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.


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Five Years


Long-Forgotten is today five years old.

In a few weeks at most we will witness the return of
the Hatbox Ghost to Disneyland's Haunted Mansion.

Just one of those cosmic convergences, I suppose.

Had to get the above up before the day ran out. The real chills came later (below, written the next day).  It's a very strange post I've got for this occasion. We're going to visit a different kind of haunted house.

In the Beginning

Hard to imagine a world without the Internet, ain't it? In our case, we would never have known that the Haunted Mansion had a fan base without it. Until the 'Net, we were just individuals with a peculiar affection and interest in this one ride, unaware that we are legion. I've said this before, but I haven't said anything much about the pioneers, those who have gone before us. I'm talking about people who set up Haunted Mansion tribute pages back in the 1990s. Nearly all of them have gone the way of the dodo. One of them, however, flourished:, founded in 1997 and today practically an institution. There's little need for me to talk about to you guys, I'm sure.

It's the others. The long-forgotten ones. Many were obviously set up by young teens. They were amateurish and puerile (and gruesomely spellcheckless), but they brimmed over with enthusiasm. Some were of high quality and ran for years before dying. Sometimes this was because the creator moved on to bigger and better things. Christine Foxx, for example, is today the erudite and insightful mistress of Passport to Dreams Old and New, one of the most literate Disney blogs around, but she was naught but a talented, giddy teenager when she put together the now-defunct GrimGhosts blog.

Other sites closed down when the owner went to work for Disney (or aspired to). You see, the Mouse don't like its people chattering on chatboards, let alone running blogsites. Still others were one-shot tribute pages that just sort of laid there. After you'd read it, you were done. These perished from lack of sustained interest, I suppose.

Some of them no doubt fell prey to the dread URL King.

 The URL King

There are still a few worthwhile HM sites in operation besides (see the list on the right), but this is not about them. Strange sort that I am, I decided one day to gather up some of these long abandoned urls and paid some of the old sites a visit.

Haunted Houses

This right here that you're looking at is a public discussion likely to be read by hundreds of people (and I sincerely thank you all for coming). It's frequently—too frequently—visited by me the owner. The lawn is kept trimmed and neat, weeds are pulled, repairs are made to the house as needed. Unfortunately, the sense of utter desolation I am about to describe is lost in such a format.

You have to imagine the feeling of sitting alone before your screen (late at night is best), summoning up an old site that hasn't had a click in years, feeling like some sort of sorcerer employing just the right conjuring spell, beginning with http. The apparition appears. You wander about among the ruins. The analogy to a haunted house is irresistible.  You visit black, empty rooms, currently occupied only by small, white question marks in a square of blue. You find many a locked door (links that go nowhere), but occasionally a link will call up another ghostly page, and you ascend to the second floor. You find random images, like so many pieces of furniture left behind in an abandoned house. Ghostly writings appear on the walls, messages and information no one has read in years. You realize that you're utterly alone in this place, exploring something left derelict by its owner. It is as silent and melancholy as a mausoleum. I suppose you have to be a certain kind of person to actually enjoy this.

In some cases a date is there to tell you roughly when the house was abandoned.

My personal favorite among these desolate places? "Arooooo!"  It's like looking at the blueprint
of an abandoned building. This place was once bustling with activity. Now look at it.

Memento Mori

Inevitably, one wonders if Long-Forgotten will one day join the ranks of the long-forgotten and drift forever through cyberspace, like a ghost ship.

I'm going to blog about the new Hatbox Ghost when he appears, naturally, but after that I expect to go into a state of hibernation. I'll blog something if and when something turns up, so LF shan't be abandoned, but expect things to be quieter. Currently, I have no posts in the can. Haven't had anything to talk about worth talking about. When there is, I'll be back at the keyboard.


  1. 5 years of entertaining HM news! I look forward to each new post, thank you HBG!

  2. Congratulations on the 5 year anniversary of Long-Forgotten. I've really enjoyed the last 5 years of your posts, and look forward to future posts. Thank you so much for the time and effort you put into this blog.

  3. This was an adorable post. Chills at the thought of your site going quieter, but the archives are there for revisitation. Your writing style is a joy. Thanks again for being my favorite website.

    1. Thanks. I've added a poem to the post, "The URL King." It just seemed appropriate.

  4. First, Congratulations on the Anniversary. Five years of terrific content.

    Next, possible avenues of exploration for future posts. Forgive me if you've already touched on these topics (or if they're already addressed elsewhere).

    Why was the Florida mansion built the way it was, when Floridians would probably more easily recognize a New Orleans style mansion? (Though I have to admit, having grown up in FL and moved to CA, I was at first underwhelmed by the mansion...and only later have come to love the wrought iron more than the brick). Perhaps there is something more to say about the architectural choices, and the basic question of why it was done differently.

    Vertical elements. Tall columns in front, selective compression for height, a view down into the ballroom, falling from the attic, etc.

