A Tale, Dark and Grim
Once upon a time a man named Henry Ravenswood was born in 1795. He grew up to become a very successful western settler who struck gold in Big Thunder Mountain and founded the Thunder Mesa Mining Company, thus creating the city of Thunder Mesa. Ravenswood became rich and built himself a Victorian manor high on Boot Hill overlooking Big Thunder Mountain, where he raised a family and had a daughter, Melanie Ravenswood born in 1842.
Big Thunder mountain was rumored by natives to be home to the Thunder Bird, a powerful spirit possessing a treasure. According to the legend, its wrath could be materialized into a terrible earthquake. However, Ravenswood would not believe such stories. Time went by, and the gold in Big Thunder Mountain ran out, making miners dig deeper into the Mountain.
Melanie grew from a young girl into a beautiful young woman, and became engaged to a train engineer who planned to take her far away from Thunder Mesa, much to the dismay of Henry. Henry did everything he could to stop the wedding, but his useless attempts were put to a stop when a terrible earthquake killed him and his wife Martha. It seemed the Thunder Bird had been awakened, and the family was never heard of again. After several years, the story of what really happened came out from underneath the rubble:
On Melanie’s wedding day, a mysterious man, unknown to anyone, appeared at the manor. While Melanie was preparing in her room, the man lured her suitor up to the attic where he hanged him by the neck from the rafters.
In the ballroom, the bride sat alone. Hours went by with no sign of the groom. Guests slowly filed away, leaving Melanie alone in the house with the staff of maids and butlers. “Some day”, she told herself, “he will come”. And so, having never taken off her wedding dress or dropped her bouquet, in preparation for her loved one’s return, she wandered the house aimlessly, singing melancholy songs of lost love.
The man was still in the house, the Phantom of the decrepit old manor, laughing at her human devotion to her intended husband. Many believe the Phantom to be Melanie’s father, Henry Ravenswood, seeking vengeance from beyond the grave. Others believe that it is the pure spirit of evil, sent to haunt the poor girl for no apparent reason. One after one, he invited his dead, demonic friends from the afterlife to fill the house in an eternal party.
Inside and outside, the house was decaying. Dusty cobwebs covered every inch, the disheartened staff not caring, for it was rumored that Melanie had lost her mind. She wandered the house for years and years, singing softly to her groom, while all around her demons and ghosts reveled and danced. Everywhere she went she was reminded of the wedding. The Phantom’s eternal laughter still carried through the walls of the house. Outside, the once beautiful grounds were falling apart and crumbling. The gilded staircase and structure were dotted with mold and trees and every plant on the grounds died. As if sensing the evil inherent in the house, nothing living ever trod there. Melanie even so kept her hopes, waiting for her love’s return, and never figured why he had left, never knowing he had been murdered.
The earthquake that killed her parents cut a huge gouge in the west half of the property and in the crumbling ghost town of the old Thunder Mesa. The deserted buildings were rumored to be called Phantom Canyon, the dark supernatural version of the town, and anyone who entered the ghastly old town at night never came back.
Today, no one knows if Melanie Ravenswood is still alive in that old house on the hill. If she is, then she is well over 100 years old. Her beautiful voice still carries over the town at night though, through the walls and night air. And sometimes, people still see lights in the house.
Some nights, when the moon is full and the sky is clear of clouds, you can still hear the lonely mourning of the bride, the maniacal laughter of the Phantom, and the faint tinkle of glass and laughter of party guests. Whether she is alive or not, what is well known is that poor Melanie never really left the crumbling mansion. She waits for her groom until Judgment Day……