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Haunted Mansion director teases Jared Leto's 'menacing and terrifying' Hatbox Ghost

Justin Simien exclusively previews the Oscar-winning actor's take on a fan-favorite character from the beloved Disneyland ride for the new Haunted Mansion movie.

Entertainment Weekly's Oscars expert, 'RuPaul's Drag Race' beat reporter, host of 'Quick Drag' Twitter Spaces, and cohost of 'EW's BINGE' podcast. Almost all of the drag content on this site is my fault (you're welcome).

hatbox ghost haunted mansion film

From "Boof!" to "Boo!" Jared Leto is still startling audiences with his transformative performances/ The director behind Haunted Mansion , the Oscar-winning star's latest acting opus, says fans will be appropriately blown away by his creepy work.

"It's very surprising. You'd be shocked to know who it was until you're told," filmmaker Justin Simien — creator of Dear White People — exclusively tells EW of Leto's metamorphosis into the Hatbox Ghost, a fan-favorite character lifted directly from the Disneyland ride upon which the upcoming family horror film is based.

"The character itself, it's part digital, part physical performance. We're trying to go for something scary that feels like it could exist physically in the real world, on the ride, but pushes the scare a lot further than the ride does. He knocked it out of the park. He's very menacing and terrifying."

The Hatbox Ghost who appears in the ride has a complicated history. The character served as an original animatronic inside the California version of the attraction that opened in 1969. It then quickly became a popular addition to the experience, thanks to a special effect that made it appear as if the happy haunt's head disappeared from his shoulders and sprung up inside a box in his hand. He was temporarily removed from the ride, only to return in 2015. Disney World in Florida later announced that the Orlando iteration of the ride would also receive a Hatbox Ghost at some point in the future.

Before that, though, Simien's film will see the Hatbox Ghost stalk the halls of the titular abode. He can be seen using his signature cane to creep through the mansion, where a single mother ( Rosario Dawson ) and her young son enlist the help of a team of spiritual specialists ( LaKeith Stanfield , Owen Wilson , Tiffany Haddish , as well as Jamie Lee Curtis as the iconic Madame Leota) to rid their New Orleans home of ghosts. Along the way, they encounter several scenes meticulously modeled after the rides. Those include the stretching room, the "Ghost Host," and the legendary "Grim Grinning Ghosts" tune interpolated throughout the film's score, Simien says.

"We got down to the point where we were obsessing over the angle you first see the mansion when you walk onto the ride in Disneyland, when we see it through the gates and we see the pillars," he explains. "That angle has to hit. That's how specific we were. When you first glide through the dining hall and you see the waltzing dancers, that angle had to be right, because that's the one where you gasp on the ride."

When asked about Leto's widely known brand of Method acting, Simien says the 51-year-old didn't inhabit the character the entire time on set. The actor was, however, convincing enough to send a chill down Simien's spine, anyway.

"When I was with him [filming], yeah, he was full-on Hatbox Ghost. A lot of that is voice performance, a lot of that is voice capture. It's a little bit of a different animal," Simien explains, "but it gave us time to craft it and gave us quiet moments between the performance."

Haunted Mansion opens July 28 in theaters.

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Haunted Mansion's Villain Has an Even Wilder Real Life History

Haunted Mansion's Hatbox Ghost is a remarkable villain for the 2023 Disney film, but the story of how he got there is even more impressive.

The following contains spoilers for Haunted Mansion , in theaters now.

Haunted Mansion reinvents many elements of the ride of the same name. Many aspects of the original Haunted Mansion attraction from the Disney Parks fit neatly into the 2023 movie, including characters even getting their own version of the signature Doom Buggy. Much of the film's actual plot is also rooted in the established lore and characters of the ride -- including the primary antagonist, the Hatbox Ghost.

The Hatbox Ghost (played by Jared Leto) is a consistent threat, working to break the spirits of the film's principal characters. Yet the intimidating character also has a surprisingly twisty real-life history, from being an infamously removed element of the ride to becoming a fan-favorite. The film expands on that by making him a key part of the Haunted Mansion's mythology, and highlights his true purpose -- and potential -- within the attraction's lore.

RELATED: Haunted Mansion 'Definitely' Leaves the Door Open for a Sequel

Who Is the Hatbox Ghost in Haunted Mansion?

The Hatbox Ghost serves as the primary antagonist of Haunted Mansion , so dangerous and deadly force that even the other spirits in Gracey Manor fear him. He's shown to be a monstrous entity, even compared to overtly murderous figures like the Bride. Thanks to the psychic skills of Harriet , the group is able to send Ben across the material plane and into a supernatural realm. There he discovers that the Hatbox Ghost is the real malevolent force in the manor -- capable of ordering around the others and terrorizing them into his service.

The group eventually learns he was once a wealthy man named Alistair Crump. Crump had been a wealthy aristocrat with a cruel streak, indulging his worst impulses with murderous acts and dark magic. Although Crump's servants eventually turned against him and beheaded him, Crump's spirit survived within Gracey Manor. His mission became to trap a thousand souls inside -- as that would allow him to break loose and spread his evil around the world.

In a movie that often straddles the line between goofy comedy, dramatic character beats and genuine horror, the Hatbox Ghost is never played as anything less than frightening. Crumb is always portrayed with a creepy layer of menace, even if his final form in Haunted Mansion 's familiar third act lacks some of the inherent malice from earlier in the picture. But it's a clever way to elevate him beyond the rest of the spirits, which is even more important since the Hatbox Ghost spent decades out of focus before the release of the film.

RELATED: Haunted Mansion's Big Cameos, Explained

How the Hatbox Ghost Took Years to Return in Real Life

The Haunted Mansion opened in 1969, and became one of Disneyland's many iconic attractions . Among the original ghosts in the ride was the Hatbox Ghost: an animatronic creation with a unique physical appearance. The concept was that his head would disappear from atop his shoulders and appear inside a hatbox in his hands. The effect was created by clever lighting and well-placed shadows -- but proved difficult in practice. Nearby natural light ruined the scare, and the Hatbox Ghost was removed after only a few months.

However, the character remained infamous, steadily gaining more popularity over the years -- in part due to his absence and the mystery it added. The Hatbox Ghost appeared in more and more material, such as the Haunted Mansion comic series, video games like Disney Crossy Road and parodies like Muppets Haunted Mansion . When The Haunted Mansion went through renovations ahead of its 60th anniversary in 2015, the Hatbox Ghost was reinstalled. Modern technology allowed a new version of the character to work, with a small piece of animation creating the illusion of the disappearing and reappearing head.

The Hatbox Ghost spent decades as The Haunted Mansion's biggest example of what could have been. His creepy design only gained more power once he was removed from the ride. It therefore makes perfect sense to bring him back in the biggest way possible, with Haunted Mansion highlighting how much the character has added to the franchise. The movie's story also gives yet another layer of intrigue to the character, because his continued appearance in the Haunted Mansion ride is now even more chilling thanks to the scares and challenges he presents in the film.

Haunted Mansion is in theaters now.

hatbox ghost haunted mansion film

New Ghoulishly Delightful Ways to Celebrate ‘Haunted Mansion’ Film at Disney Parks 

Cayla Ward

by Cayla Ward , Manager, Synergy & Partnership Marketing

Welcome, Foolish Mortals… to the release of the new “Haunted Mansion”   film , now playing only in theaters! 

Inspired by the classic theme park attraction, “Haunted Mansion” is about a woman and her son who enlist a motley crew of so-called spiritual experts to help rid their home of supernatural squatters. Keep your eyes peeled for many easter eggs and nods to the Haunted Mansion attractions that made it into this film! 

There’s no better place to celebrate the release of this film than at Disney Theme Parks, and we’re materializing frightfully fun ways to experience “Haunted Mansion” for a limited time.

Hatbox Ghost Coming to Walt Disney World Resort

Hatbox Ghost image

Later this year at the Walt Disney World Resort, one of our most iconic specters will set up residence in the Haunted Mansion of Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom Park. The Hatbox Ghost will appear to guests as they pass the Endless Hallway, welcoming himself inside from the swinging wake in the cemetery and grinning at the Doom Buggies as they set off deeper into the mansion. Guests will soon see temporary barriers materialize as we await his apparition.

“Haunted Mansion” Costume Display at Disneyland Resort

hatbox ghost haunted mansion film

For a limited time, guests visiting Disneyland Park can visit the Opera House inside The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln to see a collection of concept art, props and costumes from the “Haunted Mansion,” including the ornate dress worn by Madame Leota (played by Jamie Lee Curtis) in the film.

And for guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort, stay tuned for a similar display of props and costumes coming to Walt Disney Presents Theater at Disney’s Hollywood Studios park very soon!

“Haunted Mansion” Inspired   Treats at Disney Parks

Disneyland park.

Look alive! We’re cooking up concoctions inspired by “Haunted Mansion”   that are sure to thrill your taste buds! 

Haunted Mansion Inspired Pre-Fixe Menu available at Café Orleans featuring the Vanilla Mousse and Seafood Boil

🕯️ Haunted Mansion Inspired Pre-Fixe Menu available at Café Orleans featuring the Vanilla Mousse and Seafood Boi l

April-December Churro at the New Orleans Square Churro Cart: Strawberry-flavored sugar with fresh strawberries, purple cherry sugar, freeze-dried strawberries, and donut icing drizzle

🕸️ April-December Churro at the New Orleans Square Churro Cart: Strawberry-flavored sugar with fresh strawberries, purple cherry sugar, freeze-dried strawberries, and donut icing drizzle

Constance Concoction at Harbour Galley: Potato and leek soup topped with pea flower crème fraiche, herb oil, and fried leeks served in a sourdough bread bowl

🦇 Constance Concoction at Harbour Galley: Potato and leek soup topped with pea flower crème fraiche, herb oil, and fried leeks served in a sourdough bread bowl

Crystal Ball Cereal Treat at Candy Palace and Candy Kitchen: Cereal treat in black-colored dark chocolate with teal and black M&M'S embellished with a Madame Leota chocolate piece

🔮 Madame Leota Cereal Treat at Candy Palace and Candy Kitchen: Crisped rice cereal treat dipped in dark chocolate and decorated with M&M’S milk chocolate candies and Madame Leota chocolate piece #MoviesWithMars (also available at Walt Disney World Resort)

Pickwick Ghost Punch at Royal Street Veranda and Harbour Galley: A Combination of fruit, citrus juices, and sherbet (Non-alcoholic)

👻  Pickwick Ghost Punch at Royal Street Veranda and Harbour Galley‌: A Combination of fruit, citrus juices, and sherbet (Non-alcoholic)

Hatbox Ghost Sipper at select locations in New Orleans Square and Critter Country

🎩 Hatbox Ghost Sipper at select locations in New Orleans Square and Critter Country

Walt Disney World Resort

Collage of Playful Spirits Margarita featuring Patron Silver Tequila with a Fess Parker Big Easy Red Floater and Mickey-shaped Caretakers Beignets dusted with Cookies and Cream Powdered Sugar and a ghoulish Marshmallow Crème drizzle.

🕯️ Playful Spirits Margarita featuring Patron Silver Tequila with a Fess Parker Big Easy Red Floater and Mickey-shaped Caretakers Beignets dusted with Cookies and Cream Powdered Sugar and a ghoulish Marshmallow Crème drizzle. Both can be found inside Scat Cat’s Club at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Push Pop with a Chocolate Tombstone at Sleepy Hallow inside Magic Kingdom Park.

🕸️ Peanut Butter and Jelly Push Pop at Sleepy Hollow inside Magic Kingdom Park.

Happy Haunts Shake at Columbia Harbor House inside Magic Kingdom Park: Blackberry shake topped with purple chocolate-glazed doughnut covered with black sprinkles.

