The Unifying Aspect of the RMS Queen Mary

I have always been a huge believer in the RMS Queen Mary’s innate yet uncanny ability in uniting people that are meant to cross paths.  I cannot begin to tell you how many times this has happened ever since the ship was built in 1934.  There is something beautifully mystical about this glorious liner; in many ways, it’s hard to completely explain it in words.

Just recently, I was a guest on Tony Ashlin’s popular Paranormal Shipwalk tour aboard the Queen Mary.  As the group was situated in the R Deck forward area, he proceeded to share a few examples of the liner’s ability to bring people together.  Goose bumps and a general loving feeling came about my body as he began to share how an elderly ship guest spiritually felt the presence of her grandfather while aboard the vessel’s decks.

Tragically, this woman’s grandpa perished in the World War II HMS Curacoa incident that occurred on October 2, 1942.  The Curacoa was a World War I vessel responsible for escorting the Queen Mary throughout her wartime duties.  At around 2:00 p.m., a slight bump was felt on the larger liner as it plowed straight through the Curacoa.  Sadly, over 300 British sailors aboard the smaller liner either drowned or were coerced underneath the Mary and dismembered by her large propellers.

There is an area in the very forward spot of R Deck that is steeped in sadness. Occasionally, the disembodied men’s cries for help can be heard from the exact spot the Queen Mary hit and sliced through her escort vessel – most likely a residual paranormal phenomenon.  I have heard these ghostly cries while researching this area, as well as in the forward cargo hold space.  It’s utterly tragic.  Whenever I visit R Deck Forward, I always say a prayer and let the Curacoa sailors know that they don’t have to suffer any longer; there’s a beautiful, peaceful place for them full of eternal love.  I like to think that my words bring comfort and solace to them.  Hopefully, they do.

This elderly woman was in this area when she felt the presence of her grandfather. However, she wasn’t aware that the Queen Mary was the exact vessel that hit and sliced through the Curacoa.  It was only after Tony began to share the historical chronicles of this horrifying accident that this woman began to piece the puzzle together.  Indeed, she was shocked.  I believe the legendary Queen Mary served as a liaison, helping her to feel her loving grandfather’s spirit.  Perhaps, he came to her to let her know that he is at peace.

Another story shared how a woman felt the presence of her dad, who also served in World War II.  In fact, many people feel the presence of their departed loved ones whether they had a connection to the Queen Mary or not.  About two years ago, while walking along the Promenade Deck’s portside toward the stern, I suddenly felt the spirit of my grandfather, Andrew F. Lopinto, M.D., as he strolled right beside me in spirit form.  Andrew never sailed on the grand liner; however, he did serve in World War II as a Lieutenant Commander and Medical Officer aboard the USS Ormsby.

I am a member of the Clan Mary Facebook group, a cohesive unit of great friends with a unifying passion: ships, ships and more ships!  Especially the RMS Queen Mary.  I joined this group a few years ago and am completely blessed to know each and every person in the group.  We often get together aboard the liner for lunch or dinner, anniversary events, birthday parties, etc.  Yes, I truly believe that the Queen Mary brought us all together.

No words can definitively explain the ship’s ability to unify people who are destined to meet. It’s her secret formula – not meant to be completely disclosed.  There is indeed, a special ingredient in her menu of mysticism that allows her to accomplish this important task.  We must honor it.  We must respect it.  It’s one of the many qualities that makes the RMS Queen Mary the most celebrated liner in all of maritime history.

Long Live the Queen!

Nicole Strickland

Paranormal Shipwalk Highlights / Photograph Comparisons March 2018

I am honored to be a frequent guest on Tony Ashlin’s Paranormal Shipwalk tour aboard the RMS Queen Mary.  Tony is a gifted tour guide and I highly recommend attending his Dining with the Spirits and Paranormal Shipwalk tours.  On March 7, 2018, I drove up to the ship in the late afternoon and had some time to walk around prior to meeting up with Tony and two of his guests.  The four of us had a great time visiting the Queen’s Salon (former 1st class lounge) and Verandah Grill (former 1st class’ Starlight Roof Club).  Both rooms showcase renowned Art Deco pieces.

