Wonder of the World

The True Story Of The Haunting Of The Queen Mary’s Ghost Ship


  • The 2023 film “Haunting of Queen Mary” explores the terrifying history of the real-world RMS Queen Mary, a haunted ship with a thrilling past.
  • The film was shot on location on the actual ocean liner, adding an authentic touch to the spine-tingling narrative that spans two different time periods.
  • The Queen Mary has a history of mysterious deaths and paranormal activity, attracting paranormal investigators and ghost enthusiasts. Visitors can take haunted tours or stay in the infamous Room B340.



The 2023 film Haunting of Queen Mary dives into the horrors of the real-world RMS Queen Mary, with a great many of the included ghost stories coming from the experiences of guests upon the legendary “Most Haunted Ship in America.” Now a hotel experience in California, the retired British ocean liner has a thrilling history that has long captivated ghost enthusiasts and paranormal investigators. From the RMS Queen Mary’s extravagance to its immense number of accidental deaths, it’s the perfect setting for a thrilling horror movie.

Not only is Haunting of the Queen Mary (directed by Dracula Untold director Gary Shore) set on the actual ocean liner but it was filmed there as well. This adds an exhilarating level of authenticity to the film, which jumps back and forth between two time periods aboard the ship. First, a family of the 1930s believed they were in for a voyage of rare extravagance but ended up on a cruise of horrors instead. Then, a modern family climbs aboard the ship and finds themselves disturbingly connected to the Queen Mary’s horrible past. Beyond this spine-tingling narrative, however, lies the actual ship, which is said to be just as eerie.

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The RMS Queen Mary’s History: Cruises, WWII & Hotel Uses Explained

The RMS Queen Mary was built at the height of ocean travel extravagance. According to the Queen Mary’s official website, construction began for the ship in 1930 in Clydebank, Scotland, six years before it would take its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, in 1936. The massive ocean liner boasted five dining areas and lounges, two cocktail bars with swimming pools, a ballroom, and a hospital. The Queen Mary was the pinnacle of luxury travel and only transported the elite, from movie stars and singers to political figures like Winston Churchhill. Throughout its years as a cruise ship, it transported some 2.2 million passengers.

During World War II, England was in desperate need of ships, so the Queen Mary was temporarily turned into a transport ship for some 810,000 military personnel. It was stripped of all its luxury, painted grey, and dubbed “The Grey Ghost.” After the war’s end, however, the ship was restored to her former glory and transported high-class passengers between England and the United States for several more decades. However, when air travel grew in popularity, the need for a ship like the Queen Mary was lessened. She took her final voyage on December 9, 1967, and has called the coast of Southern California her home ever since. Now, the Queen Mary is a floating Hotel and Event Venue.

Dozens Of People Have Reportedly Died On The RMS Queen Mary

Throughout the various stages of its history, the Queen Mary has gained a reputation for the mysterious number of deaths that have happened within its walls. In less than 100 years, 16 crew members and 41 passengers have died onboard (via Houston Maritime). Though high numbers like this would typically be associated with some massive-scale accident, most of these have been listed in the ship’s logs as being from “natural causes.” However, there have been instances of terrible accidents as well. An example of this is the ship’s mechanic, who was crushed by a door during a routine emergency evacuation, and a young girl, reportedly named Jacqueline Torin, who drowned in one of the ship’s swimming pools.

Another significant accident involving the Queen Mary took place during World War II. The ocean liner, filled with soldiers, accidentally crashed into its escort ship, the HMS Curacoa, and though everyone aboard Queen Mary survived, the Curacoa lost 239 souls. This is why, among the many hauntings reported on the iconic ship since the 1960s, sightings of soldiers are among the most common—but these are far from the only alleged ghost sightings on the Queen Mary.

Is The Queen Mary Haunted? Real Claims & Paranormal Investigations Explained

The RMS Queen Mary has welcomed guests to stay on board for decades, advertising luxury and a rare opportunity to be immersed in history. During this time, hundreds of passengers have stayed onboard, with many reporting a lot of strange goings on within the rooms, pools, and vintage dining rooms. The engine room in which the Queen Mary mechanic was crushed to death is said to be frequented by a man wearing overalls who asks who has seen his wrench before disappearing, with the occasional sound of screams of pain heard in the vicinity.

