It is well known that the Haunted Mansion Imagineers did a lot of research into ghost lore, looking for ideas. In at least one version of his 1957-58 Ghost House, Ken Anderson populated it with famous villains and spooks from history, literature, and cinema. When Rolly Crump and Yale Gracey took over the reins of the project in 1959, they too read a lot of ghost stories, according to Rolly himself. The fact that they were doing this kind of research even made it into official press releases.
Occasionally, if we're lucky, it's possible to trace something in the HM back to its original inspiration in ghost lore. A good example is the Brown Lady of Raynham Hall, whom we have met before, once upon a nightmare. She first inspired a sketch by Ken Anderson which then wandered through Marc Davis's imagination and eventually emerged as the attic bride.
Another good example is the Phantom Drummer of Tedworth, the first really famous poltergeist in England. He was a pretty spectacular ghost, causing quite an uproar back in the 1660's. What we know about the Phantom Drummer comes primarily from Saducismus Triumphatus: Or, Full and Plain Evidence Concerning Witches and Apparitions, a two-volume set published in 1681 by Joseph Glanvil. The book was a seminal early investigation into supernatural phenomena. (Incidentally, it was also an excellent example of early printing, a very handsome edition for its day.)
clearly labeled "The Phantom Drummer of Tedworth." Marc wanted the drum sound to be a human heartbeat.
It's the mouth. Look, if Keith can do Disney movies....
Marc Davis would likely have been familiar with Cruikshank's work.
of the little devil may have suggested the style of hat Marc used in his sketch.
Whatever contribution Cruikshank's sketch may have made, when you're looking at that diabolical imp flying over the roof in that old engraving, you're probably looking at the original spark that eventually gave us the graveyard band. The Phantom Drummer became the Phantom Five.