At 8:00 p.m., we all gathered for Tony’s tour in the main Piccadilly Circus area on Promenade Deck.  We first visited the Captain’s Quarters where Tony showed us a recent anomalous photo that was captured, with the profile of a female apparition seen in the wood’s reflection.  She is clearly adorned in what looks to be a life preserver or possible nurse’s uniform.  In fact, the ship’s noted lady-in-white spirit is thought to be a former nurse.  Below is the photograph, courtesy of Tony Ashlin and


As a paranormal researcher, I spend a lot of time analyzing photographs for alleged paranormal phenomena.  Typically, I debunk about 99% of them due to logical and natural explanations.  However, after careful analysis, I do believe that the above photograph is purely authentic.

Now, below is a photograph that was captured by Steve Huff in the former first and third class pool a few years back.  If you look closely, you can see a resemblance in both of the two female apparition facial features depicted in both photographs.

In my personal experience, having conducted paranormal research aboard the Queen Mary for close to 15 years, I will say that the ship produces a lot of visual and auditory paranormal phenomena.  Thus, it’s important to keep all of your senses heightened when visiting the liner.

A huge thank you to Tony Ashlin for having me on his tour as a guest.  It is always a pleasure!


The Queen Mary’s 50th Anniversary of Arriving into Long Beach

Wow!  The Queen Mary did a fabulous job with all of the commemorating events on the weekend of December 9, 2017.  It was an all-around fantastic weekend with dear friends and fellow ship enthusiasts as we celebrated 50 years of the ship’s arrival to Long Beach. In addition to the Mary’s weekend events, our “Clan Mary” group had its “Finished with Engines” party so eloquently hosted by ultimate party planner Joe Bertoldo in his mini suite on A Deck. (A175).  Much thanks to James Brandmueller and Betsy Samson-Andrews for also helping Joe with arranging this joyful party.  It really is amazing to have such a close-knit family of fellow lovers of ocean liners.
It was an honor to meet Felix Klos, author of Churchill’s Last Stand and hear some amazing presentations by other noted guests. On Friday night, we all met for the Churchill gala and scrumptious dinner in the Verandah Grill.  We were able to see a screening of the “Last Great Cruise” and enjoy Jennie Churchill’s presentation just prior to her and the ship GM cutting the red ribbon officiating the opening of “Their Darkest Hour” Churchill exhibit aboard.  This exhibit is mind-blowing and I was honored to be among the first wave of guests to see it.
On Saturday at 11:00, we all gathered on the Sun Deck’s starboard aft side to witness the wreath laying ceremony in honor of all the servicemen who sailed aboard the Queen Mary during WWII.  It was an event that brought tears to many peoples’ eyes.
Furthermore, it was amazing to meet former crew and passengers, such as Dave Smith of the Queen Mary Association.  Dave and I have kept in touch via e-mail and over the phone and it was an honor to finally meet with him aboard the ship.  I also enjoyed meeting Tony Strublic and his mom who hail from Wisconsin.  Tony creates breathtaking pencil artwork of ships and I am so honored to have one of his pieces proudly hanging on my wall.  Of course, it was just wonderful to see June Allen again and give her a hug.  She was a war bride who sailed aboard the Queen Mary after WWII.
On Sunday, our group met in the former First Class Restaurant and enjoyed the prized Sunday buffet and champagne.  Always so delectable!
This weekend will go down in the memory banks for eternity!!!
Here are some photographs from this wonderful event:

A portion of the decorations in Joe Bertoldo’s A175 mini suite for the “Finished with Engines” Clan Mary party.
Jennie Churchill and other notable people getting ready to lay the commemorative wreath in honor of the 810,000 WWII veterans who sailed aboard the Queen Mary.
L to R – Clan Mary members Barrie Getz, Nicole Strickland, Betsy Samson-Andrews and Mark Andrews on Sun Deck.
Part of “Their Finest Hours” Churchill exhibit aboard the Queen Mary.
Jennie Churchill gives a powerful presentation just prior to officiating the opening of “Their Finest Hours” Churchill exhibit.

