Dread Family Mystery at the Haunted Mansion
Did you know that there is a mystery to solve on these five sculptures found near the entrance of the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom? Each of the busts features an epithet that tells how they died and a small item that could be taken for mere decoration but, when examined closely, prove clues that allow you to piece unravel a tale of murder and greed in the aptly named Dread family.
Spoiler alert: Stop reading right here if you want to figure out the riddle on your own! Those who don't want to try to solve it can look at the photos and information below for the answer to this mystery.
His epithet reads: “Greed was the poison he had swallowed. He went first, the others followed. His killer’s face he surely knew. Now try to discover who killed who.”
Bertie's plaque features a bottle with a skull and crossbones, so he probably killed Uncle Jacob. But what is written on Bertie's headstone? “Avid hunter and expert shot, in the end that’s what he got.”
Aunt Florence’s plaque shows a revolver so she probably shot Cousin Bertie. But what is written on her headstone? “Never did a dishonorable deed, yet found face down in canary seed.”
Wellington & Forsythia Dread - the Twins’ bust has a bird laying on its back so they probably killed Aunt Florence. But what is written on their headstone? “Departed life while in their beds, with identical bumps on their heads.”
Cousin Maude’s bust features a hammer so she probably did in the twins. She should've been the sole survivor and recipient of Uncle Jacob's fortune but it seems that she too came to an untimely demise. Cousin Maude's bust reads, “Our sleeping beauty, who never awoke the night her dreams went up in smoke.”
If you look around the area, there doesn't seem to be anything to tell us how she died and you might think that she died in her sleep except that the line "went up in smoke" seems to suggests the possibility a fire. There are no other busts remaining to indicate an arsonist in the family so what could've happened? Take a look at the back of Cousin Maude's sculpture and you'll find three matches tucked into the bun in her hair. I don't know why she put them there but it looks like they must've rubbed together as the old girl slept, resulting in the fire that took her life.
Here is a bit more Dread family Disney trivia for you: In 2010, when the Haunted Mansion's new interactive queue was in the testing phase, there were two other members of the Dread family: Whitfield Tarkington Dread and Ruben Dread. They were included in a large poster near the entrance. At that time, Cousin Maude was listed as "Governess Maude Sweeny" and Aunt Florence was listed as "Aunt Florence McGriffin Dread"
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