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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Living and Dying In The Magic Kingdom: The Ghosts of Disneyland

Disneyland visitors expect to see “ghosts” when they line up to enter the Haunted Mansion. But there are many reports of spirits dwelling in other areas of the park as well. Disneyland is loaded with ghosts.
Ghost hunters claim that this is because so many people have either died while at the park or were former employees who died elsewhere but still haunt their favorite places. Some ghosts are adults, some are children. A few of the children died outside of Disneyland but their ashes were spread around the park by their families, so the spirits linger as post mortem guests.
Some ghosts appear so regularly that they have been given names, such as the Tuxedo Man, Hatbox Ghost, Disco Dolly, George, The Man With the Cane, and Mr. One Way.
We have gathered together here some of the stories circulating about the haunting of Disneyland. Enjoy, and Happy Halloween.
Main Street
Reports continue to be made that a ghost lives on the second floor of the Main Street Firehouse. Walt Disney had an apartment in that very place from the early days of Disneyland up until he died in 1966. One story is that an employee was dusting the apartment (after Walt’s death) and when finished, turned the lights out and went downstairs. Looking up, she noticed that the lights were still on. She returned and turned them off. After she reached the first floor, she saw that the lights were back on again. Taking her third trip up to the apartment, she heard a voice from an unknown source saying, “Don’t forget, I am still here.” It is said that employees now leave the lights on all the time as a tribute. Do you think Walt is still there?
The Christmas Shop is said to have a 19th Century portrait of a young woman hanging on the wall. Her pleasant facial expression transforms into a frown if the breeze changes near to her. But aren’t portraits with changing expressions used all over Disneyland?
The stockroom above “The Emporium” on Main Street is believed to be haunted as well. Employees have seen flashes of light and heard footsteps when no one is around.
The Haunted Mansion (naturally . . . uh we mean unnaturally)
At least three or four ghosts are believed to be permanent residents of the Haunted Mansion, and wander around New Orleans Square.
Even before Disneyland was built, a man piloting a small plane in the 1940’s crashed right where the Haunted Mansion excavation began in 1962. His ghost is said to have settled into the Mansion. He is referred to by employees as the “Man With the Cane” and often seen late at night after closing.
The ghost video below may not be the “Man With the Cane” but it was recorded (allegedly) on Disneyland security cameras near the mansion in New Orleans Square after park closure. The entity walks out of the Haunted Mansion, through the closed gates, and along the waterfront.

In the ride itself, more strange things unfold. During the walking portion of the attraction, some people have seen figures walk up to a portrait, stop, and then vanish before their eyes.
Some visitors have heard footsteps on the false floor behind the car loading area and have been touched on the face by unseen hands.
On “Grad Nights” in June, the Park is turned over to graduating high school seniors. One spirit is said to be that of a teenage boy who stepped out of the “Doombuggy” car in the “Séance Circle” on a grad night and fell fifteen feet to his death with a broken neck. Since then, strange sounds come from the walls along with very cold spots and occasional gusts of breeze. But isn’t that a feature of the ride?
The “Séance Circle” itself is thought to be haunted. A sound engineer setting up equipment in the area before the ride was opened to the public, heard music coming from behind a wall that had been completed. He thought that another workman had left a radio playing which had been accidently walled up. After several days, the music never ended and no announcer ever spoke. The source could never be found so additional insulation was added to diminish the sounds. But some think they still hear the music today.
The spirit called the “Tuxedo Man” (dressed in a tuxedo) appears near the end of the ride where he sporadically appears in the mirrors used to show you the “hitchhiking ghost” characters. Park personnel claim there is no character of the description as reported by visitors.
In the area where people disembark from the ride, attendants can look into a mirror mounted above them so see newly arriving cars behind them. Several attendants, who have since quit their job, have seen a man dressed in a tuxedo in the mirror but when they turn around, he is gone. He touched the shoulder of at least one employee, and pulled the hair of several guests. Some think he might be the ghost of a man who had a heart attack on the ride in August of 1970 and died instantly.
Also near the end of the ride, people have reported that the ghost of a small boy sits on the floor crying. Allegedly, the mother of a dead child wanted to spread his ashes in the ride. Disney officials declined her request. So she secretly scattered the boy’s ashes throughout the mansion. People interpret the crying as the boy not wanting his remains left in the ride.
Something very nasty is thought to reside in the attic just before you exit the building. Witnesses report that hair was pulled when no one was in view. Others have been touched on the back by a hand extending from and empty car.
The “Hatbox Ghost” is another named spirit in the Haunted Mansion. His character was an original man-made illusion; but it was removed in 1969 (the first year of the attraction). Many guests and employees believe that a ghost in the form of the original Hatbox Ghost stills walks through the attraction. The video below is an attempt to show that the spirit known as the “Hatbox Ghost” still wanders through the Haunted Mansion.