Possible Anomalous Engine Room Photograph

Hello Nicole.
Ryan Piper again. In case you have my memory, a bit over a week ago I emailed you about an experience my wife and I had on our Queen Mary visit on March 10-12. Remember, the sound of something rolling down the deck over our heads etc? I asked you to forward the account of the experience to Mr Ashlin. I also told you I was trying to send him a video of a potential voice capture recorded during his tour on March 11th in the bow on B/R (??) deck, but was having email issues. Still not working so I’ve attached the video and a still photo my wife took. If you can, please forward this email to Mr Ashlin. Yes you may use both for any project you may need them for.
The video: The tour was gathering in the very front of the bow around a small railed in shaft that went down several floors. No doubt the shaft has a name. At the 12 second mark Mr Ashlin asks “are we all down?” immediately after, at the 14 second mark a low toned male voice quietly says “Noooo”, Not just “no” but an extended “noooo.” Immediately after, a woman in the group says “no” in a normal voice. We heard it at the time but no one reacted to it so I didn’t say anything. The voice sounded very similar to what we heard on a recording someone in the group had played back for us just minutes earlier on the way to the bow. I can’t imagine we were the only ones to record this as many had their cell phones out and some had to be recording. So what does it sound like to you?
The still photo: My wife showed this to both you and Mr Ashlin at the end of the tour. The camera (cell phone) was pointed at an area under the propeller shaft about 25 feet forward of door 13. Mr Ashlin didn’t comment. He just handed my wife a card and asked her to send a copy to him. You said it could be an arm. I think it’s a camera anomaly but I am baffled by what looks like hair at the top of the photo. Not my wife’s hair. She has short brown hair. What do you think?
BTW – I got your book, Haunted Queen of the Seas, as a birthday present a few days ago. Just thumbing through it I found an answer to one question I’ve had. Our room number was B327. Your “Room Conversion” list says the room was B19 prior to the conversion. I’m liking the book already. Looking forward to reading it cover to cover.
Best wishes,
This is the photo taken directly after the anomalous photo below (2nd photo).
This is the possible anomalous photo that shows a possible arm with blonde hair.  This was captured directly before the above normal photograph of the engine room.
Both photographs are courtesy of Ryan Piper.

Churchill Suite Encounters

My wife and I had our wedding ceremony on the Queen Mary with the Commodore as our official. We had a great time. We checked in at the front desk but the room wasn’t ready so we decided to experience the tea room for noon tea. We were walking on the port side walkway when we felt a maintenance man directly behind us. We knew it was a maintenance man because of his heavy boots. It was almost uncomfortable because he was on our “ass” that close! I was just about to turn around and give the guy the stare. We turned into the area to catch the elevator and, he was gone. No one around us. We looked everywhere because we know we weren’t crazy. We just laughed it off and went about our business.


We stayed in the Churchill suite for 4 nights. Great room and we heard it was part of the ghost tour. Nothing happed the entire time, we didn’t experience any smell of cigars or anything else moving etc.. However, the last night ad it was our wedding night, we were very tired after a long ceremony and pictures and dinner, we were in bed and exactly at 1am, we heard the closet door open and wire hangers mobbing around and then the door close. I shot up along with my wife Cierra and I said “what the fuck” and for some reason looked at the clock and it was exactly 1am! We sat there in shock for a bit and I walked around and nothing. The next morning we checked every closet and we had no wire hangers in any of the closets. That room is the quietest suite on the ship. You can’t hear anything in that room but the closet doors and hangers seemed to be right in front of us and none of the doors moved. Not sure what happened but it was strange.


We were married on Oct 23, 2015.


Loved our stay on the ship and we will for sure return and attend a ghost tour.  The book was great too!


Thank you and let me know when you are in Vegas! My wife and I would love to have a drink!!





