A/N: Disney owns The Haunted Mansion and The Beatles own the original song. The Beatles song that is spoofed here is "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," one of my favorite songs.
This one's a little weird. The title is a reference to a special effect used in The Haunted Mansion, rather than the characters or ride mythology. I don't want to ruin the magic for anyone who doesn't know what goes on behind the scenes, so I'm not going to explain it here in my notes. Check out the Doombuggies website if you're curious. Or buy Jason Surrell's book, The Haunted Mansion: From the Magic Kingdom to the Movies.
The name I use for the organist is Mr. Xavier Baker to homage two of the incredible Imagineers who helped bring this fantastic ride to "life": Xavier Atencio and Buddy Baker, who wrote "Grim, Grinning Ghosts."
Happy Halloween everybody!
Across the Mansion: Prof. Pepper's Eerie Haunts Ghost Ball
Unlike the other rooms in the foreboding mansion, this ballroom was full of joviality. Gone now were the loud, slamming doorknockers; capsized, twisting stairways; and corridors that stretched into a misty eternity. Here, the ghosts had decided to fully show themselves. Tired of putting mortals' nerves on edge, they wanted to play.
No less than a dozen ghosts chatted happily at a long, dust coated dining table. A plump redhead tried to blow out candles on a Death Day cake, exerting herself to the point of vanishing with each puckered puff. Plates, cracked and broken, sat empty in front of the spirits. The haunts didn't seem to mind, though. There was plenty of wine to go around to make up for it. One inebriated spook had passed out under the table, leaving nothing but his feet sticking out. Someone gabbed quite happily with a bust above the roaring fireplace. A crashed hearse spilled out a queue of gliding guests right into the room.
Not even the cobwebbed chandelier was safe. A swaying couple waved full glasses from side to side, locked arm in arm and trying to move with the erratic notes wailing out of an organ. Teetering right on the edge of the grand chandelier, a plump poltergeist named Pickwick held on by the hook of his cane, giggling giddily as he made spiders fall on the table below.
The organist, always so stern and serious about his craft, did not approve of the silly shenanigans. As long as they let him play in peace, he pretended not to notice the tomfoolery. Wraiths sailed out of the pipes as he pressed down on the keys, vanishing moments after they appeared.
The most enchanting sight to behold, though, was the dancers. There were six of them, twirling, spinning, forever waltzing to the music. Their ethereal forms wavered in and out of existence like shadows dancing before a flickering fire. Nothing fazed them as they spun through furniture and each other.
On a tour, no one was allowed to merely skip past this special chamber. No, it had to be admired, gazed down upon with awe for the beauty of it. Even the Ghost Host was unable to keep his attention on his spiel as he strode past with guests…
It seems our happy haunts are materializing and gathering for a swinging wake. Of course, they'll be expecting me, being the afterlife of the party that I am. The Ghost Host gave a smug chuckle at this. I'm sure you all can get along fine without me for a while…
Taking a break from her candles, the red head rolled her eyes. She crossed her chubby arms over her plump chest and huffed, making a stray tendril from her bun air born. "Some host you are, leaving your poor guests to wander aimlessly!" She waggled a finger in the air and clicked her tongue. "For shame!"
From somewhere near the punch bowl, his voice snapped back, Can't I go anywhere without being interrupted? Honestly!
"You're right, dearie." Her eyes twinkled and she offered him a motherly smile. "Take a little break. It's a party after all! Why don't you rest and we'll give everyone the down low on this shindig?" Around her, the others grinned, nodded, and gave mumbles of agreement.
Down…low? He brushed this aside. Heh, I think I know more about this old mansion than any specter here, if I do say so myself, he sniffed proudly. For instance, I know of the very man who brought this whole gala together—
"Oh, I've no doubt about that!" she quickly conceded. "However, I don't think you knew dear Professor Pepper as intimately as we did. Why without him, there would be no ball!"
The spooks sitting on either side of her cheered, "Quite right!"
As enthusiastically as he could, the man on the floor lazily waved a foot in the air with a slurred, "Hersh-sheer!"
"We'll handle this part, darling." Waving her little hands she shooed the invisible host towards the dance floor.
Reluctantly, he mumbled, I suppose no harm could come from it. And my voice does need a break… All right. Just this once, though! And don't get carried away. I still have a tour to continue. A glass of spiked punch floated up to his unseen lips.
"Carried away? Dear, we never get carried away!" With an air of grace, she glided over to the table and daintily took a seat. Then she cleared her throat and bellowed, "HIT IT, XAVIER!
It was forty years ago by chance,
Professor Pepper taught the ghouls to dance.
They're from every era, in every style,
And they've been grooving now for quite a while.
So let me introduce to you,
The wake that can't get no waker:
Professor Pepper's Eerie Haunts Ghost Ball!"
Rather robotically and with little emotion, the dancers stepped forward. Then plodding back into their waltz, they intoned,
"It's Professor Pepper's eerie haunts ghost ball,
We hope you join in the dance.
Professor Pepper's eerie haunts ghost ball,
We have see-through dresses and pants!
Professor Pepper's eerie,
Professor Pepper's eerie,
Professor Pepper's eerie haunts ghost ball!
It's frightful in our manse here.
We love to give a thrill.
Look, Pickwick's on the chandelier,
He's drunk right off his ass again; he's drunk right off his ass!"
"Great job, dears!" the redhead clapped.
"I don't want to stop the swinging wake,
But I thought y'all might like to take,
A listen to our organist's dirge.
He'll hopefully get some notes to purge.
Always ready to perform:
The talented Mr. Baker!
Of Prof. Pepper's eerie haunts club ball!"
The organist played faster and louder, sending the dancers into a flurry of whirling skirts and flying hair. Taking a breather from her performance, the redhead graciously accepted applause and whistles. Pickwick threw some wilted roses and tipped his top hat.
"See, dearie, your job isn't so hard. Who knows? Maybe I could take over as Ghost Host someday!" She clasped her hands together.
The Ghost Host chuckled sweet naturedly. Then quickly added in a hiss, Not on your afterlife.He took another swig of punch. Now that I've had my spiritual repose, I can continue. I would hope for no further interruptions, but in this place that's like asking a zombie not to rot.
"Yes, dear, toddle off!" she ushered him out. Turning back to the others, she winked. "He's just grumpy because he's boring. Can't just have the same old thing over and over, you know."
I heard that!
But by now the ghosts were back to dancing and chatting, as if nothing interesting had happened.