A Haunted Who Done It

When Imagineers rolled out the new interactive queue at The Haunted Mansion at Walt Disney World, I was intrigued by the sour faces and equally sour stories that came along with the series of five new busts along the path toward the Mansion.

The first few times I visited them, I pondered at their riddles and wondered how they died and how they were connected. And then, one day, Tracy (the co-founder of this very blog!) showed me something that set me straight.

So if you’ve ever wondered the back story of those severe statues, here you go! And, if not … well, SPOILERS BELOW!

Uncle Jacob bust (Mouse on the Mind)


Uncle Jacob

Greed was the poison he had swallowed
He went first, the others followed
His killer’s face, he surely knew
Now try to discover who killed who

Poor old Jacob Dread. He can’t take all that money to the grave with him, and his family members knew it … if only he’d shared it with them in his life, maybe Bertie Dread wouldn’t have poisoned him …

Of course, after inheriting the fortune, Bertie wasn’t long for this world himself.

Bertie bust (Mouse on the Mind)



Avid hunter and expert shot
In the end, that’s what he got

Contrary to obvious assumption, Bertie wasn’t strangled by his pet snake—the pet snake that likely provided the venom that took out ole Jacob.

No, Bertie was taken from this mortal coil by a bullet fired from his own gun in the hands of Florence McGuffin Dread, a no-good aunt if there ever was one!

Not that she was around to enjoy the fruits of her evil handiwork, either.

Aunt Florence bust (Mouse on the Mind)


Aunt Florence

Never did a dishonorable deed
Yet found face down in canary seed

An expert shot, she was not! When firing on Berie, a stray shot from Florence’s gun hit and killed the pet canary of Wellington and Forsythia Dread. Though only ten, the twins could be just as fierce as the adults in the family, and they smothered her in a pile of bird seed until she expired.

Pretty gruesome stuff coming from two ten-year-old kids, but I guess when you grow up with the Dreads things get pretty sociopathic early in life.

The Twins bust (Mouse on the Mind)


The Twins — Wellington & Forsythia

Departed life while in their beds
With identical bumps on identical heads

These identically sour faces were brought to their own death when their cousin and governess Maude Sweeny smashed their heads in with a hammer—leaving her as the last member of the family living in the house and the de facto executor of Jacob’s vast estate.

Of course, nothing good comes to greedy nannies who plan and plot …

Cousin Maude bust (Mouse on the Mind)


Cousin Maude

Our sleeping beauty
Who never awoke
The night her dreams
Went up in smoke

I can’t say why, but Maude (who is no beauty, to be sure) went to bed one night with a matchstick tucked into her bun. The match, it would seem, lit from the friction of her tossing and turning (likely due to her guilty conscious). She went out, as they say, in a blaze of glory. The last of her villainous line to go.


Maude's matchstick (Mouse on the Mind)The thing that Tracy showed me so many years ago? Why, it was the solution to the whole puzzle!

She walked me around to the back of the busts and pointed out a matchstick poking out from Maude’s bun. That’s so odd, I thought … that match explains her death … and that set me to wondering how the others died. I snapped the photo at left that day, and I’ve been thinking about sharing this post ever since. This week, in honor of Memento Mori, seems like the perfect time!

What are your favorite details in the Haunted Mansion interactive queue? Let us know in the comments. 

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