The Queen Mary. Once the fastest, most glamorous, and certainly the most popular ship on the sea, has become even more beloved and well known since moving to Long Beach, California.
Historians, Anglophiles, art deco addicts, and cruise aficionados, come from all over the world to visit the Queen. And rightfully so, she is a relic of a bygone era, when Transatlantic travel was the only way to cross the pond. And just to prove how interesting she is, on April 15, 1993, the historic liner was placed in the National Register of Historic Places with Historic Significance.
To learn more about the Queen Mary, there are a number of educational and unusual tours. One tells the tale of the Queen during WWII, when she transported troops and outran German submarines. For fans of the royal family there’s the Princess Diana Tour. And for those seeking something offbeat. Paranormal Investigations Tour. The Queen Mary is said to be haunted.
What Makes The Queen Mary Special?
I first visited the Queen Mary in 1990 while in Long Beach on a business trip. My memories are a bit hazy but, what I do remember: the beautiful art deco decor and the exotic woods that are used luxuriously throughout the ship and the period furniture. I remember the bathrooms had taps for not only hot and cold water, but hot and cold salt water.
Perhaps you’ve read some of my previous posts about art deco architecture? I have a hard time remembering historical facts, dates, and names, but tie it to design and art, and it comes to life for me. I decided it was time to pay the ol’ girl another visit while on my summer vacation in southern California.
Investigating Paranormal Activity On The Queen Mary
I’m always curious about places that are reported to be haunted, though I’ve never seen a ghost. Bu,t I do understand how a building, or in this case a ship, steeped in history, can feel alive. If you can feel the soul of the ship, it’s not such a leap to imagine that perhaps the spirit of former crew members, passengers, or soldiers, may be lingering about the Queen Mary. She’s marvelously atmospheric, day or night.
I’ve even been to a few séance circles, and once had an interesting experience. Not a huge WOW, but interesting. If you’ve never been to a séance the way it usually works is that a psychic or medium attempts to connect with deceased loved ones and friends of the very much alive folks who are attend the séance. Some even connect with pets.
On one occasion a medium asked if anyone in the room knew a woman named Lois, which was my mother’s name. I didn’t say anything at first, waiting to see if someone else would, but finally said, yes, I know someone. The medium said, “She wants me to tell you to stop wearing your hair like that.” Without going into great detail I’ll just say that sounded exactly like something my mother would say.
The Paranormal Experiences tour offered on the Queen Mary is hosted by Matthew Schultz of Paraxplorer Project. It has received rave reviews and has been written up by Time Magazine, among other notable publications. If I’m honest, I was more than a little curious and a little apprehensive.
There’s something about ships – they have a special creepy factor; perhaps it’s the low small narrow spaces or the many corridors and portals and escape hatches, but there are so many places for a ghost to hide!
“Based in Southern California, ParaXplorer Project is a quorum of independent investigators that applies tech-based monitoring, objective observation and intuitive disciplines to an ongoing field study of the paranormal.”
Matthew brought a very analytical approach to searching for the spirits, including lots of tools of the trade, stuff I’d seen on investigative programs, but never in real life. He also encouraged us to take photographs and record sound, because often things could not be heard in real-time, but would be audible or visible on film or recording (a link to a recording I captured is included in this post).
I tried out the divining rods, which took a bit of getting used to, but once I did, I liked them because they were very responsive to electromagnetic fields. Holding the divining rods, I felt like I might actually find some evidence of paranormal energy.
I often felt they were trying to pull me in a particular direction, but since I was part of a group, I had to move on before I really had a chance to investigate where they might lead me.
Working with the divining rods seemed to require time and some patience so I gave them up for a 21st century device: my iPhone and built-in voice recorder and camera.
The tour was almost three hours long and wandering around in the dark requires a lot of concentration. Matthew explained that there is no scientific evidence that ghosts exist, as well as how to use all the hi-tech, ghost busting gadgets he’d brought along for us to experiment with.
There was really only one time that I felt truly nervous. We entered a cavernous room, very dark, and Matthew said people had run out on more than occasion, claiming to have seen apparitions and hearing blood curdling screams. I really didn’t want to see anything. I wanted to be able to sleep later, without nightmares about what I’d seen on the tour.
Ground zero for paranormal activity on the ship is the area that was once the first class swimming pool and ladies changing rooms. There are several recordings in this area, gained by investigations of various members of the Paraxplorer team, which provide evidence of a child spirit known as Jackie and a cat. This was our last location of the evening.
We all tucked into one of the changing room stalls in order to keep the aisle clear and Matthew called to the spirit girl Jackie, asking her if she’d come out and play with us. Nothing.
The group I was with was so noisy I felt Jackie was probably thinking no way, too many loud and unruly adults. I also thought it would be almost impossible to get a clean sound recording.
The evening ended with a sound some said sounded like someone’s stomach gurgling, but they couldn’t decide where it came from, or what exactly it was.
I didn’t hear the sound in the moment, but did hear it afterwards, while listening on headset. I sent it to Matthew, who replied within just a couple of weeks and said he couldn’t discern it either, but nevertheless, it was a great memento from my trip. It was probably just the spirits laughing at us.
I’ve included the recording here for your listening pleasure.
Listen after Matthew says, “Can you say good night?” You’ll hear a sound, almost like a vibration, or someone talking through water, I like to refer to it as a hologram sound,,.like a voice pushing through dimensions. We haven’t been able to discern exactly what it is, but it was not anyone in the room with us that night.
If taking the three hour late night tour is not your thing, you can take the Haunted Encounters Tour, which covers various area of the ship where spirits have been reported over the years.
One of the most beautiful rooms on the ship, The Queen’s Salon, is said to be haunted by a woman in a white dress who plays the piano. I didn’t see her but I can see why she’d want to hang out in this room. Exotic woods, mirrors, and tapestries in pristine condition recall an era of luxury and elegance. It was my favorite room on the ship.
Would I recommend the Paraxplorer tour? If ghost hunting is your thing, or you enjoy the science behind it, then definitely, yes. If you’re not a believer, then perhaps the very analytical approach Matthew takes will give you a new perspective. If you don’t enjoy wandering around in the dark, then this is probably not for you. If you enjoy history, absolutely!
Are there really ghosts on the Queen Mary? As Matthew tells the group at the beginning of the tour, there is no scientific evidence of ghosts.
Based on the recording I captured, I’d say, maybe. It’s not human, and it’s not canned. Of this I feel certain. And if the size of the tour group I was with is anything to go by, I’d say there are plenty of people who do believe.
I know there will be nay-sayers and disbelievers who will listen and say it’s nothing, or it’s planned. I do not think it’s nothing, and I don’t think it’s planned. Thousands of people crossed the Atlantic on the Queen Mary and she now receives about 1,000,000 visitors per year. Think of all the stories she could tell. If I were a ghost, that’s exactly the kind of place I’d want to hang out – you’d never be bored! Whatever you believe, I’d love to hear from you. Have you taken this tour? Or done anything similar? Have you seen a ghost?