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There is so much to do in Orange County area that locals take for granted so Trent and I have decided to start exploring our back yard. Today, we visited the infamous Queen Mary in Long Beach and we are so glad we did because we learned a lot! Did you know the Queen Mary is 1.5 times larger than the Titanic?
A Little History…
RMS (Royal Mail Ship) Queen Mary was built in 1936 and sailed the North Atlantic from 1936 – 1967. She sailed her maiden voyage from Southampton, England on May 27, 1936 and arrived in New York on June 1st. For three years, QM carried the rich and famous across the Atlantic in great luxury.
On September 4, 1939, England and France declare war on Germany, marking the beginning of World War II. Queen Mary was transformed into a troop ship and later became known as the Grey Ghost. She was the largest and fastest troopship to sail and was capable of transporting 16,000 troops, the most passengers that has ever been carried to this day! You can see in the picture on the right, just what a full boat could look like! During the war service (1940-1946), Queen Mary carried a total of 765,439 military personnel and sailed 569, 429 miles. Adolf Hitler offered a $250,000 bounty to anycaptain that could sink her.
On October 2, 1942, Queen Mary was being escorted by a smaller allied ship, HMS Curacoa, which held over 300 passengers. Both ships were following a zig-zag course to throw off their enemies. The Queen Mary cut across the course, leaving insufficient space for the HMS to clear. Queen Mary struck the smaller vessel breaking the boat in half. HMS Curacoa sank to the bottom of the ocean in less than 5 minutes. The Queen Mary could not stop to help for fear of attack. There are many reports that the Queen Mary is haunted and it is thought that many of the haunts come from souls that lost their life on the HMS Curacoa.
After the war, in July 1947, Queen Mary resumed regular passenger service from England to New York and continued to do so for two more decades. On October 31, 1967, QM departed Southampton on her last cruise and arrived in Long Beach, on December 9, 1967. She was officially removed from British registry and turned over to her new owners, the City of Long Beach on December 11, 1967.
Today, the Queen Mary is a nationally historic vessel and is permanently docked in Long Beach. There are a few different tours that are offered and today guests can even stay in one of 365 state rooms in the QM hotel.
Visitors can take a self guided tour. You are given an audio guide and head phone set which allows you to walk around the historic ship at your leisure and enjoy a personal tour.
There have been numerous reports of paranormal activity aboard the great ship, and many believe that the vessel is haunted. Approximately 50 people have died aboard the Queen Mary. Because of this, Trent and I decided to take the Haunted Encounters Tour and Ghosts and Legends Show, which we now highly recommend. We were able to walk through parts of the ship that guests were never allowed to go before. We were in the bottom of the ship, 36 feet below sea level. The picture on the left is one of the hotel rooms that is now closed to the public but we were able to enter during the Haunted Encounters Tour. There has been one death and so many paranormal activities reported in this room that the hotel was forced to close it. Of course I had to get a picture inside!
Pictured on the right is Trent standing in the entrance of the watertight door #13 down in the boiler room. These doors had to close in a matter of seconds when they were activated. The men working in the boiler room used to play a game called “chicken” to see how many times the could jump from one side to another. One early morning the watertight doors were ordered to be closed by the captain. It is not known if a game of chicken or bad timing was involved, but one man lost his life in door #13. Some visitors report seeing a man in blue overalls with a beard in this area of the ship, which fits the description of the man who was pinned in the doorway.
If you have never visited the Queen Mary, we highly recommend it! Personally, I found that goosebumps were common for me on the haunted tours, but if that is not for you, (and definitely not for young children) the self-guided tour is a great alternative.
For more information on the Queen Mary, visit their website http://queenmary.com. If you live in the Orange County area, get out and explore it!