For many people visiting California, the haunted ship – the Queen Mary – is a must-see. And a must-investigate. Some ghost hunters claim the ship is home to over 100 ghosts.
Whether or not such high numbers are accurate, the Queen Mary “ghost ship” is still an iconic haunted site, and worth visiting if you’ll be in the Los Angeles area.
Note: If you’ve always wanted to spend the night on the Queen Mary, I recommend doing so, soon. As an April 2018 article in the L.A. Times explained, “An engineering report has warned that the ship urgently needs $5.7 million in fixes and requires a total of $289 million in repairs over the next five years.”
If the money isn’t raised in the next five years… well, I’m not sure what the alternative is. That’s why I recommend spending the night in the near future, if it’s on your bucket list.
Note: If you’re uneasy with the Ouija board in the room, bring it to the front desk and ask them to store it until after you check out.
If you’ll be investigating the ship’s ghosts and haunted rooms, listen to the following podcast. It’s nearly an hour long. It’s well narrated in a “ghost story” style, and – even better – it includes a superb interview with Commodore Everette Hoard (ship’s historian) of the Queen Mary.
He provides some intriguing insights. They could be especially useful if you’re looking for triggers to prompt ghostly activity or EVP responses.
If you’re arriving from LAX, which we were, they don’t have a hotel shuttle between the Queen Mary and the airport. We Uber’ed it for $80. A taxi will cost you about the same…
I was sort of surprised about the security out front. Not that there were guards with machine guns or anything. Just staff to direct you to the appropriate place depending on whether you were checking in or coming just to have dinner or do a night activity.
Our luggage gave us away. It was pretty obvious we were there to check-in so up the elevator to Level 3 or “A” Deck we went to.
There’s really nothing special about check-in. It’s the same as anywhere else basically.
Except if you’ve always wanted to stay aboard the ship. Then you might be giddy and bursting with excitement like I was!
Also, I was enamored with the decor. It wasn’t as grand as I’d expected. Dated really. Yet, I was okay with that. It retained its authentic charm.
If you drive yourself, be prepared to pay for parking. ($22 for overnight.)
If you’re not driving there yourself, and you want a cheaper option than Uber, Lyft or taxis, SuperShuttle and Prime Shuttles go to and from the Queen Mary also. It would’ve cost us about $35 total for the both of us to get there. We did book a shuttle back to the airport through the hotel. (We went with SuperShuttle for $30 for the both of us. That’s a $50 savings over Ubering it!)
You can also use public transit to get there. That will also save you a bit of money on transportation cost, but you’ll have to trade time for money. (Meaning it will take you a little longer to get there.) Also, you wouldn’t want to do this if you had a lot of luggage to schlep around. There will be walking involved.
Maybe ask if there non-adjoining rooms carry sound from neighbors a little less. (We’re thinking the door in our room that adjoined to our neighbor’s maybe contributed to being able to hear them so well?)
If you’re going to spend much time or money (or both), learn as much as you can, before your visit.
Ghosts of the Queen Mary by Brian Clune and Bob Davis is a recent-ish (2014) book with very good reviews. However, the Kindle edition is so expensive, I recommend getting the printed book instead. (Besides, I prefer printed books.)
The Haunted Queen Mary by the Wlodarskis is a small (110 pages) book with mixed reviews. I recommend getting an inexpensive, used copy at Amazon for one important reason: It was publishing in 2000, before ghost hunting became so trendy. So, though the stories may not be as colorful as those in more recent books, they could be more reliable.
And, as a reminder, here’s the link to Haunt Jaunts’ recent article about spending the night aboard the Queen Mary….
We’re redesigning some of my websites, hoping to adjust the focus to meet your interests. I created this survey to learn what interests you the most about ghosts and haunted places. Readers voted during mid-July 2018.
(Of note, “As part of a Dartmoor walking expedition, it is acceptable to backpack camp for one or two nights in some areas of open moorland, well away from roads or settlements using a ‘no impact’ approach.” But be sure to read the rest of the related rules.)
In the US, summer is an ideal season for camping in cooler, northern states. In places like Florida, winter is a better choice.
Start with campgrounds that have verified ghost stories.
The following are a couple of them from an article, 4 Haunted Campgrounds with No Escape. (The full article is linked at the foot of this page.)
If you knew there was a chance you may end up as a late night snack for long lost souls on a feeding frenzy, would you do it? Even knowing you couldn’t get away? All you need to do is pitch a tent. It’s that easy. But you have to know where…
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Site – Nevada County, Calif.
Nevada County is smothered with small ghost towns, but none as haunted as North Bloomfield which was preserved as part of this historic site.
Legend has it, a strict disciplinarian schoolteacher slaughtered a student and hung him from the schoolhouse rafters for answering too many questions incorrectly. It’s said to be the most haunted building in the deserted mining town.
Faces have been seen peering from windows inside of some of the preserved buildings. Some have even been captured by a camera. If you really want to, you can spend the night with them. Pick a spot. Sleep tight.
Big Moose Lake – Adirondacks, New York
The ghost of Grace Brown is said to haunt the area. Brown, unwed and pregnant in 1906, begged the father of the child, Chester Gillette, a well-known womanizer, to marry her. He initially refused and in one her love letters she wrote, “If I die I hope then you can be happy. I hope I can die. The doctor says I will, and then you can do just as you like.”
Gillette finally agreed to the marriage and the couple took a trip to Big Moose Lake to privately tie the knot. But Gillette had ulterior motives. He was accused of killing Brown with a tennis racket while they were in a rowboat in the middle of the lake. He then dumped her body in the water where it was later discovered. Gillette was arrested and two years later was executed.
