by Eric Olsen [Berkley]
It’s hard to believe it’s been a year since the publication of our America’s Most Haunted book, but time flies when you’re having fun. I am very proud of the Halloween Book Festival-winning effort, and am confident that over time it will be considered a key reference work in the field. But only time will tell. In the meantime, we are on the verge of Halloween, so it’s time for a real life ghost encounter from my DJ days in Southern California from the Queen Mary chapter of the book:
I owned and operated one of the larger mobile DJ companies in Southern California back in the 1980s, Olsen Entertainment. We had every manner of customer from weddings and corporate events, to showbiz parties and nightclubs. But our highest volume and most regular work was for various college groups, especially fraternities and sororities at USC and UCLA.
And, my friends, they had parties.
Augmenting the usual kegs-and-debauchery affairs they had at their houses on campus, the groups also had periodic formal dinner-dances at prestigious locales around SoCal, including the Queen Mary.
One such evening in the late 1980s, I pulled my little red truck up to the grand behemoth and began the laborious process of unloading all my DJ equipment and records out of the truck, onto a hand truck, and then to the service entrance. All equipment must go only in the service entrance in the interest of decorum.
On the ship, map in hand, I wound my way hither and yon to the designated elevator with the goal of reaching the Promenade Deck and the Queen’s Salon, where the soiree was to unfold. I maneuvered the hand truck and myself into the narrow confines of the elevator, contorted around the piled equipment, and pushed the up button. The doors narrowly cleared and the elevator jolted into action.
Perspiring and slightly winded, I became alarmed as the walls seemed to close in on me, what little air there was in the coffin- like confines vanishing. I am not particularly claustrophobic, but it was all I could do to fend off panic. Then, to top it off, hot breath blew on the back of my neck and a rough, diffuse voice whispered, “Tight quarters.”
My head slammed into the back wall of the elevator as I jerked around in response. Then the elevator doors opened with a cheerful ding and the real world seemed to return.
I was a little on edge the rest of the evening.