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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

Decemystery (2022.3) 27: That Time Someone Saw Mickey Mouse


Growing up, I was a big fan of Disney. Mickey Mouse was one of my favorite things, as were Mickey’s friends. I also adored Winnie-the-Pooh; I still do to this day. The Hundred Acre Wood is easily my favorite place in the entire world of Disney.

So color me surprised when I saw a story featuring ol’ Mickey Mouse in real life. This was a story I didn’t intend to cover this month, but I simply couldn’t wait. So let’s take an impromptu trip to Disney World. This is the magical story of That Time Someone Saw Mickey Mouse! Yeah, it’s gonna be one of those stories.

Did Somebody Mention the Door to Darkness?

I found this story thanks to sustained_disgust’s phenomenal Obscure Unsolved Mysteries Iceberg; if you haven’t checked that Iceberg out, you really should. Anyways, the origin of this story is from the Fortean Times, specifically, the first volume of “It Happened To Me! Real-Life Tales of the Paranormal.” The Iceberg links to the book on the Internet Archive; if you want to read it, click here to do so. If I ever get the chance (which, God willing, I will), I’ll read through it to find some stuff for future write-ups.

Our story takes us to page 154, under the “Outlandish Apparitions” section. It’s here where there’s a story with the title “Disneyfication of Terror.” I never thought I would type those words, and I hope it’s not the last time because it’s almost as magical as Disney World itself. Anywhoozle, our story takes us over to England. In 1992, a man named Stanley Shoop mailed the Fortean about an experience he had sixty years prior in his grandparents’ old home.

In this humble, presumably ancient abode in Elstree, Hertfordshire (British names are the greatest names to type), Stanley had an experience most peculiar. He says that, when he resided at this house, he was to never open the door to the basement as it was “very dark.” There was also a “steep flight of steps” past the door. The only time Stanley or his twin brother were allowed to so much as open the door was when his grandparents were around.

Being a child of five or six years of age, Stanley obeyed these orders like I obey traffic laws in Grand Theft Auto. And so, one day, Stanley opened the door, revealing a “very real, very solid figure filling the entire doorway.” This figure was the one and only Mickey Mouse. Yes, you read that right: Mickey Mouse, the character created in 1928 by Walt Disney and Ubbe Ert Iwwerks. Somehow, he had finally found his way across the Atlantic and into England. By God, I think The Mouse™ has done it at last! He’s finally conquered Europe!

Stanley went on to say that seeing this iconic humanoid rodent “gave me the fright of my life.” What he did after seeing this strange entity isn’t said. Rather, Stanley goes on to say the following:

When I was not much older and wiser, I knew that I couldn’t possibly have seen a fictional character, but at that time - and to this day - the figure was very real.

I’d normally be quite ticked off that we weren’t told anything else, but I’m more than willing to give Stanley the benefit of the doubt, given this was apparently six decades ago. That said, that is where our story ends; quite a unique note if I do say so myself. It isn’t often you see the person who saw something Fortean outright say they doubt what they beheld.

In spite of these doubts, I have used what I learned from watching Fantasia and playing Kingdom Hearts to conjure up some theories. So come along; let us discuss them!


1. It was an alien

Okay, this is me being more of a goofball since I’m typing this the day after a UFO hearing that Congress held here in the United States (July 27). Although you have to admit that a humanoid mouse would certainly be an alien-looking creature! Don’t lie to me, dear reader! 

2. Stanley was half-asleep and mistook a shadow for Mickey Mouse

Given I can’t find any theories due to the lack of documentation about this case, all of these come from the mind of yours truly. The first is that Stanley was half asleep, saw a shadow, and thought it was Mickey Mouse. I’m pretty sure most of us have had a moment like this and can relate. Or would it just be me? I hope it isn’t just me.

This theory, I think, has a pretty solid foundation, but I know there are a fair number of flaws. Namely, we don’t know when this all took place, whether it was day or night, to be exact. We also don’t know if any sunlight would illuminate the area near the basement. While Stanley says it was dark, whether it was immediately dark once you opened the door or grew increasingly dark as you descended isn’t said (I imagine it’s the latter, though).

There is also the matter of the figure appearing “very solid,” though you can argue that this was just the imagination of a child (more on that later). Nevertheless, this is—to me—one of the most plausible theories. However, we still have a fair number left, so let’s not disregard them just yet!

3. It was Mickey Mouse

I’m doing my absolute best to not make a reference to NASCAR Champion Chase Elliott right now, lest a few of my friends develop an insatiable desire to crucify me.

Admittedly, this theory really hinges on your belief in either tulpas or something akin to them. While I have my own obtuse beliefs on things like that, I can’t say they apply here at all. I only included this because I thought it would be incredibly biased of me to leave the “it was real” theory out; I always try to maintain an unbiased mindset when I write about anything.

So yeah, that’s kind of it. It really was Mickey Mouse. I suppose to a child, this would be the greatest thing in the world. To anyone else… I guess it would depend on who you are. Personally, I’d be more than a little bit unsettled at seeing Mickey Mouse in real life.