🦇Happy Haunts Shake at Columbia Harbor House inside Magic Kingdom Park: Blackberry shake topped with purple chocolate-glazed doughnut covered with black sprinkles. 

Haunted Mansion Portrait Bars at The Ganachery inside Disney Springs: Chocolate Ganache Bars with edible imaged. Bar Flavors: pistachio, salted caramel, chipotle, passion fruit.

👻 Haunted Mansion Portrait Bars at The Ganachery inside Disney Springs: Chocolate Ganache Bars with edible image. Bar Flavors: pistachio, salted caramel, chipotle, passion fruit.

“Haunted Mansion” Supernatural Style 

Haunted Mansion shirts

Come and see your new favorite looks inspired by the “Haunted Mansion”   that have floated on over to  shopDisney  and select retail locations at Disney Parks. The  Hatbox Ghost Long-Sleeve T-Shirt  features the big and bold Hatbox Ghost on the front, with thrilling tie-dye stripes from top to bottom and is a perfect mix of day and night (that way, you will always be covered when the ghosts come out). The  Haunted Mansion T-Shirt for Women  shows Crump Manor lurking beneath the surface of Gracey Manor. If you look closely, that’s it, closerrr…. there is an eerie red and black tie-dye that will turn heads (upside down).

Haunted Mansion shirts

Foolish Mortals, you didn’t think we would forget about the kids, did you? Madame Leota waits and watches your fashion sense from the front of the  Haunted Mansion “Foolish Mortals” T-Shirt for Kids . For this last apparel piece, expect spectators to stare back at you when you wear the  Haunted Mansion T-shirt for Kids . 

Haunted Mansion mug

With this warm gesture, you will be raising the spirits of those who live in The Haunted Mansion when serving this  blood red mug . The design shows a plaque with Master Gracey’s initial (G) set between pictures of Gracey Manor and Crump Manor. For even more thrills, The Haunted Mansion Collection can be found at Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort and on  shopDisney . And, don’t forget – beware of hitchhiking ghosts! Blend in and hopefully they won’t follow you home!

Tour de Turtles Madame Leota and Harriet Take to Sea

The Disney Conservation Fund and Disney Cruise Line are each sponsoring a turtle this year in the 16th annual  Tour de Turtles  “migration marathon,” whose names, Madame Leota and Harriet, are inspired by the live action film “Haunted Mansion.” Through the use of satellite telemetry, Sea Turtle Conservancy will track these two turtles along with others to determine how far and where sea turtles swim during their annual migration. The one to swim the furthest distance wins Tour de Turtles! The data collected during Tour de Turtles helps researchers, conservationists and governing agencies make more informed decisions about sea turtle conservation methods and policies across Florida and our support is just one way we’re bringing  Disney Planet Possible  to life.

Watch “Haunted Mansion,” Out in Theaters Now

There’s no turning back now! Check out “Haunted Mansion” now playing only in theaters and watch out for any hitchhiking ghosts that may follow you home!

Can we please have the sipper also at Disney World?

What is meant by “The Hatbox Ghost will appear to guests as they pass the Endless Hallway, welcoming himself inside from the swinging wake in the cemetery”? There are no visible ghosts until after the seance… The whole purpose of the seance scene is to go from supernatural happenings (creaking doors, floating items) to visible ghosts. It is why the ballroom scene is so spectacular – it’s the first time you see real ghosts! I hope the hatbox ghost isn’t placed in the endless hallway and doesn’t weaken those other two iconic scenes by its placement!

RE: Hatbox Ghost placement in WDW’s Haunted Mansion attraction

NO! Just NO. Please note my disdain for the recently announced placement of the Hatbox Ghost animatronic figure in the Haunted Mansion attraction at Walt Disney World. It was announced that he would be “materializing” after the Endless Hallway. This location is prior to Madame Leota summoning the ghosts to appear. Per the original Imagineering’s guidelines and the mythos of the mansion, NO GHOSTS should appear in their corporeal form until after that scene.

Because the Endless Hallway is well before we see Madame Leota it is illogical and disruptive to the narrative to have any kind of ghost (Regardless of their new found celebrity status) to appear. Do right by this attraction! The Hatbox Ghost figure needs to appear after the Seance Room never before.

Thanks, A concerned HM fan

I am not sure if this ties in with the new film, but the hatbox ghost shouldn’t appear until after Madame Leota says her incantations and the Ghost Host informs us: “The happy haunts have received your sympathetic vibrations and are beginning to materialize. They’re assembling for a swinging wake”

Would that not mean that the HG should not materialize until sometime after that point? If there is no linear story to the Mansion then it does not matter, but it seems as though there is and I honestly think if you needed to have him placed anywhere else in the attraction other than his original placement in the attic scene, then it should be in the graveyard with the other ghosts or sometime after the Hitchhiking Ghosts before you exit.

Going to the Haunted Mansion is one of my favourite moments at Disney Parks. I’m looking forward to watching the film. Well done, Disney!!

So…which Imagineer forgot that inside the Haunted Mansion the spirits do not materialize until after Mme. Leota’s séance makes them visible to mortals?

I LOVE that they’re finally getting the Hatbox Ghost in Florida – but I have a question – we are not supposed to be able to see the ghosts until Madame Leota’s incantation in the séance room. I really feel that story-wise, this location for Hattie does not make sense. I’m worried this will ruin the 54 year precedent that guests have come to expect of no ghosts until after the séance room.

I’m a bit confused by the wording here. Does this mean that the Hatbox Ghost will appear multiple times throughout the attraction?

Comments are closed.

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Cayla Ward

by Cayla Ward , Manager, Synergy & Partnership Marketing

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  • Deceased Characters
  • Beheaded Characters
  • Disney Kingdoms

Hatbox Ghost

  • View history
  • 1.2 Character Identification
  • 2.1 The Original
  • 2.2 The Updated Ghoul
  • 2.3 Other Ride Appearances
  • 3 Removal and Return
  • 4.1.1 Autopia
  • 4.2.1 Haunted Mansion
  • 4.3.1 House of Mouse
  • 4.3.2 Muppets Haunted Mansion
  • 4.4 Tales from the Haunted Mansion
  • 4.5.1 SLG Comics
  • 4.5.2 Disney Kingdoms  Comics
  • 7 References

Description [ ]

Described as "a cloaked figure with an evil, grinning face" in The Story and Song from the Haunted Mansion , the Hatbox Ghost stands by with an old, kobby walking stick in his right hand and his namesake hatbox in his left. As riders look on, his head vanishes from his shoulders and reappears inside the hatbox, his top hat floating above the space where his head should be, only to have the head fade back into its original position moments later.

He has a similar face mold as the Skeleton hitchhiking ghost, Ezra. On the original figure, this happened to be an exact sculpt. Certain parts of his current animatronic have been coloured in such a way that it appears as if he is semi transparent. Some identify his cane as being a shillelagh .

Character Identification [ ]

  • One popular theory is that he was the lover of the Bride and was killed by either the Bride herself or a jealous suitor.
  • In the new version of the attic, many assume the Hatbox Ghost is one of  Constance Hatchaway 's deceased husbands , or, at the very least, another one of her victims. The evidence of this is based on the fact that he was decapitated and had his head placed in a hatbox (as all of Constance's husbands were) and the close association shown between the two characters,
  • Another possibility is that he was an accomplice of Constance as evidenced by his possession of the hatboxes she used to store her victims' heads.

Appearances [ ]

The original [ ].

In 1969, the Hatbox Ghost was briefly in a corner of the attic opposite the Bride where he was implied to have been a suitor to her, his head supposedly fading and returning with each beat of the Bride's glowing, thudding heart.

The Updated Ghoul [ ]

Today, at Disneyland, the Hatbox Ghost stands on the balcony alongside seven hatboxes as guests exit the attic before they descend to the graveyard . His head vanishes with a sinister chuckle or an occasional hiss and appears again in the hatbox, blinking and moving its eyes. An uncredited Corey Burton provided the chuckles.

At Walt Disney World, the Hatbox Ghost appears by a glowing door near the Endless Hallway, again accompanied by a cart of hatboxes as well as leaving behind a set of wet footprints.

Other Ride Appearances [ ]

While not yet appearing within Magic Kingdom 's Haunted Mansion , his presence is not completely absent. The ghost's face can be seen within several of the " Family Portraits " in the Corridor of Doors . The most evident of these is of a black & white photograph of the original Hatbox Ghost figure though there are two other photos of the same head-mould, showing the Hatbox Ghost in different hats. One of these has him wearing a bowler-hat and another having him wear a crown with the latter photo being nicknamed, "King Leer" as an allusion to the Shakespeare play King Lear and his leering head mould.

Also, in 2019 a Disney Photo-Pass addition was put in the attraction which took photos of guests in the ride during Walt Disney World's Portrait Hall sequence; when observed, these photos show the Hatbox Ghost looming overtop of the guest's Doom Buggies .

Removal and Return [ ]

HBGnewanimatronic

An A-100 animatronic, redressed to resemble the Hatbox Ghost, at D23.

Though the Hatbox Ghost was briefly in the attraction when it first opened, the intended effect of the vanishing head did not work out as planned. Rumor had speculated that the old parts for the Hatbox Ghost were used for the Sam the Eagle animatronic at the now defunct ride America Sings . This was later disproved when a manual for The Haunted Mansion was auctioned off showing that the HBG was too simple to have any moving parts to end up in the Sam the Eagle figures. Some speculate that he was removed because he was "too scary or a family attraction." While never making it to the attraction, a second Hatbox Ghost figure was built for the Florida version and can be spotted in Disneyland Showtime 's behind the scenes B-roll, which primarily showcased Florida's set of figures and props.

Early promotional material for the Haunted Mansion likewise heavily featured the character and, coupled with the fact that most never even saw him or the intended effect, he was not easily forgotten. The mystery of the character would persist for nearly 45 years, with all sorts of rumors and speculation floating around.

This legacy has been reflected by both the company and the fans. The Hatbox Ghost continues to appear on merchandise, memorabilia and other Mansion-related items throughout the years, as well as making several cameos in various Disney media. In 2010, it was announced at San Diego Comic Con that Guillermo Del Toro's planned Haunted Mansion film would prominently feature the Hatbox Ghost. At the D23 Expo in 2013, a large animatronic figure was present at the show that was dressed to resemble the Hatbox Ghost.

In early January of 2015, following the take down of the seasonal Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay, a strange wall with a holographic window depicting one of the bat stanchions appeared on the balcony in the attraction. Many assumed this masked an upcoming addition to the attraction, and most surmised that it would be the Hatbox Ghost. Disney teased this by putting the Hatbox Ghost on much of their merchandise for the Haunted Mansion's 45th anniversary, and finally confirmed in late April that the Hatbox Ghost was indeed coming back to the attraction. On May 9th, following a week-long closure, the Mansion reopened with an updated Hatbox Ghost figure in the spot where the "mystery wall" had been, using a combination of sophisticated video projection and old-fashioned stage magic to create the illusion of the ghost's vanishing head.

Hatbox Ghost Florida 1

Magic Kingdom's Hatbox Ghost in 2023

At D23 Expo 2022, it was announced that Magic Kingdom would be receiving a Hatbox Ghost in 2023, which debuted on November 30th. He appears near a glowing door by the Endless Hallway instead of the Attic. His heavily critiqued placement, which breaks the original narrative flow of the ghosts not fully materializing until after Madame Leota's seance, has been given a handwave explanation by the WDI team of him being an "unhappy haunt" not bound to Leota's spell choosing to materialize whenever he wants.

Other Appearances [ ]

Attractions [ ], autopia [ ].

