A tall, ghoulish man with pale blue skin and long fair hair, the Ghost Host, also known as the Hatchet Man, is the self-described "head man of the Haunted Mansion's skeleton crew"; the owner and master of the premises both in life and in death, he has a literally undying love for the macabre, and for puns. He is, on the whole, a fair leader, and a spirited guide for the mortals who visit the Mansion; however, he has a rather large ego, a surprising pranking streak, and an everlasting animosity against the Hatbox Ghost.
The eldest son of the wealthy George and Abigail Gracey, Vincent Beauregard Gracey inherited most of the family fortune (though his brother Dorian also got a sizable amount) and became the Lord and Master of Gracey Manor. George Gracey had been rich, but that was nothing compared the amounts Vincent soon wielded thanks to his acute intelligence. With this money came influence, an easy life, and a flock of more or less distant relatives who insisted that he welcome them within the Manor's walls — and support them.
Studying the Occult
Though he never closed the door to his growing family, with whom he behaved like a clan leader, Gracey loved nothing more than being alone and pursuing his study of the occult. Business was a useful passtime, but his real passion was necromancy and psychism, the study of ghosts and the undead. He talked about this unusually lightheartedly and often made macabre puns that made everyone but him shiver. Though he never formally trained as a psychic, Gracey was said to have the gift to naturally perceive spirits without even needing any meditation. Nonetheless, he eventually invited a renouned medium to his house, the infamous Madame Leota. Rumor has it that Leota fell madly in love with Vincent, who only lukewarmly replied to this affection, though Leota had a daughter who, few would deny it, looks very much like Vincent.
The Hatchet Man
His undeniable awareness of the afterlife led him to poorly value human life, and he often carried a menacing hatchet in the evening when strolling through New Orleans. Anybody from pestering drunkards to annoying business rivals of Gracey fell headless under the blows of the mysterious Hatchet Man, an uncatchable murderer that drove the New Orleans police mad. Of course, Inspector Grayson never suspected his good friend Gracey, with whom he had dinner every wednesday.
The future Ghost Host's interest for the unusual also led him to purchase various exotic and dangerous pets. Among them were Attila, a terrifying man-eating bat, Octavius, a similarly voracious octopus, and, on a less dangerous but still impressive note, Penny, an elephant.
Emily and Horatio
Vincent Gracey had the peculiarity of rarely wearing a hat, which was unusual in the higher classes of society in the 19th century. This would have been inconsequential, if not for the fact that this paradoxically forced him to make frequent visits to Horatio Thomas Topper, the local haberdasher, to replace his hats, which he kept misplacing due to how little he cared for them. Gracey and Topper did not get along, and it was a nasty surprise for him when his young niece and ward Emily (whom he'd taken in after the early death of his brother Claude) announced her engagement to Topper.
Meeting Emily De Claire
Gracey spent a signficant part of his free time strolling along the windy lanes of the nearby cemetary, occasionally chatting with a ghost or two, but usually simply enjoying the quiet and the gloomy atmosphere. On one of these "jaunty walks", he met the love of his life, Emily De Claire, a young, innocent and playful woman who awakened feelings of innocent love that the roughened Gracey had never known. It was an odd but blissful romance that unfolded between them, until Madame Leota, in her jealousy, murdered Emily just before the two's wedding.
Vincent Beauregard Gracey had owned, for years, a noose that he meant to use to hang himself if he ever had cause to. With his beloved gone and most of his family dead, Gracey decided he had little left to live for and used the noose, hanging himself from the rafters of the cuppola. This was a wise decision, as at that precise moment, Leota had cast a spell meant to trap him inside her crystal ball. With him gone, the spell backfired on Leota, sealing her spirit inside her own crystal ball forever (though this was not much of a hinderance to her, as her telekinesis allowed her to float wherever she wanted to go from inside the ball).
Becoming the Ghost Host
Naturally, the strong-willed Gracey soon came back under the new form of a sometimes-invisible ghost. He now had power over the Mansion itself; he could practically feel its twisted corridors and wide halls as if they were a part of him, and with the slightest thought, he could rearrange the architecture inside out, making floors or ceilings disappear, stretching or squashing rooms, adding corridors left and right or extending them to cover hundreds of miles. He also resumed his position as a leader for the other, now ghostly residents of the House. Calling himself the Ghost Host, he also opened his doors to any visiting spirits who wished to stay within what was now a "retirement home" for spirits of all kinds. After scaring away the living families who had tried to settle in the house, the ghosts were content for a few decades with exercising their terror on the few mortals who wandered in their halls out of curiosity. Throughout these visits, the Ghost Host (who preferred to remain invisible) progressively developped a speech to guide the mortals through the Mansion.
Meeting the Imagineers
In the early 1950's, a group of mortals referring to themselves as Imagineers visited the Mansion, knowing it to be haunted, and announced to the Ghost Host that they had legally bought it and would soon be moving it to an amusment park. The Ghost Host was initially quite displeased with this turn of events, but was forced to cooperate and was eventually convinced when he understood that this would mean the ghosts would be able to scare hundreds of mortals a day. The Imagineers also requested that even more ghosts be invited to haunt the Mansion to make a tour even more entertaining. Notices were put up throughout the world, and soon, the Mansion now housed nine hundred and ninety-nine ghosts. In 1963, the Ghost Host and Little Leota opened the Ghost Relations Department in order to sort out all the applicants, and in spite of the Mansion's being almost full, the Department is still reviewing application letters to this very day.
Fighting the One-Eyed Black Cat
Unfortunately, one of them, the One-Eyed Black Cat, hijacked leadership of the Mansion and ruled with an iron paw. Vincent Gracey, still looked upon as the Ghost Host by most even though the Cat had proclaimed himself the new leader, created the Ghost Council, a resistance committee supported by the Imagineers. The raging war between the ghosts and the Cat's malevolent forces lasted until 1968, when the diabolical feline was finally sealed inside an underground crypt.
Opening the Haunted Mansion
With the Black Cat gone and the damages to the house repaired, the Imagineers were finally able to safely move the Mansion to Disneyland Park and turn it into a ride, working together with Madame Leota and the Ghost Host to create a spectral mode of transportation, the Doombuggy. The ride was an instant success, but a few weeks after opening, it became apparent that the ghost of Thomas Topper, now called the Hatbox Ghost, was not up to his task, as he was often missing during touring hours. Despite the ghost's protests and the pleas of his bride, Emily Gracey, the Host summoned an emergency session of the Ghost Council and had the Hatbox Ghost banished from the grounds.
For almost fifty years, the Ghost Host spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to keep the angry Hatbox Ghost out of the Mansion. All the while, the Haunted Mansion's popularity was growing and the mortals began developping theories about the ghosts' past. Amused by their far-fetched ideas, he began spreading rumors himself, changing details every time but expertly mixing truth and fiction so that certain facts would add up, making the rest of his tales more believable. Unfortunately for him, the Hatbox Ghost's fanbase also grew, and in 2015, the Imagineers eventually forced him to allow the old spook back in.
The Ghost Host is a First-Level Canon Character, as he appears prominently in the ride, as a ghoslty voice, as a corpse and in a portrait.