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RMS Queen Mary versus Ghost Hunters

THE INTRODUCTION OF entertainment-based paranormal television programming has been a mixed blessing for paranormal investigators and researchers. At best, its popularity has mainstreamed a subject that once was mentioned by many only in hushed whispers and allowed those affected by possible para phenomenon greater freedom to acquire help with reduced fear of ridicule. Many investigation teams have reported increased opportunities to investigate locations that otherwise were closed to research, too.

A negative side effect has seen owners of purported haunted locations expecting real investigations to be "wrapped up in an hour minus four commercial breaks" and an immediate haunted or not haunted declaration. Also, locations that once did not charge money to investigate have discovered a new income stream with demanding big entry fees. Most disappointingly, show producers and personalities have been caught putting entertainment before facts, proper investigation protocol and ethics.

Click to watch TAPS' Ghost Hunters investigation of cabin B-340, then read BIM's discovery of television fraud

Click on the above television to watch the TAPS team "discover and debunk" alledged strange activity in Queen Mary's Stateroom B340. It represents the basis for one of the show's greatest fraud scandals.

In 2005, The Queen Mary found herself on the receiving end of paranormal TV's worst with a much debated episode of SyFy Channel's Ghost Hunters. After "investigating" the ship, the TAPS team proclaimed fraud was likely committed by a specific ship employee, leaving the reputation of the accused tattered and receiving death threats.

Immediately following the episode's air date, Patrick Wheelock and his investigation team Beyond Investigation (BIM) of Southern California were summoned by ship management to unravel the fraud claims and conclude what really happened using the research and no-nonsense science-heavy protocol BIM is known for.

ParaXplorer Project invites you to review the segment of Ghost Hunters in question and read how Patrick and team refute the plumber team's claims step-by-step and present solid evidence as to who truly perpetrated fraud. It might surprise you. Or not. Then stick around for research and commentary on Stateroom B340, one of the ship's supposed most haunted locations. Its paranormal claims may be as spurious as the Ghost Hunters episode that investigated it.

[ next: TAPS allegation | return to top ]
Fraudulant ParaTV? Shocking!
Y PATRICK WHEELOCK, BIM | It's been over ten years since SyFy Channel's airing of Ghost Hunter's season two/episode eleven aboard The Queen Mary in Long Beach, California, and the whole debacle that took place during their "investigation", yet the Beyond Investigation team (BIM) is still receiving questions about the controversy centering around a "moving bed cover" in Stateroom B340. I would like to take this opportunity to document our investigation of TAPS' fraud claims, our findings, and shed light on the true history of B340 and its likely source of paranormal claims.

Patrick Wheelock of Beyond Investigation
As founder of Beyond Investigation (BIM), Patrick Wheelock brings years of diverse experience with motion picture special effects prop construction, law enforcement and electrical engineering to a rational, scientific-based study of the paranormal.
When the BIM team heard the rumor of a TV show that would depict scientifically-minded paranormal investigators conducting serious investigations, we were excited. Finally, someone was going to take time to show the world what real PIs (Paranormal Investigators) do. We were quickly disappointed after the first episode.

The BIM team was contacted by the property owner presented in Ghost Hunter's first episode and informed TAPS performed poorly and faked what we watched in the episode. As each following episode aired, our team got into the habit of playing a little game we called "Find the Fakery". It made the show more entertaining for us, but overall implications of Ghost Hunters' "entertainment" had a negative effect on legitimate paranormal investigators as a whole.

We continued watching, laughing and reporting the fakery on BIM's weekly radio show, The Pat and Brian Show. It didn't take too long for listeners to email and call us with what they saw as fake, too. By the time the second season rolled around, the show was a joke to the team. We watched and honed our investigation skills by picking out their fraud all the while chuckling our way through each "investigation" aired.

