Welcome Foolish Mortals! That’s an all too familiar phrase for Disney Fans and enthusiasts of The Haunted Mansion, like myself. I’ve made it quite known that I have partiality to the Disneyland version, be it the fact that it was my first experience or that there’s just something about that sinister facade that puts it above the other versions. One reason may be that it was the original home of my favorite Haunt that was supposed to inhabit the attic, The Hatbox Ghost. When I was about eight years old I had a version of the “Story and Song of The Haunted Mansion.” In the illustrations there was the picture of Marc Davis’ rendering of The Hatbox Ghost along with the words, “The Attic shelters two strange ghosts- a bride whose heart glows red with each rhythmical beat, and a cloaked man whose head disappears from his body and glows hideously from within a hat box.” The Hatbox Ghost is about as legendary as you can get in Disney folklore. There have been many that have speculated as to why he was removed from the attic in Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion just weeks after the ride debuted to employees and the media, not to materialize for the actual Grand Opening of the ride. But, as you can witness on DoomBuggies.com, the general public DID get a short look at the attic’s most sinister occupant. The actual reason for removal: He just simply didn’t work correctly! Recently, The Hatbox Ghost has been resurrected in sorts, showing up on merchandise and more rumors. In 2005, he was brought to life in a sculpture by Jody Daily and Kevin Kidney that Disney marketed as a “Big Figure” and in 2009, a life size sculpture was auctioned off at the D23 Expo in Anaheim, Ca. Over the years he has been featured on several pins, decorative tombstones and even a miniature pewter figurine set. Now nostalgia is great, but more recent materializations have things getting quite interesting for us Haunted Mansion Lovers! In 2012, Disney released Halloween merchandise that featured The Hatbox Ghost as a prominent figure right along with The HitchHiking Ghosts. Along with this came the debut of The Haunted Mansion series 1 Vinylmation that included The Hatbox Ghost as a figure and as a glowing chase version. The artwork on the packaging was done by Thomas Scott and Dan Salgo and was based on the original artwork of The Story and Song of The Haunted Mansion. They even used the lettering found on the book cover. One of the most exciting days in 2013 came for Haunted Mansion Fans when Disney unveiled a working audio-animatronic version of The Hatbox Ghost at the D23 Expo. They used an A100 figure similar to Abraham Lincoln from “Great Moments With Mr. Lincoln” as a demonstration on movement. And although he wasn’t even holding his Hatbox and there were no heads disappearing, it was still quite a sight for fans to see! On August 8th, 2013, I ordered a limited edition Haunted Mansion shirt from the Disney Store that featured artwork of The Hatbox Ghost by Casey Jones, who also based his artwork from the original found in The Story and Song of The Haunted Mansion, see a theme here? So why all this attention to a character that never really spent much time as one of the 999 Happy Haunts in the Mansion? Is it nostalgia? A Gimmick to sell more merchandise? Or is there something quite more to Ol Hatty showing up so much to represent a ride that he isn’t even featured in? There have been many rumors and questions over the years that remain as to whether or not Disney plans to bring back The Hatbox Ghost to once again Haunt us. One of the most recent clues to answer that question may have been revealed this past week on The Disney Parks Blog. In a story called, “Meet The Hatbox Ghost” there is artwork by Austin Hillebrecht that shows The Hatbox Ghost in the attic stitching his name, “Hatty” on a Mickey Ears Hat. There is a window to the left of him that clearly shows Cinderella’s Castle outside of where he is, and we all know that Cinderella’s Castle is at The Magic Kingdom in WDW. Is this a hint of what’s to come? Maybe. The Haunted Mansion at The Magic Kingdom is due to shut down for refurbishment from December 1st to December 19th, plenty of time to install Ol Hatty! And think of this, The Haunted Mansion Holiday decor will be coming down about the same time, making for an easy change in the attic at Disneyland! So, have I stirred your interest? Or are my prognostications just more fodder for the ones that wish upon a star? Let me know your thoughts and comments! Until next time, Mahalo and HAPPY HALLOWEEN! David
Where is The 999th Ghost?
13 Monday Oct 2014