The world famous HMS Queen Mary is permanently docked in Long Beach, California. She is now a floating hotel and tourist attraction.
My first visit to the Queen Mary was in December, 1989. I worked for Chiat/Day/Mojo, an ad agency in Venice, CA. The agency reserved the aerodome next to the Queen Mary that sheltered Howard Hughes' famous seaplane, the Spruce Goose, for our Christmas Party.
The party was fun but so was my late night walk on the decks of the Queen Mary. At night, she is beautifully lit. It was a chilly night. The lights of the ship created a foggy glow in the evening mist. The decks were mostly deserted with guests choosing to stay inside and out of the cool air. It was an exhilarating experience.
Around five years later, I visited the ship with my fiancee, Whitney. This time, I visited on a sunny Saturday afternoon. The Spruce Goose was now gone. She was shipped to Oregon and a flight museum. Next to the ship was a crane set-up for high bungie jumping. The ship was crowded and it was like visiting an amusement park.
I was excited about touring the ship and the museum exhibits. We signed up for a guided tour. On our tour, I began to ask questions about ghost-sightings and paranormal activity recorded on the ship. Our guide entertained some of these questions but mainly stuck to her script, which focused on the history and artifacts aboard the ship.
When visiting the famous indoor pool, my wife sensed something strange. It is no coincidence that the pool is thought of by many to be a paranormal hot-spot on the ship. It is here that a little girl's ghost has been sighted. Her laughter and the laughter of bathers from many years ago is sometimes heard. Some claim to have seen wet footprints on tile although the pool is bone dry.
Whitney was spooked but excited to feel the way she did. It really sparked our curiousity about the paranormal history of the ship.
When the tour ended, our guide pulled us aside. She told us that a young girl who was the daughter of a nursery worker on the ship vanished on one of the transatlantic voyages back in the 30's. The guide led us back into the ship and gave us directions to the 3rd class nursery, another paranormal hot spot on the ship. It was here Whitney sensed a very strong presence. We were alone standing in front of the nursery but by no means felt alone.
That evening, we dined on the ship. A very elegant-looking older couple befriended us. They introduced themselves as the Barrymores. They talked about good times on the Queen Mary and I believe they traveled on the ship when she sailed the waters of the Atlantic.
Funny....throughout the ship there are enlarged B&W photographs of famous people who sailed the Queen Mary. I sometimes wonder if we passed a photograph of the Barrymores or if we did indeed dine with the Barrymores or not that night....
In 1995, we decided to stay the night on the Queen Mary and celebrate at a Halloween Party on the ship. Our best friends, Rudy and Lisa came, too, along with a few other couples. We reserved a block of rooms in the hotel (the ship's first class cabins) and came in costume. I came as "The Fly" a costume I wanted to wear ever since my old roommate in college wore it to a Halloween Party. My wife went as "The Cat in the Hat." She carried her book "Green Eggs and Ham" and a fly swatter to take care of me if I got out of line.
The Queen Mary's engine room was turned into a fright maze. They also were offering a real "ghost tour" so we quickly signed up. We loved the ghost tour. We visited spots where many of the sightings on the ship occured and heard about people who may have never "disembarked" the ship. The tour was also fun because they planned gags to scare us like dry ice at the indoor pool and a ghostly engineer pounding a wrench in the bowels of the ship.
Although we had a great time, neither of us felt that strange but exciting way we did when "ghost-hunting" on that Saturday trip several years before.
Late that October night, we left the Halloween party for a romantic stroll along the decks of the Queen Mary. There was a stage set up on the aft (poop?) deck of the ship. There, in the cool night air, my wife sang to me before a backdrop of glowing lights in the evening mist.
I preserved that memory by building a scale model of the Queen Mary with "The Fly" and "Cat in the Hat" aboard.
The Queen Mary is a beautiful ship. Maybe she is haunted. I wouldn't be surprised. A spirit may be drawn to a place they once experienced great joy or adventure when alive. For that, the Queen Mary is defnitely the ticket.