Is The Queen Mary the Most Haunted Place on Earth? Or Corporate Fiction?
Want to spend a spooky, sleepless night in Los Angeles while you listen to blood curdling screams, doors slamming, and paranormal sights? Then head on down to the Queen Mary in Long Beach and book stateroom B340.
If you’re into ghosts, you’ll have a great time. Just don’t plan on being bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to partake in all the fun touristy things to do in Long Beach when you wake in the morning!
Back in the glory days of the RMS Queen Mary there were now ghosts. In fact the first ghost wasn’t reported until the former luxury cruise ship became a tourist attraction in Long Beach in 1967. This leaves one to wonder if the ghosts were fabricated to draw attention to the new “resort” or if they are perhaps departed souls from the ocean liner’s days as a military ship.
Shortly after WWII began, the Queen Mary was converted to a transport ship for Allied troops and the ship itself was named the “Grey Ghost.” In 1942 while carrying 10,000 groups she sliced through her escort ship, the HMS Curacoa and sliced it in half. 239 crew members of the Curacoa perished. Other deaths occurred on the Queen Mary itself, including a sailor that was cut in half by a heavy door and someone that was apparently murdered in the stateroom known as B340.
Read about the Queen Mary as a tourist attraction in Long Beach
The cruise ship has been called one of the top ten haunted places by Time Magazine. It supposedly has up to 150 ghosts haunting it now. Stateroom B340 has a large number of paranormal activities recorded in it. There were so many complaints of faucets turning themselves on, screams, hearing footsteps, toilets flushing etc that the floating hotel stopped renting the room out. However, after a number of people started demanding to stay in the spooky stateroom they opened it back up to guests. Now for a mere $499 per night (rates may vary over time) you can scare yourself silly trying to sleep in an otherwise mediocre room. Stateroom B340 is not one of the posher rooms on the ship! But for that price you get your own Ouija board tarot cards, a crystal ball and even ghost hunting equipment, whatever that is!
From the number of spooky things reported to be going on, you would think the residents of Long Beach would be able to look out their windows and see storm clouds, lightning and apparitions hovering permanently over the anchored cruise ship.
Some of the other paranormal activities include seeing a woman in white sliding across the floor at night, the sound of the boiler room door slamming, and just an overall creepy, spooky feeling in the infamous B Deck (where Stateroom B340 is located).
As such, much of the experience aboard the Queen Mary center around “Haunted Attractions” and “Haunted Encounters” and the “Ghosts and Legends” tours and more paranormal activities. These overshadow the real history and attraction of the ship to such a degree that Skeptical Inquirer writer Jon Champion called the a cynical exploitation of the ship, promoting it as a haunted attraction while pushing the real history of the ship to the wayside.
So the question is, are the hauntings real? Or an urban legend fabricated by a well oiled PR machine for the profit of a tourist attraction? We lean toward the latter. The reports of the hauntings on the RMS Queen Mary have spread too far, wide and fast to be anything other than the work of an expensive public relations effort. One that appears to be quite profitable for them. With the bare-bones stateroom B340 renting for nearly 3x the price of nicer staterooms and the money raised by the haunted tours, it is certainly profitable for the Queen Mary to have LOTS of ghosts!
LA urban legend places a lot of ghosts in various places around the City of Angeles, but there is something quite distinctive about the ghosts at the Queen Mary. They are the only corporate ghosts in Southern California other than the Halloween spook shows.
Whether the ghosts of the Queen Mary are the spirits that lost their lives on the ship who decided to hang around and amuse themselves spooking tourists, of the creation of a Public Relations agency executive it’s worth visiting the Queen Mary. It’s a grand old ship that used to carry the likes of Winston Churchill, Greta Garbo and Clark Gable and it’s earned a place on the National Register of Historic Places. Not for its ghosts, but for being one of the greatest ships ever built.
One last reason to visit the Queen Mary. In February 2019 the Hollywood Reporter announced that a horror movie entitled The Queen Mary will be filmed aboard the ship. No information was provided as to when or if it will close down other activities on the ship. But it could be fun to see “real” ghosts being filmed for a Hollywood movie.
More photos after the break…
Patricia V Davis
Dear MarkLA, Ghosts and the like are easily dismissed, for sure, but I wish we were all as skeptical when it comes to politicians and religious leaders as we are about the paranormal. Let me tell you my experience when staying aboard the Queen Mary in 2007. It’s relevant to your article because my first stay, I had no idea of the history of the ship. That might make me sound ignorant, but so be it–I simply wasn’t aware of the history, and/or its reputation for being haunted. In fact, my assistant booked me a stay because I was attending the Women’s Conference put on by then First-Lady of California, Maria Shriver, and the rooms at the LB Convention Center booked before we had a chance to get one. The Queen Mary seemed the next best choice. I was so focused on the conference, I barely glanced around at the ship, and when things in my stateroom moved from where I’d placed them, I chalked it up to nervousness about my To Do list for the conference. Then something happened that grabbed my attention in a big way. It was as if the ship were telling me that I should not ignore her–she was the only ship that could outrun Hitler’s U-boats, after all, and her history and rich lineage had it all over any Convention Center. As a result of that one visit, I wrote three novels, all set aboard the ship. While I understand that some might be skeptical, I think it might be a mistake to go into a situation expecting to believe OR disbelieve. As for the “exploitation” of the haunted aspect. I couldn’t disagree more. The tours and events that focus on the history of the ship, the art, the WWII stories, the Engine Room ahead of its time, etc, make up 75% of what’s available to see and do. It’s also renowned for its culinary offerings. The haunted aspect is hyped more by the media, by podcasters, YouTubers, and TV shows. It’s a shame you didn’t interview any of the staff, in particular Commodore Hoard and Captain Kane (both are honorary titles) because they are walking encyclopedias about the ship’s history, and any guest aboard the ship can stop them and ask questions, which they will readily answer. So, why have the haunted room? The Queen Mary takes a great deal of money to run and preserve. The ship is over eighty years old and is constantly being repaired, etc. I, for one, am glad they have this revenue stream (truth or fiction) because it helps preserve a great monument of our history. If the QM were not there, I would not have stayed on board by accident. I would not have learned so much about her history, both wartime and golden years. I would not have gotten three novels out of that experience. I would not have been able to speak about my books in the room where Clark Gable once smoked cigars, and Allied soldiers bunked, as the ship raced across the ocean in the dark, trying to stay out of Hitler’s firing range. I think preserving her for future generations to see (oh, and did I mention the ART DECO artwork, paintings, textiles, sculptures?) is paramount, and if it takes some hokey marketing now and then, I, for one, forgive it. It brings people on the ship for one reason, but most come away with an appreciation for much more than the paranormal.
Thank you for the long comment. As a note, I’m not saying the ship is or is not haunted, or that paranormal experiences do or do not exist. I actually believe in them. I love that the Queen Mary is here as well. I wrote about the debate that exists about the hauntings and I hope the readers will make up their own minds, or possibly even go to the Queen Mary to see for themselves.
I’ve seen them. I did not imagine this.