Contributed by Tim McNamara
"Years ago, when I worked at the Haunted Mansion in Florida (1978-1981), there was a story circulating about a pilot who crashed into Bay Lake, (other side of the Contemporary Resort) in a small plane and died. This was reported to have happened in the 1940's, before WDW, of course. His ghost would be sighted in the Mansion late at night by Cast Members, working alone in position, waiting for the next group of guests. He may have been the infamous "Man with the Cane." This tale was also told by third shift maintenance, who would catch glimpses of this phenomenon after closing."
The "Man with the Cane:" Is he haunting Orlando to this day?
I worked the Orlando Mansion in 1978. At that time, a story about "The Man with the Cane" was already circulating. I was told he would appear in an empty Doombuggy in the load area late at night when ride operators were by themselves at the load position. Story goes a girl was working load late one night, they had gone down to one stretch room and the crowds were light. This meant there was usually a lapse in guests between stretch room dumps. This left you, the operator alone for a few minutes, walking the load belt, listening to that music and the sound effects, peering into the darkness that stretched into the ride at one end and from the unload area at the other. So one night this hostess is working load when from the unload area a Doombuggy rounds the corner with a man sitting in the middle of the seat, looking very gaunt, staring straight ahead, hands resting on a cane positioned in front of him. The operator tries to make eye contact and say hello, the man does not respond but instead disappears with the Doombuggy as it works it's way into the ride. The hostess goes to the load console, calls the unload operator on the phone to say, "Who was that you just sent me? He wouldn't say hello!" To which the unload operator responded, I didn't send anyone around to you. They contacted their lead, all waited for the car to come out of the ride and of course when it did... it was empty. We were always told it was the ghost of Yale Gracey. Whether this is true or not I do not know, but I can tell you I cursed the employee who told me the story... especially on those late nights when I was alone, walking the load belt, listening to the music, staring at the wallpaper, the wallpaper staring back at me... I was so relieved when the stretch room doors would open and those guests would pop out...