Visiting California this weekend I had the opportunity to explore the famous Queen Mary, luxury cruise ship turned war transporter during WWII. Time magazine voted the Queen Mary as one of the top ten most haunted, and the owners definitely capitalize on this.
In fact, included with the purchase of the self guided tour of the ship, you receive a Ghost & Legends guided tour as well.
The tour meets on the fourth deck, and your eyebrows raise right away when your instructed to pose in front of a green screen. We’re all instructed that photography is forbidden while on the tour. Then you’re ushered down a few flights of stairs into a dark room where a video with ominous narration discusses the ship’s history in the war. We were then introduced to our tour guide, who acted as though he came straight from Disney’s Tower of Terror right, eccentrically morose. He slid open a wall to reveal a hidden door, bursting open with fog and special effects. At this point I was confused, fully having expected a tour walked us through the ship while pointing out haunted areas…but special effects..what??
We’re lead onto walkways overlooking the first class swimming pool, which reminded me of the pool in Ghost Ship, though much larger and well kept. The tour guide begins explaining of the deaths that occurred here years ago and how this area has been off limits for a long time. This confuses me further because the bottom of the empty pool is still wet. Then the lights go dim and the pool fills with fog while ghostly sounds echo throughout the room. At this point I finally feel as though I’m in on the joke and start grinning.
The group is swept through multiple areas of the hull, all decorated with props and special effects straight out of a haunted house while the tour guide explains who died where. We finally end up in the boiler room, a rather large dimly lit area filled with pipes where it’s explained where young men died in explosions there. The tour guide makes a show of telling us to wait there while he wanders off and there’s a grand finale of the room appearing to flood while ghostly noises hover overhead before the guide retrieves us and leads us to safety of souvenir photo purchases.
I have to admit, this tour amused me a great deal. I felt as though I was experiencing a haunted attraction a month early. Even the gimmicky tour photos amused me- the green screen was replaced with haunted scenes from the tour with hidden ghosts in the background.
While I’m more of a skeptic on the belief of whether ghosts exist, I can’t see how the Queen Mary could end up on any most haunted list. Any ghostly presence is strictly man made. During the month of October, the Queen Mary offers multiple mazes that just proves my point, though I do think the unique setting would make for some fun attractions.