For well over 60 years, The Haunted Mansion has been one of Disney’s most beloved — and studied — attractions. Many of us have long been fascinated with the backstories of the “Grim Grinning Ghosts” featured in the ride.
You’re in luck. We’ve assembled a complete guide to nearly every one of the major happy haunts who appear in the iconic attraction.
Haunted Mansion Ghosts
Arguably the most developed character on the attraction who utters the famous “Welcome, foolish mortals” line, the Ghost Host serves as the Haunted Mansion’s narrator. That’s of course in addition to his hanging corpse appearing in the stretching room, arguably the singular most iconic visual in the attraction.
Victor Geist is the cape and top hat-wearing pianist who played the grand piano located in the Mansion’s grand hall.
Constance Hatchaway is the murderous bride who inhabits the Haunted Mansion’s attic, wielding her hatchet and waiting for another groom she can marry and then, well, separate their head from their body.
The tallest of the three hitchhiking ghosts, who lives his afterlife as a vagabond.
Professor Phineas Plump
The most rotund of the three Hitchhiking Ghosts, Phineas was a snake oil salesman who “traveled the country hocking snake oil at train depots. He crossed over to the spirit realm while experimenting with a new miracle concoction and still keeps his trusty carpet bag by his side, eager to make another sale.”
The third and shortest of the three Hitchhiking Ghosts, Gus was a prisoner who “committed no crimes” in life, but was still cursed to wear a ball and chain in death.
One of the singing busts who serenades guests with “Grim Grinning Ghosts” in the graveyard, Rolo Rumkin’s name is a tribute to legendary Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump.
Uncle Theodore is another of the busts in the Haunted Mansion graveyard, with vocals and performance provided by Thurl Ravenscroft. His bust is notably the only broken one of the group, a story choice that developed as a way to fix a technical issue with the footage of Ravesncroft.
Another of the singing busts, Cousin Algernon is recognizable as he’s the only of the busts to be wearing a hat.
The fourth singing bust, Ned Nub’s vocal and projected acting performance is provided by Jay Meyer.
The fifth of the singing busts, Pock is notable for having a tombstone that reads “Here Lies Phineas Pock. Laid to Rest Beneath this Rock” outside the Disneyland version of the attraction. A character of the same name appeared on a Haunted Mansion radio ad voiced by Paul Frees.
The iconic Hatbox Ghost was long been an urban legend amongst Disney fans, as the original animatronic was removed from the Mansion’s attic scene very shortly after opening. After decades of rumor, a new version of the figure was added back into the Disneyland version of the attraction in 2015. A backstory for the character has never been confirmed, though many speculate that he is either one of Constance’s victims or her accomplice. Given the casting of Jared Leto in the upcoming film, it’s likely that the character will be getting a backstory pretty soon.
Madame Leota – AKA the floating head in the crystal ball — is one of the most recognizable and merchandised Haunted Mansion characters. Leota has had several backstories, with the Disneyland version having been a medium who performed seances, brewed potions, and cast magic spells while the Walt Disney World version presents her as a witch who served the infamous Salem Witch Trials. In addition, the Memento Mori gift shop is themed to have been her home during corporeal life.
Graves/Busts in the Haunted Mansion Cemetery
Captain Culpepper Clyne
Captain Clyne is a sea captain whose tub-shaped crypt sits outside the Walt Disney World version of Haunted Mansion, with an inscription that proclaims he “braved the seas and all her wrath, but drowned on land while taking a bath.” The character is loosely based on the painting of The Mariner that has long hung in the Mansion, which itself was based loosely on the character of Captain Gore, a holdover from Ken Anderson’s original blue sky version of the attraction known as Bloodmere Manor.
Master Gracey, named after Imagineer Yale Gracey, is one of the best known names amongst Haunted Mansion characters thanks to a tombstone outside the attraction which reads “Master Gracey laid to rest. No mourning please at his request.” While fan speculation — and the 2003 film — name Gracey as the master of the house, it’s never been canonically established in the attraction.
The patriarch of the Dread family, whose poisoning at the hands of Bertie led to the deaths of the whole family. His epitaph reads, “Greed was the poison he had swallowed. He went first, the others followed.”
Bertie Dread is one of the members of the Dread family whose tombstones are located in the crypts outside the Magic Kingdom Mansion. Big game hunter Bertie was shot to death by Florence Dread in retaliation for his use of venom from his prized snake — which is featured on his tombstone — to poison her husband Jacob Dread.
Florence Dread, whose epitaph read that she “Never did a dishonorable deed, yet found face down in canary seed” was the matriarch of the Dread family. She murdered Bertie in relation for his murder of her husband, Jacob. Florence herself was killed by the young twins Wellington and Forsythia Dread .
Wellington and Forsythia Dread are the young twins of the Dread family who murdered Florence Dread in order to steal her inheritance. However, they themselves would be murdered by Cousin Maude.
The final surviving member of the Dread family, Cousin Maude murdered the twins with a hammer in order to acquire the inheritance of every one of her deceased family members. She herself would perish when her home burned down — due to the matches she used as hair-pins. Maude is notable for being the only Dread family member to appear inside the Mansion, as a painting of her surrounded by flames is seen in Phineas’s bag during the Hitchhiking Ghost scene.
The epitaph for Francis Xavier reads, “Requiescat Francis Xavier. No time off for good behavior “R.I.P.” which is a tribute to Xavier “X” Atencio who wrote the script for the Haunted Mansion, and the lyrics for “Grim Grinning Ghosts.”
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So, which of these Haunted Mansion spirits is your favorite? Let us known the comments below.
2 Replies to “EVERY Ghost In Disney’s Haunted Mansion And Their Story”
I love them all, but always in awe at Madame Leota and the Hat Box Ghost. Another favorite is the little ghost above you as you area almost to the end that talks and says “come back, come back”. What is her story?
Hi Janelle! Fun fact, the little ghost (or as we like to call her “Little Leota”) over the exit that says “Hurry back” is Leota Toombs, who was a Disney Imagineer. It’s her face they used for Madame Leota in the seance room, but because her voice was a bit higher they chose to use Eleanor Audley’s voice (who also provided the voices for Lady Tremaine in Cinderella and Maleficent in Sleeping Beauty, but it’s Leota Toomb’s real voice that you hear from Little Leota. 🙂