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The Ghost Gallery is a semi-unofficial collection of backstories on the residents of the Haunted Mansion. It was written in a loose-leaf notebook by Cast Members working at the Haunted Mansion one summer. Although it is technically an unofficial work, many of the stories in it were later officialized in various Haunted Mansion media, and many of them provide legitimate backstories for ghosts that do not otherwise have them. Some of the backstories, however, are now non-canon.
The Ghost Gallery
Following is the complete Ghost Gallery. Not every backstory is canon, but they are included below for posterity.
The Haunted Mansion
Born: October 31, 1671
Haunt’s History (Outline of life, circumstances and place of death, must contain good reason for being a ghost.)
The Mansion was built in 1671 by Ub van der Iwerks, a Dutch burgermeister. He chose the site on a hill overlooking the river despite warnings from the town elders that he was desecrating a sacred Indian burial ground. Construction was plagued by freak accidents, causing laborers to become scarce. The burgermeister finished the bricklaying himself, stubbornly seeing the project through to completion. He moved his family in on October 31, 1671. Details of what happened next are sketchy...apparently Ub went mad and sealed himself in a tomb in the adjacent graveyard. What is clear is that the van der Iwerks family abandoned the house.
In the decades that followed, the Mansion served as a pirate’s hangout, a brothel, and an army barracks. Those buried in the Mansion’s graveyard are only a sample of the many that died on the premises.
In 1871, the deed passed to Colonel Ronald Stevens, a wealthy publisher, in the winning from a riverboat card game. The Colonel began an extensive renovation of the Mansion, which was as ill fated as its original construction had been. When Fred, a stonemason, was killed by a falling rock, Colonel Stevens took over the stonecutting himself. He moved his family in on October 31, 1871. Shortly thereafter, the Colonel lost his mind. Neglecting his lithography business, Colonel Ronald Stevens spent his last days carving his name backwards on tombstones. He finally died in a boiler explosion. The remaining bits of him were buried under each of the gravemarkers inscribed SNEVETS NOR.
The Stevens family sold the Mansion to the American Spiritualist Society, which used it as a retreat. The Society converted one of the rooms into a seance circle, which was used nightly to summon departed spirits from far and wide. They had logged over 900 contacts by the time the Society was disbanded in 1914. The trustees then sold the Mansion to Master Graceys father.
George Gracey, Sr., bought the Mansion for use as the Graceys’ winter home. After George was murdered, his widow sold the Gracey estate, except for the Mansion, which Master Gracey inherited.
Born: January 10, 1740
Died: October 1, 1771
Haunt’s History (Outline of life, circumstances and place of death, must contain good reason for being a ghost.)
Francis Atencio Xavier was born aboard his father’s merchant ship the Mariposa, and spent most of his boyhood at sea. He was educated by his mother, who had taught in a convent school in St. Augustine before her marriage Francis’ favorite subject was history. He loved to listen to the old seamen spin yarns about pirates, especially tales of Bluebeard, who died exactly 300 years before Francis was born. The boy wanted to visit Bluebeard’s tomb, but his father wouldn’t hear of it. Francis vowed that someday he would be a pirate just like Bluebeard. His wish was granted sooner than he expected.
One day a fast ship flying the Jolly Roger swooped down on the Mariposa. A boarding party quickly disarmed the Mariposa’s small crew. The pirate captain, an aged buccaneer called Whitebeard, didn’t find the cargo to his liking (it was a hold full of bolts of fine cloth). Instead, he seized Francis and spirited him away. Whitebeard intended to hod the lad for ransom, but when he saw how eager Francis was to become a pirate, he made him his apprentice. For the next few years Whitebeard showed Francis the ropes of piracy.
One day Whitebeard sailed his ship upriver from their home port to an old mansion that was a favorite haunt of cut-throats and loose women. He told Francis that he knew he was dying and that this was where he wanted to be buried. Francis tried to make the old pirate comfortable, but Whitebeard insisted that his deathbed should be the same hard plank he always slept on. He gathered his men around and told them Francis was their leader now. Someone asked him what name he wanted on his gravestone. Whitebeard whispered "Martin" and the light faded from his eyes.
Francis Xavier’s first command after burying his mentor was to sail for England to make his long awaited pilgrimage to Bluebeard’s tomb. He was so taken with it that he decided to take it with him. His entire crew labored all night to move the massive stone structure containing the infamous pirate and six of his wives, and load it onto the ship for the return voyage. Bluebeard’s final resting place was a place of honor just outside the Mansion.
A few years later, Francis was captured and tried for high seas piracy. Despite the defendant’s impeccably polite behavior, the court found him guilty and denied his request for a stay of execution. Francis Xavier was hung and his body was buried next to his friend Martin’s grave.
Over the years, riverboatmen have reported seeing the ghosts of two or sometimes three pirates eyeing their vessels as they pass by the Mansion.
Ludwig Von Baroketch
Born: 1738, Switzerland
Haunt’s History (Outline of life, circumstances and place of death, must contain good reason for being a ghost.)
