The Phantom Manor Story - ºoº DisneyMagic

The Phantom Manor Story

“Where hinges creak in doorless chambers… Where strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls…

Where candlelight flickers though the air is deathly still… This is Phantom Manor!”

In order to understand the story of Phantom Manor, you first need an understanding of how it came to be there.

It all started with the Gold Rush...

A long time ago in the American West there was a small and peaceful valley lying in the shadow of the red buttes known as Big Thunder Mountain. A river ran through its landscape of forests and plains, broken up by a number of islands, one of which was home to the mountain itself, an imposing rock formation composed of vertical peaks and natural stone arcs.

It was little wonder that this unique landmark inspired the imagination of those who lived in the valley. Ancient traditions of the native tribes, in fact, told of a powerful spirit protecting the mountain...

Known as the Thunderbird, this deity would punish anyone who dared disturb the sacred rocks of Big Thunder. It was said that a flap of its mighty wings would cause the earth itself to tremble and open up.

For the longest time, the spirit’s rule was respected by all... until, one day, white settlers arrived in the area. Searching the land for precious minerals and other riches, they didn’t care to heed the natives’ warnings of a vengeful deity.

Indeed, their search would soon prove successful. A rich vein of gold was discovered in the red rocks of Big Thunder Mountain and as soon as word got out, more and more settlers streamed into the area transforming the serene wilderness into a lively and steadily growing gold-rush town. The year was 1849, and the town would bear the name of Thunder Mesa.

Over the following years, railroad cars and riverboats carried more and more prospectors and fortune-hunters into town, each hoping to strike it rich. The owner of the mine, an industrial baron called Henry Ravenswood, soon founded the Big Thunder Mining Company in order to handle the increasing mining operations in and around the mountain.

For his own family, the increasingly wealthy Mister Ravenswood began construction of a splendid mansion on a hill overlooking the sprawling town. Apart from the four-story manor-house painted in white with a red gable roof, the estate is encompassed with vast gardens and statues.

There is also a family cemetery on the banks of the river, which onlooks Thunder Mountain. The manor stood with grand gesture overlooking Thunder Mesa Town. A place with a lot of hustle and bustle on a daily basis, but viewed from the heights of the manor itself.

Henry's dearest pride and joy, was his beautiful young daughter Melanie. A beautiful girl of fair complexion, auburn hair, brown eyes and a caring smile who had grown up protected and free to pass her time in the expansive manor gardens under Henry’s watchful eye. 

Melanie also had a beautiful singing voice. She was operatically trained as part of her upbringing, often heard singing around the gardens of the manor and as fate would have it, be her only source of comfort during her time trapped within the walls of the manor.

Indeed, things appeared to be going quite well at Thunder Mesa. A showgirl known as Diamond Lil, who somehow got into possession of an enormous gold nugget, opened a luxurious saloon and dance hall called the Lucky Nugget. The wealthy elite of Thunder Mesa presided in the stately Silver Spur Steakhouse. Even the undertaker Jeremiah Nutterville couldn’t complain about business. But all of this good fortune, however, was about to change!

The Curse of the Thunderbird!

After eleven years of plundering the riches found in Big Thunder Mountain, it would seem that its guardian spirit had finally had enough. Whether it was actually caused by the Thunderbird’s mighty wings or by an exceptionally strong mining blast, in 1860 a terrible earthquake struck the town of Thunder Mesa. Henry Ravenswood and his wife Martha perished in the quake, while the gold mines collapsed in a shower of rubble and timber.

However, even before this grave incident, it would seem that trouble had been brewing at the Ravenswood home. Rumors said that Melanie’s suitor, a train engineer called Jake Evans planned to take her away from Thunder Mesa, and that Henry was furious! After his tragic demise, it seemed that nothing more would stand in the way of their wedding.

On Melanie's wedding day, a mysterious Phantom unknown to anyone appeared at the manor. While Melanie was preparing in her room, the Phantom lured her suitor up to the attic where he hanged him by the neck from the rafters.

In the ballroom, the bride sat alone. Hours went by with no sign of the groom. Guests slowly filed away, leaving Melanie alone in the house with the staff of maids and butlers. "Some day", she told herself, "he will come", and so having never taken off her wedding dress or dropped her bouquet, in preparation for her loved one's return, she wandered the house aimlessly, singing melancholy songs of lost love.

The Phantom was still in the house, laughing at her human devotion to her intended husband. One after the other, he invited his dead demonic friends from the afterlife to fill the house in an eternal party. The shape of the house was slowly transformed by the evil forces.

As the years went by, the inside and outside of the house started to decay. Dusty cobwebs covered every inch, the disheartened staff not caring, for it was rumored that Melanie had lost her mind. She wandered the house for years and years, singing softly to her groom, while all around her demons and ghosts reveled and danced. Everywhere she went she was reminded of the wedding. The Phantom's eternal laughter still carried through the walls of the house.

Outside, the once beautiful grounds were falling apart and crumbling. The gilded staircase and structure were dotted with mold and trees and every plant on the grounds died. As if sensing the evil inherent in the house, nothing living ever trod there. Melanie even so, kept her hopes up, waiting for her lovers return, never figuring why he had left. Even to this day, no one knows if Melanie Ravenswood is still alive in that old house on the hill. If she is, then she is well over 100 years old.

Her beautiful voice still carries over the town at night, through the walls and night air and sometimes people still see lights in the house. Some nights, when the moon is full and the sky is clear of clouds, you can still hear the lonely mourning of the bride, the maniacal laughter of the Phantom, and the faint tinkle of glass and laughter of party guests. Whether she is alive or not, what is well known is that poor Melanie never really left the crumbling mansion. She waits for her groom until Judgment Day. 

More than one late night wanderer had walked past the manor to find a dark shadow looming behind the curtains, or to hear the sound of maniacal laughter echoing through the manor gardens. 

The inhabitants of Thunder Mesa, too scared to set foot on the estate, began calling it Phantom Manor. There were tales of brave souls who had dared to enter the house and never returned.

As for the gold vein of Big Thunder Mountain, the source of Thunder Mesa’s wealth, it was lost in the earthquake. Attempts to retrieve it proved to be in vain. Without the prospect of getting rich overnight, Thunder Mesa finally regained some of its peace. Steam riverboats lazily made their way up and down the river, while ranchers and farmers settled in nearby Cottonwood Creek.

So the legend lives on for everyone to see and hear and even experience. Just take a ride in one of the doom buggies through the depths of Phantom Manor. Many fans of the ride believe the Phantom to be Melanie's father, Henry Ravenswood, seeking vengeance from beyond the grave. Others believe that it is the pure spirit of evil, and that a curse was put upon Melanie. Take a trip yourself and make your own mind up to as to what happened that fateful day. You will not be alone!

The restless spirits of Phantom Manor, are said to still be waiting for a courageous soul to find out what happened that fateful night of the wedding that never was!

Listen to the narration on entering Phantom Manor! Are you courageous enough to go further and find out what happened!

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