A Compelling Apparition Sighting in Boiler Room #4

In my twelve years of paranormal research and investigation, I must say that I have had only about four to five really compelling apparition sightings.  Yes, I have seen shadow figures and anomalies over the years, but those do not compare to what I experienced on the Queen Mary in February, 2015.   I was standing on the former Disney stage in boiler room #4, looking in the forward direction of boiler room #3.   I then noticed movement out of my right eye’s peripheral vision.   When I glanced over at what I was seeing, I was met by one of the most remarkable spirit sightings I have ever seen.  My eyes instantly met the eyes of a young male.   The experience must have lasted at least three seconds, which in my opinion, is a long time for a spirit to manifest.  Profoundly, I recognized this spirit and instantly knew that it was the energy of an 18-year-old fireman / cleaner who tragically passed away in the aft engine room on July 10, 1966.   When I noticed his spirit form, I saw him float toward me and then backed away a little before disappearing.  I was absolutely awe-struck, as his spirit form identically matched his ship crew photograph.  It was as if he walked right out of his photograph.  I noticed that he had a slight smile on his face.

I don’t have the answers as to why he appeared before me.  There must be a reason; however, perhaps I am not meant to know at this time.  Many people have communicated with this spirit.  Myself included.  Only he knows the reasons why he makes his ethereal home on the Queen Mary.  It is my sincere hope that he is at peace where he is.  My reason for writing this short blog, is to honor his life and dedication to the Queen Mary as a crew member. 

Jackie in the Isolation Ward

Matt Schulz, paranormal investigation tour host at the RMS Queen Mary, always provides many opportunities for experiencing the ethereal world, not only because of the ship destination spots he chooses and the fancy paranormal equipment he uses, but because he offers guests a special chance at truly experiencing the other side that likes to call the Mary its home.

With that said, San Diego Paranormal Research Society Case Managers, Nicole Strickland and Delia Rugamas (and her good friend Christian) joined Matt and his tour guests on Friday night’s (10/4/13 – 10/5/13) para investigation tour to many of the ship’s most haunted areas, including R Deck Forward, B340, Isolation Ward, Engine Room, Boiler Room/Green Room and of course, the former first and third class Swimming Pool and Dressing Stalls – where one of the vessel’s most talkative and beloved little spirits likes to play.

The group had some unique experiences in many of the above mentioned areas, but for the purpose of this writing, I will focus on the Isolation Ward.  Here’s a little side note before I delve any further:  Delia is also quite intuitive and she mentioned to me in B340 that she felt Jackie following the group around.  Interestingly, many tour guests, including Delia and I, heard a child voice in the nonoperational haunted room known as the aforementioned B340. Delia and I both felt Jackie follow us as we proceeded to the Isolation Ward.  Most visitors, sensitives/mediums and paranormal researchers have had the bulk of their experiences with Jackie in the former first and third class pool room; however, since the craziness of Dark Harbor was infiltrating the halls of the Mary, I think Jackie chose to have a little fun with Matt and his guests.

At one point, as Matt was having his guests listen to  real-time EVP work with the wireless headphones, I heard a disembodied child voice emanate from within the Isolation Ward.  I was the only one not wearing headphones and immediately interrupted the group by notifying them of what I just heard.  Now, I am no expert on Jackie’s sweet yet powerful little voice, but I have been working with Jackie for close to ten years now, and I am quite confident in recognizing her voice.  Therefore, the voice I heard, which sounded like a few words and “Mommy” mildly surprised me, as Delia and I know she followed us from B340 into the Isolation Ward.  The group went back to listening with the wireless headphones and I took the opportunity to walk over from where I located Jackie’s voice from earlier.

I am standing right in front of the plexiglass exhibit and move a little north so I could get a glimpse of the long hallway leading to the Isolation Ward.

The Queen Mary – What a Marvelous Maiden

It was an absolute pleasure not only to see the Queen Mary on our recent trip to Long Beach, California, but to go aboard was like a dream sequence.  The picture above was taken at approximately 6:00 p.m.; I couldn’t wait to walk those halls! Oh, I must say that the photos are much better when you click on them to enlarge the detail!

This incredible passenger ocean liner was built in Clydebank, Scotland in the 1930′s.  Her maiden voyage as a luxury vessel was in 1936 from Southampton, UK, to New York.  The Queen Mary was known for her speed as well as her beauty.  Dignitaries, royalty, and the Hollywood set took great pleasure in adorning the ship’s cabins and decks.

