The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland is rumored to be inhabited by 999 “happy haunts.” It does not contain an even 1,000 spirits because, apparently, the Hatbox Ghost is no longer among them. So, what is the secret of the Hatbox Ghost and why do we not find him inhabiting the most haunted real estate in Southern California?
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Company
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This year, 2014, marks the 45th anniversary of the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland park (the Walt Disney World version will celebrate its 45th in 2016). One of the collectibles designed to celebrate this event is a souvenir travel mug, available at all New Orleans Square locations, showing Mickey Mouse as the famous Hatbox Ghost and Minnie Mouse as Constance the bride, while several grim grinning ghosts come out to socialize. The special travel mug will be available through Halloween.
But this begs the question: Who is the Hatbox Ghost and where is he now?
According to the Doom Buggies website (yes, there is a site devoted exclusively to the Haunted Mansion), at one time the Bride – who waited for guests at the attic window by the Doom Buggies until 2006 – had a fiancé. An elderly ghost in a cloak and top hat stood by the Bride, leaning on a cane with a wavering hand and clutching a hatbox in the other. As the Bride’s heart would beat, the Hatbox Ghost’s head would disappear from his body, and appear in the hatbox he held in his hand.
Unfortunately, the Hatbox Ghost was removed only a few months after the ride opened due to its failure to function properly. Imagineer Chris Merritt explained to Doom Buggies that the gag worked through a black lighting effect. A light inside the hatbox would alternately illuminate and hide the head in the hatbox, while the actual head on the ghost’s shoulders would similarly be hidden and exposed. Unfortunately, the head could never be darkened enough to seem to completely vanish, so the gag was scrapped. Check out the Doom Buggies website for more insights on – and photos of – the Hatbox Ghost and the Bride.
If your library consists of actual, physical books – you know, hardbacks and paperbacks – you’ll want to order “The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion” by author Jeff Baham, with a foreword by Rolly Crump in book form from Amazon.com. Paperback. 166 pages. Published by Theme Park Press, August 8, 2014. (Update: Second edition published in 2016)– Candy
If you keep your library on a Kindle – so you can read anything in your library anywhere, anytime – you’ll want to order “The Unauthorized Story of Walt Disney’s Haunted Mansion” by author Jeff Baham with a foreword by Rolly Crump in digital format for Kindle from Amazon.com. Best of all, you can read it for free with Kindle Unlimited! Don’t have Kindle Unlimited? Try a 30-day free trial! Published by Theme Park Press, August 8, 2014. (Update: Second edition published in 2016) – Candy
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