The HMS Queen Mary was christened a luxurious ocean liner on May 27, 1936 as she departed on her maiden voyage. When World War 2 broke out in 1939 she was re-commissioned as a military troop transport ship, painted gray, and referred to affectionately as “The Gray Ghost.” This was to make it much harder to track her at sea, allowing her to complete her missions relatively undetected. It is rumored that Hitler had put a hefty bounty on her head willing to handsomely reward anyone who sent her to a watery grave.
The HMS Queen Mary survived a tragic collision at sea in which her companion ship the HMS Curacao was sent to the ocean bottom. Over 300 souls that resided on the HMS Curacao lost their lives in this disastrous event. It was believed the HMS Queen Mary was biding a frantic and hasty retreat from enemy U-boat ships when the collision occurred and thus was unable to stop to help her distressed comrades. Those that did not die during the initial impact succumb to shark attacks, drowning, and hypothermia. It is rumored that the sound of men pounding their fists heavily along her side can be heard.
The HMS Queen Mary was returned to her original luxury ocean liner status in July of 1947. In 1967 she was retired from service and converted into a maritime museum and hotel by the city of Long Beach, California. She still stands to this day as a ghostly hotel and museum though certain areas known as paranormal hot spots have become restricted to the public.
Throughout its many lives the HMS Queen Mary has experienced many tragedies. One famous ghostly tale is that of a young 17 year old sailor named John Henry who was said to have lied about his age in order to join the crew. He was reportedly crushed to death while trying to escape a fire that had broken out in engine room #13. Visitors and employees of the HMS Queen Mary have heard the distinct sound of knocking and banging on the pipes around the door. Tendrils of white, wispy smoke and bright light illuminating the engine room door have been witnessed. Others have reported the door getting extremely hot to the touch for no apparent reason.
In 1966 there was a report of a second crew member being crushed to death by the engine room #13 door. He was purportedly 18 years of age and has been seen wandering the length of the hallway before disappearing behind door #13. Upon further inspection no plausible explanation was found.
The spirit of a young girl from third class allegedly haunts the pool area. The legend goes that she had wandered up to the pool area and had succumbed to an unfortunate fate. A freak accident left her with a broken neck. She has been seen wandering about the area her voice crying out on some occasions for her mommy and on others for her favored doll. Two other older women perished in this same area and are reported to haunt it as well.
A beautiful young woman donning a white evening gown has been seen haunting the Queen’s Salon that had once served as the ship’s first class lounge. Sadly she appears to be dancing in the shadowy corner of the room all alone waiting for a dance partner. There is a ghost that haunts the front hull of the ship. It is thought to be that of a sailor who perished when the HMS Queen Mary collided with the HMS Curacao during World War 2. He has been known to elicit a horrifying, spine-tingling scream that sends the skin crawling.
People have reported furniture moving of its own free will, the feel of icy, unseen hands upon their body, and visions of unknown spirits in the hallway that leads to the pool’s changing rooms. The sound of running water, lights turning themselves on in the dead of night, and phantom phones ringing frantically throughout the ship are enough to frighten the wits out of even the most steel nerved individual. Many have also reported the slamming of doors when there was no one around, dramatic drops in temperature that leaves one’s breath forming a visible mist, and strange aromas that appear out of place.
There is one ghostly yarn that claims a ship’s cook was purposefully shoved into an oven and cooked alive by his fellow comrades that were angered by his bad culinary skills. Apparently his agonizing screams have been heard echoing throughout the halls of the ship. Another tale alludes to a devilish man who had provided a steward with a handsome cash incentive in providing him with a ‘willing’ female companion for the evening. After stowing the man’s luggage the steward proceeded to fulfill the man’s request. The next morning, noticing that the man was absent from the dining hall, the steward decided to investigate. He made a gruesome discovery. The bloodied, mangled corpse of the man’s previous evening’s bedfellow was discovered in his quarters. The man was nowhere to be found having disappeared from the ship along with his luggage and registration information.
The HMS Queen Mary has seen her fair share of tragedy. It is no wonder that this old, war-torn ship is reported to house a vast number of restless spirits. Whether you are a true believer or a skeptic the tragic past of the HMS Queen Mary lends an undeniable eerie aura to this current maritime museum and hotel. If you dare, venture to the Queen Mary to experience the past for yourself. Visit The Queen Mary website for further information. Happy hunting!