The Hatbox Ghost makes a cameo in the pre-show videos of Disneyland's Autopia. While the robots ASIMO and Bird go on a, "Haunted New Orleans" tour looking for ghosts, the Hatbox Ghost's silhouette appears behind them. [1]

Haunted Mansion [ ]

The Hatbox Ghost, played by Jared Leto , serves as the film's main villain. He is given the name Alistair Crump.

In this incarnation, the character has a tragic backstory wherein he was born to an overbearing tycoon father and loving mother. The Crumps owned a Dutch colonial revival gothic mansion. Alistair's mother later died he was only nine; distraught with grief, Alistair was unable to cope with the situation and was often abused by his father, who later expelled him from their home. Shunned and ostracised by society, Alistair left for an unknown place and worked hard to rise through the ranks, eventually becoming a wealthy socialite and heir to a fortune. When his father died, Alistair returned and repurchased his old mansion, where it later became the site of lavish balls, of which most of the guests were socialites who shunned him. The balls served as traps for his enemies, whom he murdered out of revenge. Alistair was later beheaded by his mutinous servants.

Sometime later, William Gracey purchases an antebellum mansion, where he hired Madame Leota to try and contact the spirit of his dead wife every night for a full year. This ritual released hundreds of ghosts, mostly benevolent spirits, into the mansion. However, a mishap causes Alistair, now an evil entity called Hatbox Ghost, to arrive and trick Gracey into taking his own life, before killing Leota and trapping her inside her crystal ball. Crump later trapped the ghosts in the antebellum mansion and must find the 1000th soul.

Given the backstory of the character, this incarnation of the Hatbox Ghost is a tragic villain. The harsh upbringing and expulsion from his home caused his cruel nature and shunning, wherein he later murders his enemies in a fit of rage.

Television [ ]

House of mouse [ ].

The Hatbox Ghost makes a cameo appearance in an episode of House of Mouse when he's about to turn at Pete .

Muppets Haunted Mansion [ ]

Gauzey the Hatbox Bear

Gauzey the Hatbox Bear in Muppets Haunted Mansion

The Hatbox Ghost is portrayed by Fozzie Bear , using the name Gauzey the Hatbox Bear , with his head disappearing and reappearing being a part of his comedy act in "The Mansion Show" and being heckled by Statler and Waldorf from a Doombuggy. Despite his head related talents, Gauzey doesn't seem to realize he's actually dead. Gauzey's head appears later in the special's climax when Gonzo races down the Endless Hallway to find a way to the Attic.

Tales from the Haunted Mansion [ ]

The Hatbox Ghost makes a brief cameo in Volume II 's story "Uncle Rory's Late Show", welcoming Uncle Rory and Diana Durwin to the Mansion and placing the severed head of a bank manager that the undead Rory killed in his posthumous revenge spree into a hatbox.

SLG Comics [ ]

In the Mystery of the Manse storyline, the Hatbox Ghost is the spirit of Randall Pace , a gunrunner decapitated by William Gracey during a mutiny. He is one of the spirits summoned by Madame Leota to torment Emily de Claire on the day of her wedding to Gracey, and seems to lead the ghosts of Gracey's murdered crew in frightening her to death. The Hatbox Ghost makes several minor appearances throughout the comic as well.

Disney Kingdoms   Comics [ ]

The Hatbox Ghost first appears in a cameo in The Haunted Mansion #2 alongside the Captain , Madame Leota and Constance as the nature of the mansion's ghosts and their powers is explained by Pickwick . It is revealed that these four ghosts are among the few that actually died on the grounds of the mansion, thus leading to them having more supernatural power.

In the following issue, he appears to help Danny escape from the Captain in the Grand Hall . It is revealed that he has only recently returned to the Mansion after a long time traveling to different haunted places around the world magically connected together by the Endless Staircase and Ghostly Materials Gallery , a vast labyrinth that only he has figured out how to properly use. Though insisting he's staying out of the fight, he urges Danny to continue on his adventure to undo the Captain's curse on the Mansion, free the Haunted Mansion's magic, and allow all the ghosts the freedom to travel. The end of the story reveals the Hatbox Ghost as the new keeper of the Captain's disembodied head, kept in one of his hatboxes, away from his ghostly body so he cannot reform and return to his evil ways.

Compared to the rest of the four, the Hatbox Ghost has a more relaxed personality, believing that the dead should learn to celebrate life in their afterlife, noting that it'd be impossible for Constance or the Captain to move on because of their respective unbridled rage and insatiable greed.

Strangely, he does not perform or refer to his "head-in-the-hatbox" trick even once in the Disney Kingdoms comics.

  • Although he does not physically appear in the Disney World Version of the attic, his hatboxes do. If you look to the side of the room opposite to Constance, near the picture of her and the Marquis you will see five hatboxes stacked atop one another looking nearly identical to those on the Disneyland Balcony
  • After he was initially removed, he continued to be featured in Haunted Mansion merchandise and promotional content such as Vinylmation and House of Mouse .
  • His dark chuckle was performed by Corey Burton who also voices the Ghost Host during Haunted Mansion Holiday .
  • A Christopher Merritt sketch from a 2006-2007 proposal to bring back the Hatbox Ghost had business signage for an "S. Ezra Haberdashery" among the set dressing.
  • It is possible that the Hatbox Ghost's design was inspired by Lon Chaney's character "The Man in the Beaver Hat" from the 1927 horror-film, London After Midnight .
  • In merchandise he is sometimes referred to as being " The Maddest Hatter of them all " as a reference to the Mad Hatter character from Alice in Wonderland.
  • After he was removed, a popular myth arose which was that he was removed due to how scary he was and that he gave one guest a heart attack, in reality his effect just didn't work
  • One popular theory was that his parts were reused for the Sam the Eagle animatronic at America Sings which was later turned into the Br'er Fox animatronic in the soon-to-be-defunct Disneyland attraction, Splash Mountain . Upon inspection of his blueprints it can be seen that his figure wouldn't have had enough moving parts for this.
  • Although unlikely, if not thrown away completely, the original Hatbox Ghost animatronic may possibly be in the Disney Warehouse somewhere that is off-limits to guests.

Gallery [ ]

The Original Hatbox Ghost figure

References [ ]

  • ↑ https://www.endorexpress.net/parks/disneyparks/disneyland-disneyland/2017/04/an-asimo-topia-disneyland-photo-update/
  • 1 Alistair Crump
  • 2 Constance Hatchaway
  • 3 Stretching Room

Screen Rant

Haunted mansion's hatbox ghost's real identity & ride history explained.

The Hatbox Ghost plays a huge part in the 2023 Haunted Mansion. His true identity and long history with the Disney ride make him central to the plot.

Warning: Beware! This article contains spoilers for the Haunted Mansion!

  • The Hatbox Ghost, Alistair Crump, plays a central role in the Haunted Mansion story, capturing souls to increase his power and bring chaos to the living world.
  • Alistair's plan is to obtain 1000 souls by the full moon, tormenting both his mortal victims and the restless ghosts within the Haunted Mansion.
  • In the end, Alistair is defeated through a clever plan involving a banishment spell and the rallying of the ghosts against him, resulting in harmony between the remaining ghosts and humans in the Haunted Mansion.

The Hatbox Ghost plays a huge part in Justin Simien's Haunted Mansion , and his real identity as well as his long history with the Disney theme park ride are central to the story. The harrowing tale begins when Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and her son Travis move into the titular residence and begin experiencing hauntings, forcing them to call on Owen Wilson's Father Kent and LaKeith Stanfield’s character Ben to purge it of evil spirits. The Hatbox Ghost, in particular, seems to be directing the spectral encounters, both within the mansion and whenever guests try to leave, using dozens of different ghosts to prey on the fears of the mortal visitors.

A medium named Harriet (Tiffany Haddish) explains that the ghosts are here to stay, and the human residents might be too if the Hatbox Ghost gets his way. A professor well acquainted with the Haunted Mansion's history believes that discovering the Hatbox Ghost's true identity is the key to destroying his plan and allowing them to leave unharmed. With a little help from Madame Leota, her crystal ball, and her spellbook, the motley crew investigates the Hatbox Ghost to try and find a weakness they hope will not only free them from his reign of terror but the restless ghosts inside the Haunted Mansion as well.

The Hatbox Ghost's True Identity Is Alistair Crump

The Hatbox Ghost's true identity is Alistair Crump, who was the son of a wealthy, albeit cruel, Louisiana socialite in the late 1900s. After the death of his mother, Alistair became inconsolable, but his father berated him for showing so much emotion and, wanting nothing to do with a son he perceived as weak, threw him out of the house. Alistair was left with nothing and disappeared, rumored to be traveling the world learning about mysticism and dark arts until he returned to his childhood home as a grown man, and regained control of the entire mansion when his father passed away "under mysterious circumstances."

Alistair resumed his father's lavish parties and invited all of the guests he felt poisoned his father against him, ending each one in a murder spree. Eventually, his own horrified staff caught up to him and beheaded him, trapping him in the Haunted Mansion along with his slain guests, until its new owner William Gracey held a seance with Madame Leota to contact his deceased wife. The pair contacted Alistair's spirit instead, who convinced Gracey to take his own life to join his wife, and trapped Leota in her crystal ball when she attempted to identify him and banish his spirit.

What Alistair Crump's Plan Is In Haunted Mansion

Alistair Crump's main objective is to capture 1000 souls by the full moon, and by the time Gabbie and her son move in, he already has 999. Over the decades that he's been causing chaos at the Haunted Mansion, he's been able to influence every person who's entered to willingly cross over to the other side and surrender their soul, in hopes of one day being free to use his dark magic on the world of the living without constraint. In the process, he not only torments his victims but also the ghosts who remain in the Haunted Mansion to do his bidding, forever unable to be at rest.

The anger and pain suffered by the Hatbox Ghost affect everything in the Haunted Mansion, turning all of its inhabitants into murderous wraiths. Some, like William Gracey, were tricked into giving up their souls and aren't inherently evil while others, like Constance Hatchaway, who beheaded all five of her husbands, feel they must atone for the horrible acts they committed in life. With each soul he obtains, the Hatbox Ghost becomes more powerful, and if he obtains 1000 souls, the Haunted Mansion won't be able to contain his evil, which he will use to make others in the world feel as forsaken as he is.

How Alistair Crump Is Defeated In Haunted Mansion 2023

A showdown between the living and the dead marks the end of The Haunted Mansion , and Alistair Crump stands ready to claim his 1000th soul with Ben, who is still grieving for his wife and wants to join her in the afterlife. At the same time he preys on Ben, Alistair continues to communicate with Travis in the guise of his deceased father, hoping to have a backup plan should something happen with Ben's decision. Meanwhile, Harriet and Madame Leota work on a spell to prevent the Hatbox Ghost from unbinding himself from the mansion grounds.

Ultimately, both Ben and the Hatbox Ghost attempt a bait-and-switch, but only Ben's is successful; while pretending to be Alistair's final soul, Ben distracts him long enough for Harriet and Madame Leota to use the banishment spell with the hat that Travis stole from Alistair's severed head. He tries to rally his minions against them but the ghosts, moved by a rallying speech by Father Kent, won't budge, and Alistair Crump is banished once and for all while the remaining ghosts and humans decide to live in harmony within the Haunted Mansion, so don't expect a Haunted Mansion post-credit scene with the villain.

The Hatbox Ghost's History With The Haunted Mansion Ride

The Hatbox Ghost has a history stretching back to the very beginning of the Haunted Mansion ride when he was designed to appear in the attic scene across from the Bride (later given the name Constance Hatchaway) and near the exit. Timed to the Bride's heartbeat, his head disappeared from his shoulders and then reappeared in the hatbox he held, but the gimmick only worked well in testing and didn't perform as Disney imagineers hoped once viewed from all the ride's different angles. The Hatbox Ghost was removed within a few weeks of the ride opening in 1969 and wasn't seen again until 46 years later.