The Pat and Brian Radio ShowThe show came out to California to investigate the Winchester Mystery House and The Queen Mary. With zero disclosed research of the location, Winchester House's "investigation" was more a private tour with almost no equipment in use. Amazingly, with a couple of handheld recorders, an IR thermometer (which for many episodes they refused to use properly) and video camera deployed in the span of only a few hours, the group declared the location "not haunted", just a creepy place to visit. Well, chalk one up for TAPS. If they say it isn't haunted only after a few hours of work, it must not be.

The plumbers then drive down the coast to The Queen Mary. Once again, they appear to have acquired no research whatsoever. TAPS team leaders are met by Erika Frost, a contract tour guide who claims to have psychic ability. There is a brief introduction and the TAPS group is given a relatively short tour of the ship by Erika.

Erika had only been employed by the ship a few weeks prior to TAPS' arrival and was still learning ship history and workings when the show filmed. During the tour, Erika does her best at answering questions but was limited to what she had been told by ship crew members including the status of a water heater within "Shaft Alley". TAPS easily point-out the water heater is functional after Erika informs them it isn't. So, our heroes prove Erika to be ill-informed about a water heater. Hurray for them.

After the tour, Erika bids them a goodnight as the TAPS team starts their "investigation" with a major focus on video taping Stateroom B340 to "capture what happens there", which includes claims of "a bed that refuses to be kept made". The TAPS team places a handheld video camera within the cabin that was not wired back to a surveillance base because "it was in too far away location", and would change-out cassette tapes when needed. It should be noted the BIM team has set up hardwired cameras on numerous occasions in Stateroom B340. The night's "investigation" consisted of TAPS walking around the ship in more of a sightseeing fashion than a real investigation.

When the estimated time to change the cassette tape in B340's stationary camera comes due, support TAPS crew members enter and lo and behold, the bed covers have been messed up after documenting making the bed prior to leaving. The video footage is reviewed and cheers break out at how "real activity" was captured matching claims. After a bit of examination, one TAPS member notices an oddness in the movement. Clearly, the recording had been paused to allow someone to sneak in, mess up the bed, and leave without being caught.

Jason and Grant are immediately called in and after reviewing the video, the group discovers the stateroom's slim utility door accessing a compact pipe room with access to the room's outside public hallway. Our "investigators" are aboard to investigate and didn't take a moment to map the stateroom's layout when setting up. It is at this point the two TAPS leaders suggest tour hostess Erika Frost is the likely frauder due to her petite build and ability to pass through the tight utility passway. The team states they are too disgusted with the apparent interference and in a huff, call off the balance of the investigation.

After the show aired and our screaming "shenanigans" at the TV, the BIM team was invited by The Queen Mary management to find out what really happened that night. The ship, and notably Erika Frost, were receiving calls, emails and letters of anger for "what they did to the TAPS camera". Some were death threats directed at Erika.

[ next: BIM findings | return to top ]
Debunking the "debunkers"
Erkia Frost with the TAPS team
Soon to be a member of the carnage TAPS has a reputation of leaving behind after its TV "investigations", Erika Frost escorts the crew on a tour of the Queen Mary. Ship surveillance cameras clearly show Erika departing the ship after this tour only to return the next morning, making it impossible for her to have been involved in TAPS' self-produced shenanigans.
At the request of Queen Mary management, the BIM team carefully examined TAPS' video footage and conducted its own investigation on location. Below are our findings.

Thirty seconds is all we ask | The BIM team did what TAPS should have: researched B340's layout and utility door access before investigating. Within thirty seconds we had the room mapped out and tested to determine if it had access to water, electricity, number of entry doors, etc. Yes, thirty seconds. Why was TAPS incapable of the same?

Shedding light | One TAPS leader claimed the frauder couldn't have entered from the two known main entry doors for a change in room light would have been recorded. So, we tested the theory, yep, actually tested it. Our tests proved his claim false. The TAPS team could have taken a moment to come to the same tested conclusion, but chose not to.

The phantom third door | We examined the "missed" third utility door and determined the claim by TAPS leaders that "no one of regular size could fit in there" was absolutely untrue. I stand two inches shy of six feet and weigh over 230lbs. I had no trouble getting through the pipe array within the passway.

