Darkness is all around you but, you have the company of others just like yourself who have been herded into this steel cave, deep in the hull of this gigantic ship. It's a tough way to cross the North Atlantic. A distance of some 3,016 nautical miles between London England and New York City in the United States. If it was not war time and if you were not a prisoner, you may be traveling this same course in the lap of luxury on this very same vessel.
The forward cargo hold was not intended for transporting human beings. It is an uncomfortable, unforgiving environment, well below the waterline of the ship and could be freezing cold, depending on what ocean your sailing in. Anyone who has spent time in this environment, especially those hunting ghosts as I do, will tell you that many strange things have been either heard, seen or felt. And not just by a few.
It was winter time, and here in Southern California and the weather can be many things. I do not recall exactly what the weather was like this particular night, but I do remember the weekend before. The weather was nice. Funny how that works. The week before was an event called Ghost Fest III and a special weekend it was. However the events of this night are much like that photograph where your lens is focused on the object that is front and center. The back ground and the surroundings is a little fuzzy because you're focused on the subject.
Eleven-thirty PM and as usual I await for the hotel's paranormal investigator to arrive. I am a paranormal investigator as well, but this is his show, his gig and I am fortunate to be allowed to volunteer my time. Very thankful as well, because there are not many places like the Queen Mary. I owe a great deal to this man for allowing me to help out and experience the most haunted place in Southern California if not the entire country and/or the World. That's what I think about her. She's a grand lady, and deserves our respect in many ways and for many things.
It is eleven Forty-five PM and my friend arrives. We greet each other and we both ask how the other has been. We chit chat for a while about events of the week and then he heads off to the main lobby on A-Deck to meet the guests who will be on the night's tour Some time later both he and the guests come walking up to where I am by the Paranormal Research Center. While the guests are taken inside and given a quick lesson on ghost hunting equipment and ghost hunting in general, I make my way down to the entrance of the 1st Class pool, two levels below, on R-Deck.
This was a time where we had access to the pool, without having to wait for hotel security to let us in.
I let myself inside and begin to explore. My camera and digital recorder on. It is times like this which make it worth assisting on the tour. A few moments of real ghost hunting on the haunted Queen Mary.
You can lose yourself inside the 1st Class Pool. A world in twilight. Where shadows lend themselves to an environment which can be eerily quiet only to be shattered by a screech of some kind. Or perhaps a door being jostled by a would be ghost hunter like myself trying to make their way into this alluring setting, which at times seems like a parallel dimension, just outside of what we know as reality. This compartment, which in terms of the amount of strange sounds and experiences, is only rivaled by two other places on this one time goddess of the sea. One of which, we will visit later in this tour.
"Welcome to the 1st Class Pool!" and so begins our exploration, into what could be an evening some will never forget. Soon after he has regaled our guests with a telling of the strange things experienced in the pool area, our host cuts them loose to see if they find those ghosts.
Between twelve forty-five AM and one AM our pool time has ended. All present and accounted for are lined up in the corridor just outside, on the starboard side of R-deck. A quick head count and yours truly as the caboose, making sure there are no stragglers, we head forward to the cargo hold.
R-deck, or at least this part of R-deck is not intended for general public. It's like being in the basement of a parking structure, or office building or a large hotel. Strictly pedestrian at best. All the charm of your neighborhood alley way. Perhaps, this lends itself to the authenticity of our weekly ghost hunt. Surely a place where ghosts may be.
Our security guard for this evening joins us by the entrance to the archive area of the Queen Mary. He is required to unlock the gate. Art deco fixtures and furniture which use to occupy the cabins and state rooms of the one- time transatlantic ocean liner are kept in this place. There are books with copyrights dating back to the first half of the Twentieth Century. On occasion when exploring this compartment I have felt an electrical current surround me and my sense of being watched increase. My first disembodied voice aboard the Queen Mary, took place among these remnants of her past.
The guard stands aside as we all march forward and around the corner of the far bulkhead. Our host lines everybody up and explains a little about the environment below, three decks down. An area so dark that you cannot see your hand in front of your face.
Metallic stair steps and steel bulkheads reverberate from 15 or 20 pairs of feet making their way down into the darkness of history. Only God, and those souls who lived to experience those trying times could tell you what sort of emotions and human feelings this environment has been witness to. Things imprinted in the darkness which beg to come to light. Souls reliving what may be their last moments on this side of the veil of life, before crossing over. Or, maybe those persons haunted by perceived guilt, who return to this place to help those less fortunate. Unfinished business they have.
He stands in front of two steel doors. On the other side of those doors, some fifteen or twenty feet below where he and the others stand, is a place unchanged for decades. A place where for possibly those unseen to the mortal eyes, an unfinished war rages on. Waiting, and watching for someone to take them home. To tell them the war is over. A friendly face, or familiar voice to comfort them and tell them everything will be okay. As he stands there, in front of those doors, our guests surround him in a half circle and they hear the story of World War II prisoners who were kept in this area as the ship took them to New York City and from where they would be transported to prison camps in different parts of the United States. They hear the horrible story of HMS Curacao, a light cruiser that was cut in two by the massive bulk of the Queen Mary as it performed escort duty, chasing what might have been a German U-boat. How 383 men died as HMS Curacao sank immediately.
After the doors were opened and everyone was allowed to take a look into this place, about ten or so followed our host down a ship's ladder. I stayed up top with those unwilling to follow. While our host told those below of more things experienced in the pit of the cargo hold.
Some time passes and I hear "Jerry", my name, being called by our host. I take a look inside the pit area and he asks if I can shine my flash light down on where he is sitting. Next to him is a young girl who has joined us for the evening with her mother from Northern California. Her school project is to write a paper on haunted places like the Queen Mary. She is sitting to the right of our host, maybe two feet away. She says that something is touching her and pulling her hair.
"Do you have your camera Jerry", asked the host. "Yes, I have it right here". He asks me to take some photos of the girl and I do. Her hair is in a pony tail and it appears to be lifted up with clumps separated as if invisible fingers were protruding through. One of the other guests sitting just on the other side of the girl, has a thermocouple and reports a significant drop in ambient temperature.
Having knowledge of such things as magician's wire used to create illusions our host runs his hand, without touching the girl, just behind her head and back. There is no wire or other device that may be used. It is dark, but, with her sitting so close to our host, it would be difficult to pull off such an illusion and to what purpose? For a thrill? Not likely.
Later, as I reviewed the photos it was clear to see how the pony tail was being lifted up and separated. In a subsequent photo the hair is laying flat on the back of her neck with no separation evident.
Many times I have heard my friend, our host, say he has never personally experienced the paranormal and he is still reluctant to admit to some extent what I know he witnessed this night. But that is okay, because you have my words, to let you know what was witnessed .
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