Wednesday, January 4, 2017

RMS Queen Mary: The Mystery

Tile picture of the RMS Queen Mary
Before I start the haunted portion of my visit to the RMS Queen Mary, I need to start with a couple of notes.

I am not going to go into all of the ghosts that haunt the liner. A couple of the most famous ghosts and haunted locations are not going to be mentioned, keeping this article to personal experiences. I've reviewed everything that happened on the RMS Queen Mary during my stay and I've been able to eliminate the vast majority of the odd feelings, shadows, and strange noises. Despite having "answers" to many of the "paranormal" events there are a handful of things that happened I cannot easily explain away, which are the ones I’m going to share with you.

The long halls can create
Optical illusions
I was among the first to arrive for the tour. My excitement of already having a strange experience had me ready to explore more of the ship in an attempt to have another experience or two with the paranormal. The history of the RMS Queen Mary and my first experience aboard the ship can be found here: History of the Queen Mary

As the tour went along I started to dismiss a number of accounts. The guide told us about visitors hearing mysterious bangs happening about the ship. As we explored, I did take note that there are a lot of strange banging noises in the lower portions of the ship. The vast majority of them seem distant and I started to dismiss them.

And then we arrived at the Forward Cargo Hold which was used for rope storage.

I had dismissed the distant bangs and other noises, pushing them aside as not being paranormal. When we arrived at this location, our tour guide began telling us about the incident when the RMS Queen Mary collided with the HMS Curacoa. The sound of men crying out for help, strange bangs, and the sound of rushing water have been reported in the area. As we were standing there listening to his story there was again the sound of metal on metal in the distance, but this time it sounded a lot closer than the other times.

A Lady in White haunts
This section of the ship
One of the men in the group, who was standing immediately on my right, asked about the cause of the banging noises. Our tour guide gave a nervous laugh and answered that maybe one of the victims of the HMS Curacoa was trying to get our attention. The man replied that they were going to have to do better than that. Before our guide could respond there was a loud noise that caused the whole group to jump in surprise and fear. The noise, one I would compare to the sound of a metal wrench being dropped on the metal floor, sounded like it happened between the man and myself. There was nothing physically there to cause the noise we heard.

The tour guide summed it up well with his response of, “Now that was interesting.”

Another strange noise that was experienced by the group happened on our way down to the Boiler Room. As the group was passing an old piano, a note came from within it. The piano was in a roped off area and far enough away that none of the group could have reached over to bang on it. Some of the group did ask for another note to be played, but we didn’t have any response.

One of the things I noticed about the RMS Queen Mary’s hauntings is the vast number of reported shadows. Many of the places that these shadows are reported are in the hallways and also in the underbelly of the ship. The length of the halls can cause optical illusions and the underbelly of the ship is filled with so many shadows that, if only caught out of the edge of the vision, can be mistaken for something else.

However there are shadows that are hard to explain or easily dismiss.

Propeller area of the ship.
Our tour guide told us that a man has been spotted walking past the door
When we stopped at Watertight Door Number 13, the guide related the stories of John Pedder and John McKenzie who were both killed by the watertight door. Legend states that John McKenzie was murdered at this spot in 1942. McKenzie was hated by his fellow crew members. According to legend they held him by the arms and allowed him to be crushed to death by the door. John Pedder was just eighteen when he was caught and crushed by the door during a drill that happened in 1966.

The tour guide finished telling us about the story of the two Johns and the group started moving toward the next stop as some of us took pictures of our surroundings. I was the last one to leave when my theory on shadows literally went out the door. I watched as a black shadow slide across the walkway, through the door disappearing from my sight. The black shadow did not appear human-like in its appearance. It was oval in shape, roughly the size of a basketball, and it was flat on the surface of the floor. I quickly moved to the doorway and studied the hall. Whatever I had seen was gone. The nearest person was too far away for it to have been a human shadow.

I witnessed an unexplained shadow
Pass through this doorway
Was it one of the two Johns or a trick of the lighting? I cannot easily give a reasonable answer that I am satisfied with.

At one of the places the tour stopped, but unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures there, was the First Class Swimming Pool. While in the pool area I saw something that I have dismissed as interesting optical illusion due to the poor lighting of the room.

Our guide had us standing on the steps leading down to the pool while he was telling us about the legend of Jackie and the history of the swimming pools that had been aboard the ship. Jackie had drowned in the Second Class Swimming Pool, but when it was destroyed during one of the many renovations, her spirit seemed to take up residence in the area of the First Class Swimming Pool.

As the group was standing there, a greenish ball of light seemed to appear on the balcony directly in front of the doorway. I could see the light when I was not looking directly at it, but when I looked at the spot I thought I was seeing the greenish light, I could not see it. As soon as I looked away, I could see it clearly again in my peripheral vision. While the dim light was interesting, I believe that it wasn’t paranormal and I have to dismiss it as a trick of the poor lighting in the swimming pool area.

This set of stairs is supposed to be haunted
While the tugging on my bag, the moving shadow, and the loud noise were all interesting, it was what happened to the way back to my room that will always stay unexplained in my mind. I was on my way back to the room when something caught my eye near the end of the hall. I can’t really say what I saw that caught my attention, but I decided to go explore in an attempt to figure out what it was that peeked my interest. I walked to the end of the hall (towards the stern), but did not see anything out of the ordinary. But the whole time I was walking down the hall and was at the end of the hall I was plagued by the feeling that someone, or something, was watching me.

I turned slowly to start towards my room when I thought I saw somebody dart into the small hall that had the staircase in it.

I quietly and cautiously walked toward the place where I thought I saw somebody all the time watching the spot. When I got to the side hall, there was nobody present, but I had still had the feeling of being watched. I passed through it to the other hall, but saw nobody. Returning to the stairwell, I walked down the stairs to the next floor, hoping that it was just another of the guests I had seen, but looking around, I found nobody and nothing out of the ordinary. I went up the steps to the deck above and looked around, again without finding anything out of the ordinary.

I was blaming it on the tour and my imagination as I came back down the steps to the deck where my room was. I had just set foot on the floor when something caught my eye.

I turned to look down the steps and she was standing there.

And immediately she was gone.

The stairs where I saw a young girl standing
She disappeared before my eyes
Even as I write this I have goose bumps. What I saw standing on the landing was a young girl wearing a light blue dress. She looked real and was solid. When she vanished she was just gone.

After I had regained my senses, I knew I had to try to figure out what just happened. I called out “Hello,” a couple times hoping it had been a real girl I had spotted and she would answer. I had no luck at getting any kind of answer. I walked cautiously down the steps to the landing preparing myself for a real person to come around the corner, but I had no luck with that either. Where I saw her standing there was no way she could have moved fast enough to go down the steps without me seeing her move. She was just gone.

In the aftermath of her disappearance all feelings of being watched were gone.

Was it Jackie trying to tell me she still existed? Or was it the spirit of another girl who still calls the RMS Queen Mary home? I really don’t know her identity and probably never will.

I finally called it a night and returned to my room. I didn’t have any other experiences while on board, but her majesty gave me enough to think about with the experiences I did have.

When I left the next morning I knew if I was ever in Long Beach again, I knew where I would be staying and continue to look forward to the next time I can revisit the historical, mysterious, RMS Queen Mary.

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