Is the ‘Haunted Mansion’ ghost candle a penis?

One of the 999 happy haunts in Disney’s new movie sure looks like a ghostly phallus to us.

Haunted Mansion | Official Teaser Trailer

What do you do when, while peacefully nestled on your couch at 10:30 p.m. watching Sweet Magnolias with a cup of sleepy time tea, your editor texts you to inquire if you’re planning to write a story about the Haunted Mansion ghost penis candle?

The thought surely never crossed our mind, and it comes as a shock scarier than all the delightful crypt doors creaking and tombstones quaking in director Justin Simien‘s big-budget adaptation of the iconic Disney parks attraction. But, covering RuPaul’s Drag Race for the last seven years has rotted our brain into buying into any visual gag, so we rewatch the film’s trailer — and to our disbelief, there is lead actor LaKeith Stanfield holding what does look to be a haunted phallus within the walls of an estate inspired by the last park structure that Walt Disney himself worked on before his death.

Haunted Mansion

LaKeith Stanfield and a ghost candle in ‘Haunted Mansion’

| Credit: Disney

The moment, which you can’t unsee once you see it, appears halfway through the film, when Stanfield’s Ben — a paranormal guide tasked with helping a single mother rid her home of grim, grinning ghosts — encounters Jared Leto‘s menacing Hatbox Ghost (a popular character lifted from the Disneyland ride). The girthy candle in Ben’s hand suddenly becomes possessed, sprouting a little mouth, two adorable frightened eyes, and wax-melt texture dribbling down the side that resembles something altogether unholy — all nestled under a mushroom cap more prominent than the ball of fire from the Manhattan Project sequence in Oppenheimer that all the souls inside these walls can clock. Then, the candle tries to blow itself out as Ben watches in amazement. 

Is there actually a phantom dick haunting the halls of Gracey Manor? Who’s to say? But, the film begs us to suspend disbelief in other ways, so let’s indulge the idea for a moment. Considering this isn’t the form most candles take when melting — not to mention, fans have been quick to point out NSFW imagery in past Disney movies — we have no choice but to declare the ghost penis as Haunted Mansion canon. But, just whose ghostly member is this that penetrated the human realm? And, more importantly, since he has a little ghost face, does this spiritual gift from the penile dimension also have a little ghost penis candle penis of his own? 

Anatomical accuracy is not something on Haunted Mansion‘s side, given that (spoiler) the Hatbox Ghost’s earthly fate is revealed to have been a decapitation (so that’s now two ghosts who lost a head). Which also begs the question: Why does the Hatbox Ghost still have an intact skull on his shoulders in the afterlife if his was chopped off and lost? If the film is bold enough to include a flaming dick, it’s bold enough to fudge the physics of purgatory.

Haunted Mansion

LaKeith Stanfield as Ben in ‘Haunted Mansion.’

| Credit: Disney

Now, we must also grapple with the thoughts that arise when coming to terms with the fact that Tiffany Haddish is also in this film. Yes, Girls Trip star, Groupon queen, and, most notably, grapefruiting goddess Tiffany Haddish. Haunted Mansion is a PG-13 film (a rarity for a Disney project) sending us messages “from somewhere beyond,” as Madame Leota says. Maybe that place is one of the most memorable scenes in Haddish’s filmography, in which she displayed all kinds of improvisational possibilities involving citrus and a banana. And let’s not forget, Girls Trip and Haunted Mansion are both part of the NOCU — the New Orleans Cinematic Universe.

Here, she plays a psychic with the ability to communicate with the dead, through seances and astral projection. In fact, it’s in a period of astral projection that Ben encounters the candle in question — after earlier discovering the entrance to the secret seance room in two glory hole-like openings in a portrait. So, does Harriet — who provides much of the film’s comic relief — know about the ghost penis candle? Has she communicated with it before? Did she drop it in there like a phallic little Easter egg for Ben to encounter as he grieves the loss of his wife? Basically, we can only imagine that Harriet could have all kinds of fun being possessed by our little waxy friend.

The unhinged path this sent us down (alternative title: Ghost Orgy House, because we now presume there’s definitely ghost sex happening in that ballroom party scene) is not one we’d recommend engaging with on a work night, but perhaps it’s a testament to the film’s atmospheric power. Even if Haunted Mansion isn’t particularly scary, you can rest assured that one thing will haunt — and perhaps titillate — you thinking about the stretching room for years to come: our friendly ghost penis candle!

Related content:

Haunted Mansion | Official Teaser Trailer

Haunted Mansion (2023 movie)

A single mother and her son move into an abandoned New Orleans mansion only to discover that it’s inhabited by hordes of happy haunts in this film inspired by the popular Disney attractions.

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