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Spooky Tenants

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Spooky Tenants is a short story that was featured in the October 1969 edition of Walt Disney Comics Digest, published shortly after the Haunted Mansion attraction opened at Disneyland.

The storyEdit

"Good night, Goofy! What's the matter with you? You look beat!" Mickey Mouse put down his paint brush and stared at his friend.

"I am beat!" Goofy sighed and sat down on Mickey's front steps.

"Goofy! I just painted those steps!" protested Mickey.

"Sorry, Mick, but I'm too tired to move. I haven't had a night's sleep in two weeks. All night long this guy rides his bicycle right through my room."

"A guy rides his bicycle through your room?" said Mickey.

"Yes. And there's another guy that sits on the stairs and shuffles a pack of cards and laughs."

Sometimes, when talking to Goofy, Mickey felt he had come in the middle of the late-late show. This was one of those times. Mickey took a deep breath and began wiping off his hands.

"Let's begin at the beginning," he said gently. "Where did the guy with the bicycle come from, and when?"

"I don't know where he came from," Goofy confessed. "He's been around for a couple of weeks. The one with the cards came about the same time and so did the lady who walks up and down in the dining room." He paused. "You can see right through the lady," he said.

"See through her?" echoed Mickey. "Goofy, you don't mean..?"

"I think so, Mick," said Goofy. "I think they're ghosts. I can see through the lady. The guy with the bike rides through the walls. And they're never around in the daytime — just at night.

"I don't really mind them," Goofy went on. "They don't hurt anything and they sure don't eat anything. But they're so darned noisy. Can I stay at your house tonight and catch up on my sleep?"

Mickey nodded wordlessly.

"Thanks," said Goofy. "I'll start early with an afternoon nap."

Goofy disappeared into the house. Mickey sat and thought for a bit, then went in, changed his clothes, and hurried off to the library, where he looked through the newspapers for the last three weeks. After that, Mickey consulted a book called "Famous Ghosts I Have Known." Then he hurried home, arriving just as Goofy was getting up from his nap.

"Feel better?" asked Mickey.

"Yep. I sure was tired," said Goofy. "Should we have supper early? I'm all rested up so I can get a good night's sleep."

"The good night's sleep can wait," said Mickey. "What time do your spooky friends appear at your house?"

"As soon as it gets dark. Why?"

Mickey grinned. "I'm pretty sure I know who they are, and I've got a plan to get rid of them."

"Who are they?" asked Goofy.

"Remember the old Harker house?" Mickey asked his friend. "It was torn down a little over two weeks ago; there was a story about it in the paper. Everyone always said it was haunted. Well, I looked it up in the library. I think the ghost with the bicycle must be old Jonathan Harker. He got so excited during a cross-country bicycle race back in 1887 that he rode off Wandsworth Cliff into the ocean and was never seen again. His ghost has been riding that bike through the Harker house ever since.

"The ghost with the cards would be Jonathan's nephew, Ebeneezer. He liked to play cards. His wife liked to go to parties, so she used to steal one or two cards out of every deck he bought. He never had a full deck. It bothered him so much that he had a fit of apoplexy and died. Mrs. Ebeneezer was very upset. She's the one who walks in your dining room. By the way, old Ebeneezer isn't shuffling the cards. He's counting them to see if they're all there.

"When they tore down the old Harker house," Mickey went on, "the ghosts lost their home. I suppose they wandered around for a night or two and then found your place, which is...er, well..."

"I know," said Goofy with a good nature. "It's kind of rundown and spooky looking."

"Yes," Mickey agreed. "So the Harker ghosts moved in and began doing their thing all over again."

Goofy sighed. "If only they weren't so noisy about it."

"We'll get them out," Mickey declared. "Leave it to me."

So, as soon as it was dark, Mickey and Goofy drove to Goofy's ramshackle house out on the edge of town. The sound of laughter floated out to greet them as they parked in front.

"That's the one with the cards," said Goofy.
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They went up the walk and in through the front door. In the shadowy living room a thin person swooped past, pedaling furiously at an old-fashioned bicycle.

"He shakes me up," Goofy admitted.

Mickey stepped boldly into the middle of the room. "I know your spooky friends had to go somewhere when the Harker house was pulled down," he said loudly, "but why here?"

Old Jonathan Harker stopped his bicycle in the middle of his second lap through the room.

"I'm sorry, Goofy," said Mickey, "but this is an awfully ordinary house. Your ghosts could be at a really great haunted house!"

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The dining room door opened and a hatchet-faced lady in an old-fashioned dress looked out at Mickey.

"Besides," Mickey went on, "someone may come along one day and pull down this house, and what then? Your friends will have to find a new place and start all over. The house I'm thinking of will be perfect for the Harkers. It was built for ghosts."

The laughter on the stairs stopped and the ghost of Ebeneezer Harker appeared on the landing, his head tilted alertly.

Mickey pretended not to see Ebeneezer. He went on, "In the house I'm thinking of, the ghosts have a party every day. There are haunts in the cellar and spooks in the attic and a private graveyard filled with the spirits of kings and queens, bandits and misers. There are phantom brides and forsaken bridegrooms and headless horsemen and banshees and warlocks and things that go bump in the night. There are cobwebs and mold and dust. It's a fun place for spooks. Boy, if I were a ghost, I wouldn't fool around here. I'd make tracks for that haunted house."

The three ghosts looked at one another. Then Jonathan looked at Mickey and, since he was the oldest ghost by a good twenty years, he took the lead.

"And where might this place be?" asked old Jonathan.

So Mickey told him. What's more Mickey offered to drive them there. And, after a bit of an argument, Jonathan and Ebeneezer and Mrs. Ebeneezer decided to accept the offer. And off they all went, with the ghosts in the back of the car and Goofy up front with Mickey and Jonathan's bicycle strapped on behind. And before long they came to Disneyland. And when they saw the house Mickey had picked out for them, they were the happiest trio in the spirit world.

Ebeneezer Harker quickly organized a card game with the ghosts of two old buccaneers who were loitering in the drawing room.

Mrs. Ebeneezer joined the ghosts who were having a birthday party in the great dining hall of the house.

Old Jonathan trundled his bicycle to the back of the house and joined two other phantom cyclists who were riding there.

Chuckling, Mickey and Goofy turned away.
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"I never thought I'd get rid of a bunch of ghosts by sending them to Disneyland," laughed Goofy.

"With the Haunted Mansion open, where else would you send a homeless spook?" said Mickey Mouse.

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