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Ramsley

Ramsley, butler of Gracey Manor

"I'm afraid there will be no leaving the mansion tonight."
—Ramsley to the Evers family

Ramsley is a character and the main antagonist in the 2003 film, portrayed by Terence Stamp. He is the English butler of Edward Gracey, whom he refers to as Master Gracey.

Biography

Beginnings

Ramsley was a well-cultured, loyal young butler employed at a summer estate in England who was trusted by his employer, who acted as a father-figure and mentor to him. The employer's family also see him as part of the family.

Meeting the Graceys

During his service to the family, he met George Gracey, an American who was visiting the estate with friends. One day, Ramsley was accussed for an unspeakable offense at his employer's house - a transgression actually committed by the employer's son and was faced with threats of beating and probably a jail term. With these threats hanging over Ramsley's head, George asked him if he would like to come to America and serve as his butler at Gracey Manor. Amazed and grateful, Ramsley accepted and George secretly whisked him away to the docks and bought his passage for the trip to America. In the following years, Ramsley proved an invaluable asset to George in achieving the social goals he set for himself and his family.

Service to the Graceys

Ramsley helped arrange George's first meeting with his wife, Abigail, the beautiful and vivacious daughter of a state senator. George and Abigail had three children together, and Ramsley would eventually become a father figure to Edward, the youngest child.

George told Ramsley of his dreams for Edward's future as a governor, ambassador or even president. To prepare for this, George wanted Edward to get the right education, the right friends, and the right wife. Ramsley pledged to do everything in his power to make sure the boy had the proper training and education to perform his proper role in society. Ramsley saw to the boy's social training and saw that he was accomplished in a range of gentlemanly activities.

Ramsley became fully responsible for Edward after George and Abigail died. At Ramsley's insistence, Edward joined the social elite in New Orleans where he met the most well-bred young ladies in the region. Through these years, he acted as a father-figure to Edward. However, Edward does not realize that Ramsley uses his relationship to manipulate him.

Murder of Elizabeth Henshaw

Ramsley disapproved of Edward's relationship with Elizabeth Henshaw, the mixed-race daughter of one of the respected servants in the manor, fearing it would cause a scandal and tarnish the Gracey legacy, despite the fact that Edward was willing to extend his legacy to people of color (black, brown, multiracial, biracial, etc) after seeing the oppression against them.

After discovering that Edward planned to marry Elizabeth, Ramsley murdered her by offering her a poisoned cup of wine, and made it appear as though she had committed suicide. He hid her letter accepting Edward's proposal and replaced it with another one detailing her rejection.

Despite his satisfaction of murdering Elizabeth, Ramsley did not expect that Elizabeth's death would devastate Edward into following suit and hanging himself out of grief. Upon Edward's death, a curse was cast over the mansion and everyone inside the mansion (including Ramsley) all died and have been turned into ghosts. Ramsley and the occupants soon learned that the only way to break the curse is for Elizabeth and Edward's spirits to be reunited, otherwise they would be unable to leave to the afterlife.

Encountering the Evers

Years later, a real-estate agent named Jim Evers was preparing for a holiday in a lake with his wife Sara Evers and his two children in order to rid himself of workaholism and make up for missing his wedding anniversary when they were lured to Gracey Manor. Sara was the spitting image of Elizabeth (since she and her family are of African-American heritage), and Ramsley believed that she could satisfy his master's desire for Elizabeth, despite Sarah being married to Jim. During their short stay, a storm floods the nearby river, forcing the Evers to stay for the night. As the family looks around the the mansion, Jim's children Megan and Michael were lured by a spectral orb to a picture of Elizabeth (resembling Sarah) in the mansion's attic, and Jim encounters a ghost named Madame Leota, who tells him about the curse and gives him clues to finding the truth about Elizabeth's true fate.

Following Leota's directions, Jim and the kids discover a key in the mansion's cemetery that leads to a chest inside the mansion's attic. Jim opened the chest and found Elizabeth's real letter detailing her acceptance to Edward's proposal, suspecting that someone murdered her and staged it as a suicide. it is at this point that Ramsley reveals the truth and his racism to Jim by locking both Megan and Michael in the chest and admitting that he murdered Elizabeth out of prejudice against black and multiracial people, prompting an offended Jim to declare that he will report Ramsley's crime to Edward. Anticipating this, Ramsley gets Jim and the letter to be thrown out from the mansion before having it enchanted so that Jim can never reveal the truth to Gracey. After assuring Edward that Sara is Elizabeth when the former begins to doubt, he blackmails Sarah into agreeing to the marriage by threatening to harm Megan and Michael.

The truth revealed and demise

At the wedding, Ramsley takes on the role as the royal priest and poisons the ceremonial wine with iocane in order to kill Sarah once she and Edward finish their vows. However, Jim manages to break into the mansion's conservatory with the help from Leota and rescue his kids before showing Elizabeth's real letter to Edward, revealing Ramsley's true role behind the curse. At first, Ramsley tries to deny this by calling Jim a lunatic, but Edward (after seeing the letter) refuses to accept this by demanding Ramsley to tell the truth.

Realizing that he is unable to cover his actions, Ramsley finally admits his role in ending the "unacceptable" union because of his racism. With this revelation revealed, Edward furiously berated Ramsley for his actions, but Ramsley didn't care by saying that he spent all of his life living up to the Gracey name and honor and that he will no longer bear of it due to Edward's genuine love for Elizabeth. As such, Ramsley angrily condemns everyone to be sent to Hell, but a fiery dragon emerges from the mansion's fireplace to grab Ramsley and drags him to Hell. In revenge being foiled, Ramsley grabs onto Jim, attempting to drag him down with him, but Edward saves Jim at the last moment, leaving a screaming Ramsley to fall down into Hell for damnation.

The curse is finally lifted upon Edward and Elizabeth's reunion allowing them and their fellow ghosts to ascend into Heaven and for Jim and his family to inherit the mansion.

Other Appearances

Not so Scary 1

"Ramsley" performer at Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party

Mickey's Not so Scary Halloween Party

During the Mickey's Not so Scary Halloween Party event at the Magic Kingdom, a cast-member is dressed up as a Butler who is referred to as Ramsley although he bears little-to-no resemblance in costume or makeup to the character.

Trivia

  • The makeup effects designed by Rick Baker for the character were intended to make Terence Stamp resemble early 20th century horror-movie actor Boris Karloff (1887-1969) who is famous for portraying characters like the Mummy and Frankenstein's Monster.
  • Stamp said of the film, "I was very disappointed that so much of the work I did on The Haunted Mansion didn't arrive in the final cut."
  • The fictional poison Iocane Powder which Ramsley used to kill Elizabeth was taken from the 1987 film The Princess Bride in which it was used to kill a character played by Wallace Shawn who plays the character of Ezra in the 2003 film.
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