How Walt Disney Banished Rasputin's Ghost from The Haunted Mansion

The Haunted Mansion is one of the most beloved attractions at Disney theme parks, thrusting visitors into a spooky world filled with dancing phantoms and eye-popping special effects, but there was one spirit planned for the ride who was so scary that Walt Disney himself barred him from inclusion: Rasputin’s ghost. On August 9, 1969, The Haunted Mansion made its debut in Anaheim, California’s Disneyland to rave reviews. Disney’s Imagineers had managed to capture the picture-perfect representation of a classic haunted mansion from cinema and pull it into the real world, mischievous ghosts and all. The attraction was a technological marvel at the time, featuring a blend of state-of-the-art animatronics and old-school theatrical illusions that wowed crowds and established the Haunted Mansion as a signature Disney icon. But what you might not know is that development on the iconic ride began nearly two decades earlier, and involved some pretty famous phantoms. Walt Disney first began mulling over concepts for the Haunted Mansion in the 50s, enlisting many of his favorite artists to help bring the project to reality. Initially, the attraction was designed with storylines that would have featured the ghosts of famous historical characters like Jack the Ripper, Guy Fawkes, Ivan the Terrible, and more. Somewhere during the Haunted Mansion’s twenty years of development, Disney Imagineer Marc Davis decided that Grigori Rasputin, the seemingly un-killable Russian mystic, would make a fabulously frightening phantom. After all, when it takes stabbing, poisoning, four shootings, a clubbing, and drowning to adequately kill someone, there’s a good chance they’ll make a pretty scary ghost.

Read More: Week in Weird

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