Offbeat L.A.: Halloween ’13- Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor

Inside the Circus Maze at Queen Mary's Dark Harbor (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Inside the Circus maze at Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The Queen Mary, in service from 1936 to 1967 (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The Queen Mary, in service from 1936 to 1967 (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The salt filled air of the Port of Long Beach  is not the first place you might envision when pondering one of the most haunted places in America. The blue skies, sunshine and tourists might pose as a convenient cover however, because this innocent appearing place is where the proud and stately ship Queen Mary is docked. Although its steel facade appears benignly historical, its decks and hulls hold hidden secrets of ghostly apparitions as well as goose-bump inducing echoes of invisible children’s laughter. So what better place to hold an annual Halloween Haunt than a ship retired from service in 1967 whose walls exhale the mystery of decades of life forgotten?

The Ringmaster of Queen Mary's Dark Harbor (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The Ringmaster of Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor, an annual October fright event which runs weekends throughout the month, goes back to 1994 when it was called Shipwreck. Each year it metamorphosizes slightly, changing themes, adding characters or creating brand new haunted mazes. This year, a wickedly wanton carnival theme has emerged, led by the Ringmaster, a deranged carny, active in engaging guests in a new Freak Show area. Here you will find a bevy of sideshow wonders including Headless Hannah, The Wonderous Crabman and The White Ghost, an attraction that envelopes guests in a complete white-out of fog in which a sprightly ghost plays peek-a-boo throughout the engulfing miasma.

The new Freak Show area (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The new Freak Show area (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Besides the 160 scare actors, adept at making guests jump and scream, this year a ferris wheel, a bucking mechanical monster, and a Haunted Hookah Lounge were added to the festivities. A brand new zip line ride also sends those brave enough to dare souring 42-feet high in the air above the monsters that roam the grounds below.

Vintage posters in the Circus maze (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Vintage posters in the Circus maze (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

 

The newly created Circus maze taunts and teases guests with twisted clowns, zombified acrobats, sinister puppets and evil jesters. Upon entering one is literally thrown into walls of confusion as carnival mirrors wickedly reflect and deflect the true path to the next segment of this maze.

Ingrid Corey being frightened in the Submerged boiler room (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

Dark Harbor guest Ingrid Coree being frightened in the Submerged boiler room (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

 

 

Returning from previous years are five other mazes- three of which take you aboard the Queen Mary herself.  Submerged guides guests on a hot and steamy path through the ship’s actual boiler rooms.  With the five senses on high animalistic alert taking in odors of mildew and old water, the clammy feeling of the boiler room adds intensity as guests dodge the ever meandering spirits. The trail leads past an abandoned art deco pool where apparitions of long ago bathers are sure to haunt your imagination.

The Lady in White represents an actual ghost reported on the Queen Mary (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The Lady in White represents an actual ghost reported on the Queen Mary (photo by Nikki Kreuzer)

The Lady in White, a mythologized spirit claimed by many to actually roam the lobby and dance in the Queen’s Salon, is back again this year with her mystical beauty. Also reoccurring is Colossal, the mental hospital themed maze in which evil doctors, nurses and patients wander haunted hallways and The Village, a macabre hillbilly nightmare gone wrong. This year’s Dark Harbor is deliciously shriek worthy even if you’ve done it in prior years. Make sure your vocal pipes are well oiled for screaming and loudly laughing as you conquer each of this historical landmark’s mazes.

The author being zombified by one of Dark Harbor's wandering monsters (photo by Heather LaBella)

The author being zombified by one of Dark Harbor’s wandering monsters (photo by Heather LaBella)

So combine your Halloween frightmares with a side serving of history and culture and put Dark Harbor on your list of this month’s activities.

Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor: 1126 Queens Highway, Long Beach, CA, 90802. (877) 342-0738.  www.queenmary.com/dark-harbor

Nikki Kreuzer

About Nikki Kreuzer

Nikki Kreuzer has been a Los Angeles resident for over 30 years. When not working her day job in the film & TV industry, she spends her time over many obsessions, mainly music, art and exploring & photographing the oddities of the city she adores. So far she has written 110 Offbeat L.A. articles, published at the Los Angeles Beat. As a journalist she contributes regularly to LA Weekly, Blurred Culture and The Los Angeles Beat and has also been published by Oddee.com, Twist Magazine, Strobe and Not For Hire. Nikki is also a mosaic artist, radio DJ and published photographer. Her photography has been featured in exhibit at the Museum of Neon Art, in print at the LA Weekly and is part of an upcoming show at the Neutra Museum in Los Angeles. She has recorded with the band Nikki & Candy as bassist, vocalist and songwriter, directing and appearing in the 'Sunshine Sunshine Santa Claus' music video for the band. She co-hosts the monthly radio show Bubblegum & Other Delights on Dublab.com. Her acting credits include a recent role in the ABC-TV show 'For The People', 'Incident at Guilt Ridge', 'Two and a Half Men', the film 'Minority Report' and 'Offbeat L.A.', a web series, written and hosted by Nikki Kreuzer. Her writing, radio and video portfolio can be found at OffbeatLA.com, her photography work @Lunabeat on Instagram and her music history posts @NikkiKreuzer on Twitter. Find Nikki & Candy music on iTunes, Amazon or at NikkiandCandy.com.
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2 Responses to Offbeat L.A.: Halloween ’13- Queen Mary’s Dark Harbor

  1. Jessa says:

    This is a really great video from Dark Harbor Halloween at The Queen Mary. It gave me the chills!!!

  2. Pingback: Offbeat L.A.: Six Halloween 2015 Picks… Kitschy, Campy, Creepy, Historic, Retro & Creative | The LA Beat

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