I've just about run out of decapitation jokes and puns, so let's move a head to our next destination, which is only a few feet away. This is yet another in our series of probes for the ultimate inspirations and cultural roots of the Mansion residents. This one seems like a slam dunk, or is it your imagination, hmm?
well-known and often cited in surveys of beliefs about ghosts and spirits throughout history. The story is in a letter by Pliny the Younger (ca. 62—113 AD). You can read it HERE. It's in a stuffy, Edwardian English translation (the only one in the public domain), so take your time, or else you can make do with this synopsis.
For our purposes, the main point here is that Pliny's famous letter would likely have been part of the research into ghost lore that the Imagineers did when they were working on the Haunted Mansion. Considering how well Pliny's ghost matches dear old Gus, we might be tempted to conclude that we have found Gus's archetype. But it's not that easy.
It's true that the Gus we see in the ride today looks a lot like Pliny's ghost, and he always has. Gus has changed very little over the past 40 years (unlike some others who have had noticeable hair and costume alterations), and he looks the same in both of his HM appearances, as part of the headsman trio and as one of the hitchhikers. Here he is in 1969 (left) and today (right).