Baroketch was born in a small mountain village in Switzerland. His family was killed when the village was destroyed during an avalanche. He then moved to Bonn, Germany, and was a servant to a composer until he was 15. His master threw him out when young Ludwig was composing a piece of his own on the master’s piano. Begging as much as possible at the doors of rich and powerful men, Ludwig finally found a patron to support his dreams. However, she wasn’t interested in his music and after many years Ludwig still had not composed his great masterpiece. She died and left him her fortune. Depressed about his misfortune, he turned to heavy drink. Eventually Ludwig realized that he was dying. His piano covered with cobwebs and dust, he began to work on his masterpiece. But alas, the shrouded angel of death came to him before he had finished. Ludwig pleaded for more time to finish his work. Death agreed to it if Ludwig write a piece dedicated to him first. Agreeing, Ludwig was given 13 days. Rather than compose the death symphony first, Ludwig rushed to finish his own piece. Death came at midnight on the 13th night. Ludwig begged again, but this time death refused his pleas. Death took Baroketch’s life and cursed him to work on death’s symphony for eternity. Thus, Ludwig’s piano became haunted. Master Gracey later purchased Ludwig’s piano at Madame Leota’s request.
Victoria Abigail Boufont
Born: February 27, 1851
Died: November 5, 1932
Madame Victoria Abigail Boufont--Madame Tangerine to her friends--was George Gracey’s great aunt. She grew up in France and moved to the States in 1873. Besides her beautiful crop of orange hair (for which she got her nickname), Madame Tangerine was also known for her friendliness and outgoing personality. In addition, she loved to socialize and have fun, so she was constantly throwing parties for one reason or another. Needless to say, she was well liked by everyone...well almost everyone.
One person could not stand Madame Tangerine Boufont--Madame Leota. The reason for Madame Leota’s discontent with Madame Tangerine: Madame Tangerine’s parties would always interrupt the seances. Madame Leota was especially angered since her powers as a medium were increasing. On November 5, 1919, Madame Boufont threw another one of her parties. She had devised a scavenger hunt, of which the winner would receive a silver crown from her collection (Madame Boufont had inherited a large sum of assets from her parents). The participants of the scavenger hunt again interrupted one of Madame Leota’s spirit sessions, this so enraged Leota that she screeched at Madame Tangerine, "Thirteen years from today you will die!" Madame Tangerine did not take this curse seriously and returned to her party to present Tiber Garret with the crown. However, Madame Tangerine did seize this opportunity and threw a grand bash every November 5th. Every year Tiber Garret would be crowned the victor. After the final guest had departed from the 13th party, Madame Tangerine retired to her chambers, she passed away peacefully in her sleep--a smile still on her lips.
Born: February 1858
Died: January 31, 1920
Elma Belle, George Gracey’s aunt, was married to Richard Belle in 1879. She led a quiet life until the death of her husband in 1891. After Richard’s death, Elma took up painting as a means of supporting herself. However, she was barely making enough money to buy more paints so George convinced his favorite aunt to move into the Mansion. That’s when Elma began painting seriously, doing portraits of the Mansion’s residents and guests. Unfortunately, as the years passed Elma became senile. The first sign of her senility was her purchase of a raven from an old woman. She then began talking to her paintings and having conversations, and even tea, with the paintings and her raven.
Elma’s portraits were widely talked about. What seemed to especially capture the viewers’ attention was the way she painted they eyes...they seemed to follow the viewer. Elma painted her crowning glory on the day she died--the portrait of George Gracey that now hangs above the foyer fireplace.
The only painting of Elma herself is a portrait she painted of her and her husband Richard, long after Richard’s death. Rumor has it that this portrait began as a painting that her raven posed for.
In 1920, after a dinner at which Elma had presented George with his portrait, the nursemaid put Elma to bed and left for the night. Around 11 o’clock, a scream came from Elma’s room. As the family entered the room, they saw Elma was dead, her withered hand pointing toward the window sill where her raven was resting.
Mary Gilbert Gracey
Born: September 30, 1859
Mary Gilbert Gracey was Master Gracey’s mother. she had a sheltered and stifling childhood from which she longed to escape. Just as she reached her teens, however, her father and stepmother died. Although financially well off, Mary was saddled with the upbringing of her infant half-brother Asa. As the years dragged on, Mary became increasingly resentful of Asa. She finally threatened to kill him, so he ran away and joined the carnival. Asa Gilbert would one day become the Mansion’s handyman.
Now free of responsibility, Mary Gilbert set out to see new places and meet new people. The first person she met was a wealthy young businessman, George Gracey. Though he was a lackluster lover, he managed to sweep Mary off her feet. To her dismay, she soon found herself in a delicate condition and was obliged to marry George.
While her husband went off on what she imagined to be exciting business trips, Mary Gracey stayed home with George, Jr. The moment he was old enough, she packed him off to a distant boarding school. Unfortunately, George, Sr., then began conducting his business from home, and Mary’s plans for freedom were again frustrated.
One day when Master Gracey was at Yale, George confessed to his wife that he had had an affair with a Miss Patterson in Boston, and the affair had produced a son, Daniel. (Daniel Patterson was to become the Mansion’s liveryman.) This was the excuse Mary had been looking for. That night she parted her husband’s skull with an ax.
At the trial Mary’s counsel pleaded for mercy on the grounds that she was a widow. Witnesses testified that the defendant was justified in killing her husband because he was a very dull man who told pointless, long winded stories. Mary Gracey was acquitted for lack of evidence, and emerged smelling like a rose. She sold the Gracey house, left for Europe, and was never heard from again.
Uncle Edward Gracey
Born: November 9, 1877
Died: May 1, 1937
Uncle Edward Gracey was the brother of George Gracey, Sr.. Edward never married, though a brief liaison with a Miss Foster in Buffalo produced an illegitimate son, Eddy, born about the same time as Master Gracey. Eddy Foster would one day be the Mansion’s gardener.
After college, Edward Gracey entered the diplomatic corps. His duties took him from the State Department in Washington to far-flung capitals of the globe. He only returned to the Gracey home once, to attend his brother’s funeral and his sister-in-law’s trial.
