The Phantom fills the role of the Ghost Host in the attraction, his voice guiding guests through most of the early parts of their tour. Though originally played in English by Vincent Price, only his manic laugh is still heard in the attraction. The narration in the foyer and stretching room was provided by another actor, in French, although sounding as close to Price as possible.
According to the legend of Ravenswood Manor, the Phantom first appeared just after the fateful 1860 earthquake that devastated Thunder Mesa, on the day of Melanie's wedding. He murdered the unfortunate groom by hanging him from the rafters in the attic, and his dark presence remained in the house to keep Melanie there.
Some speculate that the Phantom is in fact the ghost of Melanie's father, Henry Ravenswood, who returned to make sure his daughter would never leave Thunder Mesa (which was the original intent of the Imagineers, though it was eventually left ambiguous in the finished attraction); similarly, other stories say the Phantom is somehow the result of a curse on Big Thunder Mountain. Regardless, the Phantom is a terrifying and malignant force, and seems to command many other ghouls and goblins that haunt the grounds.
During the attraction, guests encounter the Phantom many times. His disembodied voice greets the guests as they enter the foyer and delivers a speech about the manor, insisting that "beauty once lived in this house… and beauty lives here still", and prompting the mortals to take a tour of the Manor to see by themselves this alleged beauty. Unlike the Ghost Host, whose role the Phantom's voice fills in both the Foyer and the Stretching Room, the Phantom is not heard again during the rest of the tour, as he has left the guests on their own, attending to other ghostly matters throughout the manor instead.
He is first seen in the Stretching Room, where the murder of the groom by his hand is revealed as he holds the rope from which the corpse hangs. He also watches over the ghostly reenactment of Melanie's interrupted wedding, laughing. However, the Phantom's major entrance comes as riders enter the small graveyard behind the house. He stands with a shovel in hand and cackles at guests before their doom buggies tip backward into an open grave and descend into the catacombs.
The Phantom makes an appearance near the end of Phantom Canyon, appearing as more of a decaying corpse with tattered clothes. He continues to laugh manically as he gestures to an open coffin (which might be his own, from which he just escaped, or an invitation for the guests to accept their demise and die). Escaping this, guests encounter the Phantom one last time in the crypt: similar in effect to the Hitchhiking Ghosts, the Phantom appears reflected in the mirrors the guests pass, looming over the top of the doom buggy.
Outside of the manor, sharp-eyed onlookers may spot the Phantom lurking behind one of the windows of the house.
- He serves as Phantom Manor's counterpart to the Ghost Host, the Hitchhiking Ghosts the Caretaker and Master Gracey
- The only piece of audio recorded by Vincent Price which remains in the attraction is his evil laugh
- In the S.E.A. storyline often associated with Mystic Manor, the owner of the Big Thunder Mining Company is a man named Barnabas T. Bullion rather than Henry Ravenswood