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The Thunder Mesa Daily Messenger is the local newspaper of the town of Thunder Mesa. Several commemorative issues were given away as handouts to park guests visiting Frontierland in Disneyland Paris during the ongoing refurbishments for the park's 25th anniversary, each of which respectively celebrated the reopening of the Rivers of the Far West, Big Thunder Mountain, and Phantom Manor.

Transcript of the Phantom Manor Commemorative Edition

PHANTOM MANOR UNVEILED!

The citizens of Thunder Mesa gather to celebrate the reopening of all passages to the old Ravenswood Estate and the end of the official investigation.

On January 7 of last year, the mansion of the Ravenswood family, now known to all as "Phantom Manor," was sealed shut by sheriff Will Ketchum on a verdict by the Thunder Mesa town council, following numerous - if unsubstantiated - accounts of "strange sightings" and "mysterious occurrences."

In local lore, the mansion had long been accused of harboring spirits and ghosts, one subject claiming to have seen evidence of no less than 999 such apparitions!

Still others warned of an ancient curse, provoked by the disturbing the depths of Big Thunder Mountain and extracting its riches.

The chilling stories told were as numerous as they were divergent, no doubt inspired by the veritable tragic events in the building's past.

Yet even the official enquiry that followed encountered some degree of misfortune (see our special report regarding the Manor's enigmatic history and the troubled investigation thereof).

Its conclusion, the investigation nevertheless satisfied our elected officials sufficiently to announce that they would soon lift all restrictions, causing substantial celebration from the assembled citizenry.

The mayor of Thunder Mesa, Artemus L. Hector, spontaneously decreed a holiday to mark the occasion, much as he had following the recent drought which halted all river traffic and caused perilous rockslides on Big Thunder Island (see the previous special commemorative edition of the Thunder Mesa Daily Messenger).

As the closure of the investigation renewed considerable interest in the enigmatic estate throughout and beyond the Western territories, countless visitors are expected to arrive in town to attend the ceremony on this day.

Dare we hope that some will feel enticed to attempt themselves to solve the mysteries of Phantom Manor?

ENQUIRY INTO RAVENSWOOD MYSTERY NOW TERMINATED

Following a thorough investigation, the estate will no longer remain barricaded shut. But have its terrible secrets truly been uncovered?

The old Ravenswood Manor has long been shrouded in mystery.

Henry Ravenswood, one of our town's esteemed founding fathers and the erstwhile owner of the Big Thunder Mining Co., had his stately mansion built with bright red gables and a white clapboard facade amidst ornate gardens overlooking the river and Big Thunder Mountain, taking residence with his wife, his daughter and their household staff.

In those early years the Manor was truly the crown jewel of our burgeoning town. Travelers would arrive from afar to marvel at its beauty.

Alas, those glory days were not to last.

The denizens of Thunder Mesa first became concerned when young Miss Melanie Ravenswood's four subsequent suitors each passed away under curious circumstances.

Messrs. Barry Claude, Ignatius "Iggy" Knight, Sawyer Bottom and Captain Rowan D. Falls were noted local personalities, upstanding and respected in their profession, and although their deaths were ruled accidental, citizens did not overlook their close connection the Ravenswood household and were quick to suspect foul play.

Further rumors emerged some time after Henry and Martha Ravenswood's demise. Miss Melanie all but disappeared from public life and the domain soon began to fall into alarming disrepair.

Locals and visitors alike began to complain of strange occurrences at the estate which would not become known only as "Phantom Manor".

A cold wind always appeared to be blowing through the overgrown gardens. Voices or faint music could be heard at times when there was no living soul to be seen. Some insist that a mysterious silhouette in a top hat and overcoat could sometimes be perceived lurking in the shadows of the abode.

Eventually, after years of urging, the town council of Thunder Mesa decided to seal off all pathways leading the manor and to begin an investigation into the countless grave incidents reported in its vicinity.

The activity did little to diminish public interest. Local photographer James Collins used the opportunity to offer passing visitors their own "Spirit Photography" portraits outside the manor gates, claiming that his "spectral camera" would immortalize any passing ghosts invisible to the human eye.

Although the veracity of these depictions remains highly disputed, a few locals have sworn to have identified the very same dark specter previously seen wandering the manor grounds at night.

In the meantime, the official investigation did not proceed quite as planned. Delays were manifold. A first group of investigators hired by the town council was last seen departing town in a great hurry late one night, frightened half-mad. During the following attempt, a party of intrepid explorers and adventurers simply disappeared and was never heard from again.

The third and final group, comprised of noted scholars from various institutes in the Eastern states, concluded in writing that any and all supernatural sightings must have been mere hallucinations and illusions with no basis in fact.

Faced with this outcome, sheriff Will Ketchum saw no choice but to reopen access to the manor, stating:

"For the life of me I didn't understand half the words them learned folk wrote but it sure looks like they figured out what's goin' on without so much as settin' foot here!"

He nevertheless declined all responsibility for the safety of anyone venturing too close to the dilapidated edifice.

In conclusion, what is the secret of Phantom Manor?

Is Melanie Ravenswood still wandering the hallways of the old mansion in her bridal gown as some have claimed? What dark fate truly befell her suitors? Who is the mysterious "Phantom" whose laughter echoes across the manor grounds at night? And whatever happened to the Ravenswood family's domestic staff?

We may never know the answers until some brave and intrepid soul date once again to step into the decrepit abode... and return to tell the tale.

Trivia

  • The "Phantom Manor Unveiled" copy of the Thunder Mesa Daily Messenger contains an allusion to the Haunted Mansion. At the bottom-left of the first page there's an advertisement for "Davis Coats of New Orleans, est'd 1869. The finest overcoats, cloaks and capes for all happy and somber occasions". The name Davis is in reference to Marc Davis and the company's selling coats is in reference to Claude Coats. The year 1869 is in reference to the Mansion's opening date of 1969 and them being of New Orleans is in reference to the original Haunted Mansion being located in New Orleans Square.
  • The "Rivers Run Again" copy of the Thunder Mesa Daily Messenger contains an advertisement for the services of Madame Leota.
  • In the "Enquiry into Ravenswood Mystery now Terminated" article, the second group to search the mansion is mentioned to be a party of "explorers and adventurers", a possible allusion to Disney's Society of Explorers and Adventurers.
    • This connection is made even more plausible due to the speculation of Captain Rowan D. Falls being related to S.E.A. member Albert Falls.
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