Uncle Edward helped his nephew whenever he could. While serving as consul to Cairo, he obtained permission for Master Gracey to export an Egyptian mummy and sarcophagus. The last time the two relatives met was when Master Gracey traveled to Africa on a bat-hunting expedition. They had a falling-out over the way Master Gracey was spending the family fortune, and never spoke again.
In 1937, Edward was appointed ambassador to Burma. One evening, soon after his arrival in Rangoon, he was dressing for a banquet. While waiting for his trousers to be pressed, he looked over his speech. Suddenly, armed insurgents burst into the embassy compound, ordering everyone to evacuate. Edward slipped into a secret passage taking him from his quarters to his office. There he discovered guerrillas putting a candle to the fuse on a keg of dynamite. Edward leaped on top of the barrel and declared: "If you blow up this building, you’ll have to take me with it!" The men looked at each other, shrugged, and left. He tried in vain to extinguish or remove the fuse. Like a captain going down with his ship, Edward Gracey went up with his embassy.
Born: October 31, 1881, New Orleans, LA
Madame Leota was born in the Louisiana swamps to a kidnapped gypsy and a voodoo priest. Uneducated in everything but the occult, she grew up learning that other people were nothing but cattle and that everyone has weak spots and can be easily influenced. She was a very bitter person and was known to fly into rages at the least provocation. However, even though she had a bad temper, Leota was most dangerous when she was calm and could think things through. She was very sly and the other village people shunned her.
Leota finally moved to New Orleans and began reading palms and holding seances. Although some were exaggerated by special effects, by and large, her powers were genuine. She was bilking many people out of their money, and when she met Master Gracey she saw a real opportunity. She moved into the Mansion and it became easy for her to run the life of Gracey.
His wife Lilian hated Leota. When Lilian tried to get rid of Leota, the Madame hypnotized her into performing her old tight rope act and leaping to her death. Leota then convinced George to marry Emily, for she needed more money, just as he did. But not wanting another woman in his life, Leota locked the trunk that Emily was hiding in.
Leota planned to use the Mansion as a portal to another world, to call in more powerful spirits. George refused to permit her-- in the resulting argument he learned that Leota had killed his wives. George then attempted to flee, but ended up in the attic as his escape routes were cut off since Leota was controlling the servants and spirits. As Leota cast a spell to imprison George in her crystal ball, he hung himself rather than be caught. With his death, the spell went awry and backfired, trapping Leota in her own crystal ball. To this day, Leota still commands some small power, but not as she was before.
Etienne Lalaurie & Antione Germaine
Died: July 18, 1907
Among the more viscous of Madame Leota’s wicked traits was that of being an indiscriminate flirt--leading on unwary suitors and at times playing one man against another. This was the case of Etienne Lalaurie and Antoine Germaine.
These two gentlemen were born on neighboring plantations and grew up the best of friends, always in each other’s company--drinking and gambling together. As the sons of wealthy men, Etienne and Antione were given the finest educations: together they attended various schools and were trained to duel in the fine art of self defense and chivalry.
While at the party of a mutual friend, they made the acquaintance of the evil Madame Leota. She danced first with one and then with the other, whispering wicked promises and lies, her eyes now gleaming with the excitement of her new game.
One the way home the two gentlemen shared stories of the night’s conquests. During the course of the conversation, the slanderous lies of Leota came to the surface. A fight ensued and the gentlemen challenged each other to a duel of pride. Seconds were chosen, a place named, and the duel was fought.
Each gentleman fired his pistol and was mortally wounded in the same breath. As they lay dying, the lies were exposed and they vowed revenge against Leota. They continue to haunt the Mansion to this day, still seeking their revenge.
Born: April 1, 1888, New Orleans, LA
Died: November 8, 1936
Jamie Louis Padgett was a wealthy plantation owner in New Orleans, renowned for his indigo and sugar cane crops. Because he was of great social prominence, he held many cotillions and balls. At one masquerade ball, he had the misfortune to meet Little Leota, who rarely left the Mansion. She decided she wanted his plantation, so she seduced him and married him. But Jamie loved the plantation and would not transfer the title to her.
One evening Madame Leota introduced him to a "friend" of hers from London. He said his name was Nicholas Crown and that he was interested in starting his own plantation. Jamie was only too happy to share all his knowledge with Crown. As they strolled through the grounds of the Mansion, Crown suddenly insisted he was a vampire. Jamie laughed, and with amazing speed Crown grabbed Jamie and drove his teeth into the poor man’s neck. Jamie woke up the next evening in his room, Little Leota insisted that he had slept through the day. He realized that he must be a vampire and began the disturbing habit of sleeping all day in a coffin, only rising to roam the Mansion by night.
One evening Jamie heard strange music and muffled crying. As he tried to open the coffin lid he found it would not yield. The coffin would not open! He fought and screamed for help, never suspecting that his beloved bride Little Leota had nailed it shut. For seven nights he fought and struggled each evening. He would succeed in cracking the lid almost enough to escape, however by that time it was sunrise. When he would see the light of day through the tiny slit, he would close the lid in mortal fear of the sunlight. Of course, Little Leota would renail the lid shut every afternoon. When his struggles finally died with him, Little Leota claimed the plantation and turned it over to her adulterant partner, Nicholas Crown, who had never been a vampire.
