GBHorror2017: Why The Hatbox Ghost Is Legendary


Welcome back to another GeekBeerz Horror 2017 post! For this next one, perhaps you will learn a little something today, assuming you’re not one to obsess over Disney’s classic attractions. Today we will be discussing one of Disney’s most infamous animatronic characters: the Hatbox Ghost.


History Of The Hatbox Ghost:

The classic attraction known as “The Haunted Mansion” first opened to Disney land attendees on August 9th of 1969. It was a comical and creepy addition to the fantasy-like amusement park which included many amazing advancements in animatronic and visual technology at the time of its opening. Many of these iconic displays involves memorial moments such as the ghosts projected in a realistic manner in the grand hall, and the stretching of the octogonal rooms guests enter in (which of course are actually elevators which descend the audience). Of course many of the ghosts seen are expertly done as well, whether projected of practical but one ghost in particular failed to appease it’s audience with a less than foolproof trick.

Park employees were given a chance to tour the Haunted Mansion the first two days before the attractions initial opening, The Hatbox Ghost was already installed prior to this. It became obvious to these emplyees that the illusion of which the ghost was attempting to use wasn’t working due to lightning within the area (which the ghost was displayed in the attic scene, which contains ambient light). No matter what they tried to fix it, it just wasn’t working the way they hoped. Sadly this ghost was then decommissioned months after opening day.

Fortunately, due to fan interest and advancements in modern technology, the Hatbox Ghost officially returned in 2015 to the ride! This time it was a newer animatronic which greatly resembled the original and pulled off it’s trick expertly.



The Trick Of The Hatbox Ghost:

The original trick of the Hatbox Ghost involved having his head disappear from his shoulders and reappear within the hatbox he carried. This was done with using light tricks which shut off to give the illusion of his head disappearing in the darkness. But again due to the light already present within the attic room, the head on his shoulders would not properly disappear and would still have light shine off of it. The light typically came from the buggies that the audience sat in, when they would get close to the animatronic the false nature of its trickery became obvious. It is also worth mentioning that this ghost resided among another ghostly figure of a bride with a beating heart effect. Perhaps lighting and attention towards this ghost factored in the failure of the Hatbox Ghost as well.



The Legacy Of The Hatbox Ghost:

This ghoulish figure has become kind of a classic sensation among the fans, so much so that the ghost returned in 2015 meaning the big mouse heard our pleas. There have been a number of moments regarding this ghost. There was a life-size statue replica made of the ghost in its exact likeness for the D23 expo during the rides 40th anniversary which auctioned for $9,400. There have been some pretty fun fan made creepypasta tales about the ghost, many of which revolve around the mystery of where the discarded original animatronic went. And even Guillermo Del Toro wants this ghost to have a pivotal role in his adaptation of the Haunted Mansion (please come out before I die!).

Considering Disney’s persistence of keeping this imagery for this particular ghost around for all these years means that even Disney didn’t want this ghost to disappear forever. We’re glad to see this spooky guy back again right where he belongs. I hope now you at least understand a little bit of why this ghost is somewhat legendary.



Thanks for reading, check back again tomorrow at 1:00 pm for yet another ghostly post…

About ToppleTomr

An artist and a definite gamer, one of the original GeekBeerz members. When I'm not gaming I'm usually drawing or sketching characters and ideas. I have a strange set of interests which include horror games/films, Pokemon, Star Wars, super hero comics, and writing short stories.

Posted on October 3, 2017, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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