Queen Mary



At War

The Haunting Of The Queen Mary


By James Donahue


Among the most famous liners of the world is the Queen Mary, a Cunard Line ship that sailed the seas from 1936 to 1967, and now serves as a floating hotel at Long Beach, California.


The Queen Mary was afloat for service as a troop ship during World War II, and is well remembered for her years of service as one of the finest and largest passenger liners on the North Atlantic service.


At 1,019 feet in length, and 12 decks in height, the Queen Mary was, in her day, the largest liner afloat. She also was among the fastest, with an average cruising speed of 28.5 knots, but she set a speed record of over 30 knots while crossing the North Atlantic, making her officially the fastest liner on the high seas.


The QM boasted cabin beds for as many as 1,957 passengers, and carried a crew of 1,174. On one trip just prior to entering the war, she carried a record 2,332 passengers from Southampton to New York. After her conversion as a troop transport during the war, she carried a remarkable 15,988 troops on one voyage.


The liner was so popular, and offered such comfort and safety during its years of service, the ship was host to a long and distinguished list of passengers. The Duke of Windsor, formerly King Edward VIII and the Duchess were among them, as was Sir Winston Churchill and such film stars as Marlene Dietrich, Noel Coward, Bob Hope, Fred Astair, Clark Gable and David Niven.


In spite of emerging from the war without being attacked, and after 31 years of operating with a fine safety record, the ship has gained a reputation as a haunted place.


That should not be surprising. The daily operations of a ship requiring nearly 2000 personnel to operate it, and the fact that so many passengers rode her decks on 1,001 Atlantic cruises, plus all of the secret missions carrying troops around the world during the war years, means that there were accidents and people probably died aboard ship.


Their ghostly record continues to walk those decks, even as the great ship today stands idled, her engines forever quiet, at a Long Beach wharf. Guests of the floating hotel report sightings, strange voices and sounds, and eerie sensations in various parts of the ship.


The owners now take advantage of the stories and now offer a special tour, complete with stories of all the haunted places aboard ship. The hour long walk takes guests to the most haunted areas of the ship. These include the Royal Theatre, the Propeller Box, Shaft Alley, Engine Room, Boiler Room and First Class Swimming Pool.


The engine and boiler rooms are large dark rooms that are spooky enough just to walk through, let alone confront spirits.


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