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  1. #1

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    Question Why do rumors about Walt Disney placing human remains in POTC abound?

    I have encountered a few people lately that insist that the skull on the headboard (in the treasure room) is a real skull that was originally given to Walt as a gift. The idea that modern people trade skulls as gifts seems incongruous. It also seems improbable that Disney would place actual human remains in an attraction. Furthermore the skull on the headboard appears to be rather large, perhaps too large to be human.
    I have asked those that have stated that this skull is real to share their sources but they have been unsuccessful in producing any. In an effort to be unassuming and open-minded I havenít completely dismissed this rumor but I would love to hear the real story. Please share it if you know it.

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    Re: Why do rumors about Walt Disney placing human remains in POTC abound?

    It's been suggested that originally, actual human skelletons were in fact used, due to the fact that quality reproductions didn't exist in 1966. I have no way to verify this.

    Why do these rumors abound? This subject is far wider than POTC is concerned, and could be a subject all its own. Disney rumors start and are kept alive by any number of reasons--mis-informed CMs; mis-informed guests; there are even some rumors that are deliberately started--see, e.g., colorblind bulldozer operator.

    Lots of rumors get reprinted in "official" Disney publications, including souvenir guides, cast publications, books, etc. Oftentimes these "rumors" are actually the accepted fact, until better research proves them wrong. (For example, I wrote in my first book that the steam locomotive that became the Ward Kimball--originally named Maud L.--was named after the mistress of the Plantation owner who purchased her in 1902. A lot of deep digging into old census records from Louisiana revealed that the engine was actually named for the daughter of the Plantation owner. This rumor had been handed down as fact for decades ever since the engine was at Cedar Point, [perhaps its juiciness kept it alive], and until I did some really close looking, was the accepted fact).

    Sometimes, though, even that better research doesn't change the rumor, and they will continue to be told and retold as fact.

    It's almost a losing game to try and replace rumors with facts. Some are just so entrenched that they become "Disney dogma," and only those who've taken the time to discover the truth are privy to the facts.
    Last edited by Steve DeGaetano; 12-29-2008 at 09:25 AM.

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    Re: Why do rumors about Walt Disney placing human remains in POTC abound?

    Some folks still think that Walt's head is frozen.

    It's no surprise that some folks stick with rumors and flat-out bad information just to be able to pass it on to others in some feeble attempt at appearing to know something.

    Some people...


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    Re: Why do rumors about Walt Disney placing human remains in POTC abound?

    Maybe people are conflating real stories of guests spreading cremated ashes in various attractions (including Pirates), which Al Lutz reported on here. I'm not sure where the skull and attribution to Walt came from. I believe the case Al talks about did involve the treasure scene.

    This fall I did overhear a conversation in the Pirates queue about human remains in the ride, and it reminded me of that gossip game where one person says a statement and it gets passed down the line and embellished along the way. I can totally see how it could start with a kernel of truth (cremated remains spread on the treasure scene) and roll like a snowball down a hill.

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    Re: Why do rumors about Walt Disney placing human remains in POTC abound?

    I believe I read in a book about POTC once that they did indeed have human skeletons in there at first because there wasn't anything else out there that looked as convincing, and that they were later buried in their respective countries of origin and replaced with reproductions. I don't know for sure though. If I find the book again I'll check.

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    Re: Why do rumors about Walt Disney placing human remains in POTC abound?

    I know for a FACT that ashes have been spread in various parts of the Park.

    Not by me mind you, but none-the-less, they have been spread.

    Whether or not (mostly not) the remains were discovered (and disposed of) by DL personnel, the final wishes were granted...

    Spreading ashes in a public place which was enjoyed by the deceased is not exclusive to DL.

    I'm sure it happens every day of the week.

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    Re: Why do rumors about Walt Disney placing human remains in POTC abound?

    Does anybody have Kevin Yee's book about DLP? I think I read something about real skeletons too and that may be where. I don't have the book handy right now.

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    Re: Why do rumors about Walt Disney placing human remains in POTC abound?

    "It must be true. I read it on the internet!!!"


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    Re: Why do rumors about Walt Disney placing human remains in POTC abound?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve DeGaetano View Post
    there are even some rumors that are deliberately started--see, e.g., colorblind bulldozer operator.
    This is stated in the 50th Anniversary movie by Steve Martin as well. It is a rumour?
    Tom Chaney Memorial Debate Lounge Veteran

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    Re: Why do rumors about Walt Disney placing human remains in POTC abound?

    Quote Originally Posted by JJ61 View Post
    This is stated in the 50th Anniversary movie by Steve Martin as well. It is a rumour?
    Apparently so. Several members of MiceChat were present when Marty Sklarr sheepishly admitted to making it up.

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    Re: Why do rumors about Walt Disney placing human remains in POTC abound?

    The POTC claim is in Jason Surrell's Pirates of the Caribbean: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies.

    "Because the original Imagineering team felt that the faux skeletons of the period were just too unconvincing, the grotto sequence originally featured real human remains obtained from the UCLA Medical Center. The skeletons were later returned to their countries of origin and given a proper burial."
    Last edited by HBG2; 12-29-2008 at 10:19 AM.

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    Re: Why do rumors about Walt Disney placing human remains in POTC abound?

    Disney rumors start and are kept alive by any number of reasons--mis-informed CMs; mis-informed guests; there are even some rumors that are deliberately started--see, e.g., colorblind bulldozer operator.
    I had heard that rumor so many times that I was sure that it was true.

    "Because the original Imagineering team felt that the faux skeletons of the period were just too unconvincing, the grotto sequence originally featured real human remains obtained from the UCLA Medical Center. The skeletons were later returned to their countries of origin and given a proper burial."
    That is interesting and a little gruesome. What about the skull on the headboard and the rumor that it was a gift to Walt?

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    Re: Why do rumors about Walt Disney placing human remains in POTC abound?

    Does anybody have Kevin Yee's book about DLP? I think I read something about real skeletons too and that may be where. I don't have the book handy right now.
    Do you know which one? I have the 101, Quizdom and Mouse Trap books but I need to dig them out.

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    Re: Why do rumors about Walt Disney placing human remains in POTC abound?

    Quote Originally Posted by toemblem View Post
    That is interesting and a little gruesome. What about the skull on the headboard and the rumor that it was a gift to Walt?
    The "gift" part does seem to be a little bit of an embellishment of the actual story.

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    Re: Why do rumors about Walt Disney placing human remains in POTC abound?

    The "gift" part does seem to be a little bit of an embellishment of the actual story.
    That did strike me as bizarre. I wondered if Jack Skellington was the giver ;-)

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