The ghost in the hat.
Long-Forgotten is a blog by a lover of Disney’s Haunted Mansion attraction. In one post, he talks about the connections between The Haunted Mansion and magic, especially the contributions by Disney employees Rolly Crump and Yale Gracey, who were both magicians. He connects the attraction to early magicians and Spiritualist performers like the Davenport Brothers.
His point is that the Haunted Mansion is "something unique and special" due to this connection, and that even though many Walt Disney attractions have clever deceptions, this one is unique for a reason – the magic is the whole point of the ride:
"…it is stagecraft we are talking about in many cases. The difference is that here, in the Mansion, that stagecraft has become the very substance of the presentation. It’s not something employed as background to the "real" show, it IS the show."
He also makes two great points about these illusions: their secrets are simple, and even when we discover the secrets, they’re still deceptive:
"Magic tricks are fun to watch, even when you know how they’re done. They wear well that way. When you don’t know how the Leota effect (the fortune teller in the globe) is done, or Pepper’s Ghost, (the ghosts in the ballroom) you tend to overshoot the mark in your attempts to figure it out. That’s where all those silly mutterings about "holograms" come in. Like I said earlier, it’s typical of magic tricks that they’re usually simpler than you think, not more complex. But after you know how the ghosts are produced, you are still amazed at how convincing the illusions are. We need little coaxing to voluntarily forget what we know for a few moments and believe our lying eyes instead. It all makes for a very durable entertainment experience."
The Haunted Mansion: It’s Magic! Long-Forgotten Haunted Mansion Blog>>