Getting On The Ride
Guests move through the front doors and into a chilly, dank room. much of the room is covered in darkly polished wood, and above that, flocked Victorian wallpaper rises to meet a tall decorated plaster ceiling. The room is roughly circular. The only source of light appears to be a large chandelier, flickering as if lit by candles, from high above, and a smaller chandelier in the room's connecting antechamber. Otherwise the room is dark.
From somewhere within the depths of the house an unseen person plays a slow, grim funeral dirge on an organ, the notes traveling through the walls of this chamber, echoing in darkness.
Guests gather around a Victorian fireplace. There are a few coals left in the fireplace, and their glowing embers set the stage for what is to come. Errie purple lights illuminate the coals from somewhere above. The face of the fireplace grate is that of a gruesome abstract skull.
Above the fireplace, a number of elegant drapery curtains are hung around a large portrait, just directly above guest's heads. The portrait is that of a handsome young man in a stately tuxedo, smiling, for he is obviously a man of some importance. the portrait hangs in a rather large gilded oval frame.
Suddenly, a deep, ominous voice echoes through the chamber, but no one can be seen anywhere in the room...
"When hinges creak in doorless chambers and strange and frightening sounds echo through the halls, whenever candlelights flicker where the air is deathly still, that is the time when ghosts are present, practicing their terror with ghoulish delight."
Slowly the portrait of the man begins to transform. He grays and shrivels with age, turning from a young man to a middle aged man to an old man to a mummified corpse, then finally to a skeleton.
The fireplace is flanked on either side by large
doors, and suddenly one of the doors silently rolls open, revealing a large,
and better lit, gallery. Guests slowly file inside...
Stepping through the doorway cautiously, guests find themselves in a room with eight towering walls. Sixteen gargoyles are perched on a ledge above guests' heads, each one holding in it's hands two candles which barley illuminate the portraits, and each one leering down at the mortals below with hideous grinning faces.
Above the ledge hang four portraits on a backdrop of striped wallpaper. The ceiling is a plaster relief, recessed in the center.
Gazing at the portraits, they seem fairly plain and non-descript. We can see a young woman in her summer dress holding a parasol, an older gentleman placing a document in the breast pocket of his stately tuxedo, a young man smiling with his arms folded, and an old woman holding a rose.
The maid from the foyer enters the room too, and the door slides shut.
The voice from the foyer echoes through the room, traveling from wall to wall, almost mocking the guests with humorous wit.
VOICE: "Welcome, foolish mortals, to The Haunted Mansion. I am your host. Your *ghost* host (chuckle). Our tour begins here, in this gallery, here where you see paintings of some of our guests as they appeared in their corruptable, mortal state. Kindly step all the way in, please, and make room for everyone. There's no turning back now."
One of the maids instructs guests to "Drag your wretched bodies to the DEAD center of the room, off the BLOOD red Carpet".
There is a slight pause, and suddenly, a strange change begins to take place before your very eyes: the room begins to slowly expand, and the paintings are slowly revealed to be not quite what they seemed at first glance.
The young woman is standing on a fraying tightrope over a river, with a hungry crocodile waiting patiently below with open jaws.
The gentleman is actually wearing only boxer shorts, slacks, and shoes from the waist down..... And standing on a barrel of Dynamite with a lit fuse.
The young man is actually sitting on the shoulders of another man, who is in turn sitting on the shoulders of another man, who is the only one aware that all three are doomed.... For he is waist deep in quicksand.
The old lady is sitting on her husband's gravestone, and we can see a bust of her husband at the base of the Grave... with his head split by an axe.
GHOST HOST: "Your cadaverous pallor betrays an aura of foreboding... almost as though you sense a disquieting metamorphosis... is this haunted room actually stretching? Or is it your imagination, Hmmm?"
Yet, as horrifying as this change is, guests slowly begin to realize another, more troublesome change....
GHOST HOST: "And consider this dismaying observation... this chamber has no windows and no doors. Which offers you this chilling challenge: To find... a way OUT! Of course, there's always my way..."
The lights in the room are quickly blown out by some unfelt wind, and guests can see hanging directly above them the rotting corpse of the Ghost Host... hung by his neck in the previously invisible attic. Thunder and lightning illuminate this scene through broken windows.
Before too much time has passed, the lightning stops and we hear a woman commit suicide by falling down the room. We hear her scream as she falls, and finally hits the ground with a crash.
The candles in the room are relit. Looking around, guests can see no sign of the corpse, and the ceiling is once again in place. A door slides open, revealing a dank hallway.
GHOST HOST: "Ohh.. I didn't mean to frighten you... prematurely, hmm hm hmmm.... The REAL chills come later. Now, as they say, look alive and we'll continue our little tour. And let's all stay together, please."
GHOST HOST: "And now, a carriage approaches to take you into the boundless realm of the supernatural. Take your loved ones by the hand, please, and kindly watch your step."
Guests slowly enter a very dim chamber. It is a hallway lined with doors. Flickering chandeliers hang high above, their light being cast in comforting circles straight down opon the floor. The walls are covered in a flowery wallpaper of Victorian design, and paneled in dark polished decorative wood near the floor.
Guests continue farther along and an unbroken chain of slow-moving vehicles can be seen slowly exiting from under a large darkened arch. They move in a semicircle around a table and chair in a corner, as if a presence still occupies the visibly vacant seat.
Guests continue onward, their path being guided by polished bronze bat figures on posts which support rope on the tip of each wing. They can now see the line of souls wrapping around to move alongside a moving walkway. The walkway moves in synch with the strange carriages, called doombuggies, which are one by one being drawn under an arch and into an inky darkness on the chamber's far side.
Guests step onto the moving walkway and are greeted by a number of maids and butlers who quickly move them into their strange pod-like carts. The carts can easily hold two people comfortably, and the lap bar is ajar. The buggies slowly move forward, inexorably drawn towards the black mouth of the arch...
After being seated, guests are slowly drawn under the curtained arch and into a pitch black room.
The Ghost Host speaks once again as the lap bar is slowly lowered on it's own accord:
GHOST HOST: "Do NOT pull down on the safety bar please. I will lower it for you. And heed this warning: the spirits will materialize only if you remain quietly seated with your hands, arms, feet and legs inside... and watch your children, please!"
If you pull down the safety bar before the doombuggie does it automatically one of the maids will hit your doombuggie with a broom.