Monday, May 13, 2013

The Queen Mary

Moored in Long Beach California, the Cunard ocean liner, RMS Queen Mary is a formidable sight passing it by sea or land. I have been aboard her and in her shadow enroute to Catalina many times and each time I am in awe of this amazing vessel.  Serving as the flag ship of the Cunard Line, from her maiden voyage in 1936 until 1946, the Queen Mary also held the Blue Riband several times and for several years.  This unofficial accolade was awarded to a passenger liner, in regular service, that crossed the Atlantic ocean the fastest.  Strolling along her promenade deck one is reminded of an elegant past. The Art Deco style of the Queen Mary is enhanced by a tribute to an older style with various woods enhancing the interior throughout the ship.

At the outbreak of World War Two the Queen Mary was converted to serve as a troop carrier. She was painted grey and referred to as The Grey Ghost.  On the 2nd October 1942 the Queen Mary accidentally collided with an escort ship called the Curacao.  The collision occurred off of the Irish coast and the Queen Mary was under orders not to stop due to the dangers of U-boats and the fact that the ship was escorting American troops.  Over 239 people were left to die after the collision as the Queen Mary continued on, performing her duty as an escort ship.
Following the conclusion of the war The Queen Mary was outfitted as a cruise liner again and recommenced her transatlantic crossings.  She was retired and sent to Long Beach in 1967, where she serves as a tourist attraction.

With as many as fifty people purported to have died on the Queen Mary while she served as a cruise ship and over 239 due to her collision with the Curacao, it is little wonder that the ship has been the site of many strange and unexplained phenomena.  I personally felt uncomfortable in the Engine Room and had to leave after a minute or so.  People have reported seeing bright lights and the ghost of a man. On July 10th 1966 a routine fire drill ended in tragedy with one of the crew, a John Pedder, being crushed to death in the engine room door.  It is his ghost that is said to be seen in this area called Shaft Alley, wandering along and vanishing into the very door he was crushed in.
The pool area is said to be haunted by a child called Jackie.  She has been clearly heard answering the questions of the many paranormal investigators that go to the Queen Mary.  There are conflicting reports about the way that Jackie died, some believed she drowned while others say she broke her back when she fell off a staircase railing after a large wave hit the ship.  Either way the little girl has made her presence felt on the ship, even leaving wet footprints in the pool area and singing and speaking to tourists.  The pool area is also said to be haunted by two women, one that died in the the 1930s and one in the 1960s.  They are often seen walking around the pool area in bathing attire appropriate to the era in which they lived.

The sound of tearing metal, banging on the side of the ship and a chorus of screams coming from the water have been reported on the Queen Mary. This strange and unexplained phenomena is attributed to the ships collision with and subsequent inaction to assist the crew of the Curacao.  It is believed that many of the crew survived the collision and died in the wake of the retreating Queen Mary, drowning or being eaten by sharks. 

There is also a more sinister set of entities reported to have been filmed, photographed and seen on board the Queen Mary.  Many paranormal investigators believe that the change rooms at the back of the pool area have a "vortex" of energy, some of it very dark.  It is said that a girl was raped and murdered in one of the change rooms.  The link below was a small film made by the American Paranormal Research Association (APRA) have a look at what is sitting on the floor in one of the change rooms, accidentally filmed as the camera makes a sweep of the area.

There is no doubt that a trip to the Queen Mary is an amazing experience and standing on her deck you are reminded of a bygone, more glamorous time.