The Haunted Mansion also semi-officially known as Gracey Manor and sometimes given the address of 1313 Esplanade Street is the fictitious setting of the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland. The Magic Kingdom and Tokyo Disneyland's Haunted Mansions share a separate, alternate setting.
The Haunted Mansion is a white antebellum manor located on Esplanade Street in the city of New Orleans, where it overlooks the Mississippi River. The mansion has three-stories in-addition to a cupola at the top of the manor. Behind the mansion is an expansive cemetery, and throughout the grounds are large trees and plant-life.
The early years of the mansion are shrouded in mystery, though it was likely constructed in the latter half of the 18th century or early half of the 19th. According to some stories, the mansion's original owner was a sea captain who lived in the manor with his bride. While the circumstances of these two change on the telling if they ever were true residents at all, the stories always end with the two dying and becoming ghosts in the estate.
At some point, the mansion came into the ownership of a wealthy family (likely known as the Gracey family) who had at least 13 members. The family's patriarch was one, "Grandpa Marc" who died and was buried in the family plot. It is believed (though disputed) that the master of the house was one Master Gracey, a handsome aristocrat in the family who harbored a dark-side. All the members of this family would face sudden and violent deaths, leading to them being buried in the family-plot outside the manor.
A variety of different characters had mysterious connections to the Haunted Mansion's history throughout the 19th century. Most notable amongst these was a Romani clairvoyant named Madame Leota who took her vardo to the estate. Leota's ghost haunted a séance chamber in the mansion, where her spirit incarnated within a crystal ball. A figure related to the madame was one Little Leota, a presumed relative (most frequently identified as her daughter) whom posthumously became the mansion's, "Ghostess". Little Leota's male counterpart was a deformed murderer known as the Hatchet Man who would commit suicide in the manor's cupola and subsequently become the mansions, "Ghost Host".
At some point in time, these spirits would work to run the Haunted Mansion as a sort of retirement home for spirits. Guests of the manor were brought in from all over the world via the Ghost Relations Department. Notable agents for the manor came in the form of Ezra, Gus and Phineas AKA The Hitchhiking Ghosts, three spirits who haunted mortals until they returned to the manor to become residents. Madame Leota herself would work to materialize the spirits who came within the mansion's happy haunting grounds.
By the year 1877, the manor came under the ownership of one George Hightower, a wealthy man from Newport Beach, California. Between 1875 and 1877, George moved into the manor with his bride-to-be Constance Hatchaway, a woman from Money County, California. Unknown to George, Constance was a serial-killer who targeted wealthy men to kill with an axe and keep the severed heads of within hatboxes as trophies. Constance's activity was accompanied by a mysterious man who maintained some possession over the heads of Constance's victims.
Constance would stash away the mementos of her life of crime in the Haunted Mansion's attic, seemingly resulting in the attic being haunted by her four late-husband (if not others). Following her marriage to George, Constance murdered the aristocrat with an axe to the skull and inherited his estate. The hatbox man would also die via decapitation with his own head being stuffed within a hatbox (Constance's modus operandi) and him going on to become the "Hatbox Ghost" who haunted the mansion.
Constance herself lived comfortably into her old age and evaded the law. The Black Widow Bride ultimately died of unknown circumstances in 1927 at the age of 76. Constance's murderous spirit would inhabit the attic of the manor. The mansion would garner a reputation amongst locals as being haunted and as hosting hundreds of spirits within. Around the holiday seasons, the manor would host Jack Skellington and his residents of the realm Halloween Town who assisted the undead residents in celebrating the holiday seasons.
By 1935, the mansion came into the ownership of the Johnson family. The Johnsons were frequently terrorized by the many spirits within the manor. During the holiday seasons, the Johnsons were also terrorized by Jack Skellington and his pet ghost-dog, Zero. Around September 22, 1936, the Johnson family abandoned the mansion and reported on its haunting to the First International News, history's first internationally printed newspaper. The manor was later resold for a fraction of its original price due to the supernatural aura and stories surrounding the manor.
