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Preview: The Ghost Relations Department

The Ghost Relations Department

Last Build Date: Fri, 22 Sep 2017 14:27:37 +0000


The Mystery Project - Now Open

Mon, 16 Mar 2009 04:07:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fan!

The Mystery Project is finally open. Feel free to go take a look. Its a work in progress so please bear with me. New and exciting things will come soon.

Greetings Ghost Fans

Fri, 06 Feb 2009 22:20:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans!

A bit of news! The Ghost Relations Dept will be shutting down in Mid-March. However, do not fear this is not bad news! The Mystery Project is almost complete and the blog will remain available for anyone who wants to read the archives. I will still be on hand to answer any and all questions about the Mansion but I will mainly be updating the Mystery Project as new material arises.

Once I see how the Mystery Project takes off, other sections may open about other favorite Attractions in the Disney Parks worldwide.

I will have a new contact address when the new mystery project opens so when it does, feel free to let me know what you think. I've spent a few months collecting material for the site and I think it will be wonderful.

You've come a long way baby...

Mon, 12 Jan 2009 17:44:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,

There was always one concept piece in the thousands for the Haunted Mansion that intrigued me. Marc Davis created an early rendition of the Corridor of Doors, not as we know it today, but as a large dark void filled with many doors in different stages of openness. Doorways to somewhere unknown. Of course, today its a regular hallway filled with doors that knock, clack and bend to the point of breaking.

On a related note, when the creators of the Haunted Mansion movie were researching for their scenes, they apparently came across this concept as well.
However, the scene was never shot, and the idea of the Corridor of Doors was saved until later in the movie when Sara Evers is running from Gracey. The door knockers in the hallway to her room all start clacking in unison as she runs. Which of course is interesting, as none of the doors even featured knockers.

We'll take care of the outside...

Sun, 04 Jan 2009 17:07:00 +0000

Hi Ghost Fans,

Back in the late 50's when the idea of a Haunted Mansion was being established, Walt expressed to Sam McKim and Ken Anderson that he wanted a pristine mansion facade in his park, not something terribly run down. He explained that Disneyland would take care of the outside, and the ghostly inhabitants of the Mansion could do whatever they wanted inside.

This statement, until the mid-90's held true not only for Disneyland, but also Walt Disney World. The Mansion's grounds used to house many tree and beautiful foliage, unlike today where there are broken and toppled fountains, overgrown foliage and a worn paint job on the facade.

(image) (image)
One Maid who has been at the Mansion for decades recounts that back then, it really did look like an estate, with trees everywhere, also without the current canopy it gave the full illusion of a residence.
(image) (image)

I would like to take a moment and give a big thanks to my friend Mike at WidenYourWorld for the material for this post. Thanks Mike! Hope to see you at the studio soon!

Phantasy in the Sky

Thu, 01 Jan 2009 16:47:00 +0000

Hi Ghost Fans,

Being in such close proximity every day with The Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World, I have seen quite a number of their night time spectaculars in the sky. More recently, as in, last night, I was able to watch Fantasy in the Sky, the New Years Eve countdown fireworks. This was my first time viewing and hearing the show. There are references to nearly all the lands of the Magic Kingdom. The choice for Liberty Square? The Haunted Mansion of course. Giant Green and Purple fireworks blazed across the sky. Projections of ghosts flew across the castle, then up into the smoke clouds in the sky. Quite a performance.

Here for you, I have posted an excerpt of the Grim Grinning Ghosts performance from the show. Enjoy!

Back to the Basics...

Wed, 17 Dec 2008 18:26:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,

When the Disneyland Mansion was being finalized and they realized that the stretch rooms would be a nessecary part of the house, they installed a front door area into the foyer but it wasn't in the center of the house, but off to the side. This served two purposes: it allowed them not to have to use a small antechamber that ran along side of the stretch room from the center of the house, and it also allowed one front door to be placed in the center of the house for aestetic and design purposes. Instead, they installed the double doors which at one point would allow many more guests into the room in a shorter amount of time.

Over 20 years later at Phantom Manor, Imagineers went back to the original layout of the Disneyland Mansion and thought about why people couldn't enter the front door of the Mansion. Disneyland didn't exactly do it, Disney World and Tokyo Disney had you entering into a lower level side door, so what about Phantom Manor? Imagineers assumed what could be done about the antechamber and installed it anyway. And while the Manor show building matches up fairly close to Disneylands, the Facade layout is nearly identical in measurement and layout.

