- “Ah, there you are and just in time. There's a little matter I forgot to mention: beware of hitchhiking ghosts! ...Ha ha ha ha ha haaa. They have selected you to fill our quota and they'll haunt until you return. Now I will raise the safety bar, and a ghost will follow you home. Ha ha ha ha ha ha haaa.”
- ―The Ghost Host[src]
- 1 History
- 2 Appearances
- 3 Other Appearances
- 3.1 Film
- 3.2 Television
- 3.3 Printed Materials
- 3.4 Video-Games
- 4 Trivia
- 5 Gallery
The Hitchhiking Ghosts are three resident spirits of the Haunted Mansion known as Phineas AKA The Traveler, Ezra AKA The Skeleton, and Gus AKA The Prisoner. As hitchhiking ghosts they use their ghostly powers to haunt mortals that cross paths with the mansion, working to fill up a quota from mansion officials.
The three got their semi-official names from a cast-member created backstory for the mansion called The Ghost Gallery. Since the story's creation, the names have been frequently affiliated with the trio in merchandise and the ride itself.
In 2011, Walt Disney World began further characterizing the trio in the attraction. Phineas' character was inspired by John Candy and Chris Farley, Ezra was inspired by John Cleese, Jim Carrey and Michael Keaton, while Gus was inspired by Christopher Lloyd's character from the sitcom Taxi.
The Haunted Mansion
The Hitchhiking Ghosts are the, "Poster Ghosts" for the Haunted Mansion, appearing in most promotional materials and posters for the ride.
In all versions of the ride (except Phantom Manor and Mystic Manor), the trio appear in the exit crypt to haunt guests as they leave the mansion as the Ghost Host explains their nature. Each of the ghosts appear alongside the guests in mirrors showing their Doom Buggies. In the Disneyland and Tokyo Disneyland versions of the attraction this is achieved with a semi-transparent mirror that has doom-buggies with Hitchhiker AA figures on the other side. In the Magic Kingdom this was replaced with a dated CGI effect in 2011 that did allow them to move more freely at the expense of the figures' visibility, and the effect no-longer looking convincing.
Gus is the only one of them to consistently make an additional appearance in the ride, being found in the graveyard alongside the Executioner and the Beheaded Knight. In Walt Disney World, the three have tombstones visible outside of the Haunted Mansion.
In the first couple years of Haunted Mansion Holiday, the trio could be visible from a window in the distance which Lock, Shock and Barrel were peering through. They are also mentioned attempting to hitchhike a ride in Jack's sleigh but being denied.
In Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, they have their own spell card called "The Haunted Mansion's Happy Haunting Grounds". It was only available to guests that attended Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party in the fall of 2013.
They rarely appear as face characters, only appearing during events such as the ride's 40th Anniversary.
In the made-for-DVD compilation movie Mickey's House of Villains, they are freed from a crate by Cruella De Vil and join the villains in the song It's Our House Now! as they take over the House of Mouse. Aside from scaring the guests, they do not appear to be doing anything bad and are just happy to scare the guests.
The hitchhiking ghosts make a cameo appearance in the graveyard scene of this film. Phineas and Gus later hitch a ride in the hearse of Jim Evers before annoyingly bantering about whether or not Jim can see them, a gag on their invisible nature from the original ride but of unclear reference without knowledge of the source material.
The ghosts appear in several episodes of this show. They were shown when Pete told Mickey that the club was "deader than the Haunted Mansion". At the end of the advertisement for "The 7 Deadly Singers", a warning tells the audience to "Beware of ticket scalping ghosts.".
The ghosts' most noticeably in the episode "House Ghosts", where they are freed from a crate by Pete and sing "Grim Grinning Ghosts" along with other residents of The Haunted Mansion such as the Bride, the Executioner, and the Hatbox Ghost, as well as the Lonesome Ghosts and the Skeletons from The Skeleton Dance. During the number, they scare Pete out of the club.
Disney XD Shorts
Followed Home from the Mansion
Phineas appears in this short, haunting a child who was followed home from the Haunted Mansion.
The Ghost Gallery
The Ghost Gallery was an unofficial series of Haunted Mansion character biographies created by Disney World cast members in an effort to add more mythos to the attraction. This story proved so popular that it was responsible for inspiring the plot of the SLG Comics and created the hitchhikers' official names, those being Phineas, Ezra, and Gus.
Professor Phineas Queeg was a discredited chemist turned snake-oil peddler who was committed to the New Salem Insane Asylum after having sold a "miracle elixir" which caused the voice of the one who drank it to raise an octave. Phineas wound up escaping with Ezra and Gus and they hitchhiked away together. The professor died from lead poisoning after he cut his lip on one of his elixir bottles.