Following this event in the 20th-21st century, the Haunted Mansion came to hold 999 happy haunts from all over the world. Manor officials such as the Ghost Host would work to try and increase the numbers as much as possible, as the manor always has room for a thousand. The manor's exterior would be taken care of by one Silas Crump, the estate's caretaker, who was often accompanies by his pet dog. At some point, the manor became a sort of connection between Earth and "The Spirit World", the domain of spirits which did not oblige the laws of the mortal world.
Points of interest
- Cemetery: The cemetery is an expansive burial-ground behind the Haunted Mansion. This cemetery was densely wooded and contained a small forest, hills, and mud-pits. Many of the tombs within the cemetery were likely brought in posthumously, as it included the likes of an Ancient Egyptian tomb and tombstones dating back as far as 1506, centuries before New Orleans' founding.
- Crypts: The crypts were a pair of crypts located under the surface-level of the manor's grounds and which were accessed by a staircase adjacent to the family-plot. The names on the crypts were all macabre plays on words with the names including: Asher T. Ashes, Clare Voince, Dustin T. Dust, Hail N. Hardy, Hap A. Rition, I. Emma Spook, I. M. Ready, I. Trudy Dew, Love U. Trudy, Metta Fisiks, Paul Tergyst, Ray. N. Carnation, Rusty Gates, U. R. Gone, Be a Witch, C. U. Later, G. I. Missyou, Hal Lusinashun, I. L. Beback, I. M. Mortal, I. Trudy Departed, Levi Tation, Manny Festation, M. T. Tomb, Rustin Peece, Theo Later, and Wee G. Bord. There is also a door in these crypts which connects to the Haunted Mansion's secret entrance passageway.
- Family Plot: The family-plot or berm cemetery was a private graveyard on the side of the mansion facing the New Orleans Square entrance. The plot itself was located overtop of the crypts and was used to hold the tombs of the family which previously owned the mansion; most often identified as, "The Gracey family".
- Gardens: The gardens were located near the gate entrance to the Haunted Mansion which faced New Orleans Square. In the gardens were a variety of statues, griffins, a marble bust depicting Michelangelo's The David, and mechanical pillars of unknown origin.
- Mausoleum: The Mausoleum is a large, flooded crypt on the side of the mansion which is opposite to New Orleans Square. The mausoleum has two known entrances, with one being inside the cemetery and the other being in New Orleans, outside the mansion's grounds.
- Pet Cemetery: The Pet Cemetery was a pair of burial-grounds in the front of the mansion which were used by a variety of unknown parties to bury animals. A less occupied plot for the Pet Cemetery was located to the side of the mansion, having most notable contained a crypt dedicated to one, "Penny the Elephant".
- Foyer: The foyer was a chamber at the front of the house resembling a funeral-parlor.
- Grand Hall: The Grand Hall was a large ballroom located on the first floor but which had a ceiling going up to the second. The hall had a pair of large doors exiting into the outside of the mansion, along with several windows on the second floor. Within the ballroom was a grand chandelier, dancing floor, large fireplace, portraits depicting a pair of gentlemen, and a pipe-organ.
- Portrait Corridor: The portrait corridor was a winding hallway decorated with marble-busts, the statue of a one-eyed cat and portraits of The Flying Dutchman, Sir Edward "The Black Prince" of Woodstock, Medusa, Master Gracey and a were-cat. Many of these portraits were parallel to a variety of windows overlooking the manor's glade.
- Portrait Gallery: The Portrait Gallery or, as it is better known, "The Stretching Room" is an octagonal chamber connecting to the foyer and located directly underneath of the cupola. A portrait gallery, the chamber contained four portraits depicting some of the manor's residents as they appeared in their corruptible, mortal states. Said portraits depicted the likes of the tightrope-walker Sally Slater, the official Alexander Nitrokoff, an aged Constance Hatchaway, and four men who suffocated in quicksand. The chamber was illuminated with eight metal gargoyles which held candles and two standing by each painting.
- Secret Entrance: The secret-entrance was a passage connecting the portrait corridor with the crypts in the manor's front.
- Stairway: The stairway was a chamber connecting to the portrait corridor which largely deteriorated into a dark limbo as a result of the mansion's connections to the spirit world.
- Veranda: The first floor of the Haunted Mansion had a veranda wrapping around the circumference of the manor.