Below is a photoshopped layout of the blueprints of the Disneyland Facade and also Phantom Manor. Entrance doors, exit areas and even the Cast Member break areas are in the same locations. The Disneyland blueprint is outlined in red, Phantom Manor in black.


Where is the owl?

Sun, 30 Nov 2008 17:08:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,

At the Haunted Mansion, there are several Raven's throughout the Mansion. Some speculate that they are all different, others say that it is the same one that comes from room to room to oversee us.

In the Graveyard over the band, there are two owls that are occasionally startled by the blast of a horn. But did you know that an owl makes another appearance so to speak? In the newly revised Stretch Room audio, within 20 seconds of the foyer door opening, an owl can be heard hooting, then fluttering away.

Click here to hear a sample of the owl.

The Dropping of Hints...

Mon, 24 Nov 2008 17:24:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,
For quite a while now, I have been talking about my little mystery project that has sometimes delayed my blog postings. This week I am giving a small sample of the imagery that is slowly shaping the mystery project into something that I feel will truly be a fan favorite. I am hoping to unveil the project by January.

Ghostly Games

Sat, 01 Nov 2008 17:31:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,

First off, as a note to my readers, I have not forgotten you. I have gotten so many e-mails here recently as to why I had not posted anything. First and foremost, I have been researching a few old items dealing with the Mansion which I feel will make great blog posts, and secondly, I have a small side project I am working on that will be of great interest to Ghost Relations Dept. Readers. I am simply refining my materials for that project.

Anyway, without further delay, this weeks post:

Back in the 1970's, Walt Disney World had a few different coin arcades that went along with the attractions. There was an arcade for Pirates of the Caribbean (Link to Widen Your World Caribbean Arcade Page) with several old non-video games. Now, I know what you're thinking; How awesome would it be if the Haunted Mansion had an arcade? Well, it appears that at one point, it was planned! Yes, in the area which now hold the Pet Cemetery and the Yankee Trader store, there was originally to be an arcade, as evident by this early blueprint. Feel free to click on the blueprint for a larger, more legible version.

Beautifiul, Breakable and Dishwasher Safe!

Tue, 30 Sep 2008 02:09:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,

A question I have been asked for quite a while now is about some of the manufacturers of the Mansion's more common details, such as where to purchase the Stretch Room wallpaper, or maybe even where a certain lighting fixture may be found outside of the Mansion. One that I have gotten more than any other is who crafts the beautiful Ballroom plates for both Disneyland at Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion's.

Well, with some research from both Mansions, I have found an answer. Both the Blue Disneyland plates and the Red Walt Disney World plates come from the same manufacturer. The pattern is from J & G Meakin of England, it is titled Romantic England Blue (Disneyland) and Romantic England Red (Walt Disney World). The plates, as well as the red cups and flatware are the same at both Mansion's. It appears that when the Disney Decorating department was equipping the Mansion with its dinner service sets, they purchased them at the same time, just a different color.
(image) (image)

On a special side note, I would like to thank all of my readers for something that occured the other day. The Ghost Relations Dept. installed a counter a few months after opening to track demographics as to how to better display my blog. Since that installation in May of 2007, there have been over 100,000 hits to the blog. I thank you for reading and your continued support!

File It Under G; For Gus

Sun, 21 Sep 2008 14:24:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,

At the end of the Graveyard scene, guests enter a large crypt where they encounter 3 happy haunts. We have Phineas, Ezra and Gus. While the pasts of Phineas and Ezra are trivial, it appears that Gus was a prisoner who really wanted to find his way out. Attached to his leg is his ball and chain, but what is it in his other hand? Why, his only instrument of freedom, a metal file.

A Sense of Character

Mon, 15 Sep 2008 02:14:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,

In my recent trips to the Mansion, I have discussed some of the various aspects of the storyline with some Maids and Butlers, some of which train all of the new staff that come to the Mansion. They have told me some interesting stories regarding Constance's husbands, as per the official operating guide for the attraction. A few interesting aspects:

Ambrose is the son of successful farmers, and not being accustomed to formal wear, has an ill-fitting suit.

Frank is a Banker from the East Coast. His marriage ended when he broke her heart, literally. A heart shaped box is fractured on a shelf near his portrait.

The Marquis is a foreign diplomat (no real shocker here.)