TAPS team "investigates" cabin B340

The non-coverage camera coverage | I visited Samy's Camera, a local camera and video store, and rented the exact model video camera used by TAPS. We took the TAPS camera footage and positioned our camera in the exact same position and determined less than 20% of the stateroom was in frame, leaving almost 80% of the room unseen. This is not the proper way to monitor a complete space and leaves room for purposeful fraud. Our team monitors spaces with multiple cameras giving multiple views.

Erika Frost did it. Not. | In the episode's original airing, the two TAPS leaders verbally suggested it was likely tour host Erika Frost who committed the fraud. This content has been edited out of reruns and DVD releases due to legal implications.

Queen Mary security video clearly shows Erika departing the ship after leaving the TAPS group tour and not returning until the next day. Being "investigators", shouldn't TAPS have asked to see these tapes before implicating Erika? Does TAPS or their production company have no concern for troubles such internationally televised false allegations can have on an innocent individual? No personal or on air apology was ever offered.

Recreating a "creation" | We took their stationary camera footage and determined with frame by frame layering the TAPS camera did not move in the slightest during the bedding's movement. When we attempted to turn our rented clone camera on, off, hit pause or unpause, it moved slightly even under extreme care. Furthermore, when TAPS' camera footage audio is amplified, one can hear a "beep" during the proceedings. When using the packaged hand remote control, the camera "beeped" to report receiving a remote command. Pressing the camera's onboard buttons activated no audio alerts. That's when we determined the camera was paused using the remote control, not by physically touching the camera.

In other words, the camera's owner is the frauder.

Let's summarize what Jason and Grant would have you believe:
1 | Erika Frost shows the TAPS crew around the ship and leaves them, but not the ship.
2 | She waits until the TAPS team sets up their one and only camera in Stateroom B-340 and leaves.
3 | Erika sneaks through the utility passway into the stateroom without any concern of being seen or caught
in a likely secured and supervised area.
4 | She determines the make and model of the camera, leaves the room and ship.
5 | Erika races over to the local Samy's Camera and buys, rents, borrows or steals the hand remote for the video camera.
6 | She boards the ship without any security cameras filming her, sneaks back into the room, pauses the camera, hides on the opposite side of the bed, unpauses the camera, pulls the covers down and mistakenly pauses the camera halfway through
it, unpauses it again to finish the movement, repauses the camera to make her get away and unpauses it one last time as she ducks into the utility passage without bringing any attention to herself.
7 | Erika then makes her way off the ship, again without the ships security cameras recording her.

It is the most ridiculous theory I have ever heard. The BIM team determined the only logical conclusion to this load of ridiculous crap is that the TAPS crew set-up the ship from the start and Erika Frost was simply any easy face to place blame. The only person who messed with the TAPS camera was the camera owner, the individual who possessed the hand remote that came with the camera when purchased. No one else.

Years after the show's airing, many have found the same issues with Stateroom B340's segment and called TAPS leaders on it. It was reported on SyFy forums that while at a convention in the south, the two plumbers admitted The Queen Mary fraud was committed by a TAPS member and the person responsible had been fired. At the time, none of the TAPS on air crew members were missing, so it appears it was an easy way of covering themselves.

We have since spoken to Ghost Hunters contract production crew members, including one that was on duty during The Queen Mary episode. He stated at one point in the evening, Grant was suspiciously brushing off dust and spider webs from his clothes, and dust footprints leading from the utility door matched Grant's shoes. It appears all fingers point to Grant, but due to contractual obligations, all involved in production have to keep quiet. Does this surprise anyone? Who can forget Grant's comical "jacket pull" incident during the show's 2008 Fort Delaware Halloween special?

After we released our findings, we were contacted by more contract production crew members who have spilled the beans (off the record for fear of being black-listed, of course) on other acts of fraud by the TAPS crew in other episodes.

