Ghosts of the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California

The Queen Mary at Long Beach, CA. Photo by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.


Resting in Long Beach Harbor is the RMS Queen Mary, a colossal ship that was bigger, faster and more powerful than the Titanic. The 1,000-foot ship began her life when the first keel plate was laid in 1930 at the John Brown shipyard in Clyde, Scotland. The Depression held up her construction between 1931 and 1934, but she was finally completed, making her maiden voyage on May 27, 1936.

For three years the grand ocean liner hosted the world’s rich and famous across the Atlantic including the likes of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, Greta Garbo, Clark Gable, David Niven, Mary Pickford, George and Ira Gershwin, and Sir Winston Churchill, just to name a few. Considered by the upper-class to be the only civilized way to travel, she held the record for the fastest-ever North Atlantic crossing.

But, when World War II broke out in 1939, luxury travel immediately ceased and the ship was transformed into a troopship that would become known as “The Grey Ghost.” During this time her capacity was increased from 2,410 to 5,500. By the end of World War II, the ship had carried more than 800,000 troops, traveled more than 600,000 miles and played a significant role in virtually every major Allied campaign. She had also survived a collision at sea, set the record for carrying the most people ever on a floating vessel (16,683), and participated in the D-Day invasion.

During her service in the war, the Queen Mary was painted a drab grey, hence her nickname, the "Grey Ghost."

During her service in the war, the Queen Mary was painted a drab grey, hence her nickname, the “Grey Ghost.”

At the close of the war the ship began to transport more than 22,000 war brides and their children to the United States and Canada. Known as the “Bride and Baby Voyages,” she made 13 voyages for this purpose in 1946.

Its duty to the war complete, the Queen Mary was refurbished and resumed her elegant cruises in July, 1947, maintaining weekly service between Southampton, Cherbourg, and New York. However, by the early 1960’s, transatlantic cruises were falling out of fashion, due to air travel becoming affordable for the masses. In 1963, the ship began a series of occasional cruises, first to the Canary Islands and later to the Bahamas. However, without central air conditioning, outdoor pools, or other amenities now commonplace on cruise ships, she proved ill-suited for the work. In 1967, she was withdrawn from service after more than 1,000 transatlantic crossings.

That same year, the Queen Mary was sold for $3.45 million to the city of Long Beach, California, for use as a maritime museum and hotel. On December 9, 1967, she made her final voyage to Long Beach. After 1,001 successful Atlantic crossings, she was permanently docked and soon became the luxury hotel that she is today.


Queen Mary Deck

The decks on the Queen Mary still sport their original wood flooring, Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

Internationally recognized, the historic floating hotel and museum attracts thousands of visitors every year. It has also attracted a number of unearthly guests over the years. In fact, some say the Queen Mary is one of the most haunted places in the world with as many as 150 known spirits lurking upon the ship. Over the past 60 years, the Queen Mary has been the site of at least 49 reported deaths, not to mention having gone through the terrors of war, so it comes as no surprise that spectral spirits of her vivid past continue to walk within her rooms and hallways.

Located 50 feet below water level is the Queen Mary’s engine room, which is said to be a hotbed of paranormal activity. Used in the filming of the Poseidon Adventure, the room’s infamous “Door 13” crushed at least two men to death, at different points during the ship’s history. The most recent death, during a routine watertight door drill in 1966, crushed an 18-year-old crew member. Dressed in blue coveralls and sporting a beard, the young man has often been spied walking the length of Shaft Alley before disappearing by door #13.

In the area of this heavy door in the Engine Room, we got some very creepy feelings, Kathy Weiser.

In the area of this heavy door in the Engine Room, we got some very creepy feelings,
Kathy Weiser.

Two more popular spots for the Queen’s other worldly guests are its first and second class swimming pools. Though neither are utilized today for their original purpose, spirits seemingly are not aware of that. In the first-class swimming pool, which has been closed for more than three decades, women have often been seen appearing in 1930’s style swimming suits wandering the decks near the pool. Others have reported the sounds of splashing and spied wet footprints leading from the deck to the changing rooms. Some have also spied the spirit of a young girl, clutching her teddy bear.

In the second class poolroom, the spirit of another little girl named Jackie is often been seen and heard. Allegedly, the unfortunate girl drowned in the pool during the ship’s sailing days and reputedly refused to move on, as her voice, as well as the sounds of laughter have been captured here. However author, and paranormal investigator, Cher Garman points out that there are no known drownings to have ever occurred on the ship, although she says Jackie is there.

In the Queen’s Salon, which once served as the ship’s first-class lounge, a beautiful young woman in an elegant white evening gown has often been seen dancing alone in the shadows of the corner of the room.

Yet more odd occurrences have been made in a number of first-class staterooms. Here, reports have been made of a tall dark-haired man appearing in a 1930’s style suit, as well as water running and lights turning on in the middle of the night, and phones ringing in the early morning hours with no one on the other end of the line. In the third class children’s playroom, a baby’s cry has often been heard, which is thought to be the infant boy who died shortly after his birth.

Other phenomenon occurring throughout the ship, are the sounds of distinct knocks, doors slamming and high pitched squeals, drastic temperature changes, and the aromas of smells long past.

These are but a few of the many reports of apparitions and strange events occurring at this luxury liner turned hotel.

Today, the Queen Mary, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, provides not only a wide range of guest rooms for travelers, but also 14 Art Deco salons, tours, restaurants, shops, and exhibits.

Queen Mary Swimming Pool

The first-class pool on the Queen Mary is said to host a number of unearthly spirits.

