The Queen Mary is eager to foster a reputation as one of the world's most haunted tourist destinations, offering such year-round tours and attractions as "Dining with the Spirits," "Paranormal Ship Walk," and "Ghosts & Legends." Starting in September, there will be a new show, Illusions of the Passed: Legends of the Queen Mary, which is described as a "Theatrical Séance," featuring mystical illusions and interactive experiences.
Presiding over preternatural proceedings is apparitionist Aiden Sinclair (Penn & Teller: Fool Us), who vows to evoke spirits lingering within the bowels of the venerable ship and to allow guest to communicate with the dearly departed. The combination of magic and spiritualism, wrapped up in an entertaining format and featuring bold claims (e.g., audience members will feel "the touch of a ghostly hand"), echoes the midnight spook shows of yesteryear - "but without the camp," according to Sinclair, whom we interviewed at the ScareLA convention this weekend.
"It is going to be a little different than an old spook show – a little bit closer to the old séances of the late 1800s and early 1900s," Sinclair explains. "The idea is everyone who comes into the room has an experience they can take out of that room and remember for a lifetime. It combines history, ghost story, artifacts, and illusion - all in one night. Hopefully it becomes a very immersive experience. The show changes with every audience; it’s a different show every night. It will take you back in time and hopefully let you meet some people that aren’t around anymore."
Illusions of the Passed; Legends of the Queen Mary is quite different from the Queen Mary's other paranormal attractions: it is not a ghost hunting expedition, and unlike Ghosts & Legends, it eschews modern technology in favor of an old-school approach to the supernatural.
"There’s no special effects; there’s no electronics," says Sinclair. "It’s more art-based based [relying on] psychology and methods that were used by spiritualist séance practitioners. So It’s definitely more a real night for a lot of people. It could be a little emotional, but also a lot of fun."
Sinclair adds that the show is not just a series of magic tricks but a dramatic presentation with a narrative thread.
"It is very story-driven. The show runs 90 minutes, and in that time, you might meet one guest of the Queen Mary, or you might meet five. It's really a way of bringing ghosts back to life today."
Illusions of the Passed; Legends of the Queen Mary makes its debut on Friday, September 14, afterwards playing evenings Thursdays through Sunday. Tickets range from $35 to $55. Call (800) 437-2934, or visit queenmary.com.
Check out the video of our interview with Sinclair at the top of the page. Warning: The sound quality is audible but tinny - the result of filtering out the considerable background noise at the ScareLA convention.
More: Illusions of the Passed 2018