RELATED: Haunted Mansion 2: If Disney's Revamped Ride Adaptation Will Get A Sequel & Everything We Know The Hatbox Ghost was finally brought back to the attic in 2015 as part of the Diamond Celebration for Disney's 60th Anniversary. The new version has far more movement than the original by using rear-projected technology; his face is projected onto a blank head then, while the head drops into the body the face moves to the head that appears in the hatbox until it finally returns back to his shoulders with an evil chuckle. He will make his debut at Disney World sometime in 2023 to correspond with the release of Haunted Mansion .

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Disney's New Haunted Mansion Movie Might Have Found Its Hatbox Ghost

And chad stahleski thinks john wick could go to space..

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Blumhouse’s new Exorcist trilogy expands its cast. The Alien TV series could start filming next year. The Spirit Halloween movie isn’t the only Halloween movie about k iller decorations coming out. Plus, what’s coming on the Tales of the Walking Dead premiere. Spoilers get!

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The Exorcist Trilogy

According to THR , Ann Dowd will star alongside Leslie Odom Jr. and Ellen Burstyn in David Gordon Green’s upcoming Exorcist trilogy at Blumhouse. Details on her character are not available at this time.

Haunted Mansion

Entertainment Weekly reports Jared Leto has now joined Disney’s Haunted Mansion reboot in the role of the infamous Hatbox Ghost .

John Wick: Chapter 4/5/6

In a recent interview with Comic Book , director Chad Stahleski admitted there’s a “distinct possibility” John Wick “could” visit outer space in a future sequel.

There’s a distinct possibility it could. I don’t know if I’d be piloting the ship, but could the character go? Even as a fan, I think the John Wick world is kind of fun and interesting. But the sky’s the limit. We’re not coming from an existing IP, so I don’t have to follow Batman lore. I can do anything.

Orphan: First Kill

Paramount has released another poster for Orphan: First Kill .

The Curse of Bridge Hollow

Bloody-Disgusting also has our first look at The Curse of Bridge Hollow , the other new movie about killer Halloween decorations starring Marlon Wayans, Priah Ferguson, Kelly Rowland, Rob Riggle, John Michael Higgins, Nia Vardalos, Lauren Lapkus, Holly J. Barrett, Myles Vincent Perez, Abi Monterey, and Helen Slayton-Hughes.

Image for article titled Disney's New Haunted Mansion Movie Might Have Found Its Hatbox Ghost

The latest trailer for Glorious reveals J.K. Simmons plays the film’s Lovecraftian monster   bound to a public toilet stall, himself.

A stuffed toy embarks on a journey to find his owner in the trailer for Lost Ollie , starring Jonathan Groff, Gina Rodriguez, Jake Johnson, Tim Blake Nelson, Kesler Talbot, and Mary J. Blige.

We also have a new trailer for Alienoid , the Korean sci-fi/action movie about an alien race that traps its prisoners in human bodies on Earth.

Alien: The Series

Deadline reports Noah Hawley’s Alien series at FX plans to begin filming next year.

American Horror Story

In the meantime, TV Line has word the eleventh season of American Horror Story will air on the network this fall.

Tales of the Walking Dead

Unlikely allies enjoy a road trip through the zombie apocalypse in the synopsis for “Evie; Joe,” the premiere episode of Tales of the Walking Dead .

In a road-trip story, a reclusive prepper abandons his bunker in search of a female prepper from his past; along the way, he meets an unlikely ally who is his polar opposite; they team up in an effort to find their lost loved ones.

[ Spoiler TV ]

Tuca & Bertie

Finally, Tuca enters Bertie’s anxious high school dreams in the trailer for next week’s episode.

Banner art by Jim Cook

Want more io9 news? Check out when to expect the latest Marvel and Star Wars releases, what’s next for the DC Universe on film and TV , and everything you need to know about House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power .

Haunted Mansion's Jared Leto Performance Raises A Lot Of Questions

Haunted Mansion Hatbox Ghost

This post contains  spoilers for Disney's "Haunted Mansion."

Disney's latest attempt at adapting  the popular theme park attraction "Haunted Mansion"  into a live-action film has taken a very family-friendly (and critic-friendly, based on /Film's review by Josh Spiegel ) approach, but it's my responsibility to warn moviegoers of a serious jump-scare in the early going. Sure, the entire appeal of the movie is how it blends humor, heart, and horror together into one big witch's brew of spookiness, but there's a certain notable moment that practically demands a content warning — one that hasn't been highlighted in much of the marketing to this point and has surprised more than a few unwary souls (or should I say foolish mortals?) who had absolutely no idea what they were in for.

I'm talking, of course, about that title card in the opening minutes displaying the downright ghoulish acting credit of: "And Jared Leto as the Hatbox Ghost."

Yup, that's right. Perhaps the most terrifying aspect of the infamous theme park character, left out of the 2003 Eddie Murphy movie completely and whom many fans have clamored to see brought to life this time around (er, in a manner of speaking), is that he's portrayed by none other than Jared Leto. Much has been said and written about the shockingly great performance of star LaKeith Stanfield  and pleasant supporting turns by Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, and Jamie-Lee Curtis. But almost all of that threatens to be overshadowed by the inclusion of the always divisive, typically creepy, and oftentimes annoying antics of the man behind Dr. Michael Morbius himself.

Too harsh an assessment? Perhaps, but one viewing of "Haunted Mansion" is all you need to wonder why this choice was made in the first place.

Jared Leto, more like Jared why though

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Jared Leto's casting in "Haunted Mansion" as the villainous and vengeful spirit intent on collecting 1000 souls to free him from the confines of the eponymous mansion is head-scratching on several different levels — not least of all because he's wholly unrecognizable in the role. Imagine if the entirety of "Morbius" took place with Leto decked out in his awful, CGI-slathered vampire form, or if one of our greatest living directors had decided to put him in facial prosthetics and let him get away with an awful Italian accent rivaling Chris Pratt's in "The Super Mario Bros. Movie." ( Wait, that last part actually happened! ) Well, add in the voice modulation thrown in during post-production on "Haunted Mansion," and it's no wonder why everyone I've talked to has been shocked to discover that Disney cast someone as recognizable as Leto for the major role of the Hatbox Ghost ... only to turn him into, well, that .

For those on the fence about casting a skeptical eye on the cult of Jared Leto (which, uh, may or may not be a literal cult ?), here's another eye-rolling development that further puts his appearance in "Haunted Mansion" into question: He brought back his obnoxious method acting nonsense , apparently. In a prior interview with Entertainment Weekly , director Justin Simien admitted that, "When I was with him [filming], yeah, he was full-on Hatbox Ghost." For someone who only really showed up for roughly 10 minutes of screen time, it's hard to understand why such gimmicks would be necessary — much like his casting overall. If nothing else, his presence adds a fittingly creepy layer to a sinister spirit. But at what cost?

"Haunted Mansion" is currently playing in theaters.

Hatbox Ghost in Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom

hatbox ghost haunted mansion film

Walt Disney World has added Hatbox Ghost to Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom, which has been a controversial change with many diehard fans. This post covers where the new Audio Animatronics happy haunt materialized and our commentary about the addition to the iconic attraction. ( Updated December 1, 2023 .)

You might recall that Parks Chairman Josh D’Amaro originally announced that the Hatbox Ghost would be added to Magic Kingdom back at the D23 Expo in September of last year. At the time, the announcement was brief: “Foolish mortals, prepare yourselves for a new happy haunt at the Haunted Mansion. The Hatbox Ghost has heard your calls and will materialize next year.”

Since then, not much has been shared. During the “Halfway to Halloween” festivities back in April, there was a teaser on TikTok featuring a video of the Hatbox Ghost Audio Animatronics figure, but presumably the one that already exists at Disneyland. This is the first substantive update on the AA since the initial announcement.

December 1, 2023 Update:  Hatbox Ghost materialized overnight, thus fulfilling Walt Disney World’s promise to install the Audio Animatronics figure before the end of November. We haven’t see the AA in person yet, so we’ll withhold final judgment until then, but the photos and video we have seen look… not great! 

Beyond all of the other issues that are discussed below, the staging of Hatbox Ghost is shoehorned and jarring. The Endless Hallway and area around it is warm, whereas Hatbox Ghost has cool lighting–and these two contrasting focal points appear right next to one another, competing for attention and doing no favors to one another.

hatbox ghost haunted mansion film

When previously discussing the addition, Imagineer Daniel Joseph indicated that Hatbox Ghost is materializing whenever and wherever he wants in Haunted Mansion, because he is not actually a ‘happy haunt.’ Joseph also stated that since Hatbox Ghost was always intended to appear in the Haunted Mansion, he was counted in the original 999 ghosts and is not number one-thousand. (This is likely an indirect attempt to address concerns about the placement of the character by diehard Haunted Mansion fans.)

Our guess is that the justification–both to add Hatbox Ghost to Haunted Mansion at this point and the character’s story justification for existing–was premised on the 2023 movie. However, that bombed at the box office and has already been quickly forgotten, whereas this Audio Animatronics figure will likely be around for decades to come.

The Hatbox Ghost appears to guests as they pass the Endless Hallway, welcoming himself inside from the swinging wake in the cemetery and grinning at the Doom Buggies as they set off deeper into the mansion. The commentary that follows goes into the story and continuity issues with this placement…

hatbox ghost haunted mansion film

Frankly, we’re a bit shocked by the timeline for Hatbox Ghost at Magic Kingdom. Disney’s Haunted Mansion  movie hit theaters back on July 28 and featured Jared Leto as the Hatbox Ghost. After that, there was Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and the Halloween season, which ran from mid-August until early November.

If you asked me earlier this year to choose two dates by which the Hatbox Ghost would be added at Magic Kingdom, those would’ve been my picks. However, as we’ve said repeatedly in reaction to Encanto  still not having a permanent park presence at Walt Disney World, this company is not actually as good at synergy as many fans believe. So instead, Hatbox Ghost arrived halfway through the holiday season.

hatbox ghost haunted mansion film

In terms of commentary, the other surprise is the location of Hatbox Ghost in Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom. The Audio Animatronics figure does not appear in the same spot as at Disneyland. In the New Orleans Square version of the attraction, Hatbox Ghost appears following the end of the attic scene after the Bride.

The figure is slightly shoehorned in even there, but it makes sense and more or less works. If you didn’t know Hatbox Ghost was added in 2015, you’d probably never question the placement. Hatbox Ghost fits with the flow of the attraction and fills some dead space at Disneyland.

That’s more or less the spot where the character was originally intended to go, and makes sense from both a story and gag perspective (people used to accumulate hatboxes in their attics).

hatbox ghost haunted mansion film

At Walt Disney World, the Hatbox Ghost appears as guests pass the Endless Hallway. This is much earlier in the ride, where guests see a candelabra floating in a never-ending hallway (hence the name). Outside the Endless Hallway, there’s an armor suit on one side and now Hatbox Ghost on the other side. (He replaces the fan-favorite Donald Duck chair, which has moved to an earlier scene in the library.)

It’s our understanding that Imagineering had originally wanted to put Hatbox Ghost in the attic scene at Magic Kingdom, but there wasn’t sufficient support infrastructure, and installing the Audio Animatronics figure there would’ve necessitated a lot more work. So rather than abandoning the plan completely, they moved the AA to the Endless Hallway.

This means Hatbox Ghost will appear before Madame Leota’s Séance Circle, and the narration indicating that the “happy haunts have received your sympathetic vibrations and are beginning to materialize. They’re assembling for a swinging wake…”

hatbox ghost haunted mansion film

The placement of Hatbox Ghost in Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom is thus controversial with a lot of diehard Disney fans. He’s now the first ghost to appear in the attraction, and comes before Madame Leota has summoned them. Prior to this point in the attraction, there’s the casket–but that’s technically a corpse and not a ghost.

