Bouchercon and the Queen Mary


Hi Reading Friends,

I have to write this like a letter today, because I’m still so wrapped up in last week’s trip to Long Beach, CA and the Bouchercon experience.  But, just so that this doesn’t become too blah, blah, blah . . .

Contest Coming!

I ended up with some great stuff from the event, and I’d like to share it with you.  Please read my next few posts on Bouchercon, and you may win some of the SWAG (Stuff We All Get) from my adventure.

My Ghostly Adventure

Picture of My room on the Queen Mary

My room on the Queen Mary

At the conference I was lucky enough to stay on board the Queen Mary cruise ship. I only brought my phone for photos this time and didn’t do a great job of snaps, but my friend, Catherine Dilts, has some terrific shots on her blog this week.

The Queen Mary is permanently docked in Long Beach and acts as a hotel now.  The atmosphere has been restored to that of its glory years from 1936 to 1939, when she carried such luminaries as Bob Hope, Clark Gable, Winston Churchill, and the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The promenade decks have the original wood floors, there are life sized posters of photos from the grand era, and the main ballroom is an exquisite art-deco period room (yes, I got to see it on the tour). In short, if you have a chance to visit and don’t, you need to turn in  your historian of the year badge. This place is great!

View of the Queen Mary Grand Ballroom

In the day, you could track the two great Cunard liners with this map in the Grand Ballroom.

Anyway, the first evening on board I went on the Queen’s ghost tour.  Oh my goodness!  Our guide, Thomas, took us to places you can’t go to normally.  He told us wonderfully creepy stories of people being woken in the night by strangers holding wrenches and lights who shake them awake then disappear in the shaking of sheets. Then we went to a room that the hotel stopped renting out because people reported such frightening experiences they wouldn’t (or couldn’t) stay in it another night.  The room had been stripped bare even of the beautiful wood veneer that lined the walls of the ship. It was cold, dark and creepy. I was thrilled.

Needless to say, by the end of the  tour, I was whispering in the dark that the ghosts could skip visiting my room if they’d like.

Picture of Thomas, our Queen Mary ghost tour guide

Thomas, our Queen Mary ghost tour guide

The next morning, I started recording “ghosties,” my personal experiences with the “not-quite-normal.”  Here are a couple of them:

“6:15am – Just a moment ago, my alarm went off–for the second time this morning.  It is set for 5:15 and I had woken to the alarm an hour ago, turned the thing off completely, even acknowledging the “if you turn this off, it won’t ring again” warning. I rechecked and the alarm is indeed off.”  Ghostie!

“7:04 am – Well, not really, but odd.  I’m at the Passport Bus Stop waiting for the free bus to take me over to the convention.  A taxi pulls up and the driver asks if I called for a cab. I said no, and he says to me, “So your name’s not Lisa?” I replied, “Yes, I’m Lisa, but I didn’t call a cab.”  He rephrased his question saying that the front desk had called for me, but again I said no.  The cab drove off into the parking lot.  I looked down at my reading and thirty seconds later there’s no sign of him or the cab.” Ghostie!

Picture of Hallway on the Queen Mary

Would you walk this hallway late at night?

Whether or not these are true ghostly experiences, I had the thrill of a chill, and they may just make story sparks sometime.

And the locals seem to believe that the Queen Mary is truly haunted.  A couple of the bus drivers mentioned it and a special needs man was absolutely certain the ship is haunted. He said “everybody knows it’s haunted. It’s haunted all right.”

Do  you believe in ghosts?

Even though science has yet to prove the existence of ghosts and form after death, almost 50% of Americans believe in them. A CBS poll in 2005 had 48% of Americans believing and a 2013 Huffington Post survey confirmed 45% hold on to this thought.  Where do you stand?  Are ghosts a part of your life?  Do you like ghost stories?

Have a creep-free, but perhaps chilling week, my friend.

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10 thoughts on “Bouchercon and the Queen Mary

  1. How wonderful that you were able to stay on the ship. What a fun experience that must have been. I don’t believe in ghosts, but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a good ghost story! I love a scary read involving haunted places. 🙂

    • Hi Carrie. The brave part of me absolutely sides with you, but the not so brave still pulls the covers up tight at times. If you like a good haunted read, Ronald Malfi’s “Floating Staircase” comes to mind. But as this is stepping into the holiday season, Scrooge is often on my mind. Wishing you well.

  2. Do I believe in ghosts? Absolutely and I have the photos to prove they exist. I love a good ghost story and like to tell a few of my own. I have visited many haunted places, but never a haunted ship…sounds like fun!

    • Hi, Bev, and thanks for visiting today. You have a most interesting blog site! The orbs are something I’m not familiar with, but you seem to have a great grasp of them. I’ll look forward to seeing more of your paranormal work. Meanwhile, wishing you well.

  3. I definitely do not believe in ghosts! Sasquatches are another matter entirely. After all, we have photos and footprint castings of Big Foot. Seriously though, thanks for sharing your ghosties. I so enjoyed our late night snack on the Queen Mary, and all our other adventures at Bouchetcon. It’s wonderful she is being restored instead of scrapped!

    • Hi Catherine, Thanks so much for the time we spent together last weekend. I’m excited to know such a terrific author, even if you don’t believe in ghosts! Wishing you all the best.

  4. That last photo looks like it’s straight out of the movie, The Shining, spooky! What fun to stay on the Queen Mary (minus the ghosts, haha). I visited the Royal Britannia in Edinburgh and it was fun to see how lavish everything was and yet how small at the same time.

    • Hi Letizia, I looked up the Royal Britannia. I like how bright and cheery they painted it. The Queen Mary was a bit darker, but the compactness is something they both seem to share. The ship was originally designed to hold about 2000 passengers and 1,200 crew, but during WWII, she transported as many as 15,000 soldiers back and forth from England to the U.S. I’d have to guess things may have seemed quite small then. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving week.

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