    Carpets & Rugs (including tapestries and wall hangings). I know you've done the wallpaper and paintings, but what about fabric? Drapes?

    Scene transitions and progression - why are the rooms presented in the order they are? Was there anything left out and where would it have been?

    The role of fences and boundaries in defining space and shaping the experience.

    Things with wheels - the bikes, the hearse, etc.

    These are just the ones off the top of my head. I'd enjoy hearing more from you on these topics.

    Finally, I mentioned your blog in my sermon on Sunday. After all, ghosts figured prominently in the reading from Luke, and you have been known to wax theological from time to time. But more than that, our culture has some mixed up ideas about ghosts, Christians included!

    1. Thanks for the suggestions. I haven't yet had the courage to reference Long Forgotten in a sermon, so that's a first. The most blogworthy of your ideas may be the question of why Florida's HM is designed so differently. Foxxy, over at Passport to Dreams, has in fact discussed this at length in one of her HM posts. To me, it's just the difference between New Orleans and New England. I thought that Foxxy missed the most important connection, however, between Liberty Square New England and haunted houses, and that is the literary connection. Washington Irving and Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry James give us ghost stories galore.

  5. Thanks for this amazing blog! I recently went back to the very beginning and read every single post. It was mind-blowing. Many congratulations on this anniversary.

    (Incidentally, do you still need scans of those two "E-Ticket" issues that you mentioned on FaceBook? I have them).

    1. Thanks, Major! Your blog is one of my must-reads, must-stealfroms.
      (I'll email you about the magazines.)

  6. Thank you.

    I see your blog like if it was an abandoned mansion far from the crowds. Where some people gather around from time to time,to hear the wonderfull things you have to say. It's delightfull.

    We are here, quiet or helpfull, reading your very interesting and well written posts. You make us think twice and realise how complex are the haunted mansions.

    I read your posts since 3 years. I've learned so much. Thank you, i strongly hope you'll find more things to write on !

    I know the Disney-copyrighted images would be a problem but woudn't it be interesting to make this blog as book(s) so we could alway keep a track of your amazing work ?

    (Sorry for my english, i'm French ! )

  7. "Long-Forgotten is today five years old."

    Sincere and heartfelt congratulations...and many thanks for your spectacular and informative MANY more to come!


  8. Lovely post, and thank you for telling me about the Hatbox Ghost! I saw the wall up in march and wondered what was cooking!

  9. Congrats! I've enjoyed your posts for a while now, and often revisit them (especially before and after trips to the Mansion).

    As a fellow blogger I understand the challenges of not just finding the topic to cover, but also the topic you WANT to cover. It's a labor of love, and you obviously love the Mansion! I appreciate the time and effort you've put into it, and look forward to whatever you post, whenever you post it!

  10. I've read your stuff for years, both here and in the original threads on MC, but only as a lurker. Your style is great, your insight is wonderful, and your jokes are bad (in the best possible way). Thanks for so many entertaining and though-provoking posts.

  11. Thank you and you're welcome to each of you.

  12. I too have been a leaker and kept returning to read your inciteful articles. I'd be interested in an article on little Leota i.e. why is she small? has she been shrunk? is she the ghost of a little person or a fairy? it could be an interesting article as I've come across ghost/myth lore of ghosts being 'trapped' or conjured in small vessels, such as bottles. also in the case of fairies - in European folklore fairy hauntings preceded 'ghost' hauntings i.e. people blamed faires and little folk for what would later be attributed to ghosts, i.e. poltergeist activity. Or indeed it could just be the notion that 'out-of-scale' humanoids whether large of small, naturally unnerve us! Anyway - just food for thought there

  13. HBG2, you the man.

    Just another idea for possible future posts could be an analysis of the Mansion's 'offspring'. Tower, Indy, Mystic, Potter, etc. How these attractions are only possible because of the ground broken by the HM. Some have direct explicit references to it (weirdest being the Superstar Limo & Primeval Whirl stuff), while others have more subtle reworkings of familiar themes and techniques.

  14. Happy anniversary! 5 years already? It just goes to show how much history and detail can be found within (around, under, take your pick) The various Mansion attractions. I'm actually curious about the Hellhound. I figured he was there as a reference to black dog spirits and The Hound of The Baskervilles. Though he's clearly more skeletal ghost rather than mysterious supernatural omen. Maybe there isn't much behind him but he's the only ghost animal so he just sort of sticks out me.

  15. Have you seen videos of the Hatbox Ghost yet? He looks great, especially since he has his own cool little area.

    1. Yes. I'll be discussing it in a new post.

  16. Great Stuff...can never get enough "Haunted Mansion". Have you ever written a piece on the shortcomings of the HM movie and ideas on how to make it as enjoyable as the potc movies? Thanks again for the time and effort you put into this blog and I will always be looking forward to your next post!

  17. I enjoy your insight and perspective immensely. Although I am saddened at the prospect of less to read I admire your commitment to actually saying something. Thanks for 5 interesting years.