Honestly, it’s been a while since I’ve dug deep into the lore of the Haunted Mansion (obligatory plug for the excellent Boundless Realm ), but I think this contradicts the story of the attraction. With that said, a lot has been modified over the years, with fan theories becoming canon, other ‘rules’ being retconned, etc.

Basically, what I’m saying is that I don’t think this is an acceptable placement for the Hatbox Ghost. And, if it is acceptable, by what standards? 1969? 2007? 2023?

hatbox ghost haunted mansion film

For me, it comes down to a smell test more than anything else. When I think about it, the placement strikes me as slightly odd–the logical progression of Haunted Mansion seems to suggest that a ghost shouldn’t appear prior to Madame Leota’s Séance Circle. With that said, perhaps there’s a compelling story or historical reason for this, of which I am unaware.

Moreover, that’s what I’m thinking while sitting at home. I’m honestly not analytically scrutinizing or dissecting Haunted Mansion while riding it. From my perspective as a guest, the attraction is more a series of vignettes, and there are multiple points at which ominous or foreboding imagery protends of something to come.

Hatbox Ghost could pass muster as that, especially if were added in a similar spirit as the eponymous character from Phantom Manor. (But that might present its own problems, with Hatbox Ghost suddenly appearing and dominating the story.)

hatbox ghost haunted mansion film

To be clear, none of this is to say that Haunted Mansion should be a total free-for-all, with story and history both being meaningless because the attraction is all about vibes. To the contrary, I have more reverence for Haunted Mansion than any other attraction, and believe that it is, to this day, the pinnacle of Imagineering. (Right up there with Pirates of the Caribbean.)

Consequently, every change should be done carefully and it’s all well worthy of scrutiny. Haunted Mansion is a work of art, not just mindless theme park escapism. Treating Haunted Mansion with respect and reverence is not the same as being a Dino-Rama disciple.

If you don’t care about any of this, fine; that’s your prerogative. But this type of thing does matter and isn’t simply a matter of diehard dorks taking theme parks too seriously. You’re probably a fan in the first place because someone took all this stuff so seriously when creating it.

hatbox ghost haunted mansion film

Ultimately, what I am suggesting is that the story and history of Haunted Mansion  do  matter. The placement of Hatbox Ghost strikes me as off, and the execution of the final AA didn’t do any favors to the initial controversy. With that said, I’ve been around the block a few times with Haunted Mansion changes, and still vaguely remember the backlash followed by the “ well, actually… ” in response to the 2007 reimagining.

All I can say with certainty is that Hatbox Ghost appearing that early strikes me as suboptimal placement when thinking about it now, but will probably strike me as something ‘cool and new’ while riding. Given how starved Walt Disney World fans are for even the smallest enhancements, I’m guessing this will be pretty well received and most guests won’t give a second thought to the placement or the awkward lighting at first–they’ll just be happy to have something  new. 

So perhaps the best “compromise” of all is to let Hatbox Ghost hang out inside Haunted Mansion for a few years, give everyone a chance to see him, and then evict him from the Endless Hallway during the next refurbishment. Haunted Mansion should definitely continue to evolve and receive reimaginings, but they also need to stick to the spirit of the original story and attraction.

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Your Thoughts

What are your thoughts on Hatbox Ghost finally joining Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World? Disappointed by the long delay between announcement and installation? Thoughts on the placement of the Audio Animatronics at Magic Kingdom vs. Disneyland? Any insight into whether this breaks any ‘rules’ or lore for Haunted Mansion? Do you agree or disagree with our assessment? Any questions we can help you answer? Hearing your feedback—even when you disagree with us—is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

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Written by Tom Bricker

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Haunted Mansion movie was horrible. My husband and I sat through it until the end. I checked out a few minutes in. Horrible storyline and not for kids. Another box office bomb and to quote Clark’s MIL in Christmas Vacation: a horrible waste of valuable resources

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I don’t think the placement is great either, but to people who say there aren’t *any* ghosts prior to Leota – Isn’t there a ghost playing the piano in the Music room, right after the Library? You only see his shadow, but he’s playing the piano.

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I’ve been a huge Haunted Mansion fan since I was a kid riding it in the 80’s and 90’s. While I’d be very disappointed in any major changes, minor updates here and there I can live with. This one looks like it may be a cool addition to bring a bit more of a modern touch although I do agree that the placement of the Hatbox Ghost is odd. In terms of being before Madame Leota, you could argue that since he is more of an evil ghost than a happy haunt, he plays by his own rules. And there are the green ghost footprints that appear in the stairway room prior to Madame Leota also… Tom I’ve been a fan of your blog for years but I didn’t hunk this may be my first comment so I wanted to say thank you and congratulations on your precious little Megatron! And when I am talking to my family about what “my friend Tom Bricker” said, they all know who I am referring to!

*I think this may be Not “I didn’t hunk” Autocorrect changed it on me again after I thought I fixed it!

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We happened to ride this on Dec 1 during the party, and were so surprised to see it that I didn’t even have time to get a photo. I agree it’s placement really doesn’t make sense with the story, but it was a cool addition. It looked nice in person, even if it is kind of random. I’m not a hard core HM fan though.

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“But this type of thing does matter and isn’t simply a matter of diehard dorks taking theme parks too seriously. You’re probably a fan in the first place because someone took all this stuff so seriously when creating it.”

Absolutely!

I always loved the attention to detail and gags the Imagineers sprinkled around the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

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It’s a Christmas miracle for Disney to do anything new. We saw Hatbox the driest day he was added and he looks great. Instead of blending into the attic where’s already so much to look at he’s easy to scrutinize exactly where he is. He looks great!

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My family visited Magic Kingdom on November 30th. A wonderful morning in the park. I had been regularly checking online to see if Hatbox had indeed landed at MK. Imagine my surprise when out of nowhere he appeared during our ride. It did seem a little oddly placed, but it was a moment of Disney magic for me. I figured November had basically gone and the ghost was delayed 😉 For me, even if the placement is a little out of nowhere – it’s cool to have the addition.

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I suspect this will be the consensus for most Walt Disney World fans (who visit at least once every few years) who are not also Haunted Mansion diehards. I do wonder, though, what happens when the novelty wears off after a few years?

Honestly, that’s kinda how I feel about Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean. He was cool when the movies were brand-new (and also, box office smash successes) but now he kind of feels out of place as compared with everything else going on in the ride. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not clamoring for his removal, but I wouldn’t mind if it happened (especially if they added other enhancements as a tradeoff).

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Just saw movie- it was ok. The haunted mansion is one of my favorite Disney rides- hoping they add him in a way that isn’t too noticeable if that makes sense

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Agree, though I’m afraid they are going to try to revamp the whole ride about this, which would be a huge mistake, and ruin the delicious balance between humor and creepy. It almost feels like someone at Disney said, “You want us to include your beloved Hatbox Ghost? Fine. Let’s see how you like him NOW.” They should have just put him up in the attic doing his disappearing head trick and left it at that.

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In terms of the new movie, it’s going to bomb (sorry, just being realistic) and from a cultural impact perspective it’ll make the previous Eddie Murphy version feel downright iconic by comparison. If anyone at Disney feels there’s a synergistic benefit to reshaping the ride experience/narrative based on the 2023 film then they must truly be possessed.

Disney’s film production units have historically gone through multiple eras when the ideas and storytelling lapsed and quality suffered. We just happen to be in one of those eras now. And as Tom noted, the company can barely move a muscle to integrate elements of their rare successful new films into the parks/rides (e.g., Encanto) so investing in the duds would truly be a fool’s errand.

I guess (per Tom’s post) in this case the movie was the impetus to grant the budget for the “fan service” of bringing Hatbox Ghost to WDW, while at the same time the producers drastically overestimated the penetration of Hatbox Ghost into our cultural zeitgeist (um, Oscar winner Jared Leto?). So they had to stick it somewhere and are putting it into the most convenient spot with least downtime required vs. spending time trying to thoughtfully integrate. We get a brief burst of cross platform marketing and a shoehorned animatronic. Yay!

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The Hatbox Ghost was one of the few REAL announcements they made at D23, so I think they just wanted to put him up front where he’ll be the most visible. Probably easier to get the money for it that way, too. Anyway, he doesn’t look too happy, so he’s probably not counted with the other 999…

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I just saw the movie, and without giving anything away, the Hatbox Ghost in the film is distinguishable from the other ghosts for reasons relevant to the plot line. But that makes me dislike the placement even more because if that’s their reasoning, they’re turning the(decades old, much beloved) ride into an adaptation of the (while fun for Disney parks guests, not in any way a blockbuster or cult classic) film. And in a manner that is more disruptive to the vibe of the ride than adding Captain Jack to Pirates.

If you have not yet seen the new Haunted Mansion movie, you REALLY need to, as Hatbox Ghost not only appears, but figures VERY prominently. (The movie btw was much more enjoyable than the Eddie Murphy version, though perhaps not quite as fun as the Muppets Haunted Mansion. This one definitely goes for spooky rather than comic like the other two.)

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Thanks for this comment, Amy; I also enjoyed the movie a lot. I’ll also enjoy seeing the addition next time I get there, no matter where they stuck it.

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My family really enjoyed the movie, too. Not a fan of the Eddie Murphy one at all. My kids especially enjoyed Tator Tot

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We think the Hatbox Ghost should go after the bride on the balcony before falling off the roof.

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I tend to agree that the hatbox ghost needs to come later, but thats prinarily because he feels like he belongs more with the other literal ghost figures as just a matter of balance and flow, rather than as a matter of “storytelling.” (Never really bought that story should be the principal value of a theme park attraction.)

Honestly, they should just redo the entire attic sequence to make it scary again with pop up heads and throw the hatbox ghost in either as the transition in or out. The redone bride scene has never worked for me.

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Who thought it would be a good idea to release the Haunted Mansion film in July? Very weird timing all around, for the film, and for the release of the AA.

Not just in July, but one week after the movie ‘event’ of the last several years and two weeks after the latest Mission Impossible.

Kinda surprised they didn’t blink on the release date, honestly.

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As an engineer, I think you may be underestimating the amount of work that goes into creating the robotic character that is the hatbox ghost, especially one that has to run all day, essentially forever.

Yes, Disney already has base robotic units, and they just created one in Disneyland, never-the-less this would have been a full time job for a small team.

It would be interesting to know exactly what the Imagineering teams *have* been working on given the limited state of new projects at the parks at the moment.

You’re right that I have no clue how long it would take to create this. Regardless of whether it takes 6 months or 6 years, I don’t think it’s the type of thing that should be announced a full year in advance.

I also don’t think it’s unreasonable to think they should’ve started work on this at a time sufficient to have it installed by the movie’s release date.

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I sure hope that we don’t lose the chair near the endless hallway! It’s arguably the item that is most reminiscent of Rolly Crump artwork in the attraction!

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I think the line goes something like “Actually we have 999 happy haunts here, but there is room for one thousand. Any volunteers?” So I am wondering, with the addition of the Hat box ghost…..