Master George Gracey
Born: October 31, 1890, Winsocket, RI
Died: February 29, 1943
George went to fine schools (Harvard, etc.). Never really knew his father because he was always in boarding schools. Master Gracey moved into Mansion when his father, George Gracey, Sr., was murdered by his mother. Obsessed with getting to know his father even after death, he thought out the occult. While seeking out mediums at carnivals, he met his wife Lilian, a tight-rope walker. He finally met Madame Leota in New Orleans. Bringing her back to the Mansion, they began holding seances and performing rituals to talk to the dead and summon ghosts. Eventually becoming interested in all aspects of the occult, including ancient religions, Gracey spent his fortune on relics, books, even a mummy complete with a tomb. Lilian became increasingly jealous of Madame Leota and thought for George to remove her, but George wouldn’t hear of it. His wife’s protests were silenced one day as she fell to her death in a pit of crocodiles while performing her old act for friends at a party. George became increasingly obsessed with the supernatural and squandered the rest of his fortune in these pursuits. Desperate for money, he married a second cousin, Emily, to lock down more of the family riches. Only 16, she was still playful on their wedding night and they played Hide and Seek.. Alas, Emily his in a trunk in the attic, still in her gown. The lid became locked and she suffocated before being found.
In the last few years of life, it is said Master Gracey went mad and finally hung himself in the attic. Since that day, no one lives here, but Master Gracey’s voice can still be heard.
Wolfgang Elias Furlong
Born: December 18, 1890
Died: December 15, 1945
Born into a wealthy Irish family and schooled by master pianists, Wolfgang often performed at the grand balls hosted by his parents. After his parents’ sudden death, he was driven from his homeland by jealous siblings who were intent on squandering away the family fortune. He then moved to the States, looking for work as a musician. Desperate for work, Wolfgang inquired with the circus about job. He was hired on the spot as their organ player--the regular player was passed out from too much whiskey.
Once the show was over the tight rope walker Lilian and a wealthy looking gentleman approached Wolfgang. The wealthy man turned out to be Master Gracey, Lilian’s husband. Being the generous type, Master Gracey invited Wolfgang to come live at the Mansion as the resident Musician. Wolfgang eagerly accepted.
One day while practicing on the recently acquired piano of the late Ludwig Von Baroketch, the lid slammed shut on his hands. Despite his struggles and screams he could not free his hands. Madame Leota had warned him not to play the piano because it was haunted, and now she cackled at Wolfgang’s ignorance. Tiring of his moans, she emerged from the darkness and helped free Wolfgang’s hands.
When he pulled his hands free, Wolfgang discovered that they had been crushed...he would never play again. In despair over the loss of his music, Wolfgang hung himself with a wire from the piano. He still plays at gatherings in the Mansion, but the despair over loosing his mortal ability to play can be seen rising from the organ with every note.
Mistress Lilian O’Malley Gracey
Born: August 3, 1896, Atlanta, GA
Died: June 14, 1937
Mistress Gracey, formerly Lilian O’Malley, was born to wealthy parents who strived to give her everything she wished. She grew up extremely spoiled, but developed a melancholy attitude after being denied her heart’s one true desire...her first love. At 15, Lilian had fallen head over heals for a circus performer named Alex. She thought she had won his heart during their brief liaison, but the circus left town in the middle of the night and the jilted Lilian was crushed.
She pined away for a week before deciding to follow the circus. She joined it in Mobile, AL, but discovered that her love had been killed in a freak accident involving a lion. Lilian stayed with the circus performing the tight rope act because it made her feel close to her recently departed beloved. It was during one of her shows that George Gracey fell in love with her at first sight. She was quite taken with the young master and agreed to marry him since her true love was now gone forever.
After only 3 months of marriage, George brought Madame Leota into the Gracey household. This combined with the goings on between Leota and George and the disconcerting arrival of Leota’s daughter-a girl of dubious parentage-caused Lilian much concern. She was often neglected by her new husband and Little Leota and the Madame plagued her with nasty pranks. This caused Lilian to slip further and further away from reality and into a deep melancholy. One night at a small party Madame Leota urged Lilian to perform her old act over the river by the house. Wanting the attention and delighted to be wanted, Lilian agreed. To her dismay the rope began to unravel when she was only half way across. Poor Lilian fell to her death in the jaws of an alligator.
Died: June 7, 1909
These six couples had the misfortune to be invited to one of Madame Leota’s parties. They had one thing in common--they all loved to dance. How they got an invitation to the party remains a mystery since they had no interest whatsoever in the occult. During the course of the celebration, the group kept to themselves, pointedly ignoring the weird Madame Leota and the melancholy Master Gracey. They simply danced.
After several hours of being ignored, Madame Leota had taken all she could stand. Muttering to herself, she stopped the music and shouted a curse to the dancing couples. The couples stopped and stared at the deranged Madame. Suddenly the couples were overcome by a peculiar sensation--they began to dance, whirling and twirling, faster and faster, becoming more and more exhausted. Unfortunately, try as they might, they were unable to stop dancing, and as one by one their bodies succumbed to the Angel of Death, their souls could not be given so easy a reprieve. They continue to dance to this day, a tribute to the evil of Madame Leota.
Ezra Dobbins & Phineas Queeg
Died: June 3, 1914
Ezra Dobbins and Phineas Queeg were friends of Gus Gracey. The three were cellmates at the Salem Asylum for the Criminally Insane.
Ezra was a voyeur--his lean frame was ideal for climbing trellises and trees. He developed a fascination with obese women and sought out the most rotund young ladies to spy upon. Ezra was finally caught skulking in the boudoir of the mayor’s ample daughter. When this corpulent miss took the stand, the chair groaned under her weight, the court did not hesitate to accept Ezra’s insanity plea and commit him to the Salem Asylum.
