Welcome, Foolish Mortals!
In my last Haunted Mansion article, I talked about the 5 Things You Didn't Know About Disney World's Haunted Mansion and I seemed to have blown some minds with my Haunted Mansion Facts. With that said, I'm going to continue blowing some more minds with The Backstory You Never Knew To Disney World's Haunted Mansion!
You can check out my last Haunted Mansion article by clicking here!
There are many different versions of backstories/fan theories created for the Haunted Mansion in Disney World that have been thought up from park guests and Disney Cast Members. Each story is different, but incorporates props and characters from the entire ride. Therefore, there is no definite story that opened with the ride, however all of these theories still intrigue park guests to this day.
The Death Of The 7th Wife
One of the most popular backstories of all time involves Master Gracey's 7th Bride-to-be.
Master Gracey had been married 6 times previously, but all of his wives had died. He met and proposed to his 7th wife. She was a bit of a prankster who dabbled in the occult, and she wanted to play a trick on Master Gracey on their wedding night. While in her wedding gown, she snuck up to the attic and hid in a large trunk that was up there. Unfortunately, the trunk locked, and nobody heard her cries for help. She suffocated, and then died. Master Gracey was beside himself with grief. He had his wife's body placed in a horse drawn carriage to be brought to the cemetery. As Master Gracey held his wife's hand for what was going to be the last time, something spooked the horse, and it bolted. Her wedding ring fell and was stomped into the pavement by one of the horses hooves. The next day, the carriage was found outside the cemetery, but the horse, driver, and corpse were nowhere to be found. This was the last straw for Master Gracey. He was so grief stricken, he went back to the mansion, and hung himself.
This story incorporates many set props and pieces throughout the ride. A pretty gruesome wedding story, I must say.
Madame Leota's Curse
R.C. Loveland was a former Walt Disney World Cast Member who worked at the Haunted Mansion attraction. This was the backstory that he was told by his fellow Cast Members:
As for the biographies, here's the basic story: Master Gracey had the Mansion built on a hillside for he and his bride (the one in the attic). Madame Leota was a medium who wanted Gracy badly, but he loved his bride more. Leota cursed the house and Gracey. They didn't die right away. There were quite a few other things that happened before Gracey and Leota died. I don't remember the exact way she died, whether she was murdered or not, but her body was pulled from the river, having shrunk to the size of a doll (which is our explanation for Little Leota). The Mansion was cursed so everyone generally met nasty ends, and the spirits tended to stay there. The raven was Leota's pet. There is no apparent record of its actual death. Maybe it was never alive.
What makes the Haunted Mansion so intriguing is that there is no official backstory. Walt's vision was to bring a haunted house to life with special effects and musical numbers. However, there are different characters that make you wonder what their story is.
Lillian The Tightrope Walker
This image of Lillian The Tightrope Walker can be found in the room of stretching portraits upon first entering the attraction. This room takes you to your doom buggy.
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.
These are only a few of the fan theories and stories created by the fans and Cast Members.
It's so cool how to this day, fans have continued creating different theories that have allowed their imaginations to wander.
Since the grand opening in 1971, it is still one of the most visited and talked about Disney attractions. Because it has no official backstory, it allows your mind to wonder and will make you want to ride it over and over again. This is why I believe the Haunted Mansion is one of the most popular attractions in Disney history.
Each time you board your doom buggy, you see things you haven't noticed before and you come off the attraction with different thoughts and questions. It'll leave you going back every time and dying for more.