- Alcove: The alcove was a room accessed from the ballroom via the stairway opposite to the balcony. This room served as a small library but was usually shut off from view of mortal guests.
- Balcony: The second floor of the manor had an expansive balcony going around much if not all the mansion's exterior.
- Conservatory: The conservatory was a greenhouse located on the second floor and which presumably overlooked the cemetery given how it is not visible from the front of the manor. The conservatory was used to hold an ebony black coffin that contained an undead prisoner of the manor.
- Corridor of Doors: The corridor of doors was a twisting series of hallways decorated with a distinctive purple/black wallpaper which depicted eyes and faces watching those within. The corridors were filled with a variety of rooms of unknown origin, but which seemingly housed individual spirits in the manor. Decorating the corridor were photographs of corpse-faces, a portrait of the Ghost Host, a cross-stitch reading, "Tomb Sweet Tomb", and a black grandfather clock with 13 hours and a demonic appearance.
- Grand Hall Balcony: This was a second-floor balcony which overlooked the Grand Hall of the Haunted Mansion. The walkway connected to Madame Leota's chamber and the entrance to the manor's attic.
- Endless Hallway: The endless hallway was a seemingly infinite hall with red wallpaper that connected to a countless number of rooms in the manor with an undead ending. The landing for this hallway was near the corridor of doors and contained a suit of armor and armchair resembling an anthropomorphic face.
- Séance Chamber: The Séance Chamber was a dark room used by Madame Leota to conduct her spells. The chamber contained many objects used by Madame Leota for her occult rituals.
Attic & Cupola
- Balcony: The balcony was a small balcony in a state of disrepair which overlooked the cemetery.
- Cupola: The cupola is a hexagonal structure with six windows and a weather vane in the likeness of a sailing-ship. The cupola was used by the Hatchet Man to commit suicide, leaving his skeletal corpse in the room when he became the Ghost Host.
- Storage Room: The majority of the attic-space was taken up by the storage room. This room was used by Constance Hatchaway as her dwelling and to stash away the mementos of her life of crime.
- Hatbox Ghost's room: This chamber seemingly was used to house the Hatbox Ghost and was adjacent to the balcony, but not part of the storage room.
An article from a 1936 issue of the "First International News" newspaper details how the Johnson family encountered ghosts in the manor. This same newspaper mentions League of Adventurers member Cooter Carter engineering a safe rope transport system through Mount Hua.
In Disneyland's Club 33 is a booth decorated with a portrait of the mansion.
The Ghost Post
The Haunted Mansion
The Haunted Mansion's setting is this manor in the Disneyland version of the attraction.
The manor is passed by on Disneyland's Rivers of America, following the "Down in New Orleans" scene while passing New Orleans Square. The captain of the riverboat makes comments about the urban-legends surrounding the Haunted Mansion and how it is reportedly inhabited by 999 spirits.
The manor is reimagined as the setting for this film, where it is located in the New Orleans bayou and officially referred to as Gracey Manor.
In this special, Gonzo is challenged to spend Halloween night in the Haunted Mansion.
There were several appearances of and references to the Haunted Mansion in this show. The most consistent was a crate in the basement of the House of Mouse containing many of the ghosts from the mansion. It appeared in the episode "Pete's House of Villains" during an ad for, "The 7 Deadly Sinners" where the hitchhiking ghosts stood outside the mansion as ticket-scalpers. Many features of the mansion were included in the episode "House Ghosts" featuring the Hitchhiking Ghosts, the Lonesome Ghosts, the Hatbox Ghost, the Skeletons from The Skeleton Dance(1929), the Executioner, and the Bride when Pete lets them lose on the club by trying to frighten everyone away. However, his plan failed miserably and they scared him away instead.
The Haunted Mansion was the setting for Disney Kingdoms: The Haunted Mansion. Here, only four of the ghosts within the mansion actually died there: Madame Leota, Captain Gore, Constance Hatchaway, and the Hatbox Ghost. The Ghost Host's corpse appears, however he is never shown to be undead. The mansion is also revealed to have an endless staircase connecting to supernatural locations across the globe including Ravenswood Manor, the Hollywood Tower Hotel, the Museum of the Weird, the Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion and Rainbow Ridge.
