Legend of Spider Web Man, The East Coast Hatbox Ghost

Spider Web Man Haunted Mansion Concept Art Disney World
Copyright Marc Davis/ Disney

One of the most famous legends of the Haunted Mansion is the story of the Hatbox Ghost, but the Magic Kingdom also has its own character who disappeared, never to return early on in its history. That character was the Spider Web Man.

Now I'm going to start by saying that Disney has never formally acknowledged the existence of this character, nor has an actual photo of the character ever been seen either on the ride or being built.

Now, it is claimed that this character was a part of the ride on opening day, in the web room. If you don't know what room that is its because it no longer exists as it was replaced by the staircase room.

If you look at concept art for this room you find that it was supposed to feature a decomposing corpse tragically caught up in a spiderweb amongst giant spiders. That is the source of this mystery, whether or not the character actually made an appearance in the actual ride.

By far the biggest piece of evidence for this character's inclusion in the ride is the audio clip above. If you listen at about the 4.15 point you will hear someone moaning over the Ghost Host's famous narration in the exact scene this man was supposedly in on the opening day. This is by no means a confirmation he was there, tons of extra Ghost Host lines were recorded but never implemented in the ride. But it does show he at least made it far into the production of the ride.

If he was present in the ride at all, it wasn't for long. Two different reasons have been proposed for why he was removed. Either the effect was deemed too scary for the family-friendly park, or the head of the park did not like the character and asked for its removal.

Haunted Mansion Entrance Walt Disney World

We haven't ever seen the character's animatronic, unlike the original Hatbox Ghost, but there is a lot of circumstantial evidence. We may never get a definitive answer to this question. If a photo of him has not shown up yet it may not even exist. But this is a legend that deserves more attention than it receives. As the 50th anniversary of the Magic Kingdom approaches and rumors persist of the Hatbox Ghost coming to the park, we should remember the park's own lost happy haunt and wonder if he will ever make his way into the park.