High atop Boot Hill, overlooking Frontierland, a.k.a. Thunder Mesa, at #DLRP Disneyland Park, sits the menacing Phantom Manor. The tale is told that long ago a gold mining mogul named Henry Ravenswood tapped Big Thunder Mountain clean. This angered the spirit of the Mountain who, in turn, caused an earthquake that took the life of Henry and his wife Martha.
Prior to the Ravenswood deaths, their daughter Melanie had become engaged to a would-be train engineer who desired to take her far away from the town. This had greatly displeased Henry, and he became determined to stop the wedding at all costs.
Left to manage the mansion alone, Melanie proceeded with her wedding plans. However, on her wedding day, a mysterious Phantom appeared at the Manor, lured her groom to the attic, and hanged him by the neck from the rafters. Melanie waited hours in the ballroom for her Groom to appear. Once the guests departed, Melanie never left the home again.
Since that fateful day, Melanie has never removed her wedding gown nor put down her bouquet, ever awaiting her Groom’s return. In the still night air, her voice can be heard singing softly to her lost love, and sometimes late at night, some see mysterious lights and shadowy movements. The Phantom—whom locals speculate is Melanie’s own father—lingers still and has invited 998 other happy haunts to join him in celebrating the averted nuptials.
Do you dare to board a doom buggy for a tour of Ravenswood Manor?
Frontierland—or Thunder Mesa—at Disneyland Paris is reminiscent of the 1800s American western frontier, where land was wide and wild and populations were few and far between. It was full of not only natural hazards like desert terrain and deadly snakes, but it was also full of ruthless ruffians with pistols poised.
Today, locate a copy of Tombstone (1993) and view it with your children. (Parental guidance is, of course, suggested as this film is rated R for violence.) Now, this movie is fictional, but it gives a very good impression of what the famed Battle of the OK Corral and its surrounding circumstances may have been like. Follow up with library and/or internet research about the time period. Discuss why the cemetery is referred to as “Boot Hill.” And wrap things up by creating an “Old West” diorama in a shoebox.
SCHOOL SUBJECT: History
SKILL LEVEL: Middle Grades
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