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

A colored photo of the Queen Mary while docked at a pier.

The Queen Mary

A translucent figure on the deck of 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:

A black and white picture of the Queen Mary out at sea during WWII

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.

A man in a white jacket kneeling next to a white body bag.

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.”

One of the ship's hallway. Red and gold carpet, wodd panelling on the walls.

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 Robert Stack and Dennis Farina. Various seasons available now on Hulu.



  1. Anonymous

    I had an experience there a few years ago. When the tour came to the pool. The entire group heard a little girl giggling on top of the stairs just before the entrance to the door for the pool. One lady said “that is creepy.” We where actually standing at the bottom of the stairs where she died. Those are what I like to call recording hauntings. Where you come to a past location or artifact, and a recording will make itself visible. It is not a direct communication however.


  2. Tori

    My school’s prom was at the Queen Mary in my junior year. I went with some friends to explore the ship since we basically had free access as long as we stayed on the ship and out of areas that were always off-limits. We were walking down the hallway in the hotel part and it was pretty quiet. We passed one room and I stopped because I clearly heard a man and woman talking. The voices sounded like the couple was either right on the other side of the door of the room or as if they were in the hallway right next to us. I asked my friend if she heard the voices and she said it sounded like the people were whispering. We started to walk away when I clearly heard footsteps coming up behind us. I turned around to see who it was, but no one was there. I figured maybe the footsteps had come from one of the rooms. My friends were getting uncomfortable so they decided to head back to the dance area. I went back with them but felt like I wanted to explore the ship a little bit more. I went back down the hallway we had just been walking down to see the rest of the quest quarters. As I walked down the hall I kept hearing voices and thought I heard a door open and then close behind me. I headed for the promenade deck to see the ship’s outside area. I came around a corner and saw a young woman. I waved to her, she smiled, waved back. took two steps towards me, and vanished. Let me tell you that I have seen ghosts my entire life so I didn’t react too much, but I had goosebumps from my head to my toes. I headed back to the dance area to meet back up by my friends. I stopped by the registration desk and asked the attendant if the hotel guests were told to stay in their rooms since our prom was taking place. She said, we don’t have any hotel guests tonight. The ship is closed off to everyone, but the students and chaperones. We do not rent out any rooms during private events like the prom. I told my best friend and she freaked out because we clearly heard voices in more than one of the rooms we had passed that night.


  3. Emily

    My mom and dad met and married in California and stayed the night on this ship once for a stay-cation. My mom has always been “sensitive,” and has had several paranormal experiences over her lifetime (even since she was a little girl), both at places she knew were “occupied” by the departed and at places she had no idea were active until after her experience. Her and my dad were staying in a room underneath the pool deck and when they were trying to go to sleep, there were loud footsteps and murmuring coming from the level above. My mom went out of their room a few times and upstairs to check for people or if there was some kind of event going on, but it was completely empty and silent every time. They eventually checked out around 3am and went home because my mom was so spooked.



    ive never been but i WanT to so0 i can SEe a HGohst I liek GHost HE he FuN TimE `


  5. Myra

    I was in California and I toured the Queen Mary, very excitedly I was walking down the hallways with my older brother and this little girl in white was standing right in front of us. We tried to walk the other way, but there she was again blocking our way and laughing at us. I could feel goosebumps all over me. My heart was racing, then my brother tapped me and told me to follow him back to our room. As we were talking the little girl’s laugh echoed down the hallway. We quickly fast-walked down the hallway, into our room, under the sheets, and fell asleep. Around 3:00 in the morning I woke up to find my blanket and my pillow on the floor, I slowly got out of bed and snatched them back, then went to sleep. One night there was enough for me.


  6. Isabelle

    I spent the night here with my family on my 11th birthday, since I love paranormal things. My family and I booked a room on the 4th floor, since there were supposedly more ghost activity up there. About an hour later we settled in and started exploring the ship. My sister and I decided to go to the pool area since we wanted to see what it was like. We got there and I already felt a ghostly vibe and got goosebumps on my arms and legs. We walked up the the second floor and heard giggling. I looked down to where the giggling was coming from, but saw no one. My sister started freaking out and having a mini panic attack. The noises stopped and my sister started breathing very heavily. I told her to stop or go back to where my parents were. She said that she wasn’t breathing hard just unsteadily. I got pretty freaked out and started laughing. My sister looked at me with a concerned look on her face. I said, “let’s get outta here.” My sister shrugged and started walking down the steps near the diving boards. I followed her and started to smell smoke. I gagged and my sister turned around and asked if I was ok. I answered yes and started to walk down again. We made it back to our room and I started to feel cold again. I dove under the blankets and accidentally toke a nap. I woke up later that night only to find my sheets on the ground and my stuff all around the room. I picked up my sheet and went back to sleep. About 2 hours later, (now 4:42 am) my sheets were pulled off and spread on the floor. I just rolled my eyes and went back to sleep. Later that morning, on our way to breakfast, I saw a lady in white. I got really excited since I knew who this ghost was. I looked at her in amazement as I finally experienced her. We left after breakfast, but I’m glad I got that experience. I’m now 13, and that memory is now burned in my head. I still would like to know who toke off my sheets and threw my stuff all over the floor..I guess some ghosts aren’t that nice.


  7. Madison

    I’m spending the night here and I thought I would research. Now I’m sleeping with a cross tonight


  8. 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.


  9. Zoe



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