Phineas was a discredited chemist who made his living as a snake-oil peddler. He traveled the countryside, carpetbag at his side, seeking the most ignorant rubes to buy his worthless potions. His diabolical sense of humor led Phineas to spike his wares with ingredients he knew would cause unwanted side effects, i.e. his "hair tonic" was actually a depilatory. Phineas made his final mistake when he sold "Queeg’s Youth Elixir" to the chief of police, causing the man’s voice to raise an octave. Criminal charges were promptly filed. A parade of hapless witnesses, combined with Phineas’s snickering in court, led him to the Salem Asylum.
The three cellmates spent their time planning their escape. Ezra fasted until he could squeeze through the bars to reach the keys and unlock the cell door. Once the three were free of their cell, Gus toppled the guards with his ball and chain, while Phineas set off a smoke bomb to prevent their pursuers from chasing them.
The Three friends hitchhiked down the road. They would hop aboard the moving vehicle regardless of whether the coach or carriage stopped for them or not. Passengers were startled when the three friendly little fellows plopped down beside them or on their laps. Ezra always aimed for the plumpest female; Phineas picked out the stupidest looking; and Gus just wanted to play with the children.
Ezra Dobbins and Phineas Queeg met their ends at a carnival. Phineas sampled a quack remedy at the medicine show. Ironically, he died not from the quack remedy, but rather he cut his lip on the bottle cap and died from lead poisoning. Likewise, Ezra’s fetish ultimately caused his demise. He snuck into the sideshow fat lady’s tent and was killed when she inadvertently sat on him after he had crept up behind her.
Years later Madame Leota cast a spell confining Gus to the Mansion for as long as he lived and eternity after that, but she took pity on the lonely dwarf and summoned the spirits of his two departed friends to keep him company. They decided to stay and there they’ll remain until they spot someone they’d rather follow home.
Born: October 1, 1919, Orlando, FL
Died: November 1, 1942
Little Leota was Madame Leota’s daughter and the first child born in the Mansion. Madame Leota never revealed the father’s name, but it’s interesting to note that whenever Little Leota spoke, Master Gracey always fell silent.
At a tender age, Little Leota began helping her mother in the seance circle. She soon developed her own talents as a spirit medium. Always playful, she teased or flirted with the seance guests. Many believed that if they failed to heed her taunting call to "Hurry Back", her little joke about a death certificate would come to pass.
Fascinated with death, Little Leota was instrumental in getting the townspeople to hold funerals in the Mansion’s conservatory. However, she was a practical joker, nailing the coffin shut before the viewing or replacing the flowers with dead ones. Her favorite trick was to lock all the guest room doors in the middle of the night and then run down the corridor knocking on them.
Little Leota was given to long and lonely wanderings, especially at night. She could be seen carrying a single candle from window to window or endlessly walking the hallways, candelabra in hand. She loved to stand on the porch and feel the wind in her face.
Quite the tart, Little Leota had affairs with every man that struck her fancy. The only men who resisted her charms were the Mansion’s handyman, gardener, and liveryman, who feared for their jobs should they become involved with her. Incensed at being snubbed, Little Leota plotted against the trio, sending them on a wild goose chase one night. They perished in quicksand, as she watched from a tree. The branch broke, and she fell in the river and drowned. When her body was recovered, it had shriveled to the size of a doll.
Little Leota & The Pirates
Little Leota was the type of person who was easily bored with everyday routine. She could not sit inside and mope about the Mansion like the other family members. She had to be involved in some sort of mischief.
One evening after the servants had left and the Mansion was deathly quiet, Leota climbed out her bedroom window, slid down off the archway, and was away in a flash. she took a horse from the stable and galloped down to the wharf.
A pirate ship had landed earlier in the evening and the crew was enjoying their liberty at a local pub. They were rowdy and crude, singing pirate chanteys and drinking rum. Little Leota joined in with the fun.
The next morning, Leota was strangely silent. Others in the household remarked on her strange behavior. Then a change came over her and she began singing a peculiar song: "Yoho, Yoho, a pirate’s life for me!" and the hallway echoed with an awful laughter and the sound of water lapping on boards.
Then it was over. She regained her composure, smiled sweetly and greeted the guests for the day.
Prudence, the story of the floating candelabras
Born: May 1, 1921
Died: April 12, 1936
This is the tale of a poor, unfortunate housemaid, who met her death quite by accident. Prudence was Little Leota’s personal maid. She was neither attractive nor memorable--a person would forget meeting Prudence before he finished saying good-day to her.
Prudence had a rare quality that caused her to blend into her surroundings. This made the task of serving Little Leota even more difficult. Little Leota was not the easiest person to serve, always sending Prudence on wild goose chases. Prudence was doomed to search for lost shoes, misplaced handkerchiefs, and at times, even unidentified noises in the middle of the night.
Such was the case one cold night when Leota called for Prudence. Leota claimed she had heard a noise downstairs and sent Prudence, candle in hand, to investigate. Even though Prudence objected and was visibly frightened, Leota ordered her to investigate. Prudence wandered the halls, the flickering candles her only source of light in the dark house. As she was walking down the long dark hall, one of the doors swung open and slammed against the wall. Poor Prudence was so terrified by this that she collapsed and perished in the hall. She never discovered that it was only Little Leota trying to frighten her. Prudence still haunts the halls, searching for disturbances.
