There’s no shortage of myths and urban legends surrounding Walt Disney and his Empire; some of the most infamous include: Deaths at Disneyland and Disneyworld (and their subsequent cover-ups), ghosts on It’s A Small World and Space Mountain—and that turkey drumstick you’re chowing down on—that’s not turkey!
But the creepiest myth connected to Disney isn’t tied to a specific location; it does, however, involve its most iconic character: Mickey Mouse. Ever hear about the “lost” cartoon with potentially lethal demonic powers? Rather than paraphrase this relatively recent piece of dark mythology, I’m presented the story as it was first reported in a now closed chatroom in 2010:
Comment: So do any of you remember those Mickey Mouse cartoons from the 1930s? The ones that were just put out on DVD a few years ago? Well, I hear there is one that was unreleased to even the most avid classic disney fans. According to sources, it’s nothing special. It’s just a continuous loop (like flinstones) of mickey walking past 6 buildings that goes on for two or three minutes before fading out. Unlike the cutesy tunes put in though, the song on this cartoon was not a song at all, just a constant banging on a piano as if the keys for a minute and a half before going to white noise for the remainder of the film. It wasn’t the jolly old Mickey we’ve come to love either, Mickey wasn’t dancing, not even smiling, just kind of walking as if you or I were walking, with a normal facial expression, but for some reason his head tilted side to side as he kept this dismal look. Up until a year or two ago, everyone believed that after it cut to black and that was it. When Leonard Maltin was reviewing the cartoon to be put in the complete series, he decided it was too junk to be on the DVD, but wanted to have a digital copy due to the fact that it was a creation of Walt. When he had a digitized version up on his computer to look at the file, he noticed something.
The cartoon was 9 minutes and 4 seconds long.
After it cut to black, it stayed like that until the 6th minute, before going back into Mickey walking. The sound was different this time. It was a murmur. It wasn’t a language, but more like a gurgled cry. As the noise got more indistinguishable and loud over the next minute, the picture began to get weird. The sidewalk started to go in directions that seemed impossible based on the physics of Mickeys walking. And the dismal face of the mouse was slowly curling into a smirk. On the 7th minute, the murmur turned into a bloodcurdling scream (the kind of scream painful to hear) and the picture was getting more obscure. Colors were happening that shouldn’t have been possible at the time. Mickey face began to fall apart. his eyes rolled on the bottom of his chin like two marbles in a fishbowl, and his curled smile was pointing upward on the left side of his face. The buildings became rubble floating in midair and the sidewalk was still impossibly navigating in warped directions, a few seeming inconceivable with what we, as humans, know about direction. Mr. Maltin got disturbed and left the room, sending an employee to finish the video and take notes of everything happening up until the last second, and afterward immediately store the disc of the cartoon into the vault. This distorted screaming lasted until 8 minutes and a few seconds in, and then it abruptly cuts to the mickey mouse face at the credits of the end of every video with what sounded like a broken music box playing in the background. This happened for about 30 seconds. From a security guard working under me who was making rounds outside of that room, I was told that after the last frame, the employee stumbled out of the room with pale skin saying “Real suffering is not known” 7 times before speedily taking the guards pistol and offing himself on the spot. The thing I could get out of Leonard Maltin was that the last frame was a piece of russian text that roughly said “the sights of hell bring its viewers back in”. As far as I know, no one else has seen it.
The fact that the archivist in this account is named “Leonard Maltin” is a big red flag in my opinion (and the fact that some don’t even know who he is speaks to the myth’s contemporary origins: Definitely a product of the Creepypasta generation). But in truth, there actually are videos on YouTube (sometimes referred to as “MICKEY GOES TO HELL” or “SUICIDE MOUSE”) that claim to be this mysterious and dangerous cartoon.
Comments range from: “That’s the scariest thing I’ve ever seen,” to, “It looks like a film school drop-out’s animation project.” Still, I have yet to watch the video myself; it’s a mixture of not tempting fate and reveling in the legend’s sinister mystique. But if you’re especially tantalized (and brave) then by all means: Investigate.
Follow me on Twitter @josh_millican.