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13 Spooktacular Days

Day 10 - October 28, 2013   

 "Serpents and spiders. Tail of a rat. Call in the spirits. Wherever they're at."

That's right! We have finally met our first ghost on our tour through the Haunted Mansion, Madame Leota! So how did Madame Leota get her look and her voice? More importantly, however, what is up with the book that sits in front of her?

As I mentioned earlier in this series, Madame Leota is named after Leota Toombs, an Imagineer that worked on the Mansion for several years. While the original tests for a floating head were projected onto a bust of Beethoven, Imagineers decided to use Leota as the final face for the project due to her natural beauty. While they had Leota perform all the lines while she was being recorded, they decided that her voice just didn't bring the full effect to the show. Due to this they called in the voice of Disney villain Maleficent, Eleanor Audley, to perform the dialogue.

As the stories go, the effect was so convincing to guests who were visiting the park in the 1960s that when they saw Leota Toombs walking around the park they would approach her about her being on break and wondering who was filling in for her. This confusion would ultimately disappear for good in 2007 when the Haunted Mansion received an update which also consisted of a floating Leota crystal ball.

While the stories centered around Leota are impressive, the true star of the room is the book which sits in front of Madame Leota. If you look closely (which due to dim lighting is extremely difficult to do) you may notice that the book features a page with the grim reaper and a page with several words written upon it.

The bottom portion of the written page consists of the spells Madame Leota chants while guests pass through. The top portion, however, is a lot more obscure. In 1967 Disney released a film called Blackbeard's Ghost. The film focuses around a college track coach that accidently summons the ghost of Blackbeard. During the first part of the film the coach, played by Dean Jones, finds a note which reads, "A spell to bring to your eyes and ears one who is bound in Limbo."

Afterwards he reads the spell, "Kree, Kruh, Vergo, Gaba, Kalto, Kree." This of course summons Blackbeard and mayhem ensues. Speaking of summoning; now that we have joined Madame Leota in the séance room she has summoned the ghosts to appear throughout the rest of our tour. While Blackbeard is among them, tomorrow we will find some of the other famous ghosts in the Ballroom while also learning why the female ghosts are leading the males in their dance!

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