Is the Queen Mary Haunted?

The Queen Mary at sunset

The Queen Mary

The famous vessel that stretches more than 1,000 feet in Queensway Bay, Long Beach, is nearly a century old and has long been a source of ghost stories. The Queen Mary has been featured on countless "most haunted places in America" lists for its abundance of supposed resident spirits, and the floating 343-room hotel has been known to attract ghost hunters galore.

Unlike many allegedly haunted hotels, the Queen Mary embraces its spooky reputation by hosting regular ghost tours, paranormal walkabouts, investigations with real-life ghost hunters, an Illusions of the Passed act by apparitionist Aiden Sinclair, and an iconic Halloween bash.

In 2020, all events and tours at the Queen Mary have been suspended.

History of the Queen Mary

The British ocean liner made her maiden voyage in May 1936 as an express service between England, France, and New York, but was quickly turned into a troopship during World War II. She was called the Grey Ghost during those years for her color and speed. By the late '60s, the Queen Mary retired from the transatlantic transportation industry and took up permanent residency in Long Beach, California, but not before seeing a reported 49 deaths onboard.

Today, the ship is said to be haunted by 18-year-old John Pedder, a crewman who was crushed to death by door 13 in the shaft alley, and John Henry, whose remains were found in the boiler room. Other chilling stories include reports of a growling ghost (dubbed Grumpy, naturally) and unexplainable happenings in Suite B-340, now marketed entirely as the haunted suite (kitted with tarot cards, Ouija board, crystal ball, and more).

Queen Mary
TripSavvy / Christian Hundley

Ghost Tours

Thrillseekers can seek out the ship's spirits on one of the Queen Mary's many tours. In addition to those centered on the liner's history, there are also hour-long Haunted Encounters, which showcase the boat's paranormal hotspots—the engine room, the pool, etc.—during daylight hours. These tours depart daily, every hour from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

For an even spookier experience, though, you'll want to opt for a night tour. The Paranormal Ship Walk lasts from 8 to 10 p.m. nightly and explores "various rooms or compartments seldom seen by the general public," the website says. Reservations are recommended, but not required, and guests should be at least 16 years old due to the event's scary nature.

The holy grail of Queen Mary ghost tours, however, is the Paranormal Investigation, led by the ship's resident ship ghost hunter, ParaXplorer Project founder Matthew Schulz. On this three-hour excursion—departing at 10:50 p.m. every Friday and Saturday and at 9:50 p.m. on Sundays—guests will visit the propeller box, engine room, boiler room, cargo hold, and first-class swimming pool looking for signs of paranormal activity (using professional equipment and the works). Past participants have reported hearing and seeing things, feeling dizziness, nausea, or getting especially hot or cold on the tour.

Tours range from $30 to $100 depending on the experience and day of the week.

Other Programs

Besides tours, the Queen Mary celebrates its famed spookiness with regular dinners. Dining with the Spirits is what the ship calls a "first-class group dining experience" at Sir Winston's Restaurant and Lounge followed by a paranormal expert-guided tour. It costs $134 per person (three-course meal included) and takes place every Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m.

Magician and apparitionist Aiden Sinclair (of "America's Got Talent" fame) also puts on a regular 13-and-over Illusions of the Passed performance in the Revenant Room for $45 per person. The act includes ghost stories, interactive experiences, and seance rituals.

But the Queen Mary's biggest event of the year is perhaps its Dark Harbor Halloween experience. The annual tradition includes several ghoul-packed mazes, themed bars and concessions, live DJs, "private creepy cabanas," an R.I.P. lounge, and more. The event typically takes place nightly leading up to Halloween, but on the actual holiday, it features a costume ball in which winners receive $1,000 in cash prizes.

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