heeey. uhm. i was wondering if someone could tell me about the significance of the "hatbox ghost" from the haunted mansion. i've heard about it, but have never found a website that explains how it became "infamous" i'm very curious now.
That link gives you all the basic info very well, and photos, which are scarce.
What it doesn't do is explain the whole mystique that has grown up around the HBG (much to the annoyance of some, who mutter about the "Hatbox cult" and can't figure out what the big deal is).
The HBG figures prominently in the two souvenir record albums that the parks sold for many years, "The Story and Song of the Haunted Mansion" for older kids and teens and a different record geared toward small children. He's conspicuous in both the artwork and in the story narratives, where he's described carefully. That means that when the HBG was pulled out of the ride after only a few weeks, never to return, you ended up with whole generations of Disneylanders who were raised with these souvenir records, but were puzzled by the absence of this ghost in the attic, since the records describe both the bride and the ghost with a hatbox.
So he was never forgotten.
The concept of the ghost appeals to almost all HM fans. It sounds like a cool effect and a good, creepy ghost figure. Why isn't he there?
The fact that he really was there for a short time but mysteriously vanished very early on; the fact that his absence is keenly noticed by anyone with exposure to the souvenir records; and the fact that almost everyone agrees that he would be a very cool ghost and wouldn't mind seeing him--of such things are cult followings made. Other figures have been removed from Disney attractions on rare occasions, but when the figure in question is a ghost, its removal leaves something...a creepy presence...behind. You get it or you don't, I guess. It's as if the HBG were the only "real" ghost in the place, since he can no longer be seen.
Hardcore HM fans are pretty close to unanimous in wanting him back.
So is there anyone here who was lucky enough to actually see it before it got taken out? Or are we all (myself included) just blindly idolizing it because it was a cool concept?
Originally Posted by disneylandfan95
I don't think the public ever saw the figure. From what I remember hearing, it was removed just before or during the press's chance to see it before it was open for the public.
Jason Surrell's book on the Haunted Mansion claims that he was removed before the public ever saw him. The fact that there's an amateur snapshot of him in situ in the DL attic is enough to disprove that claim. (That rare pic is at Doombuggies.com; see the link several posts up.)
I saw him. I can even tell you the date: Thursday, August 14, 1969. I was 14. Another person who saw him is Michelle Hill (wife of Jim Hill, of Jim Hill Media fame). I've told the story many times before, so scroll on if you've heard this one. We had our annual family trip to DL in the first week of August. The Jungle Cruise skipper announced that the HM was opening that very weekend (joking about how it only takes Disney ten years to build an attraction). I was disappointed, because now I'd have to wait until our next annual trip to see the HM we'd been anticipating for so long. A week or so later, some sort of business had us driving through Anaheim and as we passed DL, my Dad said, "You two want to go in for a little while?" Totally unexpected. We never had multiple trips in the same summer, but he knew how much my brother and I wanted to see the HM. So in we flew.