A Renaissance influenced nineteenth century mansion located in a bayou nearby New Orleans, Louisiana was a happy home to a family (presumably the Gracey family) until Atticus Thorn, leader of an evil cult known as the Order of Shadows, terrorized the mansion, causing the family to abandon the home. Thorn corrupted many of the resident ghosts of the mansion, transforming others into evil spirits to serve his will.
On October 17, 1879, a young man named Ezekiel "Zeke" Holloway is searching for a job, when he is misled by a newspaper advertisement about being a caretaker for the mansion. Making the decision to take the job, he journeys to the mansion, only to faint upon arrival when he is greeted by six friendly ghosts, who are Atticus Thorn's slaves. Awakening, a spirit in a crystal ball named Madame Leota informs him that Atticus Thorn has trapped 999 souls in the mansion as part of his attempt to take over the Afterlife and should be sent into the Depths of the Afterdeath. She also informs him on how to use the Beacon of Souls, a magic lantern that fires bolts of light to fight off evil spirits. Leota also says that the Beacon is used to destroy the evil for good.