Emily Cavanaugh Gracey, the Bride
Born: March 17, 1925, Winsocket, RI
Died: November 1, 1941
The second Mistress Gracey, Emily Cavanaugh was born to the very wealthy Cavanaughs of Rhode Island. Being an only child, Emily was destined to inherit the entire family fortune. Much to her parents’ dismay, she was a flighty girl and given to disappearing for hours on end, contemplating flowers or patterns on wallpaper. Much was done by her parents to teach Emily the responsibility of her station, but the girl refused to grasp the gravity of her situation.
When her parents were suddenly killed by a runaway carriage, the entire wealth of the Cavanaugh’s fell on her unprepared shoulders. At the funeral she met Master Gracey, who having recently lost his first wife, was prepared to offer her consolation and guidance. An impressionable girl of 16, she fell in love with the authoritative figure of the Master and his boyish good looks. When he proposed marriage, the unwitting Emily accepted.
The wedding was a beautiful affair and the bride was radiant. The trouble began on the honeymoon at the Gracey Mansion. Madame Leota waited there for the young bride, killing time until she could dispose of the bride. Being young, Emily was still playful and decided to play Hide and Seek with her new groom. So eager was she to begin this honeymoon game that she didn’t even wait to change out of her wedding gown. She found herself in the attic, and hearing George calling her, she quickly hid in a large sea trunk. The trunk was uncomfortable and stuffy, and just as she prepared to come out of hiding, she heard the sound of scraping metal. Madame Leota had seized the opportunity and locked the trunk, the poor young bride suffocated.
Emily Gracey’s Wedding Band
After discovering his young bride’s untimely demise, Master Gracey felt the need to announce his continuing dedication to her in order to avoid rumors that he only married her for her money. Gracey arranged to have the funeral services in the courtyard of the Mansion so that the entire town could be present. With the Gracey household and the town as his audience, only Madame Leota mysteriously failed to attend, Master Gracey stood on the driver’s bench of the hearse buggy and prepared to announce his undying devotion to Emily. He planned to place the ring on his little finger as a reaffirmation of his dedication to Emily and so that she would always be close to him. Suddenly, before he was able to place the ring on his finger, something spooked the horses and Gracey was thrown from the buggy. As the horses galloped wildly away, a wheel of the buggy rolled over Emily’s wedding band, embedding it in the cobblestone walkway. Despite his best efforts, Master Gracey was unable to free the ring from its cobblestone grave. . .the ring remains there to this day. The servants were sent to search for the hearse. A few days later the horses and buggy were discovered, but the hearse was empty. Emily’s body was never recovered.
Dick O’Dell, the Caretaker
Born: October 1, 1931, upstate NY
Dick O’Dell and his dog "Bony" are the only mortal residents in the Mansion. Born to an immigrant gravedigger and a gypsy, Dick was considered slow-witted and did poorly in school. When his parents were killed in a carnival ride accident, Dick joined the carnival as a ride operator. He traveled with the show until 1971, when the carnival went broke while in Florida. Dick then joined the Walt Disney World cast as caretaker of the Haunted Mansion. He was given his own room in the Mansion, but can never find it, so he usually sleeps in the blue room with "Bony". Asked how "Bony" got his name, Dick says, "Somebody was going by and said ‘Look at the bony dog’, so I call him bony. Bony’s my best friend even though I forget to feed him sometimes." Bony mainly lives on the mice he catches, with an occasional treat of popcorn, candy, or ice cream left behind by the Guests.
After all these years of living and working in the Mansion, Dick is still frightened by its ghoulish inhabitants, his knees constantly knocking in fear. Asked why he doesn’t leave, Dick replies, "I’m scared the ghosts’d follow me home!"
The Tea Party
Died: October 31, 1931
In 1931, the Graceys held a Halloween party for all of the town’s most influential citizens. Madame Boufont, taking charge of the arrangements, came up with the idea of a tea party in the graveyard. She sent each invitee a badge with a clever name, such as "Dustin T. Dust" and "I. Emma Spook". Nobody would know anyone’s true identity until the unmasking at midnight.
Halloween day was rainy, but by sunset the sky had cleared and the stars were out. The Mansion’s servants quickly dried the tables, wiped off the tombstones, and lit the candles. Ordinary decorations wouldn’t do, do Mme. Boufont brought out living ones: a pair of owls (with clipped wings), a few stray cats (lured by saucers of cream), Master Gracey’s dog Hellhound, and Aunt Elma’s raven. Master Gracey set up a special display of his Egyptian mummy. A rather ragtag band of costumed musicians, assembled from local tradesmen, arrived just in time.
Soon the guests began to arrive, wearing their name tags as they had been instructed. "Bea Witch" came as a duchess. "Love U Truly" and "I. Truly Dew" dressed as a king and queen. "I. M. Ready" made a convincing Father Time with his ear trumpet. The grandest entrance was made my "M. T. Tomb", who was made up as a corpse. He arrived in a hearse, which got stuck in the mud. The casket slid out, and "M. T." sat up smiling as though he’d planned it that way. The stuck hearse became the centerpiece of the tea party.
The partygoers enjoyed such activities as a tombstone teeter-totter, a swing in a dead tree, and bicycle races on the hill-the only dry ground. Mme. Boufont kept the household members so busy with their hosting duties that they hardly had a chance to taste the tea, but the guests and the thirsty musicians drank pot after pot, remarking on its unusual flavor.
Suddenly, just before midnight, all of the guests and musicians fell ill. The town’s doctors were among the invitees, and they too collapsed. By the time medical help arrived, everyone at the tea party was dead. Due to their fashionably late arrival, the Gracey household had been spared. The well water that had been used to make the tea proved to be contaminated.