4. It was a ghost

There are theories and legends that spirits will take on the appearance of something non-human for one reason or another. In fact, there’s an incredibly prevalent legend in England known as Black Shuck. If you’re familiar with stories of hellhounds or any sort of ghostly animal, then I have a good feeling you know of ol’ Shuck. If not, it’s said to be a large, black dog said to be an omen of death. Others, however, say that it’s not an evil spirit and can be a companion of sorts (before it disappears, at least).

While Black Shuck is said to be a hellhound, there are some who say that evil spirits can take on the appearance of one; that concept applies here. A ghost took on the form of Mickey Mouse—or at least something that resembled Mickey Mouse. As preposterous as that may sound, it is a concept that’s been floated around the paranormal community. I may one day get into more detail about this theory since it’s a lot more detailed than this half-baked explanation I’ve given it here. While I’m at it, I’ll also one day talk more about Black Shuck, I… well, I’d say I promise, but we both know that promises and I go together like salt paper cuts.

5. It was an interdimensional entity

I admit, I could have nixed this theory, but given how prevalent it is when it comes to so many other Fortean stories, I thought it would have been dang near criminal to nix it. After all, interdimensional entities constitute a significant part of “High Strangeness” encounters, so why exclude that?

I won’t give the whole song and dance about what these things are; I’ve done it before in several other write-ups. Also, if you’re visiting this blog, I sincerely doubt you’re some passerby who clicked a random link (though if you are: thank you for reading; I hope you stick around!). Anyways, interdimensional entities: they’re entities from another reality that either learned how to cross over into our world or appeared because our realities overlapped for one reason or another. You understand this? No? Too bad; I never got my teaching degree because the education system sucks.

That concept applies here; an interdimensional being that resembles Mickey Mouse briefly appeared in our reality (be it of its own volition or otherwise), gave this kid a terrible fright, and then went back to its own world where it likely told its friends about how it scared some kid. Laughs were had, beers were consumed, and songs by Mickey Valli and the Four Seasons were listened to.

Now remember to study for the test; it’s tomorrow, and I expect you to get an A+!

6. It was the product of a child’s imagination

When it comes to a child seeing anything fantastical, this theory is almost certainly the first one to be put forth by anyone. You don’t need a degree in psychology to know that children can, and almost always will, exaggerate anything they see—be it to their benefit or not. Though sometimes, they genuinely believe what they see. That’s more or less the case here; Stanley, at the time, thought he really did see Mickey Mouse, but now doesn’t. Simple as that.

7. It was a Heartless

C O M E G U A R D I A N!

My Take

Given we weren’t told by Stanley when he saw Mickey, it’s hard for me to say what I think happened. Nevertheless, I do have two theories I feel incredibly confident in.

The first is that Stanley was half asleep and mistook a shadow for Mickey Mouse—or what he later thought to be Mickey. Admittedly, I don’t know when the character became iconic in England, but I’m willing to bet that when reflecting on the experience, Stanley thought it looked like Mickey. Anyways, I put a lot of stock in this theory because I’ve had a lot of experiences akin to this when I first woke up or even shortly after the fact.

Where I sleep, there’s a smoke alarm. I’m prone to waking up during the night, and a few times, I’ve mistaken the side of the smoke alarm for a giant centipede on the wall. Suffice it to say, I have had a few moments where I’ve wanted to grab a kitchen knife and slash away. Though once my eyes adjust, I realize it’s a smoke alarm.

Assuming that Stanley decided to be a little bit mischievous at night when his grandparents were asleep, I’d say this is pretty likely. Though I think the second theory I have is a bit more plausible. Well, in my eyes, it is.

That second theory is that it was nothing more than the product of a child’s imagination. As dull as that may be to many, children are the masters of saying they saw something incredible where there was nothing remarkable. A child could mistake a coat rack for a six-armed, twelve-legged abomination straight out of a Lovecraft story. Throw in a lack of light and the chaotic mind of a five or six-year-old, and you have a recipe for seeing something where there was nothing.

Still, it makes for a fun little story. Especially since it involves such an iconic character. Or perhaps it’s just me who thinks that. We may never know.


Thus ends another Decemystery entry. It wasn’t one of the longer ones, but I nevertheless found it interesting. If nothing else, I had a lot of fun writing about it. There’s something about these bite-sized ones that always makes me feel happy inside; I think it’s because I get to share something really obscure with you all. Or maybe it’s dopamine. I dunno, but hey: I’ll take whatever happiness I can get nowadays.

Anyways, I would love to hear what you thought of today’s story. And as always: stay happy, stay healthy, and thank you for reading!


  1. One time when I was a kid I could have swore I saw Benjamin Franklin crouching in front of my closet, but when my eyes finally adjusted I realized it was just a pile of clothes. So, case closed!

    1. You should have asked him for a hundred dollar bill while you had the chance!