The Ghost Host is the twisted narrator of the Haunted Mansion attraction in Disneyland, Disney World, and Tokyo Disneyland.
Very little is known about the Ghost Host's life. From his portrait it can be seen that he was a horrid looking man (although it could be assumed that the portrait's hideousness was rather a result of infernal distortion). It is known that he ultimately wound up committing suicide in the Cupola of the Haunted Mansion by hanging himself to death. For unknown reasons in death he became the "Ghost Host" of the Haunted Mansion, being responsible for holding tours of the estate, managing the servants, and acting as the mansion's majordomo.
The Ghost Gallery
In the Cast-member created unofficial backstory for Disney World's Haunted Mansion, the Ghost Host serves as the central character. The story is also responsible for the incorrect assumption that Master Gracey and the Ghost Host are the same character as the Ghost Host's portrayal in the story is a composite character with Master Gracey.
In this version of the story, the Ghost Host was once a mortal man named Master George Gracey Jr. who was born in 1890 to George Gracey Sr. (based on George Hightower) and Mary Gracey (who was based on elderly Constance Hatchaway). Throughout his youth, George Jr. was sent to high-end boarding schools by his distant mother and as such he never really knew his father. George Jr. finally moved back into the mansion after his father was murdered by his mother and his mother fled the country, leaving George Jr. as the Lord and Master of the Mansion. Obsessed with death, George used his wealth and power to obtain occult artifacts and relics from ancient religions while also often travelling to circuses in order to meet mediums and clairvoyants. It was at one of these circuses where George met a tightrope walker named Lillian O'Malley (the Ghost Gallery's version of the Tightrope Walker) who he fell in love with and became engaged to. However, behind Lillian's back, George was having an affair with his personal clairvoyant Madame Leota, who he had impregnated with a daughter that Leota had named Little Leota. In 1937, Lillian had tragically died during a tightrope performance when her tightrope snapped and sent her falling into the jaws of a hungry alligator, which only added to George's madness and obsession with the supernatural. By 1941, George had wasted away the majority of the Gracey fortune in his pursuit of the occult, prompting him to marry an incredibly wealthy 16 year old orphan named Emily Cavenaugh (the Ghost Gallery's version of the Attic Bride). However once again on the night of their wedding, tragedy struck when Emily was found dead inside of large chest in the attic, having apparently suffocated to death leading George to shut himself off from the outside world with no-one but his mistress Madame Leota and his illegitimate daughter Little Leota who would die a couple years later. By 1943, George had learned that Madame Leota was responsible for the deaths of both of his brides, which lead Leota to become enraged and try to trap George's soul in her crystal ball so he could be hers forever. Faced with no other options, George hung himself before Leota could bind his soul, resulting in her own soul become trapped in the crystal ball. Following this, George's ghost became the Ghost Host of the Haunted Mansion.
The Mystery of the Manse
In the Slave Labor Graphic comic book series based on the Haunted Mansion. The Ghost Host is once again portrayed as a composite character of his original incarnation and Master Gracey although this time the story also draws inspiration from the unused Captain Gore plot of the Haunted Mansion attraction with the Host serving as Captain Gore's counterpart.
The Haunted Mansion (2003 Film)
In the critically and commercially panned 2003 Haunted Mansion movie, the Ghost Host (once again combined with Master Gracey) is completely reimagined not only aesthetically and in terms of character history, but he is given a completely new personality as well. In this version of the Mansion, the Ghost Host is here named Master Edward Gracey who was a powerful and wealthy man from late-19th century New Orleans. Rather than being a treacherous, untrustworthy, darkly-comical neutral chaotic presence, this version of Master Gracey is played more as being a civilized and polite romantic who is drunk on puppy-love. In this Ghost Host's backstory, he was once engaged to a black woman named Elizabeth Henshaw who was murdered by his racist butler Ramsley who framed the death as having been a suicide. Following his bride's death, Edward hung himself in the Mansion's cupola and for some unexplained reason this resulted in the Mansion becoming cursed to trap the ghosts of it's inhabitants forever until Gracey and his bride marry. However for approximately 100 years, the ghosts remained trapped in the mansion (including the still active ghost of Elizabeth who did nothing to try and reunite with her love) until one day by complete coincidence, a paperboy delivered flyers to the notoriously Haunted Mansion which featured a woman who inexplicably looked completely identical to Elizabeth, prompting Edward to falsely believe that she is Elizabeth reincarnated, while in reality it is just the mother of all coincidences. So Gracey invites the sassy Evers family into the mansion where he attempts to persuade Sarah that she is Elizabeth reincarnated only for her to become frightened and run away prompting the ghost of Ramley to kidnap her children and black-mail her into the marriage without Edward's knowledge. Edward's wedding to Elizabeth was then interrupted by Sarah's husband Jim who revealed to Edward that Ramsley killed Elizabeth only for a giant dragon made of fire to inexplicably burst out of the fireplace and dragged Ramsley down into hell as the screaming butler grabbed onto Jim's leg trying to drag him down with him. Edward saved Jim and then for unexplained reasons, Elizabeth's ghost only then decided that it would be a good time to materialize and reunite with her beloved. Following this the Evers family forgave Edward for having kidnapped them, blackmailed Sarah into marrying him, locking their children in a chest and trying to murder them on multiple occasions, because he's in love. So then all of the ghosts leave the mansion and go to heaven for their happily ever after, except for Madame Leota and the Singing Busts who inexplicably remain on earth despite the curse having been lifted.
The original Ghost Host is briefly referenced twice in the film, first in the opening when you hear his voice saying "Welcome Foolish mortals" and second in the graveyard sequence where there is a ghost which looks identical to the Hatchet Man.
- Due to the many stories which combine the two, the Ghost Host and Master Gracey are often incorrectly assumed to be the same character.