The bodies could only be identified by their name tags since Mme. Boufont had kept no record of who was who. As a result, the deceased were entombed under their pseudonyms. The five musicians didn’t have name tags--their tombs were left unmarked. No charges were filed in this case, since all the judges and lawyers were dead.
Thurl, Ravens, Croft, Singg, & Buss
Died: August 24, 1934
Sherman Thurl, Richard Ravens, Robert Croft, Dansen Singg, and Omney Buss were members of the Yale Glee Club at the time Master Gracey was a student. The five friends formed their own singing group which was the most popular entertainment at the social functions. They asked their classmate George to come up with a catchy name for the quintet. He suggested that since their singing was soft and sweet as marshmallows that they should call themselves the Mallow Men.
The ensemble continued to perform for a short time after graduation, but the Mallow Men eventually realized that they had to go their separate ways. Thurl became a radio announcer, Ravens and Croft teamed up as songwriters, while Singg and Buss went into vaudeville.
In 1934 Master Gracey invited his fellow alumni to the Mansion for a reunion. At his suggestion the Mallow Men got back together to revive their old act for the party. And to add to the excitement of the evening, Thurl arranged to broadcast his radio show from the Mansion that evening. The turnout was excellent despite the ominous thunderstorm, and by air time the ballroom was overflowing with cheerful alumni. Singg and Buss put the guests and listeners at ease by poking fun at the spooky atmosphere of the Mansion in their comedy routine. The radio show continued with a drama about two teenagers exploring a haunted house-Thurl’s deep bass voice narrating. Continuing the theme of the show, the Mallow Men performed the a song especially written for the occasion by Ravens and Croft entitled "Grim Grinning Ghosts". For the finale the entire cast sang the refrain "Hurry back, we would like your company". The show ran short, so Thurl, Ravens, Croft, Singg, and Buss stepped up to the mike for an encore. Just then lightening struck the relay antenna on the roof and the Mallow Men were electrocuted.
The five singers were buried in the Mansion’s graveyard. Feeling responsible for his friends’ death, Master Gracey commissioned busts of the Mallow Men to go over their graves. He further directed Eddy Foster, the gardener, to plant a hedge in front of them so they would appear to be on stage, the poplar trees behind them as their backdrop. Three years later, during the final performance of the Jones Family Opera Singers, the head of Thurl’s bust broke off. Asa Gilbert, the handyman, repaired it only for the head to fall off again five years later on the night Little Leota drowned, the three servants died in quicksand, and Master Gracey’s dog Hellhound was struck by lightening. The singer’s bust has remained that way ever since.
The Jones Family, the Opera Singers
Died: March 4, 1937
Carmen Jones and her brothers Antonio, Giovanni, and Rocco, were born in Brooklyn, NY. Their parents, who were music teachers, instilled in them a love for grand opera. They auditioned for both the Metropolitan Opera and the New York City Opera without success. Undaunted, Papa Jones formed his own little opera company and took the Jones Family Opera Singers on tour. They traveled from town to town for many years, often performing for room and board. Eventually, life on the road took its toll on Mama and Papa Jones, and they passed away within a few months of each other. Their four children, now grown, pressed on.
One day, hungry and tired, the Jones Family presented themselves at the Mansion. Master Gracey, desperate for something to cheer up his melancholy wife Lilian, hired them at once. Mistress Lilian seemed to be amused by their excerpts from light operettas, especially Carmen’s rendition of "The Laughing Song" from Stauss’ The Bat.
Hoping to improve his standing in the community, Master Gracey decided to engage the singers for a public performance. The Joneses chose to mount their most ambitious production, an opera their father had written for them entitled Don Juan in the Underworld. Giovanni sang the title role, with Carmen as Brunhilda and Antonio as Siegfried. Rocco, more of a stagehand than singer, had a minor part as the headsman. Gus Gracey, the devious dwarf who lived in a crypt near the stage, appeared in a surprise cameo role.
The evening’s performance went as planned until the showstopping finale of Act II: the beheading of Don Juan and the immolation by fire of Brunhilda and Siegfried. As Giovanni knelt behind the chopping block, Carmen and Antonio ignited their funeral pyre, thus distracting the audience long enough for Giovanni to put the false head in place. On cue, Rocco raised his gleaming ax. Suddenly, the trapdoor beneath him opened, Rocco dropped from sight-decapitating his brother as he fell. Under the stage, Gus dispatched Rocco with a few wild swings of his ball and chain. The fuel tank for the fire ruptured, and Carmen and Antonio were engulfed in flames. The audience, unaware that the cast was really dead, applauded enthusiastically. Gus emerged from the trapdoor, smiling with glee, and took a bow.
Edgar Allan, Elizabeth Barrett, Alfred Lord, & Henry Wadsworth
Died: October 31, 1938
Edgar Allan, Elizabeth Barrett, Alfred Lord, and Henry Wadsworth were the Mansion’s resident ghostwriters. Master Gracey met them at Yale shortly before they were expelled for writing term papers for hire. They went their separate ways, but kept up a lively correspondence. When Master Gracey moved into the Mansion, he hired Miss Barrett to be his personal librarian. He also paid Allan, Lord, and Wadsworth, to search the world for rare books on the occult.
