Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hauntings: Queen Mary

Queen Mary (California)

The RMS Queen Mary sailed the seas from 1936-1967, making 1,001 trips across the Atlantic, acting as a troop ship in World War II, and hosting hundreds of thousands of passengers.  Along with her colorful history, she’s had her share of tragedies.  Now, she stays docked and hosts tourists -- and ghosts.

Watertight Door #13.  In 1966, a worker in the engine room named John Peddar was accidentally trapped and crushed to death by the massive Watertight Door #13.  Since his death, John's ghost has been seen many times in the engine room.  On one occasion, a tourist couple visiting the ship heard about the ghost, and the man joked, “John Peddar, would you like to join us?”  He and his wife laughed, but shortly after, the man felt something brush across his face.  When they reached the sunlit deck, his wife noticed a smear of grease on his face where he’d felt something brush him.  Neither of them had any grease on their hands or clothes.  Although grease was abundant in the engine room when the ship was operational, it’s kept clean and grease-free since it was retired and docked.  There's no logical explanation for the grease, and the couple is sure it was John's ghost.

Promenade Deck.  Another area on the ship where ghostly sightings have occurred is the Promenade Deck.  Once, when two employees were there, they saw a woman walking toward them wearing 1930s clothing.  She was lost from sight when she crossed behind a pillar. When she didn’t emerge from the other side, the two employees went to look.  No one was there.  The woman had vanished.

The Lower Bow.  During World War II, the Queen Mary was a troop transport.  Adolf Hitler offered a $250,000 reward to any captain who could sink her.  To maneuver through the submarine-infested waters of the Atlantic, the Queen Mary had to travel in a zigzag pattern.  Unfortunately, during one of her crossings, she collided with a smaller British ship, the HMS Curacao, causing that ship to sink.  Most of the Curacao's 300 passengers drowned.  The Queen Mary, however, was only slightly damaged at the lower bow.  She was soon repaired and put back in service.  Since then, many people in the lower bow area have heard the sound of the two ships as they collided and the frightened screams of the crewmembers aboard the HMS Curacao.

The Boiler Room.  During the ship’s operation, the boiler room was probably the most dangerous area on the ship.  One day, pipes containing high-pressure steam exploded, killing several crewmembers.  After the ship was permanently berthed in Long Beach, California,  the boiler room was gutted,  but many ghostly sightings of the dead men have been reported in that area to this day.

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