The Legend of Gracey Manor
This story was created as a backstory for the 2003 film's Haunted Mansion.
The mansion's interior is the setting for the Haunted Mansion levels in this game.
The Haunted Mansion is the setting for all three Haunted Mansion mini-games in this video-game. The story has players stuck within the mansion after disrupting one of Madame Leota's spells. Following this, players have to fight Madame Leota, the knight and Constance Hatchaway to escape. Behind the mansion, guests can find the singing busts and conduct them.
- Disney Legend Collin Campbell's artwork for the Haunted Mansion listed the cemetery behind the manor as having the name, "The Whispering Glade Cemetery". The Tales from the Haunted Mansion books identified the same plot as being called, "The Eternal Grace Cemetery".
- The manor's former owner George Hightower shares his surname with Harrison Hightower III, a character from Tower of Terror who was the original owner of the Hotel Hightower.
- The climax for the Princess and the Frog (2009) takes place in a New Orleans cemetery, which contains the tombstone of Madame Leota. Because of this, it has been theorized that this cemetery was in-fact the cemetery located behind the Haunted Mansion; furthermore asserting that Dr. Facilier's tomb is on the manor's grounds.
- The mansion was once planned by Rolly Crump to have an expansion in the form of the "Museum of the Weird". This was referenced in the original, "Ghost Relations Department" add for the manor with the name the "Museum of the Supernatural". Many elements from the unbuilt expansion were integrated into the final versions of the Haunted Mansion.
- The museum is referenced as a location affiliated with the Discovery Bay character of Jason Chandler in the queue for the Magic Kingdom's Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Chandler mentions the museum being run by one Madame Zarkov (a character from the Adventurers Club) whom he consulted on the supernatural state of Big Thunder Mountain.
- An unbuilt expansion for the mansion would have added the tomb of historic pirate Jean Lafitte into the manor's front grounds. This tomb would connect to a series of catacombs located underneath of the mansion which held the remains of Lafitte's crew and which would connect to Tom Sawyer Island. A remnant of this is a walled up crypt in New Orleans Square with the year, "1764" written on it.
- The pipe-organ in the Grand Hall is a repurposed prop from the film 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954) where it was a pipe-organ used on the Nautilus by Captain Nemo.
- During Haunted Mansion Holiday, the tombstone of Sparky from Frankenweenie is located in the pet cemetery.
- The address of 1313 Esplanade Street which is sometimes attributed to the mansion's location has several hidden meanings. The motif of the "Unlucky number 13" is used throughout the mansion, but also Disneyland's address is 1313 Disneyland Drive. The address of 1313 is used for Disneyland due to it being the numerical conversion code for "MM", the initials of Mickey Mouse.
- In Disney Kingdoms: The Haunted Mansion, the manor is shown to connect to paranormal locations across the world such as Rainbow Ridge, the Hollywood Tower Hotel, Ravenswood Manor, the Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion and the Museum of the Weird.
- Nautical paraphernalia such as a spyglass and a barometer used to decorate the outside of the mansion is a reference to the story of Captain Gore.
- The sundial outside the mansion has the inscription, "Grow old along with me, the best is yet to be". This is a quote from Robert Browning's poem Rabbi Ben Ezra (1864).
- In Walt Disney World's mansion, Mr. Toad from The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad (1949) is identified as an undead resident of the manor. While it is unknown if this is also true for Disneyland's continuity, Disneyland's 40th anniversary event for the Haunted Mansion, "Room for 1 More" referenced Toad as a resident of the mansion.
- In Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, artifacts from the fortress of Tom Sawyer Island are located in Constance's attic. The most notable of these objects is a portrait of George Washington.
- Deleted scripts for the Haunted Mansion included numerous notable spirits from history and pop-culture. Unused residents included the likes of the Headless Horseman, Captain Hook, Quasimodo, the Lonesome Ghosts, Grigori Rasputin, Bartholomew Roberts, Anne Bonny, Blackbeard, Dorian Gray, Lucrezia Borgia, King Tutankhamen, Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Ivan the Terrible, Daphne, Frankenstein's monster, and Jacob Marley.