During one The Pat and Brian Show broadcast, respected parapsychologist Dr. Barry Taff was interviewed and he mentioned "Ghost Hunters". According to Taff, he and parapsychologist Dr. Andrew Nichols, videographer Barry Conrad, and others were contacted by Ghost Hunters Executive Producer, Mark Phillips, a year or so before the show first aired. Phillips asked him and the others to be a part of the show's development. When asked how Phillips planned to keep the viewers interested since 99.9% of the time nothing happens during investigations, Phillips responded his producers and camera crew would "make things happen and leave it up to the viewers to determine if it was fake or not". All those in discussion with Phillips refused to be involved.

In conclusion, evidence, and not just in The Queen Mary episode's case, appears overwhelmingly against the TAPS crew and indicates that nothing on the "Ghost Hunters" show is about real investigation of the paranormal. Pop some popcorn, crack open a beer, watch and laugh with the rest of us.

[ next: fabled cabin B340 | return to top ]
Debunking the "debunkers"
The legend
| The legend of Stateroom B340 include stories is as numerous as those who repeat them. They start when the ship was in service: a man's murdered body was found in the stateroom's bed; a woman's murdered body was discovered; deaths by poisoning, throats cuts, and a family murder and suicide all have been reported.

Since the ship arrived at Long Beach in 1967, hotel guests renting B340 have left in the middle of the night complaining of bed covers being pulled off while sleeping, hangers in the closet rattling, and the toilet flushing by itself. It is said despite removing the room from the hotel occupancy list due to paranormal activity, the daily cleaning crew still has to make up a messy bed every morning despite no one sleeping in it.

Views of fabeled cabin B340 and the bed that "refuses to be kept made"
Views of fabled cabin B340 and the bed that "refuses to be kept made".
The reality | The BIM team researched Stateroom B340 and reality is a far cry from claims. According to the ship's records and Cunard Lines, there is absolutely no record of any person (male, female, adult or child) ever being found dead in cabin B340 while she was in service, so we know that part of the story to be false. Furthermore, based on ship records and the City of Long Beach (the current owner of the ship), the last time Stateroom B340 was used by a guest was on her last voyage in 1967. The room has not accommodated a guest since.

The City of Long Beach states the hotel portion of the ship wasn't opened until late 1972 and it did not include B Deck. B Deck rooms opened in the late 1980s, and even then, B340 was never brought back to occupancy condition. It has been a storage room, accounting room, a tour stop, but never an official hotel room.

So, we know no one was found dead in B340, ever, and the last time a guest slept in the room was the year 1967. Since the room has not seen a hotel guest in nearly fifty years, why would the ship assign it a daily cleaning crew? The answer is, they never did. The legend surrounding B340 is all false, something TAPS should have found long before "investigating" the ship.

The origin | It appears the B340 legend starts back in the late 80s or early 90s when the Disney Company owned the ship's management lease. Disney Imagineers were brought aboard to create a Queen Mary "paranormal profile" with haunting stories to titillate visitors and support an entertainment special effects tour extravaganza "Ghost and Legends". Stateroom B340 was once a stop on the tour. We were unable to find references to any fragments of the legend prior to this time period.

Many ship urban legends were born during this time and before including a ship builder skeleton found inside a boiler room double hull, a boiler room worker scalded to death, and a poor military cook tossed into the ship's oven and cooked to death during World War II.
Infamously haunted locations are always subject to urban legends. The Queen Mary is no exception.

[ introduction | return to top ]
Submissions References

:: Other TAPS fraud

:: Beyond Investigation

:: Queen Mary historic ship

:: Erika Frost

Visit Other Submissions

Submissions: Sarah Estep Interview Sarah Estep Interview
Listen to Todd Bates interview the first lady
of EVP research.

Submissions: EVP with specialist, Todd Bates EVP with Todd Bates
Join the specialist as he
presents proper capture
practices and grading.
A ghostly tantrum on the Queen Mary A spirited tantrum
Join Matthew on one of
his strangest encounters
aboard the Queen Mary.
Xspot: Sage Hill School's Queen Mary field trip Sage Hill School spirits
Private school students
take a field trip to the
Queen Mary with PXP.

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