Title

Click here to edit subtitle

Disneyland - The Happiest "Haunted" Place On Earth?

By Charles Spratley

After chasing the paranormal for many years I can rely on one solid thing “Believe nothing that you hear and only half of what you see”. And I apply just that to every investigation I undertake, and Disneyland was extra special. It’s an icon and I want to do it justice. It’s not a private home or a restaurant or abandoned building off some desolate highway. It’s a vacation getaway for millions each year, and I wanted to give it the respect it deserves. And now that I have laid the ground rules, off we go!


I heard plenty of stories about the Haunted Mansion being haunted by something other than illusions and Pepper’s Ghosts. There is a theory that someone doesn’t have to die someplace to haunt it. It could be someplace that has a deep personal connection to them and so maybe a piece of them may reside in the Mansion even after their death. I’ve heard plenty of rumors of deaths taking place on the ride, both natural and accidental but none can be verified ( and some can easily be debunked simply by knowing how the ride works ). Also, sometimes someone tries to smuggle in the ashes of someone and scatter them in the Mansion, as well as other places in the park, but the staff do their best to keep that from happening. Judging how many people love that ride, that if the theory holds true of haunting a favorite place, then the beloved Haunted Mansion holds far more than the advertised 999 ghosts.

I also heard plenty about Pirates of the Caribbean being haunted but after talking to Cast and Maintenance, I couldn’t find anything to validate the claims about a boy that haunts one of the boats. Pirate’s Lair ( a.k.a Tom’s Sawyer’s Island) is also reported to be haunted. There is a story of two boys that drowned in the River after they tried to spend the night on the island and decided to swim to shore after they got scared. Now, I must tell you that the Rivers of America is only five feet deep at its deepest point and so the validity of that story I will leave to you. But, I have spoke to some Maintenance guys that do not like to go out to the island after hours, they feel it takes a less than peaceful cast at night. There is a story told by many that the Matterhorn may be haunted as well, and sadly that ride has been  known to kill, but I must say in the ride’s defense it was due to the fault of the rider.


The now defunct Peoplemover attraction over the streets of Tomorrowland has had its share of documented tragedies before it’s retirement in the summer of 1995. In 1967 a 17 year-old boy thought he could jump cars and fell onto the tracks just before it entered into the tunnel and was crushed to death by an oncoming tram. In 1980 a Grad Night attendee had the same idea and suffered a similar fate inside the super speed tunnel. His body was dragged for 100 feet before a ride operator could stop the ride. Employees and after hour maintenance workers claim to see shadows and have an extreme feeling of uneasiness while walking the track at night.

The Blue Bayou Restaurant and club 33 have reports of apparitions as well. I was so fortunate to question a waiter while dining there, more like cornering him and interrogating him but the information was golden. Staff there secretly talk amongst themselves about the spirit of a man in the Blue Bayou while a possibly former female patron haunts the exclusive Club 33.

Saving the best for last is Innoventions. This large, moving building is best known by Disney enthusiast as America Sings. What I can tell you is that in 1974, a young Cast Member by the name of Debbie Stone was killed when she got to close to one of the moving walls. She was apparently a new employee and didn’t know all the idiosyncrasies of the attraction yet. After her death, the attraction was closed for a couple of days and then reopened. Many guests to the park as well as Cast comment on experiencing something while visiting the attraction.

In close, Disneyland is a great place to get away from the world, become a child again, and remember what it was like to dream the day away. But it is also in the Real World. Accidents happen, people pass to the Otherside…and the dead may still linger.

About Haunted OC Historian and lecturer, Charles Spratley

Charles is a San Diego native that has lived in Orange County for the last 5 years. On the board of directors for the restoration of the Villa Montezuma in San Diego, Charles understands and cares deeply for the welfare of small museums and their great contributions to local history and culture. A guest lecturer at University of San Diego in ancient and medieval warfare , a prominent guest speaker at Victoriana/Steampunk conventions as well as owning several touring companies insures a lively evening. An amateur magician and author on the paranormal, Charles' latest book, Piercing the Veil: Examining San Diego’s Haunted History, is available on Amazon and in most local book stores.