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I was wondering this, too! I guess the implication is that the Hatbox ghost kicked out one of the minor background ghouls, hahah. Or one of the hitch-hiking ghosts finally got out…

The particular phrasing “welcoming himself inside from the swinging wake in the cemetery and grinning at the Doom Buggies” at first made me think they were going to install *two* Hatbox Ghosts, one by the hallway and one by the wake scene. However, upon re-reading it, it sounds as if he’ll be coming into an ‘exterior’ door near the endless hallway. There are certainly plenty to chose from (and IIRC there is a picture of him in that area as well.) I don’t like him being before the seance, though, and I like it even less if he’s coming in and giving us a preview of the swinging wake at a time in the attraction when the music is still very slow and plodding. The musical build in Haunted Mansion is one of my favorite aspects of the attraction, and I’m not seeing a way that this ghost fits in with the somber and exploratory mood that’s set right by the endless hallway. Not unless he’s a different version that looks more alive somehow…

The wording is really awkward, and it could be interpreted to mean that 2-3 Hatbox Ghosts are coming, Jack Sparrow in PotC style.

Social media posts are a bit clearer, and seem to suggest it’s only one AA–in the Endless Hallway. Personally, I think it might be kind of neat to have build up to him, with a hat in the chair and reflection in a mirror before finally seeing the figure. But I doubt that’s what’s happening.

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I hope there are multiples of the HG as well. We saw the movie this weekend and loved it – way better than the Eddie Murphy version. Spookier but still with humor, more logic (to us anyway) as to why the ghosts are there, and the HG figures prominently. He makes multiple appearances in the film, so having multiple appearances at the Mansion makes sense in that respect – and in the film the ghosts are in evidence well before they are called to appear. I don’t think the average fan is going to even notice that he’s making an appearance before Madam Leota does her thing. I would just love to have the HG in more than 1 spot. We’re going in December, and I hope they’ve got him there at that time. I do agree that they lost an opportunity by not having him installed by the movie release – it could’ve boosted both park and movie attendance. I know it takes time to put the animatronics together, but it’s not like the movie was filmed in April and they got caught off guard. They started filming back in October of 2021, and pre-production would have started way before that.

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Why do you have photos in this article that are not the Hatbox Ghost? They show a figure likely created solely for display purposes since there is no way its head could be made to disappear. It appears to be based on the figure in the Western Ghost Town at the end of Phantom Manor.

That’s the Hatbox Ghost that appeared in the Imagineering booth at D23 Expo prior to the AA’s return at Disneyland.

Created just for display. That was never going to be the Hatbox Ghost.

This is an extremely weird hill to die on.

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Hatbox Ghost

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The Hatbox Ghost is a character from the Haunted Mansion that was removed from the attraction shortly after it opened. Despite this, he has appeared in various media related to the attraction. He officially returned to the attraction on May 9 , 2015 .

  • 1.1 Background
  • 1.2 Development
  • 2.1 The Haunted Mansion
  • 2.2 Haunted Mansion Holiday
  • 3.1 House of Mouse
  • 3.2 Disney XD
  • 3.3 Muppets Haunted Mansion
  • 3.4 Haunted Mansion (2023)
  • 4.1 The Story and Song from The Haunted Mansion
  • 4.2 The Haunted Mansion comics
  • 4.3 Disney Kingdoms: The Haunted Mansion
  • 5.1 Disney Crossy Road
  • 5.2 Disney Magic Kingdoms
  • 5.3 Disney Emoji Blitz
  • 5.4 Other Appearances

History [ ]

Background [ ].

The Hatbox Ghost's mortal name and identity are unknown though he is known to have been alive in the latter half of the 19th century. The Hatbox Ghost was active in America and is most often identified as having been a milliner in life though this has yet to be explicit in the attraction itself. He had a golden tooth replacing the central incisor on his left-hand side and also carried a shillelagh in his right hand, potentially implying a walking disability centralized on his right leg.

In life, the hatter had some unknown affiliation to Constance Hatchaway , a serial-killer from California who targeted wealthy men to marry and murder. Hatchaway's modus operandi was to kill men with an ax, decapitate them and keep their severed heads within hatboxes; hatboxes, which at some point, the Hatbox Ghost came in possession of. Constance is known to have killed at least four wealthy men in this fashion between 1869 and 1876; seemingly all in the state of California.

In 1877, Constance married the wealthy George Hightower and moved into his estate in New Orleans which overlooked the Mississippi River. Constance stored away the many trophies of her past four killings within the attic of this manor and killed George with an axe blow to the skull before adding his head to her collection. Through unknown means, the hatter died via decapitation and had his own head stored within a hatbox before becoming a ghost. Constance herself lived in luxury and wealth until her death in the 1920s at which point her own murderous ghost inhabited the attic.

Development [ ]

The Hatbox Ghost was designed as the primary gimmick of the attic scene, appearing just to the right of the exit, across from the Bride. A trick lighting effect would make it appear that his head would disappear off his shoulders and reappear in a hatbox he held in his hand, timed to the beat of the Bride's heart. While this trick worked perfectly during testing, when the ride opened, it became apparent that it was far less effective when viewed from the different angles and lighting that the ride created.

As a result, the Hatbox Ghost was removed from the attraction within a few weeks of opening. The bride was then moved to the spot where he formerly stood, but she was moved back to her original spot in a 2006 update. 46 years later, he returned to the Disneyland attic as part of the Diamond Celebration.

The new Hatbox Ghost figure has more movement than the 1969 version: the original figure's only moving part was his trembling hand holding his cane. The 2015 figure moves all parts of his body due to improvements in technology over the 46 years since the original figure disappeared. His signature gimmick is now achieved by a new means that have proven successful: a face is projected onto a blank head. With a chuckle, the projection vanishes and the head drops into the body. At the same time, the head is projected into the hatbox. After a few seconds, this projection vanishes and his head reappears on top of his shoulders.

Disney Parks [ ]

The haunted mansion [ ].

The Hatbox Ghost appeared in the Attic scene in the first few days of the attraction's run before being removed when the intended effect of the vanishing head did not work out as planned.

In early January of 2015 , following the take down of the seasonal Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay, a strange wall with a holographic window depicting one of the bat stanchions appeared on the balcony in the attraction. It was then announced April 10 , on the Disney Parks Blog that the Hatbox Ghost would return to the attraction on May 9 , as part of Disneyland's 60th Anniversary Celebration. The new Hatbox Ghost appears at the end of the Attic scene, just past the location where he originally stood, and lets out an evil chuckle before his head switches places through the use of rear-projected face technology. The set-dressing around him also includes a cart holding four hatboxes with him holding the fifth, possibly suggesting he was an accomplice of Constance's before she "axed" him off, or that he was one of her five unfortunate husbands.

On September 11 , 2022 , during D23 Expo , it was announced the Hatbox Ghost will be added to the Magic Kingdom's Haunted Mansion in 2023.

On July 28, 2023, it was announced that preparations for the figure’s installment would begin the following week. It was also revealed that this version of the character would be located much earlier in the attraction, next to the endless hallway instead of at the exit of the attic. This change was subject to some criticism, as the ghosts do not become visible until after Madame Leota’s seance.

On September 9, 2023, it was confirmed that the figure would be installed by late November. Justification was also given for his appearance before the ghosts materialize, being that the Hatbox Ghost does not follow the same rules as the other “happy haunts” because he is not happy.

Haunted Mansion Holiday [ ]

The Hatbox Ghost appears in the seasonal update to the Haunted Mansion, based on The Nightmare Before Christmas . During the ride, the only changes made to his balcony scene are that mostly unchanged, except for a decorative Halloween pin in his hat, and a giant Santa hat on the nearby pile of Hatboxes.

Television and Film [ ]

House of mouse [ ].

In the episode " House Ghosts ", the Hatbox Ghost joins the Hitchhiking Ghosts , the Bride, and the Executioner in singing " Grim Grinning Ghosts " along with the Lonesome Ghosts and the Skeletons from The Skeleton Dance to scare Pete out of the club.

Disney XD [ ]

In a stop-motion animated Disney XD station ID aired in October 2016 , the Hatbox Ghost appeared to scare off Pickle and Peanut . He also appeared in IDs with Baymax and Huey, Dewey, Louie and Webby .

Muppets Haunted Mansion [ ]

Fozzie Bear appears in the role of Gauzey the Hatbox Bear in the special, using his head trick in his comedy act.

Haunted Mansion (2023) [ ]

Hatbox Ghost movie

Hatbox Ghost as he appears in the film.

The Hatbox Ghost appears in this adaptation as the main antagonist, wherein he is given the name Alistair Crump . The son of an overbearing wealthy socialite Addison Crump and his wife. He and his family lived in a Dutch colonial revival gothic manor in Lousiana. When Alistair was nine, his father disowned him for crying too much at his mother's funeral. Alistair was treated as an outcast by other socialites. Alistair traveled the world, learning about mysticism and dark art, until he returned a wealthy tycoon.

When his father suspiciously died, Alistair regained all that belonged to him, including the family manor. Alistair became a vengeful person, inviting the very socialites that he felt betrayed him to lavish parties, which all ended with him murdering the guests in horrifying ways, with rumors saying that the murders were blood sacrifices to maintain his wealth and power. He engaged in multiple acts of pettiness, such as having no chairs in the foyer of his mansion because he didn't want anyone seated when he entered the room, had all the dining room chairs shortened while piling pillows on his own so he could be taller than everyone else, and his second wife found out about his third wife and then-mistress when he put up a big portrait of her in the living room and then insulted her for being able to read it. Eventually, this caught up to him and he was beheaded by an angry mob of his servants, but not before declaring that he will get his revenge.

Eventually, Alistair's vengeful spirit, now in the form of the Hatbox Ghost, was accidentally invited into William Gracey's mansion during a seance held by William and Madame Leota to contact Gracey's deceased wife Eleanor. Crump impersonated Gracey's wife and eventually convinced him to commit suicide in order to "join her". When Leota attempted to identify Alistair and banish him, he imprisoned her within her own crystal ball. Alistair then took complete control of the mansion, saturating it with his oppressive energy and forcing the other ghosts to obey him. He used the mansion as a means to harvest souls for a ritual which, upon obtaining 1000 souls, would unbind him from the mansion grounds and enable him to wreak his vengeance upon the realm of the living.

Printed Materials [ ]

The story and song from the haunted mansion [ ].

The Hatbox Ghost appeared in the Story and Song from The Haunted Mansion record, which was published when the ride opened, hence his inclusion in the book's attic scene.

The Haunted Mansion comics [ ]

In the Slave Labor Graphics Haunted Mansion comics, the Hatbox Ghost plays a part in the Mystery of the Manse storyline. He was once Randall Pace , a gunrunner and captain of the ship that William Gracey served on. After discovering what they were shipping, Gracey mutinied and decapitated Pace and became a pirate. When Gracey eventually settled down outside New Orleans , a scorned Madame Leota would call upon the spirit of Pace and the rest of Gracey's long-dead crew, and the Hatbox Ghost and his crew would scare the Bride to death with the truth of his crimes. After murdering the bride he leaves The Mansion, referencing his own removal from the original attraction.

He also makes minor appearances in other stories of the comic usually as a background character.

Disney Kingdoms: The Haunted Mansion [ ]

In Disney Kingdoms: The Haunted Mansion , the Hatbox Ghost appears as a friendly guide character in the third issue of the book. Rescuing Danny from the Sea Captain in the Grand Hall, he takes him through the Endless Staircase, which is revealed to be a network connecting the Haunted Mansion to haunted locations around the world (a detail possibly inspired by Del Toro's "spider at the center of the web" quote); he says that he has spent some time away from the Mansion traveling on these routes. He also reveals to Danny that the Sea Captain's curse has not only trapped the resident ghosts but the magic that allows the ghosts freedom to travel to these other locations. After advising Danny, he leaves him in the Library as this is a fight he is staying out of.

Video Games [ ]

Disney crossy road [ ].

In the now-delisted Disney Crossy Road, the Hatbox Ghost was added as a playable character for the Haunted Mansion level alongside the Nightmare Before Christmas update. The Hatbox Ghost was labelled as a Rare character, initially only available by completing an Attic Ghosts Weekend Challenge to earn both him and Constance the Bride. When playing as the Hatbox Ghost, as he hops through the levels, his head will teleport back and forth between his shoulders and his hatbox, just as it does in the attraction.