Once a year on Halloween they all gather in the Mansion’s library to discuss their findings. On one such occasion Miss Barrett was in her favorite rocking chair reading "Sex and Pollution" while Allan was on the ladder reaching for a heavy volume on the top shelf. Lord and Wadsworth were seated on the floor near the ladder, scouring through a pile of dictionaries while arguing about the definition of the word "death". The weight of the large book caused Allan to loose his balance. Miss Barrett leaped off her rocker to steady the ladder, but alas, she moved too slowly. As the ladder fell, Allan pulled the entire stack of books off the shelf. All four were crushed to death under the weight of the very books they had labored so long to collect. Ironically, they had ghostwritten most of the works that fell.
Master Gracey commissioned two busts of each ghostwriter so that he could place them throughout the Mansion. Over the years all eight busts ended up in the library. Many visitors have remarked that they could feel the faces of the marble busts glaring at them, as if jealously guarding their books.
One source claims that just after sunset the specters of Allan, Barrett, Lord, and Wadsworth can be seen in the west riding ghostly horses off into the clouds--the legendary Ghostwriters in the sky.
Asa Gilbert, Eddy Foster, & Daniel Patterson
Died: November 1, 1942
Asa Gilbert, Eddy Foster, and Daniel Patterson were the Mansion’s handyman, gardener, and liveryman. Little is known about their early years except that each has a past he was trying to hide, or hide from. While they were quite young they all joined the same carnival as roustabouts and soon became fast friends. Each of them developed a crush on Miss Lilian, the tight rope walker, and all but came to blows over her. After that they vowed to never again let a woman disrupt their friendship. Miss Lilian was fond of the young men, and when Master Gracey took her as his bride, she had Gracey hire them as servants.
Gilbert, Foster, and Patterson faithfully performed their "downstairs" duties at the Mansion, while keeping a respectful distance from the odd goings on of the "upstairs". When their beloved Mistress Lilian died in the "accident" they hid their grief and kept to themselves more than ever. They feared that Master Gracey would dismiss them, though he actually valued them almost as family.
Little Leota tried to seduce each of the three men, but they would have nothing to do with her. One stormy night, she sent them down to the river to investigate a noise. Hearing the howls of Hellhound coming from the wrong direction, the trio became disoriented in the dark and stumbled into the quicksand. They climbed onto each other’s shoulders in a futile effort to reach a swaying tree branch. It’s said that the ghosts of the three faithful servants sometimes appear outside the Mansion on misty mornings to lend a hand with repair work, landscaping, or moving stanchion boxes.
Bony, the Caretaker’s dog
Born: October 1, 1971
Bony belongs to Dick O’Dell, the caretaker. Bony was one of five pups. The other four-Rover, Queenie, Sport, and Sport-soon found a good home in Tomorrowland. Bony was the runt of the litter, and Dick had to nurse him along. Bony grew to be the spitting image of his father, Loki.
Loki, always curious, became trapped in the mummy’s sarcophagus and suffocated. Loki’s father was Master Gracey’s dog, Grand Stygian Hellhound of Hudson. Hellhound’s ancestry can be traced back to the dog of a U.S. Cavalry blacksmith stationed at Fort Sam Clemens. Prior to that, the lineage has been followed as far as the jailer’s dog in a Caribbean village sacked by pirates.
Master Gracey chained Hellhound by the river at night so his howling would warn people away from the quicksand. One stormy night, as part of a scheme to lure three of the Mansion’s servants into the quicksand, Little Leota moved Hellhound up the hill and fastened his chain to a tree behind the cemetery. Lightning struck the tree and Hellhound was killed. To this day the area is known as Howling Dog Bend.
Silas Grunge, Emmett Totts, & Felicia Scratch
These three spirits were the first to be conjured by Madame Leota at the Mansion. All three have a twisted fascination with frightening people. Silas is not so much a person, but a thing. He is a ghost created by a frightening incident where a child was scared into cardiac arrest when he bumped into a dead body floating in the stream he was swimming in. Although the child was revived, the experience left an ectoplasmic imprint on the area. The spirit was drawn away to the Mansion in a seance.
Emmett was a failed farmer of apples. His orchard dying, and broke, he finally became a hermit. Using frightening rumors and his own scary appearance, he kept children and townsfolk away. One day while he suspected someone on his property, he snuck up and leapt out. Instead of children after his apples, he found an old discarded mirror propped up in the brush. He consequently frightened himself to death.
Felicia was a failed witch. Her many attempts at witchcraft earned her the mockery of children and other witches. She was considered so bad at it, she was neither shunned nor hunted for it. Some people actually pitied Felicia. This angered her most of all. She went to great lengths to convince people of her power. Complex machinery and special effects were all she could manage though. In a grand plan to terrorize the town, she constructed elaborate devices and traps one night. It worked out too well. She even succeeded in scaring a horse team pulling a fire wagon coming to the rescue. The horses and wagon ran her down in the middle of her gleeful cackling at townsfolk running to and fro.
At one time the raven was purchased from an old woman by Elma Belle for a pet. George Gracey often commented on how it went where it pleased but always flew back to Elma whenever she began talking to "Richard". Elma always called the raven "Richard" and would talk to it as if it was the late Mr. Belle. No one paid much attention to her fascination with the raven, since Elma was going senile.
The raven was never painted by its owner, but "posed" one time for a painting that turned out to be of Mr. and Mrs. Belle. In addition, the residents noticed that the bird’s favorite haunts were areas of death, such as the conservatory, the graveyard, and Madame Leota’s seances.
When Elma died George attempted to get rid of the bird, but he was unsuccessful at catching it.
It appears that the raven outlived all the residents of the Mansion because no records of its death are known or mentioned
|Comics & prose based on The Haunted Mansion|