- “Of course ... there's always my way.”
- ―The Ghost Host, moments before showing his hanging corpse.[src]
The Ghost Host is the twisted narrator of the Haunted Mansion attractions.
At Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom, the Ghost Host is voiced by Paul Frees. Corey Burton provided the voice for Disneyland's seasonal Haunted Mansion Holiday and for most of his other later appearances. At Tokyo Disneyland, he is voiced by Teichiro Hori.
The Haunted MansionThe Ghost Host is a disembodied voice and is never seen. In the Stretching Room, the Ghost Host torments guests by challenging them to find a way out of the room, which has "no windows and no doors." He then suggests, "Of course, there's always my way." The room immediately falls dark and lightning strikes above, revealing his corpse hanging from the ceiling, implying that he resorted to suicide. After this the Ghost Host provides the narration for the portrait corridor, the loading zone, the library, corridor of doors, and balcony of the Great Hall before leaving to tend to some of the mansion's undead residents who are assembling for a "Swinging Wake". The Host is absent for the rest of the ride until the Exit Crypt where he tells the mortal guests to "Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts" before informing them that the hitchhikers have been selected to help fill the mansion's guest quota, and that they will haunt the guests until they return.
The shadow playing the piano in the Florida and Tokyo versions of the attraction is said by former Imagineer Jason Surrell to be the Ghost Host himself at the keys, though this has not been substantiated elsewhere.
The Ghost Gallery
The Ghost Host is the most prominent character in the Ghost Gallery storyline which was created by Disney World Haunted Mansion Cast-Members in order to give the ride more backstory. Although non-cannon and having several inconsistencies, the storyline inspired many story elements that would later be incorporated into comics, the 2003 film, merchandise, and even the ride itself. Most notably, this was the first recorded example of Master Gracey and the Ghost Host being incorrectly combined into the same character.
In this version of the story, the Ghost Host was once a mortal man named Master George Gracey Jr. who was born in 1890 to George Gracey Sr. (based on George Hightower) and Mary Gracey (who was based on elderly Constance Hatchaway). Throughout his youth, George Jr. was sent to high-end boarding schools by his distant mother and as such he never really knew his father. George Jr. finally moved back into the mansion after his father was murdered by his mother and his mother fled the country, leaving George Jr. as the Lord and Master of the Mansion. Obsessed with death, George used his wealth and power to obtain occult artifacts and relics from ancient religions while also often travelling to circuses in order to meet mediums and clairvoyants. It was at one of these circuses where George met a tightrope walker named Lillian O'Malley (the Ghost Gallery's version of the Tightrope Walker) who he fell in love with and became engaged to. However, behind Lillian's back, George was having an affair with his personal clairvoyant Madame Leota, who he had impregnated with a daughter that Leota had named Little Leota. In 1937, Lillian had tragically died during a tightrope performance when her tightrope snapped and sent her falling into the jaws of a hungry alligator, which only added to George's madness and obsession with the supernatural. By 1941, George had wasted away the majority of the Gracey fortune in his pursuit of the occult, prompting him to marry an incredibly wealthy 16 year old orphan named Emily Cavenaugh (the Ghost Gallery's version of the Attic Bride). However once again on the night of their wedding, tragedy struck when Emily was found dead inside of large chest in the attic, having apparently suffocated to death leading George to shut himself off from the outside world with no-one but his mistress Madame Leota and his illegitimate daughter Little Leota who would die a couple years later. By 1943, George had learned that Madame Leota was responsible for the deaths of both of his brides, which lead Leota to become enraged and try to trap George's soul in her crystal ball so he could be hers forever. Faced with no other options, George hung himself before Leota could bind his soul, resulting in her own soul become trapped in the crystal ball. Following this, George's ghost became the Ghost Host of the Haunted Mansion.
The Haunted Mansion (comic book)
Following the lead of the Ghost Gallery, the Ghost Host and Master Gracey are once again combined in the SLG Comics, although this time they also incorporate elements from the unused Captain Gore backstory, creating the composite character of Captain William Gracey. This version of the character was once the first mate of a merchant ship called the Pomono during the early 19th century, which was being captained by a man named Captain Randall Pace (the comics' version of the Hatbox Ghost) who was an overly stubborn and determined man that often put the well being of himself and his crew aside to meet deadlines on time. Captain Pace's actions lead William to become so enraged that he lead a mutiny in which he murdered the captain be decapitating him with his cutlass and taking over the ship and it's crew under the alias of Captain Blood, becoming a pirate and killing any of the ship' crew that refused to join him. Years later, William retired in New Orleans where he became haunted by the ghosts of the victims of his mutiny, who were apparently being lead by the ghost of Captain Randall Pace. In an effort to silence them, William hired a Romani clairvoyant woman named Madame Leota to perform rituals that would aid in silencing the spirits of the manor. Leota however was in love with William and made several efforts to romance him only to have her advances rebuffed by the former pirate who was in love with a beautiful woman named Emily DeClaire (the comics' version of the Attic Bride), a woman who Leota came to hate. Due to this hatred on William's wedding day to Emily, Leota chose to perform a séance to summon the ghost of Captain Randall Pace and order him to murder Emily before the wedding while she was looking for something old, something borrowed and something blue in the Mansion's attic. Following the discovery of Leota's betrayal, William barged into her Séance chamber while she was still conducting her rituals and strangled her to death for having been responsible for the death of his bride. After this murder, William decides to end his life and he goes to the manor's cupola where he commits suicide by hanging himself to death.
As a ghost, William is unable to properly materialize in any location that is not the Stretching Room so he is rendered a disembodied spirit until the Mansion finally acquired 1000 ghosts and his corpse falls to the floor properly and finally manifests as a ghostly version of Gracey.
- Despite common fan beliefs and adaptations, the Ghost Host is not Master Gracey, but instead is the "Hatchet Man" depicted in a portrait in the Corridor of Doors.
- At Phantom Manor in Disneyland Paris, the Ghost Host's role is played by a character called The Phantom, who was voiced by Vincent Price in English, but due to legal complications with the French government requiring that the audio be in mostly French, Price's voice was eventually replaced by that of Gerard Chevalier.
- While not appearing in the 2003 film adaptation, the Ghost Host provides the opening "Welcome, foolish mortals" line.