When WWII and its bleak days blanketed the world, the Queen Mary was retrofitted as a troopship, carrying approximately 15,000 soldiers into the depths of war.

After WWII, the magnificent vessel was retrofitted once again to provide luxury travel for her adoring upper-crust crowd.  However, in the 1960′s, travelers began to turn the tide, as it were, and focus on air travel for their worldly adventures.

In 1967, the Queen Mary made her last voyage and settled into Long Beach life as a fascinating landmark.  The ship is still equipped with staterooms and restaurants, providing a floating hotel of remarkable and historical significance.

Now that I’ve bent your ear a bit regarding the history of my new-found friend, I’ll turn to our own experiences aboard the “Grey Ghost”, as she was called during WWII.

As we approached the Queen Mary, I could feel the excitement building.  Knowing a tiny bit about its history made the visit all the more thrilling!  What tales she would have to tell!  I took the above photo at approximately 8:00 p.m.  I apologize for being unable to get the entire ship in view! She’s too grand for that!

Security is very tight on the Queen Mary.  I like that, as it is such a massive vessel that one could get lost if left to one’s own devices.  The idea of being a stowaway wouldn’t get you too far though since she’s not moved in over 45 years!

The fact that the Queen Mary is stunning was a bonus beyond words.  So much of the ship has been preserved and/or maintained that you could swear it was 1938 or thereabouts.  As we walked along the various decks, I could not help but feel the grandeur and wondered aloud if this is what it felt like to be a passenger all those decades ago.

The next photo was taken in a hallway approaching one of the numerous restaurants on board.  Note the slatted, wooden floor! (CLICK ON LINK)

This photo was taken on one of the decks where the cabins are located.  There are numerous decks and I seem to recall each having its own reception area! How posh indeed! (CLICK ON LINK)

This photo was taken of a shop that was unfortunately closed when we were visiting the Queen Mary.  The windows are laden with artifacts from the Queen Mary during her heyday.  Can you see the unbelievable woodwork?  It was breathtaking. (CLICK ON LINK)

This next picture was also taken in an area with shops and windows with displays of Queen Mary memorabilia. (CLICK ON LINK)

The following photo is a hallway of one of the cabin/stateroom areas: (CLICK ON LINK)

This photo is of a room we were not able to get into; however, it seems to be a lovely display of old artifacts containing a piano, a telephone, and a microphone with a stand.  I am wondering if this is used in some way to broadcast radio programs.  I attempted to find out more, but could not seem to obtain anything concrete.  If I do, I’ll be certain to let you know!

***Addendum – I received a wonderful email back from Jennifer of Passenger Services at the Queen Mary who provided me with the following information about this room:

This room was the First class Music and Rehearsal Room.  The room was used by the Queen Mary’s first class passengers to rehearse music, speeches, or presentations.  Many of the famous passengers (Bob Home and Liberace to name two) did utilize this room, and they also performed as on-board entertainment for other passengers.  Jennifer also noted that despite the fact the furnishings in the room are original to the Queen Mary, they were not originally located in the room.  On another deck was a baby grand piano; this piano was the original piano that was used in this room.  Because of how small the room is and how large the piano is, there was no room for any other furniture.  Thank you again, Jennifer for clarifying this information!

I could most certainly write a volume’s worth of information about the Queen Mary and its fascinating past.  I shall leave it at that for now, and hopefully tantalizing you with the next “LA/Long Beach” post!  We’ll take a little journey to Hollywood, where the stars shine not only on stage, but on the illustrious “Walk of Fame”! Do stay tuned, please!


A Universal Message?


I am writing again, to share, yet, another profound intuitive experience that occurred around 2:20 am and after on 8/14/13.  This is chalked up to one of the most mysterious experiences that I have had. Keep the aforementioned date and time in mind.

I woke up early in the morning, not knowing what time it was. I woke up from a dream I was having: a dream of me intently writing about Jackie for my second edition QM book. In the dream, the writing was flowing so nicely-approximately two pages about my introductions about Jackie, and my intuitive impressions and theorizations of her.