Contact Information:

Queen Mary Hotel and Museum
1126 Queens Highway
Long Beach, California  90802
562-435-3511 or 800-437-2934

© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated January 2020.

Also See:

The Queen Mary: A Haunting Like No Other (more about the only officially sanctioned paranormal investigation of the ship)

Haunted California

Ghostly Legends & Mysteries

California Main Page

8 thoughts on “Ghosts of the Queen Mary in Long Beach, California”

  1. Probably True So many Thousands Very Spiritual Ship, stayed Eisenhower Suite, so magnificent ,Hitler could not sink her. Have go visit her, Edy Williams

  2. Back in the 80s, I was acquainted with a man who worked aboard the beautiful Queen Mary docked at Long Beach, Ca. He knew that I had been a fan of the 1972 film “The Poseidon Adventure” and showed me filed-away story-board mock-ups of the film, as well as telling me copious stories of men who had worked in the engine/boiler room of the ship when she was in actual service who for one reason or another died mysteriously while on duty and therefore reputedly still haunted the ship. I am not kidding when I tell you that while on his private tour, I was thoroughly freaked out, not just because of his tall tales, but because I remembered that the Queen Mary had transferred troups in WW2 across the seas, upon which my father had been duly dispatched, and which I’m sure had suffered tremendous sea sickness just cramped into those tiny cots below decks. All this notwithstanding, this is indeed a beautiful transantlantic ocean liner, built to the finest specifications of her day, and you only have to look at pictures, or, if fortunate enough, walk aboard her, to realize how majestically they still built these beautiful ocean vessels back in their glorious prime.

    1. YES More persons want to treasure it’s Good Luck, it could not be sunk travels all they ww2 carrying our wounded troops to safety.Blessed.

  3. ~~~~~~~~~
    I worked in Long Beach California in 1988 for Brent Rebar with Avis. Our offices where at The Breakers Hotel and the third floor of The Queen Mary. I worked both locations, generally alone. My routine was to stop and grab a croissant on The Queen before getting to the office. One morning was particular busy and I didn’t have time to eat. The concierge, who was so very nice, suggested I go down to the employee café as I believe it was around or a little past 2pm. I had never been there and he gave me directions. I distinctly remember getting in the elevator and pressing the floor number; however, when the elevator doors opened, and I stepped out, I immediately felt anxious and knew I was on a deserted floor. I began from the third floor but had gone down a level below the employee café. I immediately turned around and started pushing the button to have the elevator come back so I could go back up. When the elevator did return, the door opened and I stepped back. A beautiful lady stepped off the elevator. She was gorgeous. I’m very embarrassed to say that I almost spoke to her! I almost told her how beautiful she was! But when I looked at her outfit, I stopped! Her outfit was beautiful! A ball gown type dress. I wondered why is she wearing that? I watched her. There was a curtain to the right of me. She walked behind/through that curtain. I still didn’t ‘get it’ and I then walked behind her to see what was in there- there was a wall behind the curtain. I turned back to the elevator, and people were getting off. Lots of people, one short stout man took my attention. He had a type of small carry with him/ part brief/ case part suitcase, tucked under his arm. It caught my eye as it reminded me of the old book sackuals we use to carry when I was a child. There were many of them. They all had dated suitcases in good shape. Its hard to explain how you feel You believe your eyes but these people disappear. They disappeared at the end of the hall. I got on the elevator so fast. I shook all the way back to my office. I stayed there. The concierge asked me about the choices etc. in the café. I never told anyone this story. I was afraid people would think I was crazy. The next year, I was switching through the channels and saw a segment on Larry King. They were discussing the Queen Mary. There were specialist on. At commercial, I called my sister, I told her I just turned to Larry King. She had been watching it. I told her I felt The Queen was haunted and I told her what had happened to me on The Queen. I only told her about the one lady. I’m not sure why but I thought she’d think I was crazy if I told her I saw so many people at once.(later I was afraid to add the truth, thinking it was odd) It was like the ship was loading and they were all going to their rooms.When the show came back on, I watched. During the next commercial I called her back-this was on a landline- no cell phone then. Everything I had told her during our first conversation was talked about. Not my specific sighting, but I had told her, for example, I think these people only show themselves to certain humans. After watching that segment on Larry King, I have been able to share my story occasionally. I’ve noticed, its not unusual to hear talk about activity near the old pools on the Queen. I wasn’t near the pool.
    I think about those people from time to time. I use to pray for the lady. I feel for them. I’m not sure if they cant cross over or if they are afraid. They appeared to believe they were arriving on board as if they were still living their normal life. The ones in the hall seemed happy and excited, walking and looking normal. I use to wonder if they do this every day- and as time has passed- a part of me wishes I had told someone on The Queen. I am thankful this experience happened. I feel blessed to have been in the right time at the right place. For years, this bothered me. I wondered where the girl was going. I once found and researched a map of the original Queen before it was used as a war ship before it was restored– when it was a cruise ship- It appears there was a ball room once in that location that we were in.
    Its my experience that these ‘people ‘cannot communicate with us but can communicate with each other- as you can hear them talking-and the noise is what got my attention after the girl passed and before the others walked off the elevator.
    This is my story of The Queen. It holds a special place in my heart. I also think these ‘people’ should be left in peace. These people who deserve peace.
    I was once afraid to tell people that I saw so many ‘ghosts’ at once; but I did. I first only told my sister that I saw the girl. I was afraid to tell that I saw them all. I remember thinking, I’m getting a taste of history -first hand! This is what it was like- its like going back in time- ~~~~~~



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