Constance Hatchaway, also known as the Black Widow Bride or the Widow, 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, and died forgotten — which gave her ghost (who, having died in the Mansion, was imbued with the capability to behead even other ghosts) a free ticket to Wasteland, where she spent years haunting the Lonesome Manor, having transported all her possessions there. The only trace that remained of Constance in the real Mansion was a portrait of her as an old woman, which hung in the Stretching Room.
In the 2000's however, Constance figured out how to return to the real world, where she kicked the Beating Heart Bride and the Attic Ghosts and the Bats out in favor of her wedding mementos, taking residence in said Attic. Constance has not given up on marrying again, 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.
Behind the scenesEdit
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.