The RMS Queen Mary is permanently docked in Long Beach, California where she is a floating hotel and tourist attraction. My first visit to the Queen Mary was in December 1989. A few months earlier, I started a dream job at Chiat/Day/Mojo, an advertising agency in Venice, California and creator of ads for Apple Computer, Nissan, American Express, Reebok, and the Energizer Bunny. For the big Christmas party, the agency booked the dome housing Howard Hughes' enormous seaplane, the Spruce Goose in Long Beach. This event space is on the grounds next to the Queen Mary.

The party was great but what I really enjoyed was my late night stroll on the decks of the Queen Mary. At night she is covered in lights from bow to stern making her appear to glow in the harbor fog. The decks were deserted and it seemed like I had the ship all to myself. What an exhilarating experience.

Five years later, I returned to the Queen Mary with my fiancee Whitney. On this trip it was a pleasant Sunday afternoon during the summer. The dome remained but the Spruce Goose was now on display at an aviation museum in McMinnville, Oregon. Standing next to the Queen Mary was a tower being used for bungie jumping. The ship and the quaint little village next to her was crowded with tourists. It was like being at an amusement park.

I was excited to have time on the ship to really explore. We signed up for a guided tour. While on the tour I asked about ghost sightings and paranormal activity. Our guide was polite with me but kept us moving and stuck to her script covering the history of the Queen Mary and noteworthy artifacts aboard the ship.

The tour led us to the indoor pool. I was aware of stories about this part of the ship believed by some to be a paranormal hotspot. I warned Whitney about this and she laughed it off but now she was actually there. She sensed something hard to describe but definitely other-worldly. It was that strange feeling you get where your hairs stand on end and something feels off and foreboding. There have been reports by visitors, hotel guests, and staff who have heard the laughter of a little girl. A few claimed to have seen wet footprints on the tile despite the pool being empty of seawater for decades.

Whitney was totally spooked and excited about what she experienced. This really sparked our interest in the haunted history of the ship.

At the end of the tour the guide motioned us to wait. When it was just us, she said the stories are true including the rumored spirit of a little girl who haunts the indoor pool. There is a theory the little girl was the daughter of a nursery worker. On a trans-Atlantic crossing the girl had disappeared and most likely fallen overboard.

This mother's grief led to supernatural phenomenon reported at the former site of the 3rd class nursery. The guide gave us directions to the nursery and let us reenter the ship from where we exited. We found it. Whit almost jumped out of her skin. She bumped into something when walking towards the nursery. It was an unseen force, perhaps the spirit of someone protecting the children that once played in this nursery. Whitney was not just spooked, now she was freaking out. It wasn't only the two of us standing near the door marked "Third Class Nursery." Something or someone was there with us.

We decided it was time for dinner and drinks. Definitely drinks. While dining, an older couple sitting at the next table began making small talk. They introduced themselves as the "Barrymores." We were taken by how happy they were to meet us and be aboard the Queen Mary. I remember their clothes being elegant and classy. From what I recall they said it wasn't their first time aboard and they might have sailed on the Queen Mary when she was in service. They were quite friendly and we enjoyed the conversation.

After dinner we strolled the decks as dusk fell upon the Queen Mary. On the promenade level there are large black & white photos of passengers on the ship when she was in her prime. Some photos are of celebrities or aristocats and others are random shots of regular people experiencing life aboard ship during the Golden Age. I swear we saw a picture and in that shot were the Barrymores looking just like they did at the table in the dining room next to us. Of course, this would have been impossible...or...BOO!

In October 1995 we were back. The Queen Mary was putting on a Halloween party. This time we brought along some friends and booked rooms for the night. Ever since a roommate did it in college, I wanted to be the half human/half fly from the classic horror film THE FLY (1958). My wife was the Cat in the Hat. She had her book Green Eggs and Ham and a fly swatter if I got out of line.

By this time, the Queen Mary was more public about her haunted history and included it with the experience prepared for her guests. The ship's engine room was converted to a haunted maze. A real ghost tour was available and we quickly signed up. The guide told some fascinating stories about passengers and crew who died, sometimes in mysterious ways, aboard the ship. They made it fun by adding a few gimmicks to scare us like a cloud of dry ice at the indoor pool, a scary guy behind a fake mirror in one of the cabins, and a ghostly engineer banging a wrench in the bowels of the ship.

We had a good time but didn't experience the weird and exciting feelings we felt on that memorable and pleasant Sunday afternoon aboard the Queen Mary.

Much later that night we became separated from our friends. Whitney and I walked the decks and found ourselves near the stern where a stage was set-up. With no one else around, the Cat in the Hat sang beautifully for The Fly. There we were on the incredible Queen Mary with a vast backdrop of harbor lights and a starry sky.

If you've explored my website, you know I am into scale modeling. I usually pick a project with a purpose in mind. I found a model kit of the RMS Queen Mary. Here was my chance to make a miniature of our favorite ship and a reminder of our memorable night aboard on Halloween in 1995. Below are pictures of the build complete with a Cat in the Hat (hat) and The Fly just aft on the ship.

The Queen Mary is hard to describe in a word but "MAJESTIC" comes to mind. Who knows? Maybe she is haunted. I would not be surprised. Some say a spirit is drawn to a place they experienced great joy or adventure when living. For that, the Queen Mary is defnitely the ticket.

Katie's Titanic