Bluebeard is a fairy-tale character appearing in the Haunted Mansion.
Bluebeard was a man who died in 1440, having married seven wives in his life. Knowing his story, he murdered his first six brides and stuffed their corpses within a locked-off room in his home. His seventh bride, Lucretia however would murder him before he had the chance to kill her.
Bluebeard and (at-least six) of his seven brides were laid to rest in a crypt in the Haunted Mansion. By unknown means, this tomb came to be found in the Haunted Mansion in New York. It is unknown how, why or when this occurred as it is assumed Bluebeard lived in Europe.
Bluebeard originates from the French fairy-tale Le Barbe Bleu written/recorded by Charles Perrault (better known for stories like Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood). The fairy-tale regarded an unnamed woman who married an ogre-like aristocrat with a dark blue beard and moved in with him in his, "Fairy castle".
After he left she went into the one forbidden room of the house where she found the corpses of his six prior brides. When Bluebeard discovered this, he informed her that they died for entering the forbidden room and that she must die as-well. However, the maiden's sister Anne and her two brothers saved her by invading the manor to kill Bluebeard.
Bluebeard is notable in relation to the Haunted Mansion as he served as the inspiration behind the story of Captain Gore, an unused character featured prominently in the development of the Haunted Mansion. Gore himself would go on to be the inspiration behind the Mariner and elements of Constance Hatchaway in the final attraction.
Two additional references to Bluebeard were planned for the Disney Parks. The first was developed by imagineer Herb Ryman earlier on into Disneyland's development when Adventureland was planned to have held a New Orleans Square style pirate criminal-underworld area with a black-market shop called Bluebeard's Den. Concept art for this area was created by Ryman in 1954.
Decades later in the 1990s, Bluebeard was planned to have made an additional appearance in the Tokyo Disneyland version of the Haunted mansion. As shown by Marc Davis concept-art, this mansion would have featured a, "Burial Crypt of Famous Villains" where his crypt would have been seen marked with his name and a carving of a beard. His tomb would have been alongside those dedicated to Medusa, Jack the Ripper, Dracula, Nero and Attila the Hun. Medusa, Dracula and Jack the Ripper would have been the only other characters to have appeared in the Haunted Mansion albeit as members of the Sinister 11 portraits of which Bluebeard was not a member.
The Haunted Mansion
Bluebeard and his wives' crypt appears outside of the Haunted Mansion in Walt Disney World. The crypt reads as, "1440 Bluebeard; Here lyeth his seven loving wives; Seven winsome Wives, some fat some thin. Six of them were faithful but the seventh did him in.". It notably appears for photo-opportunities.
The Ghost Gallery
In the 1990s, cast-members of the Haunted Mansion in Walt Disney World created a backstory for the attraction as a means of answering guest questions. All of this backstory was recorded on paper and while unofficial, has since influenced both the original Haunted Mansion's official and semi-official features as-well as adaptations based on the Haunted Mansion.
In this story, Bluebeard was a 15th century pirate whose crypt was taken by the pirates Francis Xavier and Martin "Whitebeard" who were admirers of his. The crypt was placed outside of the mansion due to the manor having functioned as a pirate's lair at the time and following Whitebeard and Xavier's deaths they would often spend time with Bluebeard's ghost.
- Bluebeard dying in 1440 seems to be a reference to the historic Gilles de Rais who is sometimes believed to be the inspiration behind Bluebeard and who also died in 1440. Gilles was a contemporary of Joan of Arc who was supposedly a serial-killer and would be executed by hanging for alleged devil-worshiping, alchemy, witchcraft and the murders of children.
- It should be noted however that it is widely believed amongst historians that Gilles de Rais was innocent and that the allegations against him were fabricated by his rivals, the catholic church and his in-laws as a means of claiming his wealth for their own with them having disdained Gilles due to his frequent supporting of the common-folk, anti-war sentiments, non-church owned cathedrals and apparent same-sex relationships.
- Despite being a traditionally French character, the Bluebeard crypt's epitaph seems to be written in Old English.
- Bluebeard being a pirate in the Ghost Gallery and in Pirates of the Caribbean's development is likely a result of his name sounding similar to that of historic pirate Blackbeard.
- In the original fairy-tale, Bluebeard is referred to as an ogre. In the Haunted Mansion, one of the Sinister 11 portraits is referred to as, "The Ogre" while having originally been designed to represent Grigori Rasputin (1869-1916).