Disney Magic Kingdoms [ ]

The Hatbox Ghost appears as an obtainable character in Disney Magic Kingdoms , belonging to the Haunted Mansion collection alongside The Bride and the three Hitchhiking Ghosts. Added during October 2021 as a tie-in to Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary, the Haunted Mansion characters were available only during a limited-time event, before eventually being cycled in and out of the game's legendary chests like other limited-time characters and attractions. In his side quest storyline, the Hatbox Ghost only communicates in grunts and maniacal laughter, and has been absent from the Kingdom for a long time due to "chasing rumors of a haberdasher far more horrible than himself".

Once welcomed into the Kingdom, the Hatbox Ghost can perform various tasks and tricks to entertain guests and earn Tokens to further upgrade other Haunted Mansion characters. Certain tasks require the player to have the other Haunted Mansion characters, as well as both of the Haunted Mansion attractions. In order to further upgrade the Hatbox Ghost, players will need to earn his unique Tokens, Ghostly Hatboxes (earned by Celia and Phineas) and Hatbox Ghost Ears Hats (earned by Ezra, the Bride, and Jack Sparrow ), as well as the Haunted Mansion Collection Tokens (earned by all Haunted Mansion characters and Randall ). Additionally, all of his unique Tokens can be bought in Merlin 's Shop or earned through Silver and Resource Chests.

Disney Emoji Blitz [ ]

EmojiBlitzHatGhost

Hatbox Ghost appears as a Gold Emoji, initially only available in Gold Boxes before moving to the Series II Box. When using Hatbox Ghost's Power, he appears inside his hatbox at the bottom of the board, and releases several spirits from inside onto the board, each transforming a random emoji into a Hatbox Ghost emoji, making for immediate matches and easier access to powerups. Hatbox Ghost, alongside the Bride and Madame Leota, make up the Haunted Mansion group collection, rewarding players who collect and upgrade each of the three emojis with several prizes.

EmojiBlitzHatboxGauzey

Aside from the original Hatbox Ghost, Gauzey the Hatbox Bear , as portrayed by Fozzie Bear in Muppets Haunted Mansion , appears as a Story Emoji as part of the cross-promotion Event for Muppets Haunted Mansion. Gauzey is only available through Story Boxes, special Diamond Boxes, or limited-time sales and events. Upon using his Power, a table with an empty hatbox appears at the bottom of the board. Gauzey materializes somewhere on the board before disappearing in a flash, leaving a variety of powerups in his place, and then reappearing inside the hatbox before it leaves the screen.

Other Appearances [ ]

As the Hatbox Ghost's cult following grew, Disney recognized his popularity in various merchandise and media and utilized him in a Haunted Holidays online campaign as the host, with Corey Burton providing his voice using the same voice that he uses for the Ghost Host .

Gallery [ ]

Wiki

  • The Hatbox Ghost, Ezra the Hitchhiking Ghost and the Ticket Seller from Phantom Manor share the same head design, with the face mold also being used for certain pop-up ghosts and photographs in the Corridor of Doors.
  • There was an urban myth that the Hatbox Ghost's original animatronic was repurposed for the character of Sam the Eagle in the Tomorrowland attraction America Sings (an animatronic later used for Br'er Fox in Splash Mountain ). However, the blueprints of the Hatbox Ghost's figure disproved this, and the original animatronic's fate is a mystery.
  • Guillermo del Toro originally intended to prominently feature the Hatbox Ghost in his take for the Haunted Mansion remake back when del Toro was working on it around the early 2010s. While del Toro eventually left the project, the Hatbox Ghost is still the primary ghost featured in the finished film.
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The Hatbox Ghost Welcomes Foolish Mortals With SDCC Exclusive 'Haunted Mansion' Poster [Exclusive]

'Haunted Mansion' fans can pick up this poster tomorrow at our Directors on Directing panel.

Collider is excited to exclusively reveal a brand-new poster for the upcoming Haunted Mansion film adaptation, featuring the Hatbox Ghost ( Jared Leto ), who is ready to scare away an innocent family. The poster will be available exclusively at Collider's Directors on Directing panel tomorrow at San Diego Comic-Con , which the film's director Justin Simien will be part of.

Haunted Mansion is based on the beloved Disneyland Parks ride, through which enchanted hallways, possessed artifacts, and an enormous residence filled with dark secrets, make it extremely hard for the new residents to leave the dangerous mansion alive. Halloween is arriving early on the big screen this year, as audiences follow Gabbie ( Rosario Dawson ) and her family's experience with the ghosts and ghouls of their new home. After finding an oddly cheap mansion on the market, she quickly realizes that her family isn't alone in their new house. In fact, there are multiple spirits—including those with evil intentions—that want to scare them away. To prevent the ghost from harming her family, Gabbie seeks the help of a few unusual members of her community, which sparks a spooky adventure designed for the whole family to enjoy.

The Hatbox Ghost is one of the most fascinating ghosts belonging to the Haunted Mansion . When speaking with Collider prior to the WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, Justin Simien spoke about Leto's process for becoming the iconic haunt , explaining:

"So you have some things to go off of but not really a lot else, you know? Down to not just the accent but the way in which he savors certain kinds of words, we came up with a character that really does delight in putting people down and being as petty as possible, and doing so in the most elaborate fashion. So, we had a lot of fun. We played with the dialogue that we had, but we just played. There were long stretches of Jared just talking. As we’re trying to figure out, “Well, how does he laugh? What does he make fun of about people? What are his favorite syllables?” We spent a lot of time in the weeds on that and I think it really shows. I mean, you would never know it was Jared Leto unless someone told you. That’s how complete a character it is. It’s really thoughtful and delightful, and I thought it was really fun."

RELATED: 'Haunted Mansion' Cast Scares Up Laughs on 'Celebrity Family Feud' [Exclusive]

Theme Park Fever is Rampaging Across the Studio

Haunted Mansion is the latest film to adapt one of Disney's popular theme park attractions. Jungle Cruise took Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt on a dangerous adventure, and in a few years, we will reportedly be treated to a film based on the iconic Tower of Terror , which will unite Taika Waititi and Scarlett Johansson . It's all part of Disney's efforts to capitalize on their existing IP, and we're more than excited to see these beloved rides come to life!

You can check out the stunning exclusive poster for Haunted Mansion below, before the movie opens in theaters on July 28:

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Yes, That’s Jared Leto in ‘Haunted Mansion’

Bill desowitz.

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When it came to finding a villain for Disney ‘s “Haunted Mansion” horror comedy, the obvious choice was the legendary 19th-century Hatbox Ghost from the popular Disneyland /Disney World attraction. Director Justin Simien (“Dear White People”) and screenwriter Katie Dippold (the all-female “Ghostbusters” reboot) even invented a spooky New Orleans backstory for him.

“And I think the realization was that he made for a great bad guy,” he continued, “and we wanna see a lot more of him. So we had to create a character that was indicative of the ride and people’s memory of [him] and also scary and dangerous. But not too scary to have the kids unable to sleep at night.” Related Stories Zendaya Is Ready to Make ‘Dune 3’: ‘Anytime Denis Calls, It’s a Yes from Me’ Sundance Buyers Are Ready to Feed Theaters. Here’s What That Could Mean at the Box Office

HAUNTED MANSION

The VFX design process consisted of combining the skeletal look of the animatronic Hatbox Ghost (which Imagineering finally perfected in 2015) with Leto’s physical foundation (courtesy of a digital scan).

While the head was CG, the digital body double was courtesy of stunt coordinator Colin Follenweider. “The challenge was trying to get the vocal performance from Jared to convey his attitude and his panache that he brings,” Rivera said. “And then making sure the facial features, which are so disparate from Jared’s, connect to the performance.”

Meanwhile, capturing the overall ghostly effect (with the supporting actors in makeup) was inspired by bioluminescent algae. “That’s where, if you had your hand in the water, you don’t really see much, but as you move it, it’s the agitation of that water that creates the effect,” added Rivera. “And our characters, as they move through space, generate these ghost particles that come off them that allow you to see that there’s an ethereal nature to them.”

A scene still from Disney's HAUNTED MANSION. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2023 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

“Anything and everything in the ghost room can move or be alive at any given time,” Rivera said. “So there’s a point in the ghost room when the Hatbox Ghost first reveals himself, that even the busts on the wall are terrified and are hoping that he doesn’t notice them and turn away from him.

“And one of our ghosts tries to hide in the candle and be inconspicuous, but Ben picks it up to use it as a lighting device. And it blows itself out just to try to blend into the background. So it was trying to use all of those seemingly practical elements and give them life and allow them to be more animated in this ghostly realm.”

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Hatbox Ghost (2023)

  • View history

Alistair Crump , later known as the Hatbox Ghost , is the main antagonist of the 2023 supernatural horror comedy film Haunted Mansion , based on the Disney Parks theme park attraction of the same name .

He is one of the several spectral spooks sealed in the Haunted Mansion, a haunted house located in New Orleans, Louisana. He was accidentally summoned by the house's owner, William Gracey in an attempt to contact his deceased wife. He tricked Gracey into committing suicide and took up residence in the Gracey mansion, controlling other spirits that inhabited the house and tricking its residents into committing suicide. Having haunted the building for years, the Hatbox Ghost quickly joins all of the mansion's ghosts in scaring out its newest owners, a single mother called Gabbie and her young son Travis, prompting them to gather a team of ghost exterminators led by Benjamin "Ben" Matthias.

He was portrayed by the Academy Award winning Jared Leto , who also played Angel Face in Fight Club , Harry Goldfarb in Requiem for a Dream , Junior in Panic Room , the Joker in the DC Extended Universe, Niander Wallace, Jr. in Blade Runner 2049 and Michael Morbius in Morbius . While possessing Bruce Davis, he was portrayed by Danny DeVito .

  • 1 Personality
  • 2.2 Summoned by Gracey
  • 2.3 Events of the Haunted Mansion
  • 4 Navigation

Personality [ ]

Alistair Crump was considered incredibly petty in life, having disdain for everyone. Such examples of this involved how he would forbid having chairs in the foyer of his mansion, as he didn't like the idea of people being seated when he entered the room. He had all the chairs in the dining room shortened, while piling pillows onto his own, so he could be the tallest person in the room. He also demonstrated womanizer and misogynistic qualities, when his second wife found out about his third wife, then-mistress, when he put a portrait of her in their living room, and insulted her for being able to read it.

As the Hatbox Ghost, Alistair was also very manipulative, and would prey on those suffering grief, using this to manipulate their pain to get them to commit suicide under the guise of their deceased loved one.

History [ ]

Alistair Crump was born to Addison Crump, a wealthy, albeit cruel and overbearing Louisiana socialite and his good-natured wife in the 1800s. The family owned Crump Manor, a large Dutch gothic revival home in Louisiana. At the age of nine, Alistair's mother died, and his father disowned him for crying too much at her funeral. Shunned by society, Alistair was left with nothing and disappeared, rumored to be traveling the world learning about mysticism and dark arts. He worked his way to rise up the ranks and, upon reaching adulthood, soon became a renowned wealthy tycoon.

Later, Alistair returned to Louisiana wherein he repurchased his old home, regaining entire control of it when his father passed away "under mysterious circumstances." He became famous for throwing lavish parties and invited all of the guests he felt poisoned Addison against him, ending each one in a murder spree and burying them underneath the mansion with mocking effigys on their headstones. Eventually, his own horrified staff—who he abused often—caught up to him and beheaded him, but not before he vowed vengeance from beyond the grave. They then left his head to rot underneath his top hat in the same place he buried his victims.

