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Reports of ghosts, poltergeists, and apparitions aboard the Queen Mary.

The Queen Mary

Ghostly figures have gone unexplained


The famous transatlantic liner the Queen Mary is now permanently docked in Long Beach, California. On her decks and in her corridors, people have seen ghostly figures and heard mysterious sounds they just can’t explain. Server Carol Leyden had such an encounter:

Queen Mary was converted for WWII

“I’d been here about 14 years when I first had the first experience of actually seeing what I thought to be a ghost. I was in the work area, and for some reason I picked up a cup of coffee, went out to the tables, and there was a lady sitting there. I was so fascinated by her dress. She appeared to be in a late afternoon cocktail-type dress from the 40s.  She had dark hair, rolled at the sides, no makeup on, she seemed to be very pale, but I never saw her move. I left the table, went up about ten feet, turned around because I wanted to take another look, and there was nothing there.”

Former ship tour guide, Nancy Anne, once described herself as a hardened skeptic. Not anymore:

“One day I was standing on the stairs of the pool, and out of the corner of my right eye I saw a woman, probably in her 60s or 70s, in black and white. So I went down the stairs and around the pillar, expecting to find her standing there, but she wasn’t anywhere to be found.  It was only a matter of seconds… she couldn’t have gone anywhere.”

Some say that one way or another, all places are haunted, that they hold on to memories of past events. Perhaps that explains the ghostly apparitions and unexplained sounds that haunt the Queen Mary.

The Queen Mary took her maiden voyage in 1936.  During the five day trip across the Atlantic, she was a floating party, a symbol of luxury travel in a gilded age. After her arrival in Long Beach in 1967, one of the first people to work on board was marine engineer John Smith. Several times over a two-month period, John heard something unusual in the ship’s bow where there should only have been silence. According to John:

“I could hear the sound of metal tearing, water rushing. And then, men screaming. It sounded like there had been a rupture of the ship’s hull. It was frightful. I went up to the extreme bow section of the ship. The sound was there, but there was no water and nothing to cause it. I don’t believe in supernatural things, but in all my experiences as a marine engineer, I’d never seen anything like this.

John Pedder died in shaft alley

Years later, John read about a tragedy dating from World War II. After being converted into a troop ship, the Queen Mary accidentally collided with a British cruiser named the Curacoa. Over 300 men were killed. The Queen Mary’s bow sliced the Curacoa in half.
It all made sense to John:

“After I read that article, I was so shook up and so overwhelmed, the very area where I heard that mysterious water rushing was the exact same area that was damaged when the ship hit the Curacoa. I said, ‘This is what it would have sounded and felt like if I had been in that compartment at the time.’  But I knew it couldn’t be.”

Dozens of other sightings have been reported. Late one night, in the pool area, a maintenance supervisor, Kathy Love, and her co-worker heard mysterious sounds. As Kathy tells it:

“We came into the pool and I heard giggling. The sound of a little girl playing in the area. And at that point, I noticed there was splashing. The splashing stopped, the giggling continued, and we observed the wet footprints of a small child walking across into the locker room.  I know that I saw what I saw. I’m not sure exactly why I saw it. But I know it was there.”

What other ghosts haunt these halls?

Several other encounters have occurred in what’s called shaft alley, deep within the ship, near the engine room. Here, during a routine fire drill in 1966, a man named John Pedder was crushed to death by a watertight door. While some believe Pedder still haunts the area, Nancy Anne said she’s sure he does:

“I was working in the capacity of a lead guide, which meant my job was to close down the tour route and make sure that there weren’t any stragglers behind. And I don’t know why I turned around, but I turned around and standing right behind me on the step was a man. He had on blue overalls and they were dirty. When I stepped aside to let him go by, he wasn’t there. He was gone. I don’t necessarily believe any other ghost stories that other people have come up with. I only know what I saw, and I only believe what I saw, with my own eyes.”

There’s nothing like actually seeing a ghost turn a skeptic into a believer. And judging from the recurring stories, if you want to become a believer, the Queen Mary is a good place to start.

Watch this case now on Amazon Prime in season one with Robert Stack and season four with Dennis Farina. Also available on YouTube with Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.


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  1. gena

    I was there a few years ago for the Halloween Scare, while on the tour a my friend and I snuck away and went through the ropes that were blocking access. we walked around the hallways where the rooms are, we came across one area that was completely quiet and unoccupied. As we were walking I could smell a strong scent of perfume, very sweet smell. but just in one area, as I walked a couple steps the smell would leave, I stepped back a couple of steps and there was the smell again. Then as we kept going a woman came out of one of the rooms with an ice bucket…definitely an older woman and not in this time era. Her clothes were old style, she had make up with rouge as they say on her cheeks. She walked right by us like she didn’t acknowledge us and quickly up the corridor to the end and turned right…we followed her to see where she went and she was gone, there was no where for her to go. After that we made it to the top of the ship where no one was allowed…We were the only ones there as we walked, a man in a completely white uniform was walking towards us HE looked like an Officer…we thought we were going to get in trouble for being in the off limits area. He passed right by us like he didn’t see us, walked into what looked like Captains quarters, we quickly followed to see where he went and we could see into the room and there was no one there. After that we walked over to the smoke stacks, which I had to touch because I couldn’t believe I was that close. I don’t know what floor we were on when we saw the Lady, but it was below and there was a Plaque on the wall that said there had been Ghost Sightings there. I was so excited. We made our way back to where the ropes were. Another tour was going on and we quickly got into line, a guy came up and asked us what we were doing…I told him I had went out of line to use the bathroom and he let us stay. We finished the tour and were quiet, because after we got out we realized all the weird things that had happened and after it registered into our brains we were in shock.. I honestly feel like we experienced Ghostly Encounters.


  2. Zoe