The Phantom's preferred form is an animated bone-white skeleton with gleaming red pupils, dressed in the impeccable dark purple suit, top hat and cape he already favoured in life. Arrogant and self-serving, the Phantom reigns over Phantom Manor with an iron fist, showing special control over his daughter Melanie.
Born in 1795, Henry Ravenswood struck it rich rich when they found gold on Big Thunder Mountain, a rocky formation overlooking the small Wild West town of Thunder Mesa. After making sure he owned the whole of the mountain, Henry had the devious idea of spreading rumors about the "new Thunder Mesa gold rush". Hundreds of prospectors threw everything away to move to Thunder Mesa, and, when faced with the dire reality that there was nothing left to claim, were only too happy to accept low-paying jobs in the Ravenswood mining company.
Fame and WealthEdit
As the money rolled in, Ravenswood ordered the construction of a fantasmagorical manor on Boot Hill, overlooking the town. He then invited his close friends and family to join him in Thunder Mesa, including his New-Yorker girlfriend, Martha Lench, whom he would later marry. The two had a daughter, Melanie Ravenswood, who grew up into a clever, resourceful and stunningly beautiful young woman. Unfortunately for the ever-controlling Henry, his grip on his daughter was broken by her six-months stay in Paris, and it was a more independant woman who returned.
Mental Breakdown and the CurseEdit
After Martha was left mute and depressed by an accident in the mines that also took the life of Henry's own brother Arthur, Ravenswood's psyche began to crumble even further. Fearing that his one-time empire would crumble before his very eyes, he resorted to the craziest and darkest of all methods he could possibly have chosen: magic. Inviting psychic Madame Leota to the Manor, he learnt a curse from her that would prevent anything and anyone from leaving Thunder Mesa without his spoken permission.
Death and Melanie's WeddingEdit
Melanie Ravenswood, meanwhile, had grown more and more rebellious, lashing out at her father against his unfair treatments of the mine workers — a cause she was all the more devoted to because she had taken one, Jonathan, as her fiancé. Enraged by his daughter's secret engagement, and to someone of such low social standing at that, Henry forbid the wedding. He didn't have time to enforce it however, as he died in an earthquake that sunk half of Thunder Mesa into the ground. However, his curse empowered his revengeful ghost who, realising that true love could break the curse and allow Melanie to escape, murdered her fiancé before the wedding could take place.
In the later years, Melanie was confined to the manor by her father's tormenting spirit. After the collapse of the Big Thunder Company caused by Henry's death and the reclusive Melanie's supposed insanity, Thunder Mesa, meanwhile, progressively became a ghost town as the last old inhabitants died. In the end, only ghosts remained, over whom the Phantom, as he was now called, began ruling like an emperor.
Many years later, the Disney Imagineers moved the whole deserted town of Thunder Mesa to Disneyland Paris to theme a part of the park with an American Old West ambience. Thanks to the curse, the manor could only be moved in its entirety -- all the mortals' best efforts could not chase the ghosts away. So they decided to adapt a Doombuggy system to "Phantom Manor" and make it into the park's haunted house ride, hoping for the best. Luckily, it did work out pretty well in the end; being an extremely vain man, Henry Ravenswood always enjoyed bragging about his wealth and possessions, which is exactly what these tours gave him an occasion of doing.
Contacts with the Haunted MansionEdit
Through the Disney Imagineers, the denizens of Phantom Manor came into contact with the Haunted Mansion. To his horror, the Phantom discovered that the magic of the Mansion was enough to trump his own curse, allowing Melanie to go visit the Mansion — though she still can't step outside its borders — and find much-needed respie through the friendship of other ghost brides, Emily chief among them. However, the Phantom now plans to exploit this unforeseen link in the Manor and Mansion's magics to take over the Mansion and, through it, all the haunted manors in the world. Even though he kept this villainous scheme a secret from the Ghost Host for a rather long time, this didn't stop the two from becoming instant enemies all the same, as the two silently admire the other's charisma while loathing his morals (or lack thereof).