In 1988 an employee at one of the lakes lodges, Rhonda Bousselot, felt a strange presence as she reached inside of a cabin door to turn on a light switch. Three other employees who were standing just outside as Bousselot exited the cabin said they saw a shadowy figure seemingly gliding very close to her.
Sometimes the ghost of Brown is seen in the lake drowning while at other times she is seen wandering the lake shore. It’s been reported she likes to turn off lights in cabins and some guests have suddenly found themselves sitting in a darkened room with no explanation.
There are plenty of campsites surrounding Big Moose Lake. Pick one right by the shoreline.
(… read the full article (linked below) for two more creepy places to camp)
It wouldn’t be a historic holiday without a ghost story or two. And, since the 4th of July is so closely associated with Philadelphia (PA) – where the Declaration of Independence was signed – here’s a YouTube video about Philadelphia’s haunts.
The first half of the video highlights haunted places you might visit if you’re exploring 4th of July ghosts in Philadelphia, “the City of Brotherly Love.”
The second half was filmed at Eastern State Penitentiary. That’s not a surprise; it’s one of America’s most haunted places.
Next, here’s another video featuring some interesting Pennsylvania haunts. The state is large, so most of these sites aren’t actually in Philadelphia. Still, if you’re in Pennsylvania, some of these ghost stories are interesting and could be worth checking out. (Also, I recommend reading about Brandywine Valley ghosts.)
Centralia (PA) is over two hours from Philadelphia. Also, it’s not a place to visit (though it might be haunted). Anyone going there is risking his life; it’s not worth taking that chance.
(I want to make it very clear: I advise against going anywhere near Centralia, for any reason.)
Centralia’s story is both horrifying and compelling. I’m not sure any city or ghost town has a similar history. (I hope not, anyway.)
The following video shows what’s left of Centralia. I thought the scene showing coal residue in the foreground – and a wind farm in the distance – was especially eerie.
I don’t know if ghosts will linger there, long enough for investigators who’ll visit when Centralia is finally safe. It seems unlikely. (For example, I haven’t heard any trustworthy ghost stories about Pompeii.)
Still, if we’re talking about creepy places in Pennsylvania, Centralia has to be on the top 10 list.
If you post a YouTube video showing your paranormal Philadelphia investigations, let me know. When I looked for some to share with readers, I was astonished at how few good, Philadelphia ghost videos are online.
In a historical city like Philadelphia, I’d expect far more haunted places… and videos of people exploring them.
(Note: If you’re investigating rural Pennsylvania, remember that the “Snallygaster” legend – probably more cryptozoology than ghost – is recorded there, as well as in Maryland.)
Texas Hill Country is the home of many people who love wide-open spaces, rolling hills, and the dry climate. It’s a gorgeous place to visit or to put down roots.
It’s also very haunted.
The following three sites are from an article, 10 Most Haunted Places in the Texas Hill Country. (The full top-10 list is linked at the foot of this article.)
That article got my attention because it’s a very good list. Some of those same haunted sites appeared in my early book, The Ghosts of Austin, Texas.
I was at the Driskill Hotel (in Austin) is among the top three on the list. I was at that hotel when they were working on the “suicide” room, to reopen it. Its atmosphere was definitely eerie, and the hotel was reluctant to tell me why the room had been sealed up for so many years… with good reason.
The Driskill has many more ghosts than what’s in this article – I talk about them in my book – and that hotel remains one of my favorite haunts to visit when I’m visiting Texas’ spectacular hill country.
If you’ve encountered ghosts in that part of Texas, I hope you’ll share your stories in comments at this article.
3. Dead Man’s Hole, Burnet Co.
Discovered in 1821 by a roving entomologist, Dead Man’s Hole is a gaping Texas hell-mouth that drops some 15-stories into the ground. During the Civil War, Union sympathizers, including Judge John R. Scott, were killed by proud Confederates and dumped down the Dead Man’s Hole. Multiple bodies were retrieved during the 1860’s, but the deaths did not stop during the Civil War. Most recently, one ghost hunter reportedly heard the voice of a young girl pleading, “No Daddy, I just want to go to Dairy Queen.” It is believed that Dead Man’s Hole has claimed as many as 35 bodies.
2. Driskill Hotel – Travis Co.
The Driskill Hotel opened its doors in 1886. It has been the site of paranormal activity ever since the passing of its wealthy owner, Jesse Lincoln Driskill. His spirit is believed to haunt the hotel. Legends also have it that in Room 525, two honeymoon brides committed suicide in the bathtub–exactly 20 years apart to the day. Once blocked off to the public, the room was reopened in the 1990’s. Since then, inexplicable leaks and faulty lighting have continued to disrupt guests in this room. Multiple guests have also spotted the spirit of Samantha Houston, the child daughter of a Texas Senator. Samantha died tragically at the Driskill in 1887. She was chasing a ball down the stairs when she fell down the grand staircase and broke her neck. Her giggles can be heard throughout the hotel to this day.
1. The Devil’s Backbone, Comal & Hays Cos.
The Devil’s Backbone is a limestone ridge that stands tall from Wimberly to Blanco. Ranchers have been known to hear galloping horses running along the ridge. Several people have claimed to see the ghosts of Confederate soldiers, a wounded Native American, and even the White Lady running back and forth across country roads. Once, a four year old boy visiting the area was found speaking often to an “imaginary friend”. When asked about the friend, the boy said she was a little girl with a hole in her head. When his parents asked why she had a hole in her head, he said, “Her daddy put the hole in her head to save her.” The parents were later told by local historians that families of settlers from the region often committed suicide, and even killed their families, rather than being captured by Native American raiders.