Are there any witches in the Haunted Mansion? At Disneyland, I believe the answer is no, but at WDW and Tokyo, the answer is yes:
She's known as the "Witch of Walpurgis," one of the so-called Sinister 11, the portraits who used to watch you as you passed down the hall at WDW (and they still do at Tokyo). Now the eleven are scattered around inside the WDW Mansion, and the Witch of Walpurgis hangs in the load area. Like the others, her eyes are no longer the concave, half-a-ping-pong-ball type that follow you. That's her second demotion, you might say. Originally, she was going to be a changing portrait (and a glass slide featuring an Ed Kohn rendering of the Witch is now known, indicating that she may have been a serious contender).
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. What she really represents is the middle ground that Marc Davis could not find, somewhere between the cartoon witches of Halloween decor and the scary, Black-Sabbat-attending witches of Western imagination, still considered very numerous and very real until the 18th century or so. When Davis began kicking around the idea of witches in the HM, one direction he tried out was the "realistic" one. His original concept painting for the Walpurgis Witch features some curious differences from the finished version above.
A painting known as the "Witches' Kitchen" by Hieronymous Francken (ca. 1610) is reproduced in the book, although de Givry lists both the title and the artist incorrectly. LOL, as the kids say. Anyway, here's what the painting is supposed to look like:
Like all the illustrations in de Givry, this one is reproduced as a blurry black and white. Still, that's evidently what Marc used. You'll notice at least three things in it that he copied into his Walpurgis Witch portrait:
A tip of the hat to Brandon "GRD" Champlin for first noticing that one. Davis gives us a weird little gremlin-like demon conjured up on the left (actually two), obviously inspired by a similar fellow in the Francken painting. The thing on the right is a "hand of glory," a grisly bit of occultic paraphernalia concocted from the severed hand of an executed criminal. Thanks to its appearance in one of the Harry Potter novels, it's a bit more familiar today than it used to be. Aren't we the lucky ones.
Let's see...what else. The knife in a desiccated skull is pretty cut and dried. There's also that forky thing in Marc's sketch. That's an ordinary wooden pitchfork, and in traditional iconography until about the 18th c., witches rode on those more often than on the familiar broomstick. Marc may in fact have learned this from de Givry, who supplies a number of good examples.