In the dream, I had not yet arrived at writing about my experiences and potential captured evidence of Jackie; that writes itself, no problem.

I woke up all hazy-eyed and immediately grabbed my recorder to attempt to voice record the writing of Jackie that I was writing in my dream. Within five minutes, I was forgetting some verbatim sentences, but I was doing my best to capture the essence of what I was writing in my dream.

One of the sentences I wrote from my dream was, “I have often surmised whether Jackie spiritually came through from the RMS Titanic on the day the Queen Mary sailed to and stopped at the Titanic’s sinking spot, for a memorial ceremony for the numerous souls lost that fateful morning of April 15, 1912.”  I clearly remembered this sentence, word-for-word and I eagerly recounted it into my audio recorder.

After I was done recording from my dream, I hit the stop button and set my recorder down. I was curious of what time it was, so I checked the time via my phone. It was 2:54 am. I then said to myself, “I must have woken up from my dream at around 2:20 am as I have been up for about 40 minutes or so. I set my phone down and walked back to bed when the word and image of the Titanic rushed into my mind. I paused,  realizing the connection of the time I woke up and the time of the Titanic sinking.  The Titanic went underwater at 2:20 am on April 15, 1912. Yes, I had, and still have, goosebumps.

Is this somehow a universal message that Jackie is connected to the Titanic,  as I have always wondered about? There is no record of Jackie ever traveling the QM; however back in those days, passenger manifests were not kept as accurate as today.

I really don’t know the message of this experience, but I felt peace and contentment when I woke up from my dream.

Coincidental, all of this? Could be, but in my heart, I feel that it is a lot more.

All of us are more connected than we think possible.

Namaste my friends!

The Ghost Cat’s “Meow”

The dressing room of the former first and third class pool is home to another spirit: the furry and purry kind—a cat of course!  Back in the ship’s sailing it days, it was not uncommon to have livestock aboard the ship.  Among them, cats and dogs.  Who would think that the spirit of a kitty would reside in the dressing stall area?  Let me tell you folks, there is most certainly a talkative and cute little kitty wandering these halls.  It is said that this particular cat is the feline being of one of the former crew members.  Lately, many people, including myself, have had experiences with this cute little bundle of joy.

To view a guest photo of the “spirit” cat, please visit
Scroll down to the second photograph.  Apparently, this photo was taken when a former tour host of the Queen Mary sensed there to be a cat among the group in the dressing stalls.  One of the guests snapped a photograph and there you have it!!!

On one of my guest appearances on Matt’s late night para tours aboard the Queen Mary, the group was settling down for a collective EVP session in the dressing room area.  I am standing towards the entrance,  and Matt starts leading the EVP session.  One of the female guests then says, “Something is touching my foot.” Almost immediately after, I interject, “Wait, did anyone hear that, I thought I  just heard a meow.”  Matt emphatically answers my question by saying, “I HEARD that!!!”  Stunned, the group quiets down to see if we hear any more disembodied “meows.”  No more for this night, but more to come at a later time, the following week to be exact.

I was able to faintly capture this “meow” on my recorder, so I played it back to the guests and surprisingly, most people heard it.

Okay, fast-forward a week.  I was not on this particular tour; however, I get an email from Matt about the previous night’s experience with the ghost kitty.  In an audio clip from this particular night, Matt starts out by explaining how I heard a “meow” the previous week and how a female tour guest experiences something touch her foot.  So, after this introduction and a few more passing seconds, another disembodied meow can be heard audibly and captured on recorder.  This audio capture is more clear and audible than the capture I had from the previous week.

To listen to this audio capture, please visit

It seems apparent that this kitty enjoys the company and is growing more fond of Matt’s late night para tours. As an animal lover, I can’t help but wonder if he/she is content on the ship.  It breaks my heart to think that this little cat may be wandering around aimlessly trying to find his/her owner.  However, from peoples’ experiences, the cat does seem to enjoy calling the dressing area his/her home.

He/she is such a sweet little feline; make sure, when you walk into the dressing stalls, to say “Hello” or “Meow” to this cute kitty.