There are lots of characters in the Haunted Mansion…999, actually! Here are the backstories and some theories of some of the most famous happy haunts.

The Ghost Host

The Ghost Host is the narrator and tour guide for guests of the Haunted Mansion. There is no official animatronic or character depicting him anywhere in the ride. His voice is disembodied like an ever-present, spiritual being. It has never been formally explained by Disney who the Ghost Host is. However, there are several theories.

Master Gracey: One of the theories is that the Ghost Host is Master Gracey from the 2003 Haunted Mansion film. He is the owner of the house. And in the movie, he is also the man who hangs himself. The stretching room dialogue suggests that the Ghost Host is the man hanging above the stretching room–as he says, “…which offers you this chilling challenge, to find a way out…of course, there’s always my way” before the hanging man appears. His name “Gracey” was inspired by Imagineer Yale Gracey, who was the mastermind behind many of the Haunted Mansion illusions. Wouldn’t it make sense that the “Father of Illusions” Yale Gracey’s alter ego was the one to showcase all his hard work to guests?

The Raven: The Raven animatronic can be found in several locations throughout the ride. He was originally planned to be the narrator of the attraction before the omnimovers (doom buggies) were invented, making a disembodied ghost narrator possible instead. The Raven can be found in the first couple scenes (the hallway with the man trying to escape his coffin, Madame Leota’s seance), but then disappears when the Ghost Host leaves to party with everyone else. Then the Raven reappears when the Ghost Host returns just before warning guests about the hitchhiking ghosts. This theory is also flawed since the Raven is not seen in the stretching room when riders are introduced to the Ghost Host.

The Piano Player: Another character who seems to disappear and reappear throughout the attraction is the piano player. We first see him in the ballroom scene, just after the Ghost Host says the party is expecting him and he’ll see us all later. Then we see the shadow of a piano player in the attic before we see Constance. In both of these scenes the Ghost Host is not narrating, possibly because he is busy playing piano for the party.

The Hatbox Ghost: The only evidence to support this theory is a quote from Guillermo del Toro, who was going to make a movie about the Haunted Mansion revolving around the Hatbox Ghost. He said, “There are several mansions around the world and he is the spider in the centre of the web of these mansions around the world…he will be a pivotal figure in the screenplay.”

Madame Leota

It is safe to assume that Madame Leota, despite being encased in a crystal ball, was once a living human. Just before entering the building at the Orlando Haunted Mansion attraction, on the left side, is her tombstone. But, how did she end up in a ball? She also doesn’t go to the light with all the other spirits at the end of the 2003 film. Was she maybe some sort of witch that was killed for her crimes of witchcraft? And then doomed to be a ball, for eternity? Is that a thing? But she is leading a seance. Living people usually do seances. So is she not completely dead? What’s with her, seriously? We don’t have all the answers here.

The Hatbox Ghost

Who was the Hatbox Ghost in waking life? We believe he was likely one of Constance Hatchaway’s suitors. She cuts off peoples’ heads and the Hatbox Ghost is missing his head. He also sits just outside her window.

But which of her murdered husbands could he be? Well, there are three of Constance’s husbands who wear top hats in their portraits: Frank Banks, Reginald Caine, and George Hightower III. So that narrows it down.

However, in the video game The Haunted Mansion: The Black Widow Bride, it is revealed that Frank Banks is the man trying to escape his coffin in one of the early scenes of the ride. So, he couldn’t have been decapitated like the Hatbox Ghost obviously was. So he’s not the Hatbox Ghost.

The portrait in the stretching room of the woman sitting on a tombstone actually depicts an older Constance Hatchaway perched on the gravestone of George Hightower III. There, you can see that George was not decapitated either, instead just hit in the head with an axe.

So that leaves us with Reginald Caine, who also walks with a cane like the Hatbox Ghost does. Reginald Caine was a railroad baron, gambler, and gourmand. But why does he hang out near Constance in the afterlife? Is it because he still loves her despite her murderous ways? Or is it a form of revenge? We may never know.

The Hitchhiking Ghosts

The Hitchhiking Ghosts are named Phineas, Gus, and Ezra. Phineas is the traveler with the large suitcase. Ezra is the tallest. And Gus is the escaped prisoner. Gus can also be found in the graveyard scene next to the Executioner, who would normally kill prisoners like him. Is Gus taunting the Executioner, since the Executioner no longer has power over him? Or maybe the Executioner helped Gus, a friend, escape the prison? We also wonder if the Hitchhiking Ghosts could have been inspired by the Lonesome Ghosts from the old Disney cartoons, as they share some similarities and they were part of some of the early concepts of the attraction.