has been closed for 30 years – drained of its water, and the grand room that contained it allowed to fall into disrepair. There are those that say that past guests are still enjoying its former splendor. Ghostly splashes, laughter and disembodied voices have been heard in this area and within the adjacent changing rooms. The apparition of a women in 1930’s bathing apparel has been seen on the deck overlooking the pool and the ghostly appearance of wet footprints have been seen materializing on the pool deck and heading towards the changing rooms. The spirit of a child named Jackie, believed to have drowned in the second class swimming pool has been seen in the first class pool area. Her voice and laughter has been heard by many. Why she chooses to make herself known in this area as opposed to the area where she reportedly passed is a mystery. Two other drowning’s have been reported in the first class pool. So it’s no wonder that this area would be a hotbed of activity.

First class swimming Room Changing rooms
Located off the balcony overlooking the First class swimming pool are the First Class changing rooms. It is rumored that a young women names Sarah was attacked and murdered here by an unknown assailant. Shadow figures have been observed in this area, and the sound of crying has been heard. Could this be the spirit of Sarah reaching out from beyond? It is reported that several
Psychics that have investigated the ship believe that the brutality of her murder opened a Vortex here, allowing spirits to enter the ship through this portal.

Cabin B340
Cabin B340 has earned the reputation as the most haunted area aboard the Queen Mary. The reported site of a vicious murder, this room has it all in the way of paranormal activity. There are two stories attributed to the haunting. This first claim is that the room was at one point used as a temporary holding area for a mentally unstable man who had been harassing and threatening his family. When the family visited him he brutally attacked his 5 year old daughter, killing her. Another story claims that the ships purser was murdered in this room. Some of the claims reported to occur within the walls of Room B340 are frequent and intense poltergeist activity, disembodied voices telling guests to “Get out!”, Guests bedding being pulled off of them while they are sleeping, lights turning on and off by themselves and the water in the bathroom turning on. This activity prompted many guests to leave the room in fear and request to stay elsewhere aboard the ship. The volume of complaints by guests staying in the room eventually prompted the hotel to permanently close the room to renting guests. They also removed the number B340 from their registry. The original door to the room has been removed, and a new door had been installed which remains locked to all but hotel staff.  The room is only accessible to guests that participate in the hotels Haunted Encounters tour.

These are just a few of the claims of paranormal activity witnessed by guests over the years. The reports of ghostly activity aboard the Queen Mary are in the thousands. Even today reports of ghostly Apparitions, Poltergeist activity, disembodied voices and ghostly footprints aboard Queen Mary continue. It has been featured on many well-known paranormal shows including TAPS, Most Haunted, Unsolved Mysteries and Dead Famous.

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