In the early 1950s Walt Disney and one of his top Imagineers Ken Anderson began working on the idea of a walk through haunted house. The inspiration came from a Disney cartoon about the Headless Horseman. The visitor was to enter a New England style house and follow the story through the attraction until it reached a climax in a graveyard scene.
Anyone who has visited the attraction knows that ideas changed and Disney and Anderson developed a New Orleans style house that the visitor rides through on a "Doombuggy". It does, however, retain the graveyard scene form the original plans.
Construction of the building was put on hold in 1962, but halted in 1966 when Walt Disney died. The designers were in a quandary as Walt had not finished the planning. For a few years the public could see the frame of the building poking over the construction fence. Urban legends surfaced about how the ride was being re-designed because it was so scary that it supposedly caused a man to have a heart attack. The attraction finially opened in 1969.
While the building was built on property that had no previous construction on it, it did manage to attract someone who had died nearby. In the 1940s a man who had been piloting a small plane crashed in a lake near where the park was to be built later. His ghost has settled into the Haunted Mansion. Referred to by Cast Members (employees) as "the man with the cane" he is often seen late at night, especially after closing.
"The man in a tuxedo" is another spirit, though no one really knows who he is. One day an employee was working in the area where passengers disembark. There is a mirror there, so the attendant can see when the riders come up behind her. She kept seeing a shadow in the mirror, and when she turned around no one was there. The figure seemed to be wearing a tuxedo. Then, she felt a chill and a hand placed on her shoulder. Of course, she turned to find no one there. The woman ran out of the Haunted Mansion and soon quit her job.
There is a legend concerning a woman who wanted to scatter
son's ashes inside the Haunted Mansion, but was forbidden by Disney
She snuck the ashes inside and covertly scattered them. Apparently,
was NOT her son's last wish as since she did that people have sometimes
seen the apparition of a crying boy sitting near the exit.