Pirates of the Caribbean and New Orleans Square
Another case of ashes being scattered around an attraction has resulted in the presence of a ghost of a small boy who died of cancer. This spirit is a happy, smiling one. During test runs of empty boats when visitors are not around, the boy’s lone ghost has been seen by maintenance personnel on security cameras.
A man called George was working to build the Pirates ride when he died by accident at the site during construction. He was allegedly hit by a beam. Many believe his ghost still resides within the underground areas. It is rumored that employees greet him at the start of their shift and bid him fair well at the end. If “George” is not respected, the ride will suspiciously shut down.
The “Disney Gallery” on the second level above the Pirates of the Caribbean is said to be haunted by the spirits of Walt, his wife Lillian, and a mysterious lady called just Mary.
Club 33, a private dining room near the entrance to the Blue Bayou Restaurant is also said to be haunted.
Tom Sawyer’s Island
Three boys have drowned in the Rivers of America. It is reported that ghosts of two of the boys still roam the island. They have been seen running across the suspension bridge that connects to the Pirates’ Lair. The ghost of a third boy was a result of his death by drowning in 1973 while trying to swim the river after missing the last raft from the island. They are only present when the park is closed.

Another ghost has been reported seen in the riggings of the sailing ship Columbia that circles Tom Sawyer’s Island.
Big Thunder Mountain Path
This pathway circles around behind the Big Thunder Mountain Railway ride. It connects Frontierland with Fantasyland. Sitting on a bench along the path, the ghost of an old man has been seen waiting and watching. Disneyland employees avoid this area at night.

The Matterhorn
The female ghost referred to as “Disco Dolly” is said to have haunted the Matterhorn ride for over 25 years. In 1984, Dolly Young, age 48, along with her children were riding the bobsleds. Worried about them, she undid her seat belt to check on them when the ride started a downward turn. Dolly was thrown from her seat and landed in the path of the following bobsled. She was crushed to death. Now she rides the Matterhorn continually.

Space Mountain
Another ghost has been nicknamed by the ride operators. This time a “Mr. OneWay” will appear to ride in the cars with empty seats. He vanishes before the ride ends however. During the early 1970’s, a man got out of a car during the early part of the ride. He tried to walk back to the starting point but was struck by another car or fell to his death. This is Mr. One Way who is also believed to hang out in the women’s locker room. He has been seen as a large man with red hair and a flushed face.

Tomorrowland People Mover (closed in 1995)
The People Mover was an elevated transit system where guests ride small open cars around Tomorrowland. In 1967, Ricky Lee Yama, age 17, of Hawthorne, CA, was playing a game that teenagers enjoyed. He jumped out of one moving car to switch to another, got caught in the pulling mechanism and was dragged under the car. He grabbed desperately at his girlfriend’s long blonde hair to save himself but failed. He was crushed to death by a ride that travels 2 miles per hour. Today, many girls with long blonde hair sometimes feel an unseen presence pull at their hair.
Menacing cold spots appear then vanish all over Tomorrowland. Below is very short video claimed by the photographer to be the ghost of Walt Disney hurrying through Tomorrowland at dark. 

It’s A Small World
This gentle little ride has three ghosts. They are all former park workers who have died. They loved the attraction and their ghosts continue to hang around. Lights turn themselves on and off, and the dolls have moved without power.

Peter Pan’s Flight
There is a story that says that this ride in Fantasyland is haunted by two ghosts, a couple. The man is tall and bald; the woman has a lot of hair. They always stand together, but only at the end of the line. Look for them if you are near the back of the line.

M. I. C. . .  K. E. Y. . .  M. O. U. S. E. -  M. I. C. . .  K. E. Y. . .  G. H. O. S. T.

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