The Ghost Gallery's backstory for Ezra the skeletal hitchhiker is considered inappropriate and features mature implications that gives his character perverted characteristics, and the story features misogynistic weight-shaming. In the backstory, Ezra Dobbins was a disgusting criminal who enjoyed stalking overweight women, breaking into their homes and watching them as they changed. After having been arrested for breaking into the boudoir of the mayor's ample daughter was sent to the New Salem Insane Asylum because the judge and jury believed he must be insane due to his interest in overweight women. Ezra wound up dying while peeping on the "Fat Lady" of a circus when she accidentally sat on him.
Gus Gracey was a genetic dwarf from Ohio who, as a child, killed his family pets and attempted to murder his siblings on several occasions. His parents ultimately had him institutionalized in the New Salem Insane Asylum but he eventually grew up and wound up hunting down his parents and subsequently murdered them. Gus then shipped himself inside of a crate to his cousin George Gracey's mansion in an effort to kill him, only to be imprisoned in one of the mansion's secret rooms. When the mansion was inherited by George's son Master Gracey, Gracey had his clairvoyant Madame Leota place a curse on Gus to imprison him on the mansion's grounds. Gus wound up dying while trying to throw his ball and chain at a cat sitting by a well, resulting in Gus' iron ball falling down the well, killing him.
They appear in the main story as well as all of the bonus and side stories. They never say anything but attempt to hitchhike. They succeed at one point but scare the cab driver, killing him, and wind up back at the mansion with the cab driver joining them as a new resident. Each ghost got a side-story telling of their lives before they came to the Mansion.
Gus was a Shepard who only wanted to get some sleep but everywhere he went had bad luck until he was arrested in Port Royal until he died and found his way to the mansion. He soon wants to leave since the other ghosts parties keep him awake and join Ezra and Phineas.
Ezra Gasser was a prankster since childhood that ran a successful practical joke business when he got older. Seeking out new jokes to help his business, he discovered Chinese finger traps from a mysterious salesman but found himself unable to free himself. He laughed himself to death and was then invited to the Mansion. However, his pranks made the other ghosts angry, resulting in him joining Phineas and Gus.
Phineas Q. Hackenbush was a snake-oil salesman that was chased by an angry mob given snake tongues by his "miracle cure" product off a cliff. After being invited to the Mansion, he kept his business going, but when Madame Leota reminded everyone that they were already dead, and he was chased out, joining Gus and Ezra.
The Hitchhiking Ghosts are also featured, in a more minor role, in the five-issue Disney Kingdoms tale. They take part in the various parties thrown by the ghosts and are also briefly turned into monsters by the Captain. At the end of the story, they can be seen waving goodbye to Danny Crowe, the protagonist.
The Hitchhiking Ghosts are the main enemies for the Haunted Mansion levels of this video-game, being summoned by Madame Leota to fight the player. They also appear in cut-scenes, first warning the player not to enter the mansion and later trying to hitchhike with them as they leave.
All three of the ghosts are playable characters in Disney Crossy Road where they are named Ezra Beane, Prof. Phineas Plump and Gus. While playing as the Doom Buggy, they will appear as NPCs who attempts to hitchhike a ride with the player.
- In Walt Disney World, Phineas and Ezra have hidden details in their luggage. Ezra has a brief-case which is covered in travel-stickers for Florida, Hong Kong, and 13 Anaheim (referencing different Disney Parks). Phineas has an open travel case containing a candelabra, urn, bust of Charles Dickens, and portrait of Cousin Maude from the Dread Family busts in the ride's queue.
- The Tokyo Disneyland version of Star Tours: The Adventures Continue features three Audio-Animatronic droids (one being a former RX-24 from the original Star Tours) positioned near the end of the queue in a manner similar to the Hitchhiking Ghosts.
- Phineas the traveler has been misidentified in merchandise on two separate occasions. One piece of merchandise identified him as Brother Dave from the family-plot while another one identified him as Phineas Pock, a name frequently used in the mansion (most notably for the singing bust Phineas P. Pock).
- In Phantom Manor their niche was filled in by the Phantom and later Mélanie Ravenswood in a 2018 refurbishment. There is a ticket-seller in Phantom Canyon who shares the, "Leering Head" mould which Ezra has, resulting in the character being nicknamed Ezra as-well.
- Gus appears to be inspired by Jacob Marley from the Christmas Carol.
- The 2003 film has a separate character named Ezra.