Things You're Just Supposed to Know

Most of the time, Long-Forgotten assumes that readers are already familiar with basic facts
about the Haunted Mansion. If you wanna keep up with the big boys, I suggest you check out
first of all the website, After that, the best place to go is Jason Surrell's book,
The Haunted Mansion: Imagineering a Disney Classic (NY: Disney Editions; 2015). That's the
re-named third edition of The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies (NY:
Disney Editions, 2003; 2nd ed. 2009). Also essential reading is Jeff Baham's The Unauthorized
Story of Walt Disney's Haunted Mansion (USA: Theme Park Press, 2014; 2nd ed. 2016).

This site is not affiliated in any way with any Walt Disney company. It is an independent
fan site dedicated to critical examination and historical review of the Haunted Mansions.
All images that are © Disney are posted under commonly understood guidelines of Fair Use.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Snow White Looks upon Death

I apologize for the long wait since the last post (long by Long-Forgotten standards, anyway).  This isn't "the next post" so much as a snack to tide us over until dinner.  It's a visual coincidence, an oddity, something that stimulates imagination, if not investigation.

I'm going to be discussing Claude Coats in the next post, and in my Coats file is this curiosity.  We start with a magnificent and well-known concept sketch for the ballroom that Coats apparently executed when the attraction was still going to be a walk-thru.

Not to tip my hand too much, but we'll be looking more closely at this sketch in the upcoming post.  For now,
I would direct your attention to the ghostly faces and death's heads floating about in the darkness on the right.

Now let's move a world away.  Let's visit one of Disneyland's finest "quiet
spots," the Snow White Grotto adjacent to the Sleeping Beauty castle.  Lovely.

Here's a very different view, taken (I believe) by Brett Garrett of Visions Fantastic fame.

Very nice.  Now look at Snow White's reflection in the dark waters below her.

You can probably see already where I'm going with this.  Let's add a few
of Claude's phantom faces to the reflections on the water's surface...

If this were part of a film, we'd call it foreshadowing, seeing as how Snow
White is headed for the Sleeping Death in a glass coffin.  Glass.  So like water.

This accidental poignancy reminds me of a well-known visual pun with a sombre
purpose, "All is Vanity."  As you know, they attempted to replicate this artwork (of
which there are many versions) in the bride's boudoir at Phantom Manor in Paris.

But I prefer the accidental one.  It really isn't that obscure, you know.
You needn't fish around for peculiar photos of the Snow White grotto,
nor comb through Haunted Mansion concept art.  Invert any number of
photos of Snow White, and you'll see the death's head, trailing a veil.

I'm not in a position to run over to Disneyland and check, but I would suppose her reflection
in the moat presents the image any time the lighting is right and you care to look for it.


  1. Nice catch! I never would have noticed it, myself!

  2. An interesting observation. I am reminded of "Von der Jugend" in Mahler's "Lied von der Erde" (http:// A scene of a group of young men socializing in a pavilion is reflected in the water. I read one time that the reflection in the poem symbolizes death, and the music seems to indicate it.

  3. "When will my reflection show who I am inside?"

    You can't get much more "inside" than your skull!

  4. This is a terrific "accident" for sure. :)

  5. Remarkable. Thank you.

    I use that skull in the mirror illustration in my class presentations, for a completely different topic, but illustrating change and mortality, nonetheless.


  6. Thanks for using my photo, and even more for properly crediting me for taking it! - Brett Garrett (DaddyB)