At this point, he became the Hatbox Ghost.

Summoned by Gracey [ ]

Years later, William Gracey purchased a grand estate near the bayous of New Orleans. To help get over his grief of losing his wife, he hired a famed medium named Madame Leota to help him contact her. The pair ended up holding a seance every day for an entire year, which released many ghosts into the mansion (the majority of whom are benevolent). However, a mishap causes the spirit of Crump, now taking on the form of the Hatbox Ghost, to be brought back. Alastair impersonated Gracey’s wife and convinced Gracey to take his own life, and trapped Leota in her crystal ball when she attempted to identify him.

Alistair Crump's main objective was to capture 1000 souls for a ritual, allowing him to leave the mansion and wreak havoc on the living world. Over the decades that he's been causing chaos at the Haunted Mansion, he was able to influence every person who's entered to willingly cross over to the other side and get them to surrender their soul, in hopes of one day being free to use his dark magic on the world of the living without constraint. In the process, he not only torments his victims but also the ghosts who remain in the Haunted Mansion to do his bidding, forever unable to be at rest.

Events of the Haunted Mansion [ ]

Crump continued to torment the new owners of the mansion, a widowed doctor and her son, after they moved in, as well as the people they sought help from: a clergyman, astrophysicist, medium, and professor. With help from Madame Leota, they were able to identify him.

During a fight in the graveyard, Ben gathers the courage to overcome his grief of losing his wife, and with the combined forces of the ghosts, he resists Crump's offer, causing him to return to the afterlife—this time for good.

  • In the original The Haunted Mansion mythos, the Hatbox Ghost 's real name was Randall Pace. In this film, the Hatbox Ghost's name is Alistair Crump instead.
  • Their backstory mirrors the Beast Prince in the 2017 adaptation of Beauty and the Beast , wherein the titular character faced abuse from their father, following the death of their mother.
  • The Hatbox Ghost's major role in the film seems to be a leftover from the project's early drafts by Guillermo del Toro, who was slated to direct and write the film back when a second film based on The Haunted Mansion was announced in July 2010. Though del Toro later departed the project, Disney was noted to really like his drafts and some of del Toro's concepts may have been kept in the finished product, so in that case, maybe the Hatbox Ghost was one of the elements Justin Simien kept due to liking them.
  • The exterior of Crump Manor, visited later in the film, is based on the design of the mansion at Walt Disney World and Tokyo Disneyland. This was to make up for the titular mansion being based entirely on the Disneyland version.
  • The Hatbox Ghost is the second main antagonist from a film based on Disney’s theme park attraction The Haunted Mansion . The first one was Ramsley , who appeared in the 2003 eponymous film starring Eddie Murphy.

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IMAGES

  1. Jared Leto is the Hatbox Ghost in New Trailer for Haunted Mansion

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  2. New 'Haunted Mansion' Teaser: Jared Leto Terrifies as The Hatbox Ghost

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  3. The Hatbox Ghost from Disney’s Haunted Mansion

    hatbox ghost haunted mansion film

  4. First Looks at New Haunted Mansion Movie • DisneyTips.com

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  5. Haunted Mansion Hatbox Ghost Returns in Disneyland Featurette

    hatbox ghost haunted mansion film

  6. The Original Haunted Mansion Hatbox Ghost

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COMMENTS

  1. Haunted Mansion ending explained, Hatbox Ghost story revealed

    Owen Wilson, Rosario Dawson, LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish. and Danny DeVito in 'Haunted Mansion'. Disney "Hatbox Ghost, this character, fans of the ride co-created with Disney. They...

  2. 'Haunted Mansion' Ending Explained: Who Can Escape the Hatbox Ghost?

    Disney's 2023 Haunted Mansion movie, now available on Disney+, follows a single mother and her son as they try to exorcise the restless spirits in their new home. The ghosts haunting the...

  3. The Ghastly History of Haunted Mansion's Hatbox Ghost

    The Hatbox Ghost was a mysterious and creepy character in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion ride, but he was absent from the ride for most of its history. The Hatbox Ghost's special effects...

  4. Haunted Mansion's Jared Leto as Hatbox Ghost teased by director

    Jared Leto as Hatbox Ghost in 'Haunted Mansion'. Walt Disney Studios/YouTube The Hatbox Ghost who appears in the ride has a complicated history. The character served as an original...

  5. Haunted Mansion's Villain Has a Wild Real Life History

    Published Aug 2, 2023 Haunted Mansion's Hatbox Ghost is a remarkable villain for the 2023 Disney film, but the story of how he got there is even more impressive. The following contains spoilers for Haunted Mansion, in theaters now. Haunted Mansion reinvents many elements of the ride of the same name.

  6. 'Haunted Mansion' Makes The Hatbox Ghost More Than Just ...

    The Hatbox Ghost is a legendary character associated with Disneyland's iconic Haunted Mansion attraction, and the ghost— portrayed by Jared Leto —will soon appear in Disney's upcoming...

  7. New Ghoulishly Delightful Ways to Celebrate 'Haunted Mansion' Film at

    Hatbox Ghost Coming to Walt Disney World Resort Later this year at the Walt Disney World Resort, one of our most iconic specters will set up residence in the Haunted Mansion of Liberty Square in Magic Kingdom Park.

  8. FIRST LOOK: Hatbox Ghost Finally Materializes in the Haunted Mansion at

    The Hatbox Ghost is the villain of Disney's 2023 "Haunted Mansion" film, which is now on Disney+. Have you seen the Hatbox Ghost now that he's materialized in Magic Kingdom? Let us know what you think of the new addition in the comments. For the latest Disney Parks news and info, follow WDW News Today on Twitter , Facebook, and Instagram. Author

  9. Hatbox Ghost

    901 pages Explore Community in: Characters, Males, Comic Characters, and 6 more Hatbox Ghost Sign in to edit Biographical information Other names Hattie The Hat Box Ghost Ol'Hattie King Leer The Groom Mr. Skeleton (Ben Cooper Halloween Costume) Profession Haberdasher (presumed) Milliner (presumed) Relations The Bride (possibly his bride)

  10. Hatbox Ghost

    In the 2016 Disney Kingdoms miniseries adaptation of the Haunted Mansion, the Hatbox Ghost is one of four legendary ghosts that died within the Mansion that control some of its supernatural powers.

  11. Haunted Mansion's Hatbox Ghost's Real Identity & Ride History Explained

    The Hatbox Ghost plays a huge part in Justin Simien's Haunted Mansion, and his real identity as well as his long history with the Disney theme park ride are central to the story.The harrowing tale begins when Gabbie (Rosario Dawson) and her son Travis move into the titular residence and begin experiencing hauntings, forcing them to call on Owen Wilson's Father Kent and LaKeith Stanfield's ...

  12. Haunted Mansion Movie Jared Leto Cast as Hatbox Ghost

    Entertainment Weekly reports Jared Leto has now joined Disney's Haunted Mansion reboot in the role of the infamous Hatbox Ghost. John Wick: Chapter 4/5/6 In a recent interview with Comic...

  13. Haunted Mansion

    Hatbox Ghost has entered the chat. #HauntedMansion appears in theaters July 28. Get tickets now: www.fandango.com/hauntedmansion

  14. Haunted Mansion's Big Villain Has A Long And Weird Offscreen ...

    The legend of The Hatbox Ghost was so prevalent that Disney would use the figure in merchandise for years, including the Story and Sound LPs Disney sold, before he would actually return as a ...

  15. Yes, Jared Leto Plays the Hatbox Ghost in Haunted Mansion

    Disney. Not to put too fine a point on it, but Jared Leto's casting in "Haunted Mansion" as the villainous and vengeful spirit intent on collecting 1000 souls to free him from the confines of the ...

  16. Hatbox Ghost in Haunted Mansion at Magic Kingdom

    Frankly, we're a bit shocked by the timeline for Hatbox Ghost at Magic Kingdom. Disney's Haunted Mansion movie hit theaters back on July 28 and featured Jared Leto as the Hatbox Ghost.After that, there was Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party and the Halloween season, which ran from mid-August until early November.. If you asked me earlier this year to choose two dates by which the ...

  17. The Haunted Mansion Director Explains Why the Hatbox Ghost Was Chosen

    Jared Leto's character is the film's main antagonist, but that's not actually the case when it comes to the Haunted Mansion attractions. The Haunted Mansion in Disneyland removed the Hatbox Ghost ...

  18. Hatbox Ghost

    100 YEARS of WONDER 51,781 pages Explore Films TV Video Games Community in: Characters, Males, Theme park characters, and 23 more English Hatbox Ghost Sign in to edit Hatbox Ghost Background information Feature films Haunted Mansion (2023) Short films Random Rings Shows House of Mouse Muppets Haunted Mansion Chibi Tiny Tales Video games

  19. 'Haunted Mansion' Poster: The Hatbox Ghost Welcomes Foolish Mortals

    Collider is excited to exclusively reveal a brand-new poster for the upcoming Haunted Mansion film adaptation, featuring the Hatbox Ghost ( Jared Leto ), who is ready to scare away an innocent ...

  20. Haunted Mansion

    Hats off 🎩 (or heads off?) 💀 to the only ghost feared by ghosts. The Hatbox Ghost is headed your way in Disney's #HauntedMansionPH, in cinemas now. Book ti...

  21. Hatbox Ghost materializes for the first time at Walt Disney ...

    The Hatbox Ghost first appeared in the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland Park in 1969. He reappeared in the attraction in 2015. This is the first time the ghost has materialized in the Florida park ...

  22. 'Haunted Mansion': Jared Leto's Hatbox Ghost Is ...

    July 30, 2023 10:00 am "Haunted Mansion" Disney When it came to finding a villain for Disney 's "Haunted Mansion" horror comedy, the obvious choice was the legendary 19th-century Hatbox...

  23. Hatbox Ghost (2023)

    Haunted Mansion (2023) Occupation Tycoon (formerly) Warlock Undead specter from the haunted New Orleans, Louisiana mansion Powers / Skills Ability to transfer his head from one place to another Black magic Intimidation Invulnerability Flight Hobby Watching over the mansion. Practicing witchcraft. Scaring people. Goals

  24. Hatbox Ghost, spooky treats and more 'Haunted Mansion' movie tie-ins at

    One of the ride's most iconic spectres, Hatbox Ghost, debuted in Disneyland's original Haunted Mansion ride in 1969. In the new film, actor and singer Jared Leto plays the Hatbox Ghost.

  25. BREAKING: Hatbox Ghost Location Announced for Haunted Mansion in Magic

    The Hatbox Ghost was in the original Disneyland Haunted Mansion on opening day. Technology had not quite caught up to the ghost's vanishing and appearing head, however, so the ghost only last a few weeks before disappearing for nearly 50 years. The Hatbox Ghost returned to the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland in 2015.

  26. New 'Haunted Mansion' Hatbox Ghost Sipper Coming to Disneyland This

    The Hatbox Ghost sipper will be available starting on Friday, July 28, for $29.79, including a fountain beverage. It will be at Harbour Galley. Disney Eats shared a video of the sipper on Instagram. The ghost's face on his head and in the hatbox will light up. The famous Hatbox Ghost was in Disneyland's original Haunted Mansion on opening ...

  27. Haunted Mansion (2023 film)

    Haunted Mansion is a 2023 American supernatural horror comedy film directed by Justin Simien from a screenplay by Katie Dippold.It stars LaKeith Stanfield, Tiffany Haddish, Owen Wilson, Danny DeVito, Rosario Dawson, Dan Levy, Jamie Lee Curtis and Jared Leto.Produced by Walt Disney Pictures and Rideback, it is the second theatrical film adaptation of Walt Disney's theme park attraction The ...