Other typical reports include the sounds of a young girl crying near the pool, thought to be little Jacqueline Torin’s ghost, and the apparition of a man named John Henry, whose body is said to have been discovered in the boiler room. Still, it’s difficult to say whether these are the result of real spirits of the active imaginations of passengers. To determine whether the ship was really haunted, the Queen Mary’s management hired famed paranormal investigator Christopher Chacon, who came aboard in the 1990s to test the ship in its entirety.

According to Dread Central, this investigation spanned 18 months and involved a variety of state-of-the-art instruments and the help of a team of scientists, including physicists, medical doctors, and chemists. After the investigation, Chacon stated that he determined that the Queen Mary averaged three “events” per hour, with about 60 percent of these resulting from explainable factors. This leaves about 40 percent to be considered anomalous.

Years later, Queen Mary’s paranormal activity seems not to have lessened, with the filming crew for Haunting of Queen Mary reporting several spooky instances while filming on location. The film’s producer, Brett Tomberlin, explained (via Press-Telegram) that parts of the ship were under construction during filming, and they were forbidden from entering those areas. However, they were constantly being chastised by the ship’s staff, who reported wet footprints in the closed rooms—though the crew were adamant they never trespassed. “I never saw anything,” Tomberlin said, “but I can definitely tell you I can understand why people say they’ve seen things or felt a presence.

The Cursed B340 Room Explained (& How It Differs In The Movie)

The most haunted location on the Queen Mary is said to be room B340 (via Press-Telegram). The room was originally three separate quarters when the ship was still transporting passengers, but when it was remade into a hotel, it was turned into a single suite. Shortly after the Queen Mary opened for business, guests began complaining of strange happenings with the room. Some noted feeling sick or dizzy immediately upon entering, while others reported voices, strange sounds, and even a brief glimpse of someone standing over their bed. According to Stephen Sowards, the hotel’s general manager in 2018, the room had to be closed down.

Room B340 remained closed for 30 years, but in the 2010s, it was renovated and reopened for guests. The newly designed room steered entirely into the suite’s haunted claim, including an Ouija board, tarot cards, and a crystal ball as part of its furnishing. Additionally, there is an inscription on the bathroom wall explaining how to summon “Bloody Mary” by chanting her name three times while facing the mirror. Still, these additions are more for fun. Aside from the creepy reports from guests, there is no proven history of murder in the room’s past as Haunting of Queen Mary suggests.

Did Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers Really Travel On The Queen Mary?

Haunting of Queen Mary incorporated many of the commonly reported phenomena of the real-world ship. The tragically crushed mechanic and poor Jacqueline Torin both make an appearance, as well as other ghosts that various guests have seen during their stays. However, what of the living characters that are seen to have traveled on the Queen Mary during its heyday? During the 1938 flashbacks, legendary actors Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers are seen to be among the passengers (played by Wesley Alfvin and Maddison Nixon, respectively), and their presence there is based, in part, on real history.

According to the Queen Mary’s website, Fred Astaire did travel on the ship in the years following its maiden voyage, but there is no indication that Ginger Rogers was with him. This pair was likely added to the characters of Haunting of Queen Mary because of their roles in the 1937 film Shall We Dance, a romantic comedy that follows a pair who fall in love on a ship sailing from Paris to New York. Astaire and Ginger tap dance in this film just as in Haunting of Queen Mary. It’s a clever connection between one of the ship’s most notable passengers and another film featuring the luxuries of 1930s water travel.

The RMS Queen Mary Still Offers Tours In Real Life Today

It’s difficult to say how much of the paranormal reports regarding the Queen Mary are real and how much is meant to promote both the Haunting of Queen Mary film and the iconic hotel, which is still running today. After all, it was the Queen Mary’s staff that hired the paranormal investigator, and the majority of the haunting information available online is directly related to the business itself. Ghost enthusiasts can purchase a ticket to haunted tours aboard the historical ship or even pay to stay in the harrowing stateroom B340 and see for themselves. Regardless, movies like Haunting of Queen Mary prove that such horrors are all about what people believe.

Sources: Queen Mary’s official website, Press Telegram, Dread Central, Houston Maritime

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