Reginald is a Railroad tycoon. Using his earnings, he turned to gambling where he increased his fortune. Following the stereotype of wealthy Americans, he is also a fan of fine dining and eating in general. He was not one to hide his wealth as apparent by the amount of jewelry on his possession.

George was one of the final owners of the Mansion prior to it becoming Haunted. He is indeed the husband who is later featured on the tombstone in the Stretch Room. Much of the items around his portrait are imported from afar, possibly from trips to different countries during his lifetime.

Who took my T?

Mon, 08 Sep 2008 22:53:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,
During the planning of The Haunted Mansion, the Imagineers who designed the attraction got credit in a small family plot adjoining the Mansion itself. X. Atencio came up with some witty rememberances which Vic Green then drew out into blueprints. Though, it appears that ol' X should have done a little spellchecking before submitting the words for his own tombstone.

The original blueprint reads Requiesca.

The current tombstone reads Requiescat.

The correct spelling of the word includes the T at the end. It means a prayer in repose for the dead.

Now you hear it... Now you don't...

Tue, 02 Sep 2008 02:03:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,

I apologize for the irregular posting here lately, but The Ghost Relations Dept. has a few tricks up its sleeves in preperation for something amazing that will work in conjunction with the blog for your enjoyment of all things delightfully ghoulish.

Without further ado, I bring you this weeks post.

A few years ago when Haunted Mansion Holiday was first getting its bearings and several creative types in Disney were hoping that all of their hard work was not in vain, a composer by the name of Gordon Goodwin (who has done an interview with the Ghost Relations Dept. in the past) wrote an elaborate score moving away from the film score to be something new and unique but also be similar to what is heard in the Haunted Mansion in the non-holiday season.

After a few years after many had found what a success Haunted Mansion Holiday was, the film's visionaries decided to get a little more involved. Danny Elfman was one of them. He created an entirely new score which replaced that of Goodwin's. However, when you enjoy the attraction today, a piece of Goodwin's score remains, The Stretch Room.

So, whatever happened to Elfman's Stretch Room score? Well, it was there for perhaps a week or two, but then disappeared. So where is it now you ask? Why, it's included on the new Nightmare Before Christmas 2-Disk DVD. Several have written reviews of the DVD but none have really touched that the score was the original Stretch Room.

Without further delay, HERE is a clip of the score from the recent DVD. The original of course did not include corridor laughter or thunder, but I believe you get the point.

The DVD is quite nice unto itself. It has a great featurette for Haunted Mansion Holiday fans featuring a tour of the Mansion as well as a Making-Of segment, well worth the cost of the movie. If you would like to order a copy (and I highly suggest it), click HERE. A clip of the Mansion tour can be found in the Videos Section.

What a Relief!

Mon, 11 Aug 2008 02:22:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,

Just days after the Disneyland Haunted Mansion's 39th Anniversary, I bring you a fresh Disneyland Mansion post!

In the Corridor of Doors at Disneyland, there are all of the framed ghoul portraits and the Ghost Host painting. These were original even in 1969. In the 1990's there was a rehab, restoring the Ghost Host painting, adding a few new ghouls, including a pen drawing of a new ghoul drawn by Steve Fink, and then two other new faces.

On the right wall near the Ghost Host painting are two relief sculptures, also created by Steve Fink. One is of a pleasant smiling beast creature, while the other is of a similar creature, snarling in anger.
(image) (image)

How to Hang Paintings

Mon, 04 Aug 2008 04:37:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,

Nearly a week ago, a new painting appeared in the Corridor of Doors at the Walt Disney World Mansion. All of the Ghoul photos had appeared as they do in Disneyland with a few new faces, but one thing lacking from the Corridor was the painting of the Ghost Host who had freed himself with the help of an axe.
Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion recently got this painting, but a much larger rendition of it. Being hand painted, a few artistic liberties were taken and a very interesting difference takes place in this version. Behind our host, we see his shadow in a threatening manner, looming over him with his axe raised. Could this be the Mansion's "Portrait of things to Come"?

Rest in Peace - Harriet Burns

Mon, 28 Jul 2008 15:12:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,

It is deepest sadness and sympathy that I must report this week that on Friday, WDI's first female Imagineer, Harriet Burns passed away.

Harriet worked many years within WDI, being a pioneer to lead the way for several women working behind her. She had shown that just because of her gender, she could work just as hard and diligently along side other Model Shop Imagineers such as Fred Joerger and Rolly Crump to name a few. Crump later recounted in a letter to the Ghost Relations Dept., "Harriet was one of the kindest and most genuine persons I had known at WED. We had spent several years together in the model shop. She had this wonderful sense of humor and was a real hoot."

In terms of the Haunted Mansion, Harriet designed many of the original models that were later constructed into the show scenes we know and love today.

While riding through the Walt Disney World Mansion just yesterday, I had noticed that a very kind and wonderful haunt payed his respects to her tribute tombstone in the Graveyard Finale.

Rest in Peace, Harriet.

-The Ghost Relations Dept.

An Axe to Grind

Mon, 21 Jul 2008 15:01:00 +0000

Greeting Ghost Fans,

In previous weeks I had mentioned about several props from the attic being reused in the Mansion after the rehab as well as other props from the mansion being placed in the attic. Well, it looks like Constance liked to hide more than her riches in the attic. Lets take a look shall we...


Here we see the attic near where Constance is currently standing. Notice anything interesting?

How about now?

Thats right. In addition to Constance hiding her marraige gifts and the secret of her husband's deaths, she is also hiding the murder weapon! And though its near impossible to see in the darkness of the attraction, it's just one more amazing detail provided by Imagineering.

Hush Hush... Sweet Widow

Wed, 16 Jul 2008 14:58:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,

Coming from the departmental drawer of speculation, I bring you this: In 1964, 20th Century Fox came out with a film entitled: Hush Hush, Sweet Charlotte. The film featured an old woman in a Mansion to herself. She refused to leave the house on the basis of fear that if the Mansion was destroyed, the axe-murder of her husband would be discovered.

Now... with a plot like that, it sounds quite similar to our favorite axe-wielding widow, Constance. But, now the plot thickens. For you see, Marc Davis painted the Stretch Portraits in early 1965. The movie started releasing press photos in 1964. One early press photo features Joan Crawford and Bette Davis in a graveyard, both sitting atop tombstones, but what is most interesting is how Ms. Crawford is sitting atop hers.
(image) (image)
Again, just speculation on my part, but I'll let you be the judge as to wether Marc Davis may have used this as partial inspiration for his Widow on the Tombstone.


Mon, 07 Jul 2008 03:01:00 +0000

Greeting Ghost Fans,When Disneyland and Walt Disney World Mansion's refurbished their attic scenes to incorporate Constance and her husbands, a lot of the junk around the attic was removed and replaced with more wedding style gift items. However, items within the attic that held the theme of wedding gifts were kept. In the instances of Walt Disney World: A table that was once on the left-hand side of the track that held the sheet music book "On my Way to Mandalay!" (Seen under the table is actually a Sally plush doll as part of the hidden references to The Nightmare Before Christmas.)A tall curio cabinet that was once empty features various brick-a-brack. Beneath the vignette is a red carpet that used to be at the feet of the old bride.In the area of Frank's gifts, a set of plates (which now form a Hidden Mickey), a carpet, an old wicker screen and the candleabra that used to sit atop the Music Room piano.Across the Doombuggy path from Constance is the old lamp that once hung above Leota when she was in her stationary phase on the table.A Chair, the painting by L. Mason of a woman grooming her daughter and various other small paintings that once resided near the old bride. Also, a small carpet bag that was once near a hiding place for one of the old pop-up groomsmen.Of course, these are but to name a few of the interesting props now found within the scene, but it's only with time and more discovery that we can uncover some of the other artifacts.[...]

The Mystery Project

Sun, 29 Jun 2008 16:48:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,This week will be a slightly different style of posting. Joe (Datamiester of Disneyland3D blog) has been working diligently over the past 2 months to create something really amazing. Considering that I only contributed files and a few constructive criticisms, I can't really take credit for any of these. So, I will now hand you over to someone who can, Joe himself. "I’m sure that building what is there at DL sometimes gets a little boring. So have you ever considered modeling some concepts of what never made it?...Honestly, if you did that with Mansion, I’d totally help you out if you give me dibs on being the first to post about it on my blog."Brandon, the owner of this blog, wrote these words to me in an email on May 2nd. He was referring an old, unused design for Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, a design that Sam McKim had put on paper over forty years ago. This was before Walt made his famed remark about only granting the ghosts jurisdiction over the inside, so McKim's concept offers a ramshackle, more traditionally creepy look for the attraction. The idea of modeling this vastly different version appealed to me more than I would have expected. And thus began what would become known as my "mystery project." Completing it would take nearly two months, with sporadic breaks to work on other, more conventional parts of my Disneyland model. I'm very happy to finally be able to share it now.In re-creating this haunt that never happened, I've tried to be as accurate as possible. Whenever McKim's artwork gave me information about a part of the facility, I attempted to reproduce it faithfully. However, some parts of the concept simply aren't visible in any of the artwork I've seen. The backside of the show building isn't visible, for instance, and both sides of the mansion were problematic—the left side because of the difficulty in discerning what McKim drew there, and the right side because the house blocks the view of it altogether in the aerial illustration. In cases like these, I had to invent reasonable, realistic, consistent detail, as you'll see. I also took certain artistic license in places where it seemed really appropriate. For example, I decided to add backstage details to the side walls of the show building, though McKim's aerial view clearly shows none on that left side. The way I figure it, he was designing the onstage look, not the utilitarian behind-the-scenes elements. Given my experience in the last few years replicating real-world backstage areas, I felt like I could come up with a fairly realistic layout.Here's an overview of the whole model. You can see the onstage facade at the near end of the structure, with the show building located behind it. Notice that the facade and show building are visibly connected aboveground, unlike the design that WED Enterprises ended up going with, which features a large berm over the underground passage between the facade and show building. Additionally, the show building in McKim's design is much smaller than the one that was later built, a fact that may be explained by original intent for this attraction to be a walkthrough. The buildings to the right and left are other parts of this version of New Orleans Square that was never built. The water off to the left is the elephant bathing pool in the Jungle Cruise.This render shows what you'd see as you walked around the grounds. Notice the wrought iron fences and gates, quite similar to what today's New Orleans Square mansion is surrounded by. In keeping with the [...]

Fresh Off The Grille

Mon, 23 Jun 2008 05:27:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,
Recently when I took a stroll through one of my favorite attractions, I noticed a detail that has been discussed by other blogs reporting the recent refurbishment to the Walt Disney World Haunted Mansion but it is often hard to see until later in the evening.

At the base of the stretch room walls are 16 ornate grilles, some of which hide the room's new subwoofers that really pack a punch. Like the transoms over the doors in the Corridor, this ornate grille features a menacing face that is a mix between what is seen in the Corridor and also the transom over the cemetery entrance gates.

The Wonderful World of Color

Mon, 09 Jun 2008 03:40:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,

This week I am going to attempt something a little different. A lot of times, people see old Black and White television shows or photos and never realize that there was indeed color in the environment, it was just that the color in the photos could not be processed.

One great black and white photo regarding the Mansion is the original Ghost Relations Dept. sign written by Marty Sklar that hung outside of the mansion for nearly a decade. Using this photo from Daveland as initial reference, I have made a somewhat decent looking representation of what someone might have actually seen back in those days.

Also of noteworthy interest: I have done a little partnering with the Disneyland 3D project. Joe C (aka DataMeister) is recreating Disneyland bit by bit. Within a few weeks, a collabarative mystery project will be posted perhaps in a week or two. It will definatly be interesting!

The Sinking Room

Sun, 01 Jun 2008 05:32:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,

Over the many years that the Disneyland Haunted Mansion has been open, there were several problems with maintenance that accumulated over the decades. When Haunted Mansion Holiday first debuted in 2001, many of the problems were looked over and fixed.

One such problem was a leaky gasket underneath the Stretch Rooms. Over the night, the Stretch Room would slowly stretch as it lost hydraulic pressure. By the time the morning came, the Stretch Room would either have to be raised or lowered depending on its starting position. This problem had been in existance since at least 1995 when this photo of the room being retouched was taken. The wall behind the Stretch Room ledge is clearly visible from the slow sinking due to periods of non-use during the rehab.

However, since the installation of Haunted Mansion Holiday the Stretch Room has been fixed and quietly awaits for unsuspecting mortals before it makes it descent.

The Corpse Bride

Sun, 25 May 2008 21:19:00 +0000

Greetings Ghost Fans,

When creating the Haunted Mansion, Marc Davis did a lot of whimsical drawings and concepts to be used in his debate of Light versus Fright. However, some of his works weren't all that hilarious and may have actually supported the Coates campaign for Scary rather than funny.

In this concept we see one of the many bride concepts created by Davis. In this rendition we see a somewhat sad looking bride transforming into a skeletal corpse. Wether this was for an effect or a changing portrait concept, it is unknown.