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The Terrifying Haunted History Of The Queen Mary

Updated September 23, 2021 8.2k votes 1.9k voters 111.9k views15 items

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When the RMS Queen Mary was launched in 1936, she was the flagship jewel in the Cunard-White Star Cruise Line crown. At 1,019 feet long, the Queen Mary was the longest ship in the world - even longer than the Eiffel Tower is tall. She was a giant of the sea and heralded for being bigger, faster, and more powerful than the ill-fated Titanic. Her craftsmanship was unparalleled at the time, and today the Queen Mary is still considered to be one of the most elegant passenger ships ever built.

During her reign, this stately North Atlantic liner carried a veritable who's who of celebrities, artists, and political dignitaries across open waters. From Bob Hope and Elizabeth Taylor to President Dwight D. Eisenhower and the Kennedys, the elite clamored to enjoy this mobile luxury hotel and its upscale amenities. Life aboard the ship was glamorous, and the evenings rivaled the gala affairs held in palaces.

Because of her sheer power and swiftness, the Queen Mary was drafted during WWII to ferry Allied troops to the heart of the fight. The Queen Mary was decommissioned in 1967 and permanently docked in Long Beach, CA, where she operates today as a luxury hotel and living museum.

Although the Queen Mary's rich history may have garnered the vessel some impressive titles, she has recently earned a more notorious designation. Ghost stories from the Queen Mary suggest that it may be one of the most haunted ships in the world. Scary stories about the Queen Mary say she is riddled with phantom figures, cold spots, and disembodied voices, and the craft has made her way onto the ultimate ghost hunting bucket list for good reason. Whether the haunted Queen Mary is dominating history or paranormal lore, she continues to prove that she is the queen of them all.

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    Shadow People Haunt All Levels Of The Ship

    Photo: Jeffeby / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    One of the most common occurrences aboard the Queen Mary is also one of the most mysterious. Figures known as "Shadow People" seem to lurk around every corner without rhyme or reason. Guests and investigators alike have photos supposedly showing Shadow People slinking through the ship.

     

    These apparitions have acquired this moniker because they look like human-shaped shadows. Most describe them as darting along their peripheral vision, or skirting along the edges of rooms and hallways.

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    Ghostly Allied Troops Are Still Fighting In WWII

    Photo: Altair78 / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    As an Allied transport ship during WWII, the Queen Mary carried 800,000 soldiers overseas. By removing the lavish furnishings and décor, the ship was able to double her normal capacity. The Queen Mary still holds the record for the most people aboard a floating vessel at one time, at 16,683. Soldiers were dangerously overcrowded on the ship.

     

    "Unfortunately, as part of security, records weren't kept from WWII," ship archivist Bill Winberg said. "But when the ship was in the Red Sea, there was no getting away from the fact that troops were crowded below in 120-degree temperatures. There was no ventilation, portholes were welded shut because of blackouts, and they were losing people from heat prostration."

     

    It was estimated that, because of such extreme conditions, there was a burial at sea every four hours. This could explain the numerous sightings of men clad in WWII-era soldier uniforms roaming the A, B, and M decks. It also sheds more light on the possible origins behind numerous EVPs that have been collected by paranormal investigators, in which men's voices speaking of military duties and commands have been captured.

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    The Lady In White Lingers Near The Piano

    The origins of the Lady in White are unknown, but this spirit is frequently seen dancing the night away in a shadowy corner of the Queen's Salon, formerly known as the First-Class Lounge. She has also been reported to hang around the ship's lobby near the piano, which was originally housed in the lounge.

     

    She is described as a young, beautiful woman decked out in a white evening gown from the 1930s. When she isn't dancing, guests can usually see her gliding down the stairs towards the lobby, walking past corridors, or disappearing near the elevators. She has even appeared during some of the ghost tours that frequent the ship.

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  • 12

    A Former Officer Patrols The Main Deck

    Photo: Averain / flickr / CC-BY 2.0

    On September 18, 1949, Second Senior Staff Officer William E. Stark was on the hunt for some gin. His captain had given Stark permission to have a drink, but he was unable to locate the liquor. A steward, F.R. Stokes, located the wayward alcohol and handed it over to Stark. What Stokes didn't know was that a fellow shipmate had used the empty gin bottle to store some cleaning fluid - specifically, tetrachloride.

     

    Immediately, Stark knew something wasn't right. According to Stokes's report, "Mr. Stark came to my cabin again and said, 'I have drunk some kind of acid.' I said, 'I am sorry, sir, I thought it was gin." In the days following the incident, Stark fell into a sleeping state and passed.

     

    The ethereal form of Officer Stark has been spotted walking through his personal quarters and along the main deck and promenade. Tony Ashlin, who is a tour guide on board the Queen Mary, said that he saw the apparition standing near the control panel in the aft engine room with a clipboard in hand.

     

    Some visitors speculate that Stark is only lingering around the Queen Mary because he's still looking for his nip of gin.

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