Hey! Hallie here!
The Haunted Mansion is one of my favorite spooky things to dive into during Halloween. While the mansion is transformed into Haunted Mansion Holiday around this time of year, nothing is going to stop me from blasting “Grim Grinning Ghosts” for the entire month of October. (Although, Haunted Mansion Holiday is absolute perfection. Fight me Ryan Gosling.) So in honor of this spooky ride, let’s rank some of the 999 Happy Haunts! For this list I will only be counting Haunted Mansion characters. That means equivalent rides like Phantom Manor will not be included. That ride has it’s own entirely different story that deserves it’s own post. I also am not going to talk about the movie here. I’m still trying to forget that it happened. As a side note, because so many of these haunts belong to groups, like the Hitchhiking Ghosts, I’m not going to separate them in this list. Let’s get into this!
10. The Dread Family. This family is one of the newer additions. You can catch their busts in the line for The Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom in Florida. The members consist of Uncle Jacob Dread, Bertie Dread, Aunt Florence McGriffin Dread, Cousin Maude Dread, Wellington Dread, and Forsythia Dread. Every person in this family was murdered. If you’re standing by their busts long enough while in line, you have the opportunity to find out which of the family is responsible for the murders. I won’t spoil the riddle in case you want to look it up, but I will tell you that the inscriptions on their tombstones aren’t enough to solve the riddle. You will need to find pictures of the busts from various angles in order to solve the murders. (Unfortunately, the riddle works a bit better when you’re there in person.) This family makes it onto the list simply for how clever this idea is. Fans are often searching for stories within the mansion. This one is a fun murder mystery that guests get to solve themselves as they wait in long lines.
9. Victor Geist. Victor Geist is best recognized by the large pipe organ he sits at inside the mansion’s ballroom. You can’t really see him from the front, but his skills on the organ are undoubtedly haunting. Victor Geist rose in popularity for his use in some of the Disney comics. There his hooked nose and slender face were given more detail, and his personality was explored. Geist is poised and intimidating when playing his organ, but is quite kind and carefree when he steps away from the instrument. He also seems to have some sort of adorable interest in Sally Slater. He gets on this list for being a very wholesome member of the 999 Happy Haunts.
8. Sally Slater. Most people will know Sally Slater as the Tightrope Walker. She is probably the most recognizable of the characters featured in the Stretching Room. Her striking calm while hovering over a hungry alligator is hard to ignore while guests are trapped in a room with no windows and no doors. Her dress and parasol are also striking, which has resulted in quite a bit of merchandise. Her story has changed multiple times throughout the years. In one version she was the Ghost Host’s first wife, in another she was a villainous sorcerous who turned her lovers into alligators, and in yet another she was “Chief Spookswoman” for the mansion. I should also mention that each version of her story has also come with a different name. Regardless, she makes it on this list for having such an iconic look that fans are still trying to guess her true story.
7. Master Gracey. Master Gracey is the confirmed owner of the Haunted Mansion in Magic Kingdom and one of the many possible owners of the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. Master Gracey was initially only a name on one of the tombstones outside of the mansion, but after fans and cast members began to connect the name with the Aging Man portrait inside the mansion, as well as the voice of the Ghost Host, Master Gracey became an official character. Though it has been confirmed that Master Gracey isn’t the Ghost Host, the Aging Man portrait is now canonically a portrait of Master Gracey. In some comics he’s also portrayed as the hanged man in the Stretching Room. The Haunted Mansion is even referred to as Gracey Manor on some occasions. Master Gracey gets a place on this list for quickly becoming a main character amongst the 999 Happy Haunts.
6. Ghost Host. As you can see, we’re getting to some of the more iconic ghosts. I wish I could place our lovely host higher, but as we still have some really big hitters to go, he only gets to six on this list. The Ghost Host doesn’t really have an official story. His story has been speculated about, and he’s even been merged with Master Gracey on some occasions, but he has no official story of his own. Still, what would the Haunted Mansion be without our Ghost Host? The creepy voice guiding guests through the mansion makes for most of the experience. The mansion would be nothing if not for his delight in spooky puns and slightly threatening jokes.
5. Rolo Rumkin, Uncle Theodore, Cousin Algernon, Ned Nub, and Phineas Pock. These five are better known as the Singing Busts. They provide guests with most of “Grim Grinning Ghosts”, one of the best songs in all of the Disney parks. If you recognize their names, good! You probably should! These names are all featured on tombstones outside of the mansion, some with rhyming epitaphs on how they died. These five don’t have any sort of story. But who can resist singing along with them while passing by in a Doom Buggy? These five deserve a place on this list for being some of the most recognizable members of the mansion. Line up a few busts with one lopsided and broken, and most people could tell you exactly what it’s from. Those busts are even used as an Easter Egg in the “I Won’t Say I’m In Love” sequence in ‘Hercules’.
4. Ezra Beane, Professor Phineas Plump, and Gus. These three are the Hitchhiking Ghosts within the Haunted Mansion. These are their official names, but if you don’t know which is which, some of their other names might be of better use to you. Ezra has been called The Skeleton, Phineas is The Traveler, and Gus is The Prisoner. They are usually referred to as the outcasts of the mansion for varying reasons. Ezra is a prankster who died laughing at a prank pulled on himself. He’s known for pranking the mansion’s inhabitants. Phineas was a snake oil salesman who was killed by an angry mob. His charms didn’t inspire the already dead inhabitants of the mansion to buy his products. Gus was a shepherd who angered a ram into chasing him into a wedding, which he promptly ruined. Gus was arrested, escaped jail with some pirates, made it to a ship, and then fell overboard and drowned. He could have done with a little less excitement in his life. He’s the most tame of the three, but he still finds more comfort being part of this group. The group is definitely better for it.
3. The Hatbox Ghost. This is another more recent addition to the mansion, but by no means a new member. That Hatbox Ghost was an inhabitant early in the Haunted Mansion’s history, but he disappeared from the ride not long after his debut. There was a long debate over where this ghost had gone, but the story rose so far into infamy that he was brought back to inhabit the mansion. Since his reappearance (much like his head in his hatbox), he’s become one of the most popular inhabitants of the mansion. He’s easily recognizable and can be seen on most Haunted Mansion merchandise. His redesign is also one of the most impressive parts of the ride. No one knew what we were missing until we got to see his head disappear from his body up close.
2. Constance Hatchaway. Constance was not an original member of the Haunted Mansion, but she’s certainly one of the most memorable now. With an entire section of the ride dedicated to the husbands she’s beheaded, she’s hard to miss. Constance replaced the original heartbeat bride; a bride who’s main feature was the red heart inside her chest. When Constance took her place, the room was filled with the riches Constance had obtained after her husbands had “tragically” died. Portraits of the room switch between her pictured with each husband, first with a head, then without. And if you still weren’t convinced who was responsible, she’ll show you her hatchet with an accompanying wedding vow that sounds much more sinister coming from her mouth. It’s the closest we get to a full story in the mansion. You can also catch a picture of an older Constance in the Stretching Room, sitting on the tombstone of one of her husbands. She’s undoubtedly the most terrifying member of the Happy Haunts.
1. Madame Leota. You knew this was coming. Madame Leota is often portrayed as the leader of the Happy Haunts, and it isn’t hard to see why. She’s by far the most knowledgeable of the members. Which makes sense because she’s a psychic medium. She conducts seances to help haunts materialize as she floats herself, and other pieces of furniture, around the room. Her story has changed over the years as well, and is often different depending on where you look. In Disneyland she was a clairvoyant and street magician in New Orleans Square, where the mansion is located, while in Magic Kingdom she was a witch that caused the Salem Witch Trials. In the comics she fell in love with Master Gracey, and is killed by him after playing a hand in his bride’s death. Her tombstone outside is also the most impressive of all of them, though it’s only featured in the Magic Kingdom in Florida. Hers has a face engraved onto it that can open and close it’s eyes. Madame Leota’s voice is easily recognizable, partly because it’s also the voice of Maleficent and Lady Tremaine. It’s a classic villain voice with just enough chill to it that you never doubt who’s in charge.
That’s my list! I hope you enjoyed this ranking of the most popular members of the 999 Happy Haunts. The Haunted Mansion has had it’s issues with storytelling. It was released without much of a story after a painstaking process to get the design of the mansion finalized. While story elements have been added, the backstories of the mansion and it’s inhabitants are constantly changing. Hopefully we’ll be able to explore more storylines and more haunts in the future. As of now, I just hope we get more information on the Hatbox Ghost!
Don’t do anything fun until I get back!