Constance Hatchaway, also known as the Black Widow Bride or the Widow and as Abigail Patecleaver, was formerly a human woman woman who is now a ghost.
Born to a honest working-class mother in California in the early 19th century, Constance Hatchaway grew up obsessed about weddings and the imagery surrounding them. After she married farmer Ambrose Harper, Constance decided one wedding in her life just wouldn't do, and murdered Ambrose with an axe, which had the added benefit of increasing her wealth significantly. Growing richer and crazier, she repeated this scheme four times, marrying four increasingly wealthy husbands and beheading them on their wedding nights.
Through her last husband, George Hightower, she came to live in his manor, which would later become the Haunted Mansion, alongside her mother. Though she had planned for a sixth wedding, the plans fell through, and she spent the rest of her life in the house as an innocuous-looking wealthy widow, stashing memorabilia from her five weddings in the Attic of the house. She lived a lonely, unloved life. Having died in the Mansion, her ghost was imbued with the capability to behead even other ghosts.
Though originally merely present in the Mansion as the subject of a Stretching Portrait, in the mid-2000's, Constance kicked the Beating Heart Bride, the Bats and the Pop-Up Ghosts out of the Attic out in favor of her wedding mementos, taking residence in said Attic. Constance has not given up on marrying again,[FANWORK] and would quite like to behead a few mortals regardless, but is kept in check by the Disney Imagineers and is content to look creepy during the mortals' tours. She is, however, antagonized by the Hatbox Ghost, who, returned from his banishment, has not forgiven the madwoman for taking over “his” Attic and replacing his own Bride.[FANWORK]
Behind the scenes
Constance Hatchaway's character was largely created in 2006 for a refurbishment of the Disneyland attraction, with the Walt Disney World version soon following — though she hasn't replaced the classic Beating Heart Bride in the Tokyo Disneyland version. However, she was retconned to have been the same ghost as the “Widow” from the Stretching Portraits, present in the ride from day one in 1969.
Constance has been a controversial figure; while she was eventually adopted by the Disneyland fandom as a fun, quirky villain character, old-school Mansion enthusiasts found her effects-work lacking, and, regardless of Constance's qualities per se, found it was a poor decision to overturn the Attic scene so completely and boot several classic characters just for her sake. She also represents an attempt by the Imagineers to make more of the Haunted Mansion's backstory too explicit within the ride itself, which drew the ire of many.
Voice Actresses & Portrayers
- Julia Lee (Disneyland and Walt Disney World rides; body & face projection)
- Kat Cressida (Disneyland and Walt Disney World rides; voice)
- Sarah Ramsey-Duke (The Haunted Mansion 40th Anniversary Dinner Show)
- Margaret McAvoy (The Bride and the Box; unofficial)