The History and Hauntings of the Queen Mary

LONG BEACH—On Dec. 9, 1967, Long Beach city purchased the historic British transatlantic liner, the Queen Mary. The ship remains moored in Long Beach Harbor and functions as a maritime museum, meeting center, hotel, and a haunted attraction.


The Queen Mary was built in 1930 in Clydebank, Scotland, by Cunard Line, a British cruise line based at Carnival House in Southampton, England. The project was initially known as job #534, and due to the economic setback induced by the Great Depression, the ship’s construction was finished in three and a half years and cost 3.5 million pounds sterling which is equivalent to $4.8 million in today’s USD.


Cunard decided to name the ship after Queen Victoria, but as legend has it, Cunard directors went to ask King George for his blessing of the ship’s proposed name, according to the Queen Mary website.


“We have decided to name our new ship after England’s greatest Queen,” says the article. “But King George’s reported response was, “My wife [Queen Mary] will be delighted that you are naming the ship after her.”


On May 27, 1936, the Queen Mary set sail on her maiden voyage, departing from Southampton, England. The ship was constructed with five dining halls and lounges, two cocktail bars, two pools, a grand ballroom, a squash court, and even a small hospital. The Queen Mary had set the bar for transatlantic travel, catering to the rich and famous, who were typically the only people who traveled at that time.


The Queen Mary retired in 1967 when she became a Southern California attraction after she found her current home in the Long Beach Harbor. In her heyday, The Queen Mary carried 2.2 million passengers during peacetime and 810,000 military personnel in the Second World War. Since her retirement in Long Beach, the ship has seen an estimated 50 million visitors.


The day the Queen Mary was christened in 1934, a well-known English psychic by the name of Lady Mable Fortiscue-Harrison predicted, “the Queen Mary will know her greatest fame and popularity when she never sails another mile or carries another fare-paying passenger,” according to the Queen Mary website.


Today, the Queen Mary is known as a haunted attraction. “The unique history of the ship allows us to offer a one-of-a-kind and authentic experiences that delve into the paranormal, from evening tours and ghost investigations to overnight stays in our haunted Stateroom, B340,” said Chris Wilmoth, Director of marketing at the Queen Mary to Travel and Leisure.

2 thoughts on “The History and Hauntings of the Queen Mary

  • March 19, 2022 at 8:32 pm

    We are delighted to see Queen Mary ship from outside decked in Long Beach, Los Angeles today. It resembles just like the historic Titanic ship and very beautiful to look at it.

  • January 29, 2023 at 8:08 am

    I stayed on the Queen Mary in November 2012 as a birthday present and was there for 4 days and 3 nights. I was in Room A 131. I had a digital camera at the time and could not look at the actual photos until I got home and loaded them on my computer. There were orbs everywhere, a common occurrence on this ship I understand. However my experiences were anything but common, at least to me. Let me be clear. I did not go to the Queen Mary to ghost shop, I am very interested in British Royalty and wanted to tour the Windsor Suite and see other places of interest that related to the British Royal Family. I got to accomplish that while I was there. The Queen Mary was hosting an event featuring gowns of the late Princess Diana. I got to attend this event as well.

    On my first night, the TV turned on and off by itself about three times. I just attributed it to faulty batteries and it did not happen again during my stay.

    However I was awakened in the middle of the night by the sounds of a party. Loud voices, laughter, clinking glasses… I looked out the porthole which overlooked the water and there were no party boats around, in fact nothing was near. I looked out in the hallway and could see and hear nothing. When I inquired at the front desk, the next day, I was told the room next to mine was empty and had been all weekend.

    Also that morning the light in my bathroom burned out so I reported it to the front desk at the same time and they said they would have a maintenance worker repair it. I went and had breakfast and came back to the room. The light had been repaired. I was in the room about 30 minutes getting ready to go on the self-guided tour when a maintenance man knocked on my door and said he was there to fix the bathroom light. When I told him it had already been repaired, he looked puzzled and showed me his work order. He said it was his first job of the day. Who and how did the light get repaired?

    On the self guided tour, I was pretty much alone for much of the time. I got to the steps to the Isolation Ward and could not make myself go down the steps. I felt uneasy and unsafe as if I was not alone. I felt closed in even though did not go down the steps.
    I continued on to the bridge and around the ship for I really do not know how long but got turned around and needed to find a rest room. I asked a painter near the back of the ship to assist and he showed me where a staff stairwell was near the stacks that led to a rest room near the playroom inside. When I got back to the outside of the ship, there was no evidence of a painter or fresh paint anywhere. The painter had overalls and dark hair with a mustache. I did ask a woman who was walking near the lifeboats if she had seen a worker or painter and she said no.

    When I went on the guided night Ghost tour, nothing out of the ordinary happened in the usual places such as the swimming pool, vortex or Door 13. I took several photos ( when later loaded showed several orbs ). However when I got into the boiler room, my camera battery went dead. It was a new battery for the tour so it should have lasted. The tour guide said that happens frequently. When we got out of the boiler room to some common area, the battery worked great and performed perfectly for the rest of the evening.

    Lastly was the propeller room. I was still with the tour group but got a very bad feeling when looking at this propeller. I felt closed in, breathing seemed more difficult and I felt unsafe. I had to get out of there quickly and actually had to exit the ship and go outside before the feeling went away.

    I had a lovely birthday brunch in the Main Dining room and left quite happy. When I got home and saw my photos, I was amazed.

    I have the photos and you can certainly have them for your research and website if you wish. You may use my story and I will gladly answer any questions that you may have.

    Nora Graves



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