A family-friendly haunted house became home to real-life horrors when employees discovered a dead body inside.
Phantom Manor, a popular ride at Disneyland Paris was shuttered this weekend, after workers found a ride technician dead inside the attraction on Saturday morning. The worker is believed to have died by accidental electrocution while working on the ride before the park opened for the day. The ride’s unfortunate plotline centers on a fictional woman who died inside the house after being visited by a mysterious phantom.
Haunted houses are a big business for Disney. Disneyland Paris’s Phantom Manor is the franchise’s fifth haunted house, a spinoff of Disneyland California’s Haunted Mansion, which was also developed into a 2003 Eddie Murphy movie with a 13 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Disney markets the rides as family-friendly kitsch, with cartoon ghosts and cobweb-draped candelabras, appropriate for all ages and heights. It goes without saying that no one is supposed to fear for their life.
But the unnamed worker, a 45-year-old father who had worked at the park 14 years, was not so fortunate. His colleagues found him dead of apparent electrocution after he entered the ride to fix a faulty lighting fixture around 8:30 on Saturday morning, French newspaper Le Parisien reports.
“We are truly saddened to learn of the passing of one of our Cast Members, and our hearts go out to his family and friends during this very difficult time,” Disneyland Paris said in a statement.
The Phantom Manor death is not Disneyland Paris’s first safety incident in recent years. In 2013, a five-year-old fell from a boat on the park’s Pirates of the Caribbean ride. The boy became trapped between the moving boats and the ride platform, suffering life-threatening injuries which he ultimately survived.
In 2011, the park’s Big Thunder Mountain Railroad saw two major accidents: first when set pieces collapsed on five riders, and later when two of the roller coaster’s cars derailed with passengers inside.
But park employees, who work behind the scenes and after hours, are more likely than visitors to suffer serious injuries. Disneyland Paris’s only other recent death from equipment failure was that of a subcontractor hired to clean the It’s A Small World ride in 2010. The ride machinery was accidentally switched on while the 53-year-old man was working, trapping him under a boat.
The Phantom Manor will be closed until at least Wednesday while police investigate the